The Dirt on the Trail: Chapter 10
Stratton Mountain and Gloomy Weather
It rained a little overnight and off and on throughout the next day which gave us the full blown “Vermud” experience that we’ve all heard of. It was impossible to avoid flooding your shoes.
We made the climb up to Stratton Mountain, a site which has inspired the creation of both the Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail. The weather was windy, rainy, and foggy, so we missed out on the view from the Lookout Tower, but it was a lot of fun making the climb to the top while risking being blown away.
The weather wasn’t the most pleasant, but the fog made the forest look equally spooky and captivating.
We weren’t trying to pay to stay at a shelter where we would hear people snore all night and wouldn’t get sleep, so we bypassed Stratton Pond and its shelter in search of a stealth site.
Fortunately, the rain stopped and we found a site 2 miles later.
There was a lot of rain throughout the night, but it was over by the morning. It was foggy up until noon so the scenery was limited.
We hitched into Manchester Center, VT and ate some good grub at Thai Basil.
After charging our electronics at McDonald’s and resupplying at Price Chopper, we hitched back to the trail with a woman whose two sons thru hiked in the past. It was a short hike up to Bromley Mountain where we stayed at the ski warming hut for the night. The flies were biting, but the views were amazing!
We were excited to see Cricket catch up to us, and we spent the evening climbing around the ski lifts and watching the sunset.
The Best Trail Magic
I got up early to watch the sunrise, then went back to sleep.
Eventually, we all got motivated to get the day started. Our goal was to find another stealth site passed the Big Branch Shelter and we succeeded. As soon as we got to Danby-Landgrove Road, there was the most amazing trail magic! Little did we know, we would end up sleeping on the side of the gravel road with several other hikers. The trail magic came in the form of beer (lots of it!), delicious food, and cuddles with Rosie the dog.
It was given by Chris (Rosie’s owner), and Steve who we had met previously at Catamount Motel in Bennington.
It was an awesome time and no one escaped!
We were all feeling a bit fuzzy, but had a warm breakfast cooked by Chris before hiking out. We hiked passed Little Rock Pond before taking a lunch break at White Rocks Cliff.
We would wind up at Clarendon Shelter that night.
Killington Peak and Rutland, VT
After passing the “500 Miles to Katahdin” sign, the day would get grueling.
It was a tough climb up to Cooper Lodge Shelter where we all met for lunch, and a scramble to the top of Killington for the summit view. It was totally worth it though.
We continued on down the mountain. The trail was out to kill me along the way. I was knocked to the ground after slipping on a wet root, then I nearly impaled my leg with one of my trekking poles after it slipping out of my hand. We got to US 4 and hitched into Rutland, VT.
We got dropped off at the Yellow Deli Hiker Hostel and inhaled some of their amazing food. That place is great!
After claiming our bunks in the hostel (which was jam packed full of hikers), we got some drinks at the local watering holes with Gumby, Cricket, and Lil Wayne. Other hikers would soon follow suit.
There’s No Escaping The Yellow Deli
I swear we had totally planned to hike out, but we got sucked in the Yellow Deli vortex. Plus, we all were a little hungover. We got laundry rolling, then joined everyone downstairs for the free breakfast. It was a record breaking 63 hikers in the hostel which is the most they’ve ever had during this time of the season. We resupplied and started drinking at our new favorite place, Two Shea’s, (Not “Two Shoes”). For some reason that’s what we all convinced ourselves it was called the night before. We also checked out the Hop’n Moose Brewing Company before returning to the Yellow Deli to eat dinner. The rest of the evening was spent at Two Shea’s with hiker trash. We were even surprised to see Heavy C join us, who we haven’t seen in a long time.
A Thief, Bobo Burgers, and The Lookout
The record number of hikers was broken again (64 in total), as announced during breakfast. However it may have only been 63 after all since a guy wearing jeans (clearly not hiker attire), disappeared with Cricket’s phone. They sent him messages which must have spooked him since they tracked it down a few blocks away in a bush.
We lounged a while, cleaned our bunks, and packed up to go. We said goodbye to some since most people came through the first entrance to Rutland and were slack packing. We got the climb to Killington out of the way so we were ahead of most people at the hostel.
After hitching back to the trail, we only hiked 4 miles until we stopped for trail magic thrown by Bobo (who we’ve been hiking with), and his mom at Gifford Woods State Park.
We had a burger and a couple beers which helped snap Frisbee and I out of our hangover. It did the opposite for others. Our Tramily was dropping like flies after passing Thundering Falls and beginning the climb up Quimby Mountain.
Frisbee, Gumby, and I made it to The Lookout cabin before dark, which had a platform of the roof to catch a good view of the mountains. I ate quickly so I could watch the sun set.
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