Family, Fun, and 400 Miles to go!
Hello! I’m currently at mile 1786.6 on the trail, I came off for the weekend to do a Dirty Girl Mud Run with all the ladies in my family.
Since I posted last I’ve made a lot of progress. I’ve finished New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and I’ve started New Hampshire. When I posted last, I was in low spirits, I’m happy to say that that didn’t last very long! Ferris and I caught Rocky and Chef about a week after I posted, and since then the group has split and reconnected in a few configurations a couple times. Now, due to the mud run I’ve got my work cut out for me to catch up, but I think I can do it! So, in a nutshell (granted, a really big long nutshell, but believe me this is actually condensed!) here’s the past few hundred miles:
Sometimes it helps to have a goal to get you through the miles for the day. I don’t know if you heard, but the World Cup happened recently. It was a common trail goal to make it to pubs close to the trail to watch the games. I ran into Jukebox (you may know him as fellow Appalachian Trials Blogger Evans) one morning and he told me about his plan to catch the USA-Belgium game and to catch Tandem (or, fellow Appalachian Trials blogger Bennett) in Pawling later that day. While the game didn’t quite pan out, it was still a fun break from the trail.
Connecticut was brief, it only took two days to hike through. Still, it marked 2/3 completion of the trail. It was a nice state, but it stormed on us both days.
Massachusetts was fun! Ferris and I caught Chef and Rocky in Great Barrington around mile 1517. My mom and aunt came out to the trail to visit and provide some trail magic. They had all sorts of sandwich fixings, beer, soda, cookies, brownies–the works–coming out of the woods and seeing my mom and aunt in the parking lot was awesome.
Getting to Vermont has been the most exciting part of the trail for me so far. I did it! I hiked home! I didn’t even feel the last few miles to the border, when I got close I started running and when I saw the sign I gave a yell and was so excited I had to pee. I swear I feel more and more like a dog each day.
Inspired by the infamous scene (first 50 seconds) from Super Troopers, Ferris, Rocky, and I wanted to celebrate 1600 miles and our entry into Vermont. When we got into Bennington we each decided to chug 16 ounces of maple syrup to celebrate 1600 miles, which coincidentally is also 1600 calories. This is definitely not a challenge for those with a weak stomach, or for those who have more hiking to do in the same day. I don’t remember the last time I felt so nauseous.
I love Vermont. I really really do.
Qu’s Whistle Stop in Clarendon VT was one of my favorite restaurant stops so far. I went here four years ago when I hiked The Long Trail with my brother. We heard about their amazing omelets for miles and miles before we got to it, and they did not disappoint. This year, I heard there was new owners so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m happy to say that it’s even better now! The new owners seem to really enjoy hikers. They sat us by outlets so we could charge our phones, they filled our water bottles and put them in the freezer until we were ready to go, they gave me a washcloth to clean up a bit in the bathroom–and we didn’t ask for any of these things, they just knew. I had 5 orange sodas and my first maple creemee of the season.
105 miles into Vermont is a spot called Maine Junction where the Long Trail continues north towards Canada and the Appalachian Trail goes east to New Hampshire. This was my third time doing that 105 mile stretch, the entire time I was thinking things like “and this is where my friend cried, and this is where I cried, and we stayed at this shelter, and here’s where we lit sparklers, and I fell here, etc…etc..” it was fun re-hiking those miles and being flooded with memories that I had completely forgotten. Turning towards Maine this time was surreal.
Again, I love Vermont.
When we woke up a few days ago at the cabin at Lookout Farm there is no way we could have predicted what would be ahead of us that day. We planned to hike 27 miles into Norwich. We hit Woodstock VT about 6 miles into the day and walked down the road to a farm stand for breakfast. On our way back to the trail, we passed by a house and a guy came out and asked us if we wanted to come in, dry off, and have some coffee. We agreed, and over coffee learned that he, Travis, had hiked the trail in ’09. Then, the owner of the house, Dan, came into the kitchen to talk with us. By the time we finished our second cup of coffee we had agreed to stay for the night and they agreed to slack-pack us 14 miles up the road so that we could hike enough miles for the day. Iron Chef was a few days ahead of us, but his family lives in Woodstock and Dan knew them. He called them and invited them to a potluck dinner that night. About an hour later I got a text from Chef asking if we were at Dans, when I said we were slack-packing back there for the night he told us he was in Woodstock taking a zero day. He and his family couldn’t come to dinner, but Chef and his mom met us at a road crossing with sodas. There was a market up the road where Momma Chef got us ice cream, and we spent a few lovely hours that afternoon with Chef and Momma Chef. It was so much fun, and so completely unexpected. When we got back to Dan’s there was pizza and beer waiting. The gathering with his friends and other hikers was, for me, one of my favorite nights out here.
Finally we’re headed into the Whites. I don’t know how true it is, but there’s a saying that when you get to New Hampshire you’ve done 80% of the trail but only 20% of the effort. I guess things are about to get a whole lot harder!
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