Whew, it’s been a long time! We apologize profusely for our absence but man is it hard to find a computer much less the time to write. Have we got news for you! Since we wrote last… when was it? Great Barrington? Well, since we last graced the interwebs with our presence we have traveled 369.9 miles across Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire! Tomorrow we will be leaving NH and entering Maine, our last and final state. When you last heard from us my Mom and Arlene were just finishing their visit and we were getting ready to head back out into the heat and humidity to finish up Massachusetts. Since then there have been some highlights, some lowlights, and the White Mountain National Forest.
After our visitors left us in Great Barrington Kyle and I took yet ANOTHER zero day and got back on the trail feeling rested and alive. However, after about seven miles of hiking we were also starting to feel like we had never hiked before. At the end of a seventeen mile day we felt like it was our first day ever on the trail. Why does this happen when we take time off? Every time we take one or two zero days our next two or three days on trail feel like we are starting from scratch. So we struggled through the rest of MA, breaking in new shoes and apparently new legs.
We also got to climb our first “mountain” since Virginia, Mt. Greylock. While not a huge mountain it was our first real taste of long uphill travel and our first introduction to loads of tourists, which we would continue to experience throughout the northeast. We continued off of Greylock and down into Williamstown where Kyle put to use a new skill he is honing: bargaining. At this point any seasoned thruhiker knows that at any establishment you should never pay full price for a room. Kyle has become an expert at bargaining the price down, paying in cash, and getting us in before check in time. We also received a free meal at the Mexican restaurant across the way after dropping a few hints that we were thru hikers.
Out of Williamstown we climbed straight up a rock pile into Vermont and that is when the heat broke. I have never been so happy to feel cold in my life but Vermont was the breath of fresh air all of us thruhikers had been waiting for. There was no doubt about it, morale on the trail was low, not just for Kyle and myself but amongst all NOBOs (north-bounders). Everyone was constantly bitching about bugs, heat, humidity, rain, discomfort, ready to be done! But then Vermont washed over us like a cool refreshing wave and everyone got their fervor back. We were climbing mountains again, like Stratton and Killington and from the top we could see miles of forested peaks, not a town in sight! There were no car noises at night, we were camped amongst pine trees and on pine straw, next to roaring brooks and drinking water out of the coldest bubbling springs. Almost a little too cold in fact. We hadn’t had our cold weather gear sent back yet so we slept in our rain jackets and under the emergency blanket for our last few days in Vermont. Thank you so much to our families for getting our sleeping bags and clothes back to us in Hanover, we’ve needed them!
To make Vermont even better was our stay in Manchester Center at the Green Mountain House which is run by a former section hiker, Jeff. It was a magical place mostly because it was actually nice. The amount of over priced crappy hotel rooms we have stayed in at this point is beginning to upset us. The Green Mountain House was pristine, nothing was broken or moldy, there was free Ben and Jerrys in the freezer and the price was extremely cheap. Thank god it was already booked up the next night, I think Kyle and I might have tried to stay there forever. We also had an appropriately sized breakfast at Up For Breakfast when we got into town: two pancakes, two pieces of toast, two sausages, two pieces of bacon, two eggs, hash browns, and incredible local maple syrup (EACH). On the menu it was called the Hungry Hiker. Afterwards we were actually full.
So we sped through Vermont, putting in huge days and feeling great. We got to meet people just starting their 224 mile hike on the Long Trail, many of them students, hiking for the summer. It was amazing to see people at the beginning of their trek, happy and somewhat naive. We also began to meet more SOBOs (south-bounders). The relationship between SOBOs and NOBOs alway seems to be a little tense, we don’t want to hear more about how hard the Whites are and they don’t want to hear more about how much PA sucks. We’re winding our hike down, theirs is just getting revved up. It’s a strange clash of interests but a valuable one. Meeting new people and learning about our future we continued heading towards Hanover and the White Mountains which deserve their own post. And unfortunately that will have to wait because I’m getting kicked off the computer in Gorham, NH. Sigh, the life if a thruhiker.