Southern New Hampshire to Vermont: Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends

Last Night in New Hampshire

Georgia had long planned to get off trail and fly home to surprise her spouse on her spouse’s 60th birthday. Our last night together was spent in Lebanon, from where Georgia would head home.  I had hoped to get a walk-in appointment at Aspen Dental in Lebanon, as I had lost a filling a few days earlier.

We were shuttled from the Dartmouth Skiway Trailhead to the Fireside Inn by my friend Ken.  I walked over to Aspen Dental and learned they had no appointments available until October. That night, Georgia and I went out to dinner with Ken and his wife Joanne.  The next morning, Ken drove me back to the trailhead.

There was a good climb to Holt’s Ledge and then Moose Mountain, but no bouldering!  Hooray! I was happy to simply hike, putting one foot in front of the other.

On a rock outcrop near the summit of Moose Mountain, I saw Viking, a NOBO I knew from the first half of my hike.  He’s a strong hiker and should make it to Katahdin before Baxter State Park closes it to hiking in October due to weather conditions.

As I descended, the terrain changed from deciduous forest to fields.  There were stone walls, a sign of early inhabitants.

For the first time I saw tubing extending from sugar maple trees for maple sap extraction, pictured above.

And the mosquitos were fierce!  Was their activity due to the recent rain and hot weather, the swamps and wetlands, or a combination of both?

That night, I stealth camped at a site which was terribly buggy. After I put up my tent, I stayed in it for quite a while before going outside to cook dinner.   Since the mosquitos were still intolerable, I ate dinner in my tent.

Rain and thunderstorms had been in the forecast.  About 10:15 p.m., I was woken up by the crash of thunder.  By 10:30 p.m., bright lightning and loud thunder were directly overhead.  I said a prayer, asking for protection. Thankfully the thunderstorm passed within an hour.

The next morning, after hiking about a tenth of a mile from my tentsite, I saw a downed tree with fresh leaves, probably split by the lightning, which sent chills up my spine.  Thank God no trees had been struck close to my tent.

Entering Vermont

The mosquitos continued to pester me and the heat drained me. In Hanover, NH, I stopped at the Coop for a refreshing break.  There I met Prancer and No Rush, also flip floppers.   Then I walked through downtown Hanover and across the bridge, pictured below, to Norwich, VT.

With rain forecast for later that day, I decided to stop hiking in Norwich and spend the afternoon and night with Ken and Joanne.  Thank you both for your warm hospitality!

Back on trail the next morning, I continued to enjoy the relatively easy hiking through woods with stone walls and fields with summer wildflowers, such as black-eyed Susan, featured above.

I also noticed maidenhair fern, pictured below, which had been absent in Maine and New Hampshire.  Aha!  The woods had changed.  There must be limestone in the bedrock and calcium in the soil, conditions necessary for maidenhair fern.

In addition, I noticed survey tape on ash trees, as in the photo below.  The trees are apparently being monitored for ash borer infestation and possible cutting.

At a viewpoint, I stopped and ate lunch on benches which were engraved with “Relax And Enjoy” and “Welcome to Vermont.” Such inviting messages.

Continuing on, I was cruising until I slipped on a wet rock and fell on a hunk of quartz. It was a very hard fall, which scared me.  I felt a small cut on my upper left lip but had very little bleeding.  My jaw felt a bit dislocated, so I put a wet bandana on it.

When I met two hikers, I asked them to take a look at my face.  They did not see anything amiss, but one of them offered me Advil. Since I had ibuprofen, I immediately took 400 mg. and continued to take ibuprofen for the next few days.  I later looked at my face in my iPhone camera.  I could see just a little bruising above the left side of my lip.

I stealth camped again that night.  It was cooler and the mosquitos were no longer a nuisance. Rain was forecast for the next afternoon and evening, so I planned to hike to The Lookout, a private cabin open to hikers.  On the way, I passed well-built bridges, stone walls, stone cellars, and a stone fireplace.

When I arrived at VT Route 12, I walked a tenth of a mile to On The Edge Farm, pictured below, where I bought a hunk of cheese, a tomato, an apple pastry, and a chocolate drink. Available for hiker use is a privy, water hose, and trash container. It was a wonderful stop.

It started raining before I arrived at The Lookout, pictured below. The cabin itself is empty, except for a bench and a fireplace on the first floor.  It has screened windows and a loft. I was so comfortable there!

I cooked and ate dinner under the overhang on the porch.  I slept on the first floor.  It was a luxury to have so much space under cover while it was raining. The next morning, I didn’t climb the ladder to the overlook because there would have been no view as the area was socked in.

