I don't know what it is about Vermont...but I love it. Maybe it's the beautiful green mountains, where you climb
4,000 feet up a wonderfully graded trail
. Maybe it’s the glorious and plentiful water sources that consist of picturesque streams and pristine mountain springs. Or maybe it's the plethora of real Vermont maple syrup, found in every town along the trail. I'm just not sure.
Vermont is home to Upper Cold River Road
-also known as the 500 miles left to go mark! It’s the return of peaks that reach 4,000 feet, something we NOBOs haven't seen since Virginia. It also serves as a gentle reminder that these last 500 miles will be filled with 5,000+ foot peaks, river fording, cold weather and steep rock climbs. But I won't worry about those until I have to.
The only negative experience I had in Vermont was a conversation with a man who told me I was never going to make it to Katahdin
in time. I responded by saying that I only had to average about ten miles a day to make it, and I usually hike at least fifteen.
He said, "Well, it's going to get cold. I hope you're aware of that."
I calmly said "well, that's what my coat is for" before hiking off to complete another 17 mile day. I appreciate genuine concern and suggestions, but there is no place in my through-hike experience for downright negativity.
In the meantime, I'll focus on how much I have enjoyed Vermont. I’ve felt strong, positive, and content at the end of the day; ready to hike in the morning. I’ve reunited with some trail friends who I haven't seen for miles and miles. And, best of all... I was hiking
alone, climbing Mount Killington
, when a slight movement caught my eye. I looked up. 20 feet from me, standing in a small clearing, was a mooseA bull moose. A HUGE bull moose. I knew that moose were big, but this guy was HUGE. I was so surprised, I just started saying, "oh my gosh...oh my gosh!" I was honestly so awed and thrilled I was brought to tears. He looked right at me and I swear he was thinking, "oh relax, I'm just a moose" before he turned and sauntered off. Let me tell you something...for an almost 1 ton animal, he moved way more gracefully than I ever will!
Thank you, Vermont, for making my 150 miles through you so memorable.
Only two more states to go! Onward to Maine!