And I Love Vermont, But It’s the Season of the Mud: Days 43-45

Day 43: 15.1 AT miles

Vermont is where the trail is starting to feel exciting. The pine forests are novel and have a quietness and ancient aura to them. They do also have a mist and mud about them which presupposes much rain, unfortunately.

That’s a pond

I woke up late and, though you’d think my lack of service would motivate me to, well, get motivated, I just sat in my tent for a couple of hours as it rained around me. I hate packing up a wet tent, as it necessitates a different item order so I can keep the dry stuff dry. Also it means I have a wet tent until the weather calms back down.

It lightly sprinkled in the morning as I navigated increasing inclines, medium-sized rocks, and, of course, mud. I’m glad I just switched into my new shoes before this section, because I hate their color and felt no remorse stomping straight through the mud. Plus, the thing a lot of people do where they walk around the muddy parts of the trail, thus widening the existing trail, is not very LNT-friendly.

These Lone Peaks are a horrendous shade of Carolina Blue and the navy accents are not enough to redeem them. They are serving as motivation for getting in as many miles as fast as possible so that I can buy a new pair in a more pleasing color. Though, Altra seems to employ perhaps the worst color-choosers in the shoe industry and whenever they design a normal pair, they sell out instantly.

Unfortunately, Altra seems to have discovered some sort of self-cleaning technology in their shoes, because I can’t quite shake the powder blue. The mud seems to almost disappear from the cloth uppers over time.

The rain came in earnest as I was arriving to a shelter that afternoon. I decided to take a break and have a snack. When I set off again, I went in completely the wrong direction for a ways. I came back to the shelter and extended my break. Another thru-hiker showed up and we chatted and fixed dinner. She asked the chances of me staying the night there. It wasn’t even 4 pm. I was 100% moving onward; I can’t bear stopping before 6 pm unless I’m going into town and have tasks to accomplish. Getting to camp at 7:30 is ideal.

The rain died down a tad and I moved on. My shoes got muddier, but remained noticeably blue. I arrived to the shelter a bit before 8 and set up in a really nice niche behind it.

When the urge to use the privy hit, it was dark, and I’m glad I didn’t get lost on either the way there or the way back. It was a large and clean privy; I checked my phone. My friend send me an Instagram reel along the lines of “If you go on a hike and your friend poops in the woods, you get a million dollars. Who are you bringing?” I am obviously the safe choice. I saw a friend from college got engaged. I was astonished and then remembered that I am in fact a real adult now, technically, and that’s a normal thing for people my age to do. I’m the outlier.

Day 44: 20 AT miles

I worked hard today to get twenty miles in. I listened to an entire audiobook during the day, which kept me well entertained. It was Burn Book by Kara Swisher. I didn’t really know who she was before the book, but it was so enlightening and scratched both my tech and journalism itches. I like blogging, but I do miss writing opinion for the school paper. Maybe I’ll start being more controversial on here to spice things up.

I hit 600 miles during the day, but it didn’t feel super significant. The trail is very peaceful here and not so technical that you can’t focus on your thoughts. Well, sometimes the trail is just a flowing stream, but its more so mud, dirt, pine needles, and, my favorite, bog boards!

Yep, that’s the trail

I reached a shelter with some familiar faces and ate dinner. Then, I had to push on a couple of miles to take advantage of the daylight and found a spot at a brook to set up camp.

Day 45: 18.5 AT miles

I am beginning to get used to more elevation—recent days have averaaged about 4,000 feet each of gain and loss. Even over twentyish miles, that’s what, in the hiking world, we like to call “a lot.” And this isn’t even the steep part of the trail!

In the morning, I made it up Stratton Mountian with little distress. The top had a fire tower which I climbed to discover the outstanding view of mist. It was quite cold up there. At least I had some bacon jerky to snack on after descending from the tower.

What views!

I found the rest of the trail quite muddy as I descended into town. The couple I hitched with said that the mud hadn’t yet started in earnest. We’ll see what New Hampshire and Maine have in store, but the rest of Vermont was surprisingly tame in the mud department, I later found.

In town, I did a grocery shop and got some dinner at a food truck. Two high school boys putzing around town picked me up and brought me to the lodge at which I was staying. I think we all got a kick out of it and they even shared their pizza with me.


At the Pinnacle Lodge, I checked in, ate and showered, and did my laundry after taking a nice bath. I relaxed for a while, did some writing; and went to bed.

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Comments 2

  • Rick "Quiet Man" : Jul 9th

    Yes, definitely give us the editorial version of the trail! Spice is nice!

    • Heidi Smith : Jul 13th



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