Days 108 to 117: Kindness Changes Everything
Manchester Center, VT to Hanover, NH
- Everything smelling like Christmas.
- Hitting the 500 miles to Katahdin mark!
- Watching the sunset from the Lookout shelter.
- Trail magic in Hanover.
The full story:
It was a rainy, cold day coming out of Manchester Center. I was determined to catch up with some friends who were a day or so ahead of me. I was caught between bubbles and missing having a NoBo bubble. That was when I met the Bernstein Bears (Claire and Rob). It was so fun to hangout with folks who had been trying to catch up with me for a while!
Vermont is beautiful. The climbs all seem to lead up to some incredible peaks covered with pine trees. Hence the everything smelling like Christmas. No matter how tired I felt or how hard the rain may have been coming down just being able to look around and see those trees made me so happy! I always have to stop and remind myself that this is real – I live in these incredible forests.
So hitting the 500 miles to Katahdin mark came as a bit of a surprise. I had no clue it was that day until I happened to look up and see the sign! Best surprise ever. The exact same thing happened at the first 500 mark back in Virginia. I had to pull out Guthook’s App and check what mile we were at. I love being surprised by these milestones!
On day 111, I decided to take it slow in order to hit the lookout shelter. I read all about how amazing the views were from the roof’s platform and was dying to see the sunset from up there. That night Booty, and Bonnie and Clyde were also at the shelter. The 4 of us hung out up there for several hours drinking coffee and swapping trail stories. What really stuck out to me while listening to their tales was how much the trail provides.
The following day I basically tried to get as close to Hanover, NH as I could. I got to walk through fields of wildflowers with endless views of mountains. And then I stealth camped behind a bench. Because when the AT gives you a bench, you not only sit on it but also camp behind it whenever possible. It should just be a rule.
While cruising towards Hanover I experienced an incredible amount of trail magic. I had just crossed into West Hartford, VT when I heard this bell ringing and someone waving me over to someone’s porch. The Harts are amazing. They fed me eggs, coffee, pop, warm muffins and fruit! They are amazing to hikers!!! Portage and I snagged even more magic the closer we got to Hanover. There was watermelon and banana bread in a cooler and we got a free donut and slice of pizza in town! Hanover was good to us.
I had to wait for a package in Hanover for a few days so Portage and his Dad very graciously let me crash their weekend visit. It was some of the kindest trail magic I’ve received. We got to slackpack and hangout at their home in Stowe, VT.
The trail magic doesn’t stop there, Linda and Mike (two amazing trail Angels in Hanover) let me stay with them for a night. They had read one of my blogs and were so kind and welcoming. They picked me up from town, fed me dinner and treated me to ice cream!
I have not experienced this much kindness like this anywhere else. Like I mentioned before, the trail really does provide.
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My daughter, Training Wheels is about 800 from Katahdin and always mention the kindnesses of strangers. Hitched rides, free sodas, and abundant trail magic all show us who we should be and who we really are to others. After reading your blog I’m excited for her next leg of adventure. Safe travels and my best to you!
Ps love the description of it smelling like Christmas this is the first blog I’ve read where that sense has been used.