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’d gone through a full cycle since I started but on this trail, I hardly ever saw it. It cast 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 on 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%. 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. I thought it was the charging cable 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 the last week. I probably got some rain inside the charging port.
My phone at least took a great sunrise picture of Stratton Mountain from the stairs of the fire tower. It was worth camping on top a haunted and slug-infested mountain for that. I wanted to sit on top the tower to have my breakfast but 2 hikers were still asleep inside…missing the sunrise. It should be a given when sleeping in a fire tower that you’re also an early riser…NOBOs just don’t get it:) Of the more than 10 people camping, I was the only SOBO and also the first to break camp and hit the trail. I still had ample time to make my way south but these NOBOs were playing fast and loose with their timeline. If it took me a month to get from Katahdin to here, I bet it would take most of them longer. Even if they did match my fast pace, they’d still be finishing early October. Baxter SP usually closes the trails to Katahdin by October 15th. The clock was 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 were doing the Long Trail…they’re usually 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 in 2020. 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 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, 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 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 muddy even once last year!
I had planned to camp somewhere around the border but decided to push on another few miles to an official campsite where I had stayed on my last night on the Long Trail. In fact, I was able to pitch my tent in the exact same spot. It was nice knowing there was a perfect tentsite waiting. Plus, I was able to wash off in the nearby 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 were falling behind one by one and soon I’d have a bunch more under my belt. They’d come quickly now.