June 13, 2018
Destination: Lost Pond Shelter Today's Miles: 20.60
Start Location: Stealth Campsite at mile 1646 Trip Miles: 1666.60
The shelter spacing in Vermont is pretty awesome. Not only are there a lot of shelters, but there is also almost always a 20 mile and 25 mile option.
It’s hard to go 10 miles without seeing a shelter in Vermont, and often there is one every 5 miles or so. This provides lots of options for camping, but also for little breaks throughout the day to break things up a bit.
It was windy last night. All I could think about was the big dead tree I tented next to! In the morning I hiked out of camp first and hadn’t gone a quarter mile when I ran into Bones. I hadn’t seen him since the Shenandoahs (I think). Who was he hiking with but Pritch! Rewind to the days after the Nolichucky gorge in TN and right before Damascus, and I hiked a bit with Pritch and Starbucks, around the time I met Nate (Day Hiker). Pritch and Bones were heading into town to stay at a hostel. Apparently Starbucks is back south, though I must have passed him when he was in town or at a shelter I didn’t stop in because I never saw him.
After chatting a bit and hiking down to look at a view of Manchester Center below, I hiked on and left them behind. I realized today that I have become a fairly strong and fast hiker! There are plenty of hikers that would leave me in the dust, but I’m quite grateful and surprised by how far I’ve come. I don’t sweat the 20 mile days anymore - I quite like them. I start early and have lots of time for breaks and views and whatnot, and I get into camp pretty early. My agility has improved significantly, and as painful as it was, I think PA had a lot to do with that. It really helps me move forward with confidence, which has increased my speed. I’m definitely not rushing, but my speed and stamina have significantly increased, which of course I like! The trail in Vermont has been a nice balance of rock and soil, climbs and flatter sections.
Transformer caught up to me as I hiked up Spruce peak, and we hiked the steep and rocky descent to the road crossing for Manchester Center together. Something happened to me on that descent. We got to the parking lot and I felt completely drained, almost like I was coming down with a cold or stomach bug. We sat in the parking lot and had some water, and a guy who was there offered us ding dongs. Even though I wasn’t feeling well, I ate the free ding dong. That’s what Hungry Cat does!! It have me a sugar rush and we climbed up to the nearby Bromley Shelter. I felt drained, so I laid down in the shelter and took a short siesta, probably for about 20 minutes. When I woke up, I felt back to normal again. It’s possible I just didn’t sleep well last night. We hiked on and I felt great - whew!
We hiked up to the top of Bromley Mountain where there is a ski lift and different ski routes, as well as a ski patrol Hut. It is so weird to see ski areas when there is no snow! They had mist wands strategically placed to make snow in the winter. The ski lift station itself looked like some kind of alien pod. I took a picture of it. Everything was, of course, deserted, so we had a snack and rested there and then pushed on. We hiked up Styles Peak and then Peru Peak before passing Griffith Lake. Vermont really has some nice lakes/ponds that just sort of appear out of the woods. They are quite beautiful with their fir tree-lined banks. We called it a day at Lost Pond Shelter, where we saw Reboot again. As we ate at the shelter, a young hiker named Green Grass from the UK showed up. He blew past me in the Shenandoahs, but then took some time off trail. He usually walks 30-35 miles per day...quite fast! We talked with him a bit about gear before he pushed on - he is definitely hiking ultralight!
I was grateful for the good company today, the cooperative weather, the beautiful pond and that I was able to feel better after a short siesta. It is supposed to rain tonight, so maybe tomorrow we will see some of the Vermont mud people talk about. Thus far we have been lucky with the weather!