Froggy Flip-Flops the AT: Vermont Grows on Me
Our last night in Massachusetts resulted in minimal sleep, but thankfully not due to setting off my SOS. It was tent city at Wilbur Clearing Shelter. Shake and I tented close to the shelter, and Kool was in the shelter by himself. We all woke up in the middle of the night (except Kool, he seems to sleep through all the fun stuff) to a bear trying to get into the bear boxes. For over an hour, he slammed the boxes around. Thankfully they were chained to a tree. Thud, jingle, thud, thud, jingle, jingle, thud. He didn’t get in, but it was still a little unnerving to listen to.
I was excited to get into Vermont, but that excitement faded quickly. The trail was a muddy mess due to multiple days of rain, and I got tired of trying to avoid the crappy trail conditions and just started sloshing right through the muck. I fell twice in one day, once down a muddy hill, then in a stream. I cussed Vermont that particular day. It was also hard to process the amount of people on the trail. Since the Long Trail and AT had converged, every shelter and campsite was full every night.
Then the weather cleared, we got used to the larger crowds, and Vermont grew on me. The views were beautiful, the climbs were getting bigger, and there was the diverse trail. You’d go from walking in fields filled with milkweed to serene pine forests to a hilltop covered in raspberries.
One of my favorite days and night happened in Vermont. July 4th we headed out of Rutland and packed out hot dogs, buns, chips, candy, and beer. We planned to camp just below Killington at Cooper Lodge. It was pretty warm, and I was kind of in my own world when I heard the boys shout “Froggy, trail magic!” We had come across Fresh Grounds and the Leap Frog Cafe. He fed us hot dogs, chips, and the best super-cold Kool-Aid I’ve ever had. We turned him down on homemade french fries since we still had a huge climb, but that was an awesome experience. I still dream about that Kool-Aid.
We went beyond the shelter and set up our sleeping pads and bags on the ski slope platform just below Killington. We ate more hot dogs and our other treats and watched the sunset, which lasted forever. Numerous fireworks from all the surrounding towns lit up the hills below, and I was torn between watching them and staring at the beautiful sunset. The sunset won, of course. That was my first cowboy camping experience, and boy was it amazing. I wound up really enjoying Vermont. I want to bring my husband and show him the beauty of the trail and the towns. Just not during mud season.
Until next time,
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