Goddard Shelter, Vt., AT NOBO mile 1,617.2, Saturