Vermont Part 2- Rutland to Norwich

Day 150- 8.18.15
Fancy Pants: We took a zero day today.  My back felt a lot better than it did yesterday, but I decided to go to urgent care just to be sure (and at the insistence of our hiking buddies!). They asked a lot of questions and took an X-Ray. Nothing was broken, and they prescribed me a steroid and a muscle relaxer. The nurse also warned me that I would feel great after taking the steroid, but that I should still take it easy.
After picking up my prescriptions, we went to the Yellow Deli & Hostel to check it out. This was my first interaction with what I would consider to be a cult. It went pretty much how I expected it to. Everyone was really nice, but I got major creeper vibes from one person. He kept repeating himself, saying that we need to visit their organic farm and see their children running around barefoot. Or other variations of ‘come see our children.”  I’ve heard from others that the Twelve Tribes is a sexist group. They don’t hold women is as high of a regard as they hold men as far as division of labor and the fact that the women don’t really speak (unless they work in the deli downstairs).
After we left, we caught the bus to Killington to Mountain Meadows Lodge where we planned to stay while my back healed. The lodge is beautiful!  It it set on a lake and has a wide open yard with lots of apple trees and a barn with some goats and a miniature horse. Everyone went out on the kayaks and canoes and I stayed near shore and floated around on a life jacket. We also got in the hot tub, which felt great.
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Day 151- 8.19.15
Fancy Pants: We slackpacked 17.4 miles today. We took the bus back to Rutland and got a ride back to the trailhead where we got off when I fell. We started our hike going really slow, just in case I needed to turn around and go back to the lodge. I was actually surprised at how good I felt considering how terrible I felt right after I fell!  We kept our relatively slow pace as we climbed Mt. Killington. Fuego, Lamb Chop and Kush took the side trail to the summit and I laid down on a tent platform with my legs and feet in the air. Lamb Chop and Kush took the gondola down to the bottom of the mountain (Killington is a ski resort) and Fuego and I walked the 7 miles down to the next road crossing. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have pushed myself, but I really felt fine at the time! If I had been in pain, I definitely would have stopped. We passed the 1700 mile mark just before we got to VT rt 4! We got a ride back to the lodge and I was definitely tired. We washed off in the lake and lounged around for awhile before going to bed.

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Day 152- 8.20.15
Fancy Pants: We took a zero day today.  I woke up really stiff. I should have listened to the nurse and taken it easy for a few days! On the trail, you hear about hikers like myself all the time. Hikers that don’t want to admit that they are injured and want to keep moving forward. Not going to sugarcoat it- it sucks!  It was also a beautiful day for hiking, which doesn’t help. I sat in the hammock, worked on the blog, read some of my book, did 1.5 puzzles, ate a lot of snacks and moved our stuff to the woodshed. (For the same price as tenting in the yard, you could stay in the woodshed that has lights AND electrical outlets. Pretty posh for trail accommodations). Guests for the wedding at the lodge this coming weekend have started arriving, so we are trying to stay out of the way. Since I still shouldn’t be hiking, our plan is to go back to Rutland tomorrow and do work-for-stay at the Yellow Deli and resist getting sucked into the cult. We would definitely prefer to stay here, but they don’t allow other guests to stay at the lodge when they are hosting a wedding, which makes sense. Bill, the owner, allowed Fuego and Kush to do work-for-stay here, which helped us keep the cost down a little bit.
Day 153- 8.21.15
Fancy Pants: We took another zero day today. I woke up pretty stiff again. Definitely not the immediate recovery I was hoping for. We had stayed in the woodshed so we wouldn’t have to pack up wet gear this morning. We checked into the hostel and also ran into Janezilla and Mushu. At the recommendation of some people on Facebook, I decided to get a massage to see if that helps at all. I’m not sure it really fixed anything, but it felt great. I got in touch with Plans Too Much and he is willing to help me slackpack to Woodstock tomorrow. We plan to stay in the shelter 10 miles north of Rutland and have Fuego carry all of the absolute necessities in his pack and have me carry nothing. It’s the best we could come up with to still make some forward progress.
The weird guy at the hostel is still mentioning the children!  Creepy!!  We went to the Hop N’ Moose Brewery down the sterrt with some other hikers from the hostel. Ferps thru-hiked in 2013 and stayed at the Yellow Deli Hostel for over a week because he had a scratched cornea. Ouch!  Ferps paid for our beer and pizza at the brewery. He is seriously such a great guy!

