Ahh, Vermont. Delightfully scenic, unique, varied and a bit one-off, Vermont. For the first 100 miles of this state, the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail share the same pathway separating just past Rutland, Vermont at the Maine Junction. As you may have read in our previous post, The Slackpack Experiment, we ended our 230 miles of hiking sans-backpack in Bennington, Vermont. Bennington is located only fifteen miles past the Vermont border, resulting in our purposeful decision to put backpacks on at the start of the Green Mountains. Not only did we start back up carrying our houses on our backs again, but we did so at the reappearance of real mountains. This led to a bit of apprehension about the endeavor to come and whether or not we would be able to make the mental and physical transition to backpacking again.
So we have successfully made it through the Green Mountains of Vermont, the White Mountains of New Hampshire and just recently conquered the Mahoosuc Mile of Maine. I have riveting and enthralling write-ups just waiting to be published but we are having multimedia problems trying to attach photos. Since I know that most people would rather see pictures than read my dribble we are going to wait until Stratton, ME (4 days away) to try to upload some photos off our camera and onto the website. If we can’t get it to work then we’ll just have to post without pictures!
As you may have surmised from the previous couple posts, we did not have the best mental state going into the last 1/3 of our Appalachian Trail thru hike. Our feet hurt, we had less then spectacular scenery and to be perfectly honest we simply were not having fun anymore. We had just spent two days in town in complete bed rest and after four days of hiking it seemed like the down time didn’t help to rejuvenate us in the slightest. Every time we took a zero day it seemed pointless, ineffective and even worse, a waste of time. Walking for a week and taking two days off had proven fruitless twice now, and doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result is often referred to as the definition as insanity.
We knew that our current method of getting to Maine by foot wasn’t working. We also knew that the last thing either of us wanted was to quit the trail. We knew that our bodies and minds were beaten down and probably the worst of all, hiking the Appalachian Trail stopped being fun for about 200 miles. If fortune favors the bold then the time had come to think outside the box but still get our butts to Maine!
The one aspect of hiking the Appalachian Trail that I was most concerned about and truly dreading was the inevitable rainy day. At home, I love rain. It’s the perfect excuse to cuddle in and watch a daytime movie or curl up and read a book. Or if it’s a thunderstorm, I love to turn off the lights and watch the sky light up. But this isn’t ‘home’ with four solid walls and a sturdy roof. If we’re lucky enough to be in a building it is most likely a shelter with duct tape on the ceiling to hold back drips, but usually we’re in our tent and we’re praying it isn’t in a low spot that would turn into a puddle by morning. We once went camping with a leaky tent that makes for a wet sleeping bag, which then turns a fun night into a miserable experience…I’m not sure if I could handle six months of being cold and wet and tired.
Continue reading Rain is a Good Thing
After managing to successfully leave the Doyle Hotel relatively unscathed, we pushed on further into Pennsylvania. As you may have gathered from the previous post The Halfway Hangover we didn’t greet this task full of gusto and vigor but rather kept plugging along, putting one foot in front of each other. Unfortunately, at this point in the hike, the upcoming rocks seemed to be the topic of any hiker conversation, just leading to a building sense of dread for the last 80(ish) miles of Pennsylvania after leaving Port Clinton, PA. So how bad were they really?