Note: This update was written by Marie about a week ago and reflects back to Vermont, which was the third state she was in. She’s now in New Jersey which is state #7! There will be several posts coming that will look back, as there is a backlog of posts both of us want to do. The photos are pictures that she took. -Jeff
My first official day of rain was in Vermont. It was the day I hiked Killington. I think I did about 15mi that day. The rain was relentless. We’re not talking a sprinkle. It was a steady rain. I got to the top of Killington after a couple of hours. I was dreaming of my instant Lipton chicken noodle soup the whole way. The shelter at the top is a really old one made out of stone. The locals go there in the winter and trash it, so the Green Mountain Club is thinking of tearing it down. The roof has a few leaks and it’s a lot of trouble for them to maintain. There was a really nice ridge-runner camped out up there. A girl! It was really nice to spend that hour and a half talking with her. She was trying to get motivated to get out of her sleeping bag and do some trail work. Meanwhile I changed into dry clothes and got in my sleeping bag to eat my soup. Some section hikers came in and said their thermometer read 45°. Off the mountain I think it was in the 60’s. The one driving force that day was my plan to go into Rutland that night and stay at the 12 Tribes Hostel. I had my first real river ford that day too. The Gould River. Normally it is easy to cross by jumping on the stepping stones. But b/c of the rain (it had been about 20 hrs of rain), the river was swollen well beyond what most people see. It was up to my mid-drift. Luckily, after that ford I only had another couple hours before I got to the road crossing. There’s a really great trail angel in that area who’d left his phone number in one of the shelters. I called him and he picked my sorry butt up and all my soaking wet stuff off the side of Rt 103. When we got to the hostel he actually walked me in to make sure there was space for me before he took off! All the girl’s beds were taken but I was able to sleep on the futon in the girl’s room.
Ahhh! The 12 Tribes. Good people. I stayed there this past winter with some friends when we skied Killington. So it was only befitting that I stayed there again after hiking that “Beast of the East.” I met some really great girls who were hiking North. We hung out that night and the next day. It was amazing to have some girls to hang out with! One of them, Sweet Tea is doing a flip-flop. So I will hopefully see her again when she comes down to Front Royal, VA after summiting Katahdin. She’s the first Christian I’ve met out here, too! Did I mention the 12 Tribes make amazing food??? Wow, I was so glad to be there.
The hikers have dubbed Vermont, “Vermud.” The whole trail becomes a river in that kind of rain and the earth stays soggy for days. It’s the kind of mud that sucks your shoes a bit off your foot when you step out of it. Vermont is also the land of delicious farm stands. One in particular was so worth the .4 off trail. The lady is known for her homemade pies. I downed a small berry pie with some local yogurt on one fine sunny day. I think it was the same day I had a breakfast sandwhich and ice cream at a general store that morning. On one of the first glorious field walks in VT, I came across a burnt-out Nobo. “Beautiful field, isn’t it?” says I. “Oh, there are tons of them, you’ll get sick of them” says disgruntled Nobo. Well, I never got sick of seeing those rolling Green Mountains from the clearing of those farmlands. It was beautiful every time.