300 miles in – Hanover, NH

You have to hike your own hike.

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Rock found somewhere in VT

Since my last post, over 150 miles ago, a lot has happened (a whole state in fact)! Unfortunately, that means that I have had fewer opportunities to update y’all back home.

The day after I stayed with Naps and Blaze in Williamstown, I met two women hiking for a month together, Blue and Bruiser. Somehow, BOTH of them reminded me of one of my favorite people in the world. Even though I had just spent the night in town, when they offered for me to crash on the floor of their hotel room for free, I jumped at the chance.

The next day, we hiked into Bennington, VT, about 15 miles past the VT border, which is also where the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail (VT to Canada) begin to share about 100 miles. At that point, VT had really been living up to it’s reputation. Vermud. By the time we reached Bennington, we were all covered from the knees down.

Our time in Bennington was well spent. In fact, I had enough free time to join the Bennington Ukulele Club for one of their rehearsals. I am now the youngest member by about 50 years.

Hiking out of Bennington, I had planned to do 15 miles, but, as happens often, only made it 10. It was cold and all 10 miles had been uphill in the fog. I am very glad that I ended up there, however, because that was where I met people who would become good friends. There were four boys there do a section together, and as the night progressed, more people showed up. To my delight, Blue and Bruiser were not far behind me! Then appeared Sherpa and Schoolbus, the only hikers I’ve met so far who brought a cat! I had no problems with mice that night! Following them were Buffalo and Mumble, a couple in their mid 20s from Tampa, Florida. Then, Pineapple, who, true to form, was carrying a pineapple, and The Chick-fil-a Rooster (who we all call Chair). Since that night almost 2 weeks ago, I have been hiking with Pineapple, Buffalo and Mumble, Chair, and Blue and Bruiser. That night was legendary, everyone got along so well and was having such a good time that even hikers who weren’t there had heard about that night. IMG_1038

The following night, I dared to stealth camp at the base of Stratton mountain, and slept soundly because Pineapple, Buffalo, and Mumble were all very close by. When I got into my tent that night, I heard Pineapple walking around for about 30 minutes. The next morning, when I asked him about it, he said he thought I had been walking around! To this day, the mystery is unsolved.

The next day, we all climbed Stratton mountain, which reached elevation 3950 ft. We all climbed the fire tower at the top though, so we counted it as a 4000 footer, and then hiked into Manchester the next day. In Manchester, after my resupply, I was sitting outside the Price Chopper when around the corner came Cheese and Einstein, friends I hadn’t seen since Sheffield, MA. I had planned to hike out of Manchester that day, but after eating lunch with them and knowing all my friends were spending the night there, I ended up spending the night too. Manchester is where I met Feeder.

Feeder, a 33 year old chef from Boston, is hiking the Long Trail. After meeting, he and I ended up hiking together for 3 days straight.

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Feeder’s panorama from the top of Bromley

In the afternoon on the second day, we arrived at the beach of Little Rock Pond, a gorgeous spot with a campsite, and lo and behold, there were Blue, Bruiser, Chair, Buffalo, and Mumble, all staying for the night. We decided to stay there too. Across the pond from the beach, there were 2 rocks, which Buffalo informed me were safe to jump from. Buffalo, Feeder and I swam across the pond, and even though I  had boasted about jumping off the big rock, we all only jumped off the little rock. What had looked like no more that 10 ft from across the pond was more like 20. The big rock must have been at least 40 ft. The pond was wider across than it looked, so even though I swam back, Feeder and Buffalo opted to walk around the edge of the pond.

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Me, on the beach of Little Rock pond after swimming, eating Doritos with a spoon, with Chair in the foreground and Feeder’s head just barely visible.

The beach was where I learned of the wonders that lay ahead. Less than 13 miles from the pond was a road that went into Rutland, VT. Rutland is home of the Yellow Deli. Aside from being a hiker hostel and a restaurant, the Yellow Deli is essentially a cult. A sect of Christianity, the members host hikers for either a donation or a work-for-stay, give hikers 15% off at the restaurant, and will slack-pack you over Mt Killington. Slack-packing is hiking, just with fewer items in your pack. At the end of the day, they bring you back to the hostel, where most of your stuff is, and you stay a second night.

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I was wary of the Yellow Deli, after hearing stories of hikers staying there and deciding that they would like to stay forever, however the members were nothing but friendly, accommodating, and I even was able to experience the Friday-night celebration there! I did meet a former hiker convert, but he seemed happy!

I’ll have to finish updating later, but I made it to NH this morning! Here come the White Mountains!

– Shiver

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