800 Miles: I Lovermont. Sort Of. Absolutely.
2016 Flip Flop: ME to SNP/SNP to GA
Vermont. Home of Ben and Jerry’s and a certain feisty independent grandfatherly politician. The Green Mountains and B&Bs. What’s not to love?
I signed the trail register at the Massachusetts/Vermont border saying how I was happy to be here, then started hiking—and I gotta say, the trail in Vermont didn’t initially win me over. It could have been the humidity or that vertical climb out of North Adams, but I found those first two days to be tough. I later learned that one of the guidebooks rated this section all the way through the Glastonbury wilderness to be challenging. I also learned that this area is considered to be the Triangle of Doom or the Bennington Triangle, Vermont’s version of the Bermuda Triangle. There are legends of unexplained phenomena, missing persons, swallowing rocks, Bigfoot sightings and just plain strange vibes. Perhaps that was the reason I didn’t immediately take a liking to this part of the trail. A NOBO recently did have to end her thru-hike after breaking her femur on the steep ascent near Bennington, so who knows?
Speaking of missing…The Appalachian Trail joins the Long Trail right at the Vermont border before breaking off near Killington. With the exception of the Deerlick Shelter, way back in Pennsylvania, I’ve always met up with speedier Northbounders and now Southbounders each night at a shelter or campsite. Once I hit the Long Trail though, it seemed like the majority of my shelter mates were almost exclusively Long Trail thru-hikers. This is somewhat logical—after all the Appalachian Trail is sharing a popular trail in Vermont. But where did all the other AT hikers go? Were all they sucked up in that Bennington Triangle? I’ll assume I’m merely in between hiker bubbles.
What I have loved about Vermont are the brooks, waterfalls, ponds, piney woods, piney trails, mountain views and fire towers that dot the Green Mountains. Vermont definitely ranks as the prettiest state the trail has passed through on my flop flop thus far. Of course, that also could be due to the White Rock Cliff area cairn art. I’m a sucker for such things. There are two areas where the rock sculptures rise up amidst the trees and boulders between Manchester Center and Killington. I, for one, love it. And there’s nothing strange or spooky about that.
While in Vermont, I enjoyed some fabulous zeros with friends and a surprise visit from my husband. As I hike my way toward the 900 milestone and New Hampshire, leaving this fine state in a better state of mind than when I entered, Bigfoot sightings not withstanding, I can indeed claim that I Lovermont.
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