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Day 154- 8.22.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 10 miles today (1700.9-1710.9). Well, Fuego hiked and I slackpacked. We ate breakfast at the deli then caught the bus back to the trail. It was a pretty easy trail and we had a nice breeze today. As we were passing Thundering Falls, some hikers gave us some Twizzlers- definitely the highlight of the day! We climbed 1200 feet, hiked a few small hills, then got to the shelter before 4pm. Everyone was confused as to why Fuego had a huge pack and I had a small day pack. I also felt like a huge jerk for not really carrying anything.  We were glad the shelter was a decent one and set our stuff up inside. We camped with some SOBOs. One of them is also from Manassas and also went to the same high school and I did, although he graduated in 2010- small world!
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Day 155- 8.23.15
Fancy Pants: Fuego hiked and I slackpacked 13.3 miles today (1710.9-1724.2). I was the first one awake in the shelter this morning at 7:15, which is pretty late for a shelter. The morning was pretty uneventful, which was alright with us. On our lunch break, we stopped at The Lookout. We climbed the ladder to a platform on top of the cabin, which gave us our first view of the White Mountains.  There was a solar charger that was left out in the sun and accidentally left behind by a hiker. Since the NOBO and SOBO hiker bubbles are both here right now, we weren’t sure if hiking north with the charger would take it further from its owner, so we left it at the cabin. PSA to always label your gear (including which direction you’re hiking) just in case someone finds it and is nice enough to bring it to you.
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As we hiked down toward VT 12, we had to detour for some blackberries. My legs were all scraped up from walking so far into the field, but it was worth it!  When we got to the road, we reached the house where Plans Too Much dropped my backpack off (with Dan Quinn).  Dan has a barn that he allows hikers to stay in and immediately invited us to go swimming, along with TI and No Name.
Dan also allowed us to exchange some house cleaning/chores for a slackpack to Norwich tomorrow.  After we cleaned up in the house, Dan pulled out his veggie drawer from the fridge and told us we could use anything in the drawer to cook dinner.  We were so excited to have fresh veggies, tons of spices and a real kitchen to cook in.  Everyone hung out on the porch, eating dinner and talking.  Janezilla, Mushu, Luna, Freestyle, Orion, TI and No Name all stayed at Dan’s house with us.

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Day 156- 8.24.15

Fancy Pants: We slackpacked 20.6 miles today (1724.2-1744.8). Dan made us pancakes for breakfast and then we set out on the trail.  The beginning of the trail had a lot of small hills to climb and I was really glad we weren’t carrying our packs!  My back wasn’t feeling very good at first and I was secretly worried that we were too ambitious with the mileage. Once the trail flattened out a bit, I felt better.  I was surprised by the number of open fields we went through today.  The fields were filled with lots of colorful flowers and plants- goldenrod, bergemont, looseleaf, milkweed, and lots of blackberries 🙂

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For lunch, we stopped at Randy and Linda’s- trail angels known for giving out sodas to thru-hikers.  Randy also brought out pieces of cake for everyone.  We also swam in the White River- the first river you could actually swim in and not touch the ground.  Clear, deep water.  The rest of the hike was pretty uneventful.  We got to Elm Street in Norwich, VT and walked to Betsy’s house.  We showered, did laundry and ordered a pizza.  Janezilla, Mushu, Luna, Momo, Nomo, East, Mezla, and Spacetime stayed there with us.

Betsy is responsible for creating a list of neighbors in Norwich and Hanover who will take hikers into their homes for the night.  Her reason for doing so is that when her 19 year old son hiked the AT in 2007 and he got a really bad infection on his foot.  A family out hiking in the Smokies brought him in to town to go to the doctor.  They invited him into their home while he recuperated for the week.  After he was back out on the trail, Betsy asked how she could repay them for their generosity and they told her to pay it forward.  And here she is 8 years later, taking hikers into her home every night during the season (9 hikers and 1 dog the night we were there!), washing our clothes, giving us something to wear while the clothes are being cleaned and letting us use real pillows when we slept on the air mats downstairs.  What a lady!

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