A Long Stretch

June 29, 2008 MA2 in North Adams, MA to Congdon Shelter, VT (14miles)

Today was pleasant and warm, but there was a lot of mud on the AT because of recent rains. I’m about 10 miles north of the VT border now. There are 5 others sheltering with me tonight but I’m the only thru-hiker. The rain began as I was eating dinner, but no harm done. It’s good to be under a roof and dry when it is raining.

June 30, 2008 Congdon Shelter, VT to Goddard Shelter, VT (14.4 miles)

The day has been cool and overcast. The trail was wet and muddy. The rocks were slippery. I stopped early because I was tired. The trail just seemed harder today with lots of climbing. Today is one of those times I just need to persevere. Hope to do longer mileage tomorrow.

July 1, 2008 Goddard Shelter to Stratton Pond Shelter, VT (19.4 miles) 

Today was a better day. I slept well and got an early start. The trail remains muddy, but had fewer significant ups and downs today. I saw lots of moose droppings, but no moose. Tomorrow I’ll hike about 10-11 miles to VT 11/30 and hitch into Manchester Center, VT to resupply and clean up.

July 2, 2008 Stratton Pond Shelter to VT 11/30 near Manchester Center, VT (10.6 miles)

I slept poorly last night on an upper bunk (shelf) with absolutely no rail! I was up and hiking early on a beautiful, sunny day. The trail remains wet, but is improved with 2 dry days. I stopped at a local outfitter and replaced my water filter, resupplied at a near by grocery, and ate lunch at an Italian restaurant. I was in the parking lot when 2 young hikers approached and asked if I was Traveler “the Doctor”. I admitted to both identities. One of them had blisters and got a parking lot consultation. They had heard of me from other thru-hikers. Later when I was looking for a place to stay, they invited me to share their room at “Sutton’s Place” a local rooming house. I have now settled in, gotten me and my clothes washed, and had dinner. I got my pack organized for an early start tomorrow.

July 3, 2008 VT 11/30 near Manchester Center, VT to Big Branch Shelter (16.5 miles)

I got an early start with breakfast at Mrs. Murphy’s Donut Shop and caught a ride back to the AT from there. The day was cool and overcast. No great views today. I got to the shelter just before the first heavy rain of the day. I’m sheltering tonight with 2 Long Trail hikers and 2 AT section hikers from Tampa, FL.

July 4, 2008 Big Branch Shelter to VT 103 near North Clarendon, VT (15.9 miles)

Today was sunny and cool, a good hiking day. I walked over a suspension foot bridge at Clarendon Gorge that was a little exciting with its swaying and bouncing with each step. Today’s highlight was meeting Gary and Cheryl Martin, a couple close to my age. I had stopped at a shelter for an afternoon break when they walked up. They returned to VT from Virginia and thru-hiked the AT as a couple in 2003. We chatted for a few minutes then they walked on. I caught up 
with them about an hour later at Clarendon Gorge. They invited me to their nearby home for the night! I’m now clean and well-fed and settling into a soft bed for the night. What wonderful trail magic- especially on July 4th! They will take me back to the trail after breakfast tomorrow.

July 5, 2008 VT 103 at Clarendon Gorge to Pico Camp on Mount Killington, VT (13.6 miles)

I got an early start after a great breakfast with the Martins. Today’s hike was basically up and over Mount Killington with a 3,000 foot elevation gain. I was taking a lunch break at a shelter when up walked Nancy, the caretaker at Upper Goose Pond Cabin who made blueberry pancakes for us for breakfast. We recognized one another and had a good conversation as we hiked up Killington. Having company seemed to make the climb easier. I hiked a few miles north of the summit before stopping for the day. I’m sheltering tonight with a young man who is a history teacher and also attended Reformed Seminary in Charlotte, NC for a while. I plan to hike down to the Inn at Long Trail tomorrow. If they have a room, I’ll stay for the night.

July 6, 2008 Pico Camp to US4 (Sherburne Pass, the Inn at Long Trail–3.8 miles)

Fortunately The Inn had a room available. My clothes and I are now clean and I’ve had a couple of good meals. Several section hikers I’ve met this week are also here. I took a long nap this afternoon. I don’t think I realized how tired I was until I was out of hiking mode and into rest mode for the afternoon. I intend to get an early start tomorrow. Elaine is meeting me in Hanover, NH this Friday.

July 7, 2008 US4 (The Inn at Long Trail, Killington, VT) to Wintturi Shelter (19.9 miles)

Today was warm and sunny. The trail had 5,000 feet of climbing today, so it was a long hard day of hiking. I’m sheltering tonight with a young couple from Chicago, Dan and Bree, who are section hiking but plan to go to Mount Katahdin in ME. I’ll hike fewer miles tomorrow.

July 8, 2008 Wintturi Shelter to Thistle Hill Shelter, VT (11.6 miles)  

Today was supposed to be a short, easy day. It was not. The weather turned hot and humid and the mountains were very steep. Mid-afternoon I crossed a road where a sign was posted saying “Hikers! Cloudland Country Store is 0.2 miles up the road and has Vermont Sodas and ice cream.” It was well worth the walk and the farm family that ran the store were so nice. I returned to the trail much refreshed. I’m sheltering again tonight with Dan and Bree who cut their planned hike off early because of the heat and steepness of the trail.  I’m planning to reach Hanover, NH tomorrow leaving VT, my 12th state behind.

July 9, 2008 Thistle Hill Shelter to Hanover, NH (14.1 miles) 
I got an early start and was rewarded with a great breakfast at the Country Store in West Hartford, VT. There was not as much climbing to be done today. The weather was hot and humid. The last 2 miles I was walking on a paved road and got drenched by a sudden thunderstorm as I walked into Hanover, NH. I forgot my trekking poles as I left the Dartmouth outdoor Center. I called there after I checked into the Sunset Motor Inn and the lady who answered not only had the poles but 
delivered them to me at my motel. Tomorrow I’ll take a zero day and plan to do my hiker shopping before Elaine arrives on Friday. We will move into the Hanover Inn in the middle of Hanover and across from Dartmouth.
Traveler

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