Last Days On Trail Before A Planned Break

The next day I hiked past the Stony Brook and its tributary, the area where Steady Eddie, a thru-hiker, drowned after the July 10 flood. The tributary was a shallow and amenable to rock hopping. Apparently, it was a raging waterway after the flood. The Stony Brook has a sturdy wooden bridge across it.

The photo and poem, pictured below, are on a tree near the Stony Brook.  Such a tragedy.  May you rest in peace Steady Eddie.

Then I walked along the Thundering Falls Boardwalk and took the short blue-blaze trail to magnificent Thundering Falls, pictured below.

I had previously contacted my friends Sandy and Jennifer, sisters who live in towns north of Route 4, about spending a night with one of them and getting a ride to my home in Montpelier.  Sandy offered to pick me up at Mountain Meadows Resort and host me.

Before getting into Sandy’s car, I stopped in the bathroom at Mountain Meadows and saw that I had a large bruise on the left side of my jaw.  I felt very fortunate that my jaw had settled back into place and that I hadn’t lost or cracked a tooth.   When I explained the bruise to Sandy, she told me she had assumed I simply had a dirty face!

Sandy prepared a delicious meal, including vegetables from the garden of her sister Beanie.  Jennifer and her husband Charlie joined us for dinner.  We made plans for Jennifer to shuttle me to and from the trail the next day and to drive me home the day after.

Later Sandy and I visited their father Fred and sister Beanie.  Fred tried to interest me in his concept of a poncho with a liner, which could be used as an emergency shelter.   He wasn’t interested in hearing how gear had changed since he last went camping in the 70’s or earlier.

The next morning, Jennifer drove me back to the trailhead near Mountain Meadows Resort so that I could slackpack 16.1 miles to Upper Cold River Road.  The first four miles wound past Kent Pond, Gifford Woods State Park, and the Maine Junction, where the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail meet (or separate, depending on one’s direction of travel).

After crossing Route 4, the moderate ascent to Cooper Lodge began.  Near the Lodge, I saw trail crew from the Green Mountain Club putting in stone stairs. Thank you! By the way, I am not finding the Vermont trails as muddy and poorly maintained as NOBOs have complained.

There is a blue-blaze trail to Mount Killington, which I didn’t take, as I’ve been there several times before.   The last time I was there a few years ago, mountain bikers were arriving on the gondola and then riding down. Although I’ve mountain biked in the past, I have never been interested in riding down a ski slope.

After the junction to the summit, the trail remained relatively easy until I got to the junction to a blue-blaze trail to Shrewsbury Peak.  At that point, the trail became a rocky, steep descent, which slowed me down considerably. Finally, the trail became moderate, then easy.  I cruised past the Governor Clement Shelter and more stone walls, and reached a sign that indicated 500 miles to Katahdin near Upper Cold River Road, pictured below.

Both Jennifer and Sandy picked me up from the trailhead. Jennifer offered to drive me home that night rather than the following day. After stopping to pick up the rest of my gear, Jennifer drove me home, with Sandy along for the ride.

Jennifer drove through downtown Montpelier so I could see the aftermath of the flood. The Pavilion Building has massive hoses in its windows, drying it out.  Few businesses have re-opened. The future of the downtown is still unknown.

Since returning home, despite my best efforts to schedule a dental appointment, I haven’t been able to get my filling replaced.  However, I have rested, visited with friends, eaten nourishing food, and observed the Jewish New Year. This weekend, I will be serving as a Volunteer Alpine Steward on the Franconia Ridgeline.  I look forward to returning to the trail next week!

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Comments 8

  • Michele Clark : Sep 20th

    Such adventures! It is a pleasure to follow you. This post seemed particularly detailed in terms of flora and adventures and I relished reading it.

    • GMG (green mountain girl) : Sep 20th

      Thanks Michele. I had the luxury of writing from home with no pressure to get it finished before returning to the trail.

  • DewDrop : Sep 20th

    Your writing and adventure are a delight! Happy trails!

    • GMG (green mountain girl) : Sep 20th

      Thanks Dewdrop!

  • AmaSue : Sep 20th

    Thoroughly enjoying your posts about your adventure and the plants you observe in your traveling. I was glad to hear you didn’t injure yourself to severely when you fell, be safe and keep us all posted with your blog… 🙂

    • GMG (green mountain girl) : Sep 21st

      Thanks Amasue! The bruising has cleared up.

  • Bubbles : Sep 21st

    Thanks for the interesting observations on the trail. Welcome home and I hope you heal soon. That bruise looks huge!

    • GMG (green mountain girl) : Sep 21st

      Thanks Bubbles. Thankfully the bruising has disappeared.


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