First and foremost, a quick update: Willett has lucked into a few weeks of vacation with my brother David in Providence. He will be rejoining us in Maine and, in the interim, can be found enjoying the creature comforts of domestic dog life. We will be entering the White Mountains in a week and anticipate significant crowds and the most challenging terrain of the entire trip. The thought of Willett inadvertently binding my legs with his leash as we both tumble down the back side of Mt. Moosilauke was a bit worrisome. Our interests aside, the poor guy just seemed a bit tuckered out. I’m sure, however, that he has fully rebounded and is already running laps around David’s apartment…
So, back to the trail. As the miles of Massachusetts drew to a close, many fellow hikers expressed a profound desire to reach the promised land of Vermont–a land where the hillsides are verdant, the streams abundant, and Ben & Jerrys grows on trees. Upon reaching Vermont, the AT coincides with the Long Trail–a footpath from the Massachusetts border to Canada–for just over 100 miles. Hikers are asked to avoid the Long Trail in early spring as the abundant snowmelt makes for muddy trail and muddy trail is often widened by dainty hikers stepping off to the side to keep their socks dry.
Four and a half days of rain was enough to produce a quantity of mud the likes of which we had never seen before. Each step required evaluation: tip toe to the next protruding root/rock/stick or brave the thick brush adjacent to the trail. Once, tragically, we chose the latter option only to be thwarted by a patch of nettles.
Vermont has not yet proved the utopia other hikers had anticipated but our visit with David earlier in the week has left us in excellent spirits. We took care of an immense list of errands, ate rice pudding by the jar-full, and received a slew of delightful culinary curiosities. Lately we have been enjoying our nightly couscous ration with berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend, and a handful of crispy dried okra.
Our next stop is Hanover, NH where we will enjoy a full day off the trail–coincidentally July 4, so it seems appropriate. From there, into the White Mountains and onwards to Maine.
508 miles to Katahdin!