ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Yes folks, Nimblewill has laced up his Oboz trekkers and is shouldering his Murmur backpack
one more time–for the last, last time!

This year’s odyssey will be known as “Odyssey 2021 ‘Bama to Baxter – Hike On.”  This will be the ultimate journey in this old man’s life, one of body, mind and spirit.

This trek begins at Flagg Mountain, the southernmost mountain in the Appalachians
Mountain Range. From Flagg he’ll follow the Pinhoti Trail through northeast Alabama into
Georgia where he’ll connect with the Benton MacKaye Trail–which leads to Springer Mountain
in north Georgia. On Springer Mountain he’ll pick up the Appalachian Trail and hike it on to
Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
Journal entries and photos will be posted often. Gonna be another predictively unpredictable
Nimblewill Odyssey – Bama to Baxter 2021 Hike On.

Sure be great to have y’all come along…

Journal 238-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Friday–October 15, 2021
Trail Day–238
Trail Mile–8.4/2382.3
Remaining Miles–235.5
Location–VT-140 (513.0) to USFS-10 (521.4), then to Yellow Deli Hostel, Rutland

We’re enjoying our stay at the Yellow Deli Hostel. They’ve spacious bunk rooms (sheets, pillow cases, and blankets on comfortable mattresses), shove-you-back hot water showers (w/soap, shampoo, conditioner). Multiple toilets. Spacious living room, plus kitchen.

Last evening we dine at Little Harry’s, a block over. At the table were Barry, Slim Jim, Kitchen Sink, Professor, and me. A fun (photo op) time.

This morning, we take advantage of another fine benefit offered here at the hostel–deep discount on breakfast at the Yellow Deli, seven-thirty, right downstairs, prepared by Aysh. In that photo: Barry, Kitchen Sink, Space Blanket, Slim Jim, me (and cook) Aysh.

A long shuttle back to the trailhead by Barry, and Kitchen Sink and me, we’re on trail at nine-thirty. Ascent and descent today, 1,750 feet up, 1,500 down. We’re into the climb right away. More rocks and roots, reminiscent of the cobbed-up trail dealt me in Maine and New Hampshire. This gets me grumbling right off the bat. Bad attitude. Shadows me the entire day. Three bite-the-dirt stumble-falls doesn’t help my disposition. More knee and elbow skid marks.

Into the climb, the trail passes a fascinating (manmade?) feature known as the Rock Garden. Local lore has it as being created by woodland gnomes. I join in and play “woodland gnome” as I pass.

More up and down past White Rocks to Little Rock Pond. Kitchen Sink and I stop at Little Rock Pond Shelter for lunch, great PBJs prepared by Barry.

Then comes the the bailoff to USFS-10, our destination for today…

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Journal 237-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Thursday–October 14, 2021
Trail Day–237
Trail Mile–11.9/2373.9
Remaining Miles–243.9
Location–Upper Cold River Road (501.1) to VT-140 (513.0), then to Yellow Deli Hostel, Rutland

Five in the morning is way before first light. But Barry is up, headlamp on, preparing coffee and fried eggs for me. I’m up at five too, trying to organize my thoughts–and my gear.

It’s further to the trailhead this morning, but Barry manages to return Kitchen Sink and me shortly after seven-thirty. Another day of climbing it appears.

And so it is, the trail here in Vermont is easy enough to trek any given time, but the near-continual ascents and descents take much effort, and by day’s end can leave the weary hiker tired and wore out. With over 5,000-feet of elevation change today, this is definitely a “wore out” day. Twelve miles is certainly not a great distance, but it’s good to get off the mountain after another tiring time–and Barry is right here to fetch me. Bless his soul…

 

It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us,
as the confidence of their help.
(Epicurus)

Journal 236-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Wednesday–October 13, 2021
Trail Day–236
Trail Mile–12.1/2362
Remaining Miles–255.8
Location–US-4 (489.0) to Upper Cold River Road (501.1), then back to Gifford Woods State Park

First light is yet to arrive, but Barry is up putting coffee on and getting the fire going. I finally wake a little before six–to the coffee Barry’s perked, plus a delicious fried egg and cheese sandwich.

This day is going to be very challenging, so I want to get an early start–Barry has Kitchen Sink and me on trail exactly at seven to begin our climb up and over Killington Peak.

The climb, as expected, is slow and steady, taking the entire morning. We get up and over Killington but don’t reach Little Killington until after one. There, we take a short break for lunch before beginning the long descent to Upper Cold Brook Road.

Up and down climbing, both can be dangerous. Adding to that danger now, the blanket of fall leaves. Autumn is in all its glory, even though the maple, birch, hickory and oak have shed much of their canopy. This blanket of leaves conceals the trail gremlins already set to trip us up. I manage to stumble over numerous roots and rocks I’d have otherwise stepped over and avoided. Fortunately, none pitch me over, and I complete the day unscathed.

Evening, before returning to the campground, we go to dinner at The Garlic in Killington where we celebrate Kitchen Sink‘s 44th birthday. Barry treats us.

It’s been a long, difficult day. The nearly six-thousand feet of up and down elevation change really wore me out…

 

Challenges are what make life interesting
and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
(Joshua J. Marine)

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