Wednesday August 25th, 2021, 0630-1830
Glastenbury Mountain to Pete’s Spring, SOBO AT mm 596
5220 gain, 7638 loss
For once, I noticed the moon overnight. It’s gone through a full cycle since I started but on this trail, I almost never see it. It casted shadows through the trees when I went to pee. Out west, it can wake me up, it’s often so bright. I’ve used it to walk in the dark without a headlamp on many occasions. But that wouldn’t be an option in these dense forests and with all the mud.
Tiny slugs were all over everything in the morning…my stove, tent, water bottles and of course, my shoes. Yuck. I really dislike them but hey, they’re part of nature. I played with my phone as I ate breakfast and was dismayed that the battery had gone down to just 15 percent. It was fully charged the day before and usually lasts 3 to 4 days. I also couldn’t get it to charge initially at the hostel…thought it was the charging cord but now I think something is definitely wrong with the phone. I did a restart and hope that fixes things. All I need is another gear problem, especially with something as critical as my phone. It’s no doubt because of all the moisture out here.
I got a great sunrise picture of Stratton Mountain from the fire tower. It was worth camping up top for that. Wish I could have sat up on top the tower longer to have my breakfast but the 2 people were still asleep in it…missing the sunrise. Better be early risers if you’re going to sleep in a fire tower. Of the more than 10 people camping, I was the first to break camp and hit the trail. I have all the time in the world to make my way south but some of these NOBOs are playing fast and loose with their timeline it seems. If it took me a month to get from Katahdin to here, I can bet it will take most longer. Even if they did pick up the pace to match mine, they’ll still be finishing around October. Baxter usually closes around mid October. The clock is ticking.
The Goddard shelter was less then 3 tenths of a mile on the other side of the mountain. There I found even more tents. It looked to be at least 20 people and every tent space taken…no wonder the fire tower had so many, taking the overflow from the shelter. Many of the hikers are doing the Long Trail…they usually are distinguished by their bigger packs and cleaner appearance. I used the privy at the shelter and kept moving. I had but one goal for today: make it to Massachusetts. I needed the mental relief of being done with Vermud.
There was still a lot of mud today but also some bits of good trail in-between. I made good time all the way to the highway to Bennington. There I took a dip in the river, washing off all the sweat and mud but also loosing my little soap spray bottle in the process. It floated out of my pocket and down the river. I watched it sail away, helpless to chase after it. Chock up another strike to the lost and broken gear list.
The trail climbed steeply out of the notch, then leveled off to Harmon Hill. There I had a moment of peace and reflection while picking blackberries. This was the spot on the Long Trail where I started to come to terms with the pain over my father’s passing last year. There was a presence in the wind, which seemed to be whispering that things were going to be ok. I felt that again today. Some others showed up to take a break shortly after, so I didn’t linger. But it was a beautiful spot to take in the sunshine.
My phone continued to worry me all day. I could watch the battery percentage tick down every time I looked at the display. It’s no longer holding a charge and I think I’m going to have to replace it real soon. Then I dropped my MP3 player and it started doing weird stuff. UGH! Maybe if I just had less crap, there would be less to worry over. But I really need a phone…case in point, to do this blog. I’m almost considering ending it or at least postponing it because it’s so much work and drain on my phone battery. We’ll see.
I had a nice lunch break at Congdon shelter, where I met another Triple Crown-seeking SOBO, Picky. We both did the CDT in 2019 and knew a lot of the same people. I caught up to him later and we walked together to the VT and MA border. It made the last 10 miles go by more quickly, especially since it was pretty boggy right up until the end. I found it hilarious that there was even a mud pit in front of the Long Trail sign. Welcome to Vermont. To think that I didn’t get my feet wet or muddy once last year.
Glad I got this patch at the Green Mountain House.
I had planned to just camp somewhere around the border but decided to push on another few miles to an official campsite. It was the same place Stellar and I had camped on our last night on trail. In fact, I was able to pitch my tent in the exact same spot, which was part of the reason it was worth the extra push. It’s nice to know there’s a perfect tentsite waiting. Plus I was able to wash off in the stream. It was a great last day in Vermont but I was glad to be in Massachusetts. Vermont took me exactly 1 week. The states are falling behind one by one and soon I’ll have a bunch under my belt. They come quickly now.