Wednesday–October 20, 2021
Location–USFS-71 (558.6) to Goddard Shelter (569.1)
Although only 10+ miles, today is shaping to be long and difficult. So, we’re up and over for the breakfast-included (with the room deal) at six. A long drive to the trailhead, but Barry has us (Kitchen Sink, Slim Jim, and me) back on trail by eight-thirty.
Ahead of us we’ve got 2,800 feet of ascent and 1,600 feet of descent to deal with, all of it through rocks, boulders, roots, and the Vermont mud. Most of the climbing involves getting up and over Glastenbury Mountain, which stands at 3,750 feet. It’s a struggle, going on five by the time I finish the climb. There’s an old fire tower on the summit and I take that climb. Delightful evening views–well worth the extra effort.
Goddard Shelter is a short distance down the other side of the mountain–a blessing, as I’m completely wore down from this day. Slim Jim prepares a nourishing hot supper for me. On my pad, under my quilt, in a very short while the rain comes, rattling the tin roof. I’m gone…
Let me tell you the secret
that has led me to my goals:
my strength lies solely in my tenacity.
Tuesday–October 19, 2021
Location–Stratton Pond Shelter (549.7), then to USFS-71 (558.6)
A cold night in Stratton Pond Shelter, mid thirties, but we all slept soundly. Rain came in shortly after I bedded down on the wooden platform. Never heard it!
Slim Jim prepared a fine hot Mountain House meal for me last night, then this morning, hot coffee and oatmeal.
We’ve a long, hard climb ahead of us today, up and over Stratton Mountain. Cold, windy, the climb. Snow and hoar frost everywhere on the summit.
There’s an old fire tower at the very top. Slim Jim & Kitchen Sink make the climb–while I rest in the warming sun, out of the wind, down below. The great view, the photo from there, was taken by Kitchen Sink.
These Green Mountains of Vermont are nowhere near as rugged as those to the north. Consequently, the ascents and descents aren’t as difficult. No more straight up and down boulders and ledges to deal with, just lots of not-so-scary elevation change. No matter, I take another hard fall today, stumbling through the mud and rocks. Seems I’ve broken my left hand–again. I’m able to grip my trekking pole okay, though. So, deal with it old man – HIKE ON…
Adversity causes some men to break;
others to break records.
(William Arthur Ward)
Monday–October 18, 2021
Location–VR-11/30 (539.1), then to Stratton Pond Shelter (549.7)
We’ve got to check out of Yellow Deli Hostel this morning, plus make the long trip back to the trailhead. So, we’re all up well before six.
We’ve an overnight on the trail tonight. That means we’re all lugging heavier packs–two day’s food plus extra gear. Continuing the hike with me are Kitchen Sink & Slim Jim. We’re on trail (and into the climb) shortly after seven.
Moderate ups and downs today, less than 3,000 feet of elevation change. Our first climb offers fine views from Prospect Rock. Plenty more rocks and roots, plus mud, lots of mud. Talking with northbounders the past few weeks, they kept referring to Vermont as Vermud. Their remarks seemed amusing at the time. However, I understand now what they meant by the play on words. I’ve never been on trail before with mud anything like what we’ve been slogging through the past number of days. Up trail, down trail, level trail, makes no difference–ankle deep mud everywhere. And there’s no sign of it letting up.
I was much relieved when I put New Hampshire in my rearview. I’m beginning to suffer the same sentiments about Vermont. Certainly not a good attitude, I know. Been grinding on this 241 days now. Having less than desirable tread to deal with day after day–it’s taking its toll, wearing me down. I suffered two good tumbles today. Another open skid mark on my left arm. The cut below my right knee was healing nicely. Now it’s open again. And the toe pain, which became chronic months ago has not let up. Rather, it’s gotten worse, causing difficulty concentrating.
Aww, dang old man. Folks didn’t come here to listen to your griping and complaining…
Nothing can stop the man
with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal;
nothing on earth can help the man
with the wrong mental attitude.