Beaker’s hike on the Appalachian Trail from July 5 – 12 have been filled with the state of Vermont. The highlight of the 5th of July was completing Massachusetts and entering the Green Mountain State. He hiked into Vermont just after noon on the 5th and encountered patches of thick, squishy, black mud that stretched across the trail, making it impossible to go around, thus personally recognizing why thru-hikers have dubbed this state “Vermud”.
July 6 – Beaker legged out a whopping 25.8 miles trek today ending at a stealth site about 16 miles from Manchester Center, VT (his destination for July 7). He pushed himself today in order to give himself as much time as possible in town the next day for resupply. The hike was long but not without some adversity – “The mud continues unabated. I got up close and personal with it today when I was crossing a particularly wet and mucky patch. Both feet slipped as I stepped between two rocks in the middle of the mud patch and I plopped my butt right down into it.”
July 7 – Beaker had to start the day with a 2000 ft climb over Mount Stratton. Coming off the mountain he came face-to-face with Mudpuppy (the wife) and Woodcutter (the husband) from Albany, New York, who had driven 2 ½ hours just to meet him on the trail. Having never met before, they have been following him online and wanted to encourage him. They brought food and drink. Beaker still had 13 miles into town so after a short visit, he departed with their blessing. When Beaker got to Vt 11, he would still had a 5-mile hitch into Manchester Center. Arriving at the road, he was greeted once again by Mudpuppy and Woodcutter ready to drive him anywhere he wanted to go. What a great day of blessing as he finally settled in at the Green Mountain House Hostel, Manchester Center, Vermont.
July 8 – The Green Mountain Hostel rates up there as one of the best I’ve stayed in on the whole trail. It is immaculate and Jeff is very friendly and accommodating. Plus, he sells pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for $2.00. Incredible!
Todays’ hike: 19.6 miles up and over Bromley Mountain. The top of Bromley is a ski slope and after the summit, the rest of the day was pretty much down hill. The weather did decide to rain during the morning hours but the afternoon was sunny and dried things up nicely. Today’s destination was Little Rock Pond Shelter and less than a mile from the shelter, the skies got dark, the winds picked up and then the sound of distant rain… heavy rain. In a matter of moments, Beaker was soaked to the skin. Of course, by the time he reached the shelter the sun was back out.
July 9 – 24 miles today all the way to Cooper Lodge on Killington Mountain, Vermont. Beaker woke up this morning on Little Rock Pond. He describes it, “The sun was rising over the ridge behind the lake and shining through the gently swirling mist. The water was lapping against the shore and the pines were gently swaying in the light breeze. Then I heard it – the sound I had looked forward to hearing before I ever started this hike – loons! What a unique and evocative sound.” The call of the water birds echoed in his mind as he set out for a day filled with constant ups and downs. But the last 4 miles was a major up-hill to the top of Killington Mountain. Beaker did not arrive until 8:00. He immediately pitched his tent and crashed for the night.
July 10 – Beaker’s destination for today was The Inn at Long Trail, a 8.3-mile descent from Cooper Lodge. Beaker then caught a bus into Rutland, VT for a resupply. Beaker heard from 1st Sgt today. He has been crushing the miles and is almost 90 miles ahead. It does not look good for a reunion on the trail.
July 11 – Another 20+ mile day for Beaker as he hiked to Dan Quinn’s Barn at VT 12, close to Woodstock, VT, for a total of 21.6 miles. As he hiked past Kent Pond early in the morning he was attacked by an army of mosquitoes. He detoured into the town of Killington in order to replace the tips on his hiking poles and to catch a second breakfast (Dove Ice Cream Bars). At one point during the day he came to a 14 ft aluminum ladder affixed to the rock face so he could successfully climb down a 20 ft vertical drop. He finally reached the barn around 7:30 PM – he spent a dry night by himself.
July 12 – The day was sunny perfect for a long walk. Beaker responded with another 21-mile hike to Norwich on the Vermont/New Hampshire border. After leaving the Long Trail (close to Rutland), the Appalachian Trail stops running parallel to the ridges and now travels perpendicular to them resulting in lots of ups and downs. Despite the hills, Beaker was pleased to find an open spot in a home/hostel owned by past thru-hikers to spend the night before entering the White Mountains and the state of New Hampshire.