Friday, September 08, 2006

Goodbye Vermont

Hanover, NH
Mile 1733

For a hundred or two miles in VT, the AT shares the trail with the Long Trail or LT. This is some beautiful country. My climb up Killington was as good as any experience I've had on the trail- the peak area reminded me of the six thousand foot spruce forest back South, only the forest was much healthier. Well, except for the weather knocking all the trees down.

Killington and Peru Peak were being blasted by the low pressure zone formerly known as Ernesto, the tropical disturbance turned into driving sleet by altitude and latitude. A thirty knot wind you can feel in your blood. Wildness like that, it throbs where it brushes, like the first touch of a woman.

Vermont is gone now. The AT where it breaks east from the LT becomes boring, steep, and very, very boggy- my hiking poles sank up to the handles in muck (this is no exaggeration), and I gave up on avoiding a mud coating for the last forty miles.

The Whites are now thirty miles away. Way I see it, the Whites are a perfectly flat stretch of trail with a few five thousand foot speed bumps. And the windiest place on Earth. Lowest wind-chill factor on Earth too, incidentally. No problem. Weather looks good, and with a recent cash infusion, I can stay at the huts if I want. The huts in the Whites are basically rustic little inns, strategically placed at convenient intervals, and they won't kick you out if you're in danger of flying off in a hundred knot gust.

Incredibly, less than five hundred miles (440) to Katahdin. It's going to be very close to the October 15 deadline. It's sort of hard to believe I'm this close.

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