Syrup and Ponds - It's What Vermont Does

June 16, 2018

Destination: Winturri Shelter Today's Miles: 18

Start Location: Sherburne Pass Trail at Mile 1703.8 Trip Miles: 1721.80


Vermont Wildflowers
I had a good sleep at the hostel last night despite some street noise and lights (I was right by a window overlooking the street). The sun comes up early and I’m used to waking with it.

I had hoped to sleep until 7, but I woke at 5:30 and then dozed until 6/6:30. Breakfast was at 7:30 and I had heard it was awesome, but today was the cult’s sabbath I guess and they don’t cook on the sabbath. That said, they fed us some amazing granola, coffee, and gave us a banana. The granola was seriously awesome and I was grateful to have it. I’ll probably crave it tomorrow.... They also had a little bit of Vermont maple syrup for us to put on the granola - that was a real treat! If I could and had the supply, i would probably put Vermont maple syrup on everything, or just drink it like Elf. I feel kind of bad calling the Yellow Deli folks a “cult” as it has negative connotations. They were super nice and didn’t try and push any doctrines on us at all. They were really just cool about helping hikers - that was my experience anyway. I can only recommend  the hostel - no complaints. I guess I use the word “cult” because it makes the experience sound a bit more edgy, or like a check box kind of thing, but I don’t pretend to have done any research whatsoever into their beliefs. As long as they are happy and peaceful, I don’t really care!! Maybe “spiritual community” is a better phrase. One last detail: Transformer found some women’s multivitamins and I took one. I figured it was probably a good idea and one vitamin wouldn’t turn me into a woman. 


After breakfast I got my gear together and said my “see you down the trail” to Transformer. He decided to zero and take a rest day. I’m pretty sure I will see him again in the Whites! I headed down to the bus stop with Dude, who was also leaving.  


The bus dropped Dude about 1.3 miles south of me as he had hitched into town from a road crossing. I got off at the Inn at Long Trail, where I had to walk the 0.5 mile Sherburne Pass trail back to the AT. Before I did, I called my Dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day, just in case I don’t have a cell signal tomorrow. I caught up with the folks a little bit and we talked about the trip. It’s weird sometimes being removed from the day to day. Life goes on while I walk through the woods.... 

The hiking today was full of hills. Initially, I walked through Gifford State Park. It was kind of funny because the trail goes straight down a dirt road where people can car camp. I walked by lots of families with their cars and tents, like some kind of misplaced hobo passing by. I could smell things grilling - I wanted those things. In my fantasies, delicious charred meats were being devoured by the unworthy and I had to save them, to give them the martyrdom they craved by allowing them to save me via my digestive tract. Alas, I could only walk by the smells.


I walked by beautiful Kent Pond. Vermont has some gorgeous lakes. They call them “ponds,” but in the south a pond  carries the connotation of something small and likely to be a water source for horses on a small farm. The ponds in Vermont are five or ten times the size of what we call ponds in the south. In summary for my southern friends, in Yankee speak, ponds = really attractive and quaint lakes that appear in the woods out of nowhere, and that you might actually consider swimming in.


After Kent Pond I walked by breathtaking Thundering Falls, and then spent the rest of the day climbing quite a bit - good practice for the Whites! The weather today was really pleasant under the green tunnel! One wildlife observation - I haven’t been seeing grey squirrels anymore. They were ubiquitous farther south, but now all I see are the usual chipmunks, and then an occasional brownish squirrel. The brown squirrels seem much more skittish and I have only seen a few. 


I’m getting close to New Hampshire! That’s pretty exciting. I’m excited to still be in Vermont as well. I thought I would check in a bit because I know some of my entries probably seem a bit hurried or short. I’m still really into the hiking and the hike. Yes, there are days that are harder than others or where I think to myself “ok, I could be done now,” but largely I’m just grateful to still be going and still taking it all in, day by day. I still wake up some days and think “wow! I’m actually doing this! I’m thru hiking the AT!” Some days it’s just what I do, and other days I can’t believe I’m doing it. Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve made it so far north! It feels like I blinked my eyes and got to Vermont. I’m definitely into a routine now. I get up at 5, hit the trail at 6/6:15, walk 10-12 hours, make camp, socialize and eat, then try to stay awake long enough to journal. I like my routine though. I enjoy waking with first light. I like going to bed as early as I can get my stuff done. I listen to owls and birds as I go to sleep. It’s a good life out here on the trail! I don’t have to deal with news or jobs or traffic. A pheasant was walking around my tent earlier and then flapping its wings as it settled down in the nearby leaves. That’s the big evening news here! Anyway, I just thought I’d check in to say that while the trail experience is not new anymore, I still love it and am having a blast. I wish I could convey what my days are really like - taking in the special smell of the grasses as I move from forest to meadow, watching chipmunks so obsessed with chasing each other that they run right by my feet, feeling the temperature change as I drop into mossy creek beds, listening to water I can’t see because the spring is beneath rocks. All of these things are so special to me. I know I will miss them dearly when the hike is over. Right now I miss my wife and kitty. I will see them soon though, when I can tell Lucy stories of all the chipmunks in the woods she could chase....


I was grateful for the hostel last night and the great breakfast this morning, as well as the beautiful weather today. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice, and hot! It will be interesting to see how/if the Vermont scenery changes as I move north. Lucky to have a fleeting mobile signal tonight. Let’s see if it’s good enough to post this....


Postscripts:


#1 - Ron, thanks! I’ll have to search for Hermit Thrush songs and see....


#2 - Brian, thanks! I’m hiking out of Winturri and through Cloudland tomorrow. I will push farther north, so maybe I’ll see you on the trail! I may be past Cloudland by noon. I usually try and do 10 miles by 10, or 12 miles by 12, where possible. Hope to see you on the trail!

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