Today was the second big day in our march towards the Whites and good weather. For the first time on my whole hike, I got to walk all day with another hiker-my friend Hard Hat. It was actually super nice to have company through 20 soggy miles.
Before the rain started, we got a few views of Smarts Mtn from atop Mt Cube.It was also lunch time so we decided to eat on the summit. When it started raining during lunch, I didn’t want soggy bagels and I also didn’t want to keep walking. With that, up went my tarp and Hard Hat and I escaped the rain and continued our eating. No pictures from the rest of the day because of bad phone weather, but I can tell you it was 13 miles of constant rain and some mountains. Tonight I’m back at an AT classic-Hikers Welcome Hostel. For those of you who have hiked before, they built a new bunk house and have sheets now! What an amazing upgrade!
Today was a long haul out of Hanover, but after a sleepless night at the frat it was time to get back into the woods. There are about 44 miles between here and the start of the Whites and a window of good weather starting Sunday. With that in mind, Crush and I decided to push miles for good weather in the Whites.
Check out my lunch spot on Moose Mtn. It might be hard to pick out, but the bare summits of some of the Whites are visible. Here I also met back up with some other hikers I haven’t seen in quite awhile-Melt Down, Bean, and Revenant.The rough part of my day came when it was time to climb a massive mountain right around dinner time. My body staged a rebellion when I was pushing it up a hill instead of feeding it, so I had my dinner on the way up.I made it just in time to catch the last of the sunset at the Smarts Mtn fire tower. The stars are out now, but more rain and storms are headed our way tomorrow!
Today was my last full day on the Long Trail before the AT makes a break for Nee Hampshire. I’m also passing a SOBO bubble which has been pretty fun; there’s something really special about passing people out doing the same thing in the opposite direction. I’m taking names so I can remember if I ever end up with them again on the flop section of my flip flop.
As for my NOBO friends, today was a big day as we are all within 500 miles of Katahdin now. For me, this means 1,524 miles to go, but for them it means real life is incredibly close to starting again. Please pray as there is plenty of anxiety for many about going back and having to face all of the things we get to leave behind on the trail. I also climbed over Vermont’s biggest peak and a popular ski area, Killington Peak.For the evening, I stayed at a famous hostel in Rutland, VT. It’s run by the Twelve Tribes spiritual community, a Christian spin-off that believes in living in total community with one another. Their hostel, the Yellow Deli, has been taking in hikers for years. While the organization is considered by many to be a cult, I sure did enjoy getting to meet their members and learn about their way of life.
Ps-anyone know what plant this is?
Today the sun finally came out! However, Vermud still lives up to its name and my feet were still just as wet.
Today I caught up with quite a few of my hiking friends. For anyone that thinks that hiking the AT is about a solo journey through the wilderness, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just this morning, I found Half Slow in his camper again, sat down, and started quite a congregation in the parking lot.Notice we could definitely use some more chicks out here–ladies, apply for the 2019 chaplaincy!
Later in the morning, I got to stop by Little Rock Pond and take a quick dip in the crystal clear water. Lunch was spent with yet another group of hikers at White Rocks Junction where rumor has it that forest gnomes have built all of these cairns (piles of rocks).My feed did finally stage a blister rebellion today after 7 days in wet socks, but I’m hoping drying them out and some more sunshine will help them recover. More adventures to come!Ps-passed the Rutland Airport, an interesting sight for sure.
Today, the weather forecast was calling for severe thunderstorms and hail. I do not really want to walk in that kind of weather, so some of my hiker buddies and I made a plan to miss out.
But first, foreshadowing for my after-trail employment. I’ve gotten a job as a ski instructor for the winter at a mountain in Utah, but I spent this morning climbing over Bromley Mtn in Vermont!After Bromley, it was time to start cranking miles to get ahead of the hail. Check out this thunder cell building while I ate lunch: The severe weather did show up and I just made it into a shelter before it got really bad. I put down my bag and took a nap while a dozen other hikers rolled in who had gotten caught in the weather.
After the first storm, I set off with and got to learn about my new friend Crush. We passed over Baker Peak before it started rumbling again.Even though I was under my mileage goal for the day, I decided to duck into a shelter just in time to avoid the second storm. It kept going all night long, but all is well.
Man, there was a reason the Lord created the world and then took a day off…He knew we would need to rest! Today was a great day to do just that while it continued to pour down rain.
After sleeping in and eating a lion share of Lucky Charms, I played the piano for awhile at the hostel and mainly just laid around in my PJs (courtesy of Jeff and Duffie!).
I did eventually work up the energy to venture into town where I was able to replace my shoes and the food bag that the mice destroyed the other night (that bear box was not mouse proof). I also spent quite awhile wandering through the local bookstore while it rained and rained.This afternoon, the rest of my hiking crew rolled into town and many of them ended up at Green Mountain House with me. Instead of going out to pay resort prices for food, I decided to use my time to cook for the whole hostel. Ten hikers and I feasted on a double portion of my mom’s spaghetti casserole!If I’m being honest, I would like to stay here another day, but I suppose I’ll have to move on as Jeff has a full house tomorrow. There is an 80% chance of rain-bring it on!
Today was another wet one. I believe that it rained for 20 of my 21 miles. However, the soggy walk was well worth the reward!
I pulled out of the shelter at 6:20 this morning and headed up Stratton Mtn. With the whipping wind, I chose not to climb the tower, but this is where Benton McKaye envisioned the AT. If it was a day like today, he must have envisioned thruhiking.There was too much rain to pull my phone out for pictures the rest of the day, but I walked for 8 more hours, fell in some mud, ate some snacks, and rode in the back of a pickup truck in pouring rain down to Manchester Center.
Once in town, it was time to revisit my very favorite hostel on the AT: Green Mountain House. This place is just amazing, and inspires me to maybe open my own hostel one day. The best part is Duffie, the guy helping the owner Jeff run the place, has been in contact with the chaplaincy program since Wildcat hiked in 2015. He was watching my tracks (via Facebook) get closer and closer to Manchester until I surprised him by showing up at his door! To Alan, Wildcat, and others-Duffie says hi and to keep sending chaplains his way!
Goes to show how much of a legacy this ministry has been creating up and down the AT-I sure am glad to be part of it!