Twig Adventures

AT Day 27: Yellow Deli

Friday August 20th, 2021, 0620-1800
Stony Brook Shelter to Rt 4 & Rutland, SOBO AT mm 489
10 miles
2946 gain, 2795 loss

It hammered rain all night, so I had pretty interrupted sleep. I had to mop my floor and tent walls for condensation every few hours. But my clothes and sleeping bag stayed dry so I guess it was a success. I may need to send away for my new Pleximid tent. At least it’s not cold, so it doesn’t really matter how wet stuff gets. I just hate putting on wet stinky clothes and I really hate packing a wet tent. The rain did let up around 4 am, so I walked the remainder of miles into town under semi-dry conditions.

There wasn’t much to say about the trail for this short stretch. It climbed a lot but was decent tread and not too bad of grades. I passed by Kent Pond, where an early riser was kayaking. I also saw a nice waterfall. A lady was out for a morning stroll, then a few backpackers. The trail met up with the Long Trail but I walked a different portion than last year, when we took an alternate to bring us to the Inn at the Long Trail. The official trail winds around and comes out to the west on Rt 4.

There I had a choice of hitching or waiting for a bus. I of course stuck my thumb out because I might as well try. It took about 5 minutes before a truck pulled over. The guys were doing a construction project in town remodeling the laundromat. One was from Fort Meyers, escaping the Florida heat for the summer. Yet it’s been quite hot and sticky, even in Vermont.

They dropped me off right in front of my destination, the Yellow Deli and Hostel. The reputation of this place precedes it. It’s run by a religious group called the Twelve Tribes. It was founded by some hippy types in the 1970s based on the commune model of living and also incorporating religious doctrine, but in a pretty unique way. They have a strict adherence to clean living…no alcohol or drugs…but are all quite fond of Yerbe Matte. The group uses a business model of producing food on farms and selling much of these fresh products in their delis and other markets. There are multiple”Yellow Delis” around the country.

Their hostel serves hikers mostly, is by donation and they have a 3 night maximum stay, unless one wants to do a work-for-stay at a farm for longer. The female dorms are on a separate floor above the men’s, as the community practices a sort of division of labor and gender roles. I was quite ok with this since it meant less crammed quarters with stinky guys, less competition for things like a shower and laundry, and a chance to better interact with the female hikers. My sisterhood.

Diora, the lady in charge of the female ward, was over-burdened with laundry and making beds when I arrived in the morning, so I offered to help. It was nothing really but made her very happy. She was so very kind and genuinely dedicated to her role of assisting hikers. There were many rumors and jokes about this place, namely that it’s a cult that serves drugged tea, but I didn’t find any of the hype to be true. Yes, they are trying to spread the word, just like any religion, and so recruitment is a part of their operations. But I got the sense that the hostel exists to also just help hikers in their journey. The original intent of the deli was to provide fresh and healthy options in a rural Tennessee town…the very first location. Serving mankind is their calling, or so they say.

I got a lot of chores done and had a great lunch at the deli. I inhaled a cheese cake that made me almost cry, it was so good. Later in the day, Diora invited me to dinner. Once a week on Fridays, the community has a get together with the hikers. It’s a night of singing, dancing, dinner and prayer. Cheaper than dinner and a movie, my curiosity got the best of me. Quite a few other hikers joined in, which was a relief. I have to say, it was way less awkward than the Pentecostal church services I went to with a middle school friend, back in the day. No one was speaking in tongues and rolling around on the floors. It was just some folk dancing and singing in Hebrew. They all have Hebrew names too, so it was hard to recall these names, even after they repeated them multiple times.

I had a nice conversation with a women that was my age and just had her 5th child. Her oldest was 18. She had joined the community at 21, arriving with a shaved head and college degree she didn’t know what to do with. Her story was very interesting and I enjoyed learning about her life. I was happy I went to the dinner, though it did eat up most of the night. I was so tired by the end, due to the lack of sleep the night before. I couldn’t wait to go to bed. But first I made it a point to do a full session with my foam roller and foot massage ball. This all made me even more relaxed and sleepy, perfect for a night in a real bed.

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