Journal 240-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Sunday–October 17, 2021
Trail Day–240
Trail Mile–12.2/2400
Remaining Miles–217.8
Location–USFS-10 (521.4) to Mad Tom Notch Road (533.6), then to Yellow Deli Hostel, Rutland

We’ve been hiking around bad weather. Made for a short day yesterday in order to avoid a thunderstorm forecast for early afternoon. It hit just as predicted, but we managed to finish just before it came through. The rain continued the afternoon but stopped during the night, leaving a cloudy morning. Storms are forecast again for this afternoon. If we get out from the hostel early (and we do–six o’clock) then hit the trail shortly after seven, we’ll be able to finish a 12-mile day before four. Ahh, and we’re back hiking shortly after seven. Great, Barry–thanks!

Hiking with me today are Kitchen Sink & Slim Jim. It doesn’t take long to realize this day is going to prove a tough go–mud, lots of ankle-deep mud. And of course there’s plenty more up and down going, 2,800 feet of ascent, 1,900 feet of descent. The climbs take us up and over Styles Peak, Peru Peak, and Baker Peak. During the course of the day, we pass through two wilderness areas, Peru and Big Branch.

It’s been a difficult day hiking the constant mud–with plenty more boulders, rocks, and roots thrown in. Yet we manage to finish by three-thirty. We’re no more back in Barry’s van and on the road to Rutland than the sky opens. What good fortune to have completed the day before the storm hit.

Evening is spent once more at Yellow Deli Hostel in Rutland–supper at the beautiful deli there…

 

Henceforth I ask not good fortune.
I myself am good fortune.
(Walt Whitman)

Journal 239-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Saturday–October 16, 2021
Trail Day–239
Trail Mile–5.5/2387.8
Remaining Miles–230
Location–Mad Tom Notch Road (533.6) to VT-11/30 (539.1), then to Yellow Deli Hostel, Rutland

What to do today, that’s the question. There were severe thunderstorms last night, just as forecast. Barry and I, we’re up at seven this morning to assess the situation. We’ve still light rain, but radar shows it passing through, bringing cloudy conditions (but no rain) until later today. Barry checks the AT Guthook app, looking for a short section we might go ahead and do. So, after studying the options, plan is to skip ahead for now and hike a shorter 5.5-mile segment further south.

Kitchen Sink will not be going as his uncle is coming to spend time with him here in Rutland. In his stead, and agreeing to hike with me today–Slim Jim. We met earlier this year at Trail Days in Damascus. At that time Jim was serving as Ridge Runner for Mt. Rogers. So, it’s good to see him again, to spend some time on the trail.

Once the decision is made to hike today, no time is wasted getting loaded in Barry’s van. It’s over an hour’s drive up the mountain. However, we run into a problem getting past Denny’s. So in we go for breakfast.

Finally, we manage to get on trail at 10:30. More climbing right off, a long, steady 950-foot ascent to Bromley Mountain. I’ve a much brighter outlook today even though the rain of last night has turned the trail into a difficult mud-boggin’ slog.

Toward the end of our descent, Barry hikes up to greet us. We’re back to the hostel by three-thirty, just before the afternoon storm (as forecast) arrives.

Supper is right across the street at Taso. Great burger, washed down with a tall glass of Switchback Ale, Vermont’s most popular (#1) draft beer…

 

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked,
in which you can walk with love and reverence.
(Henry David Thoreau)

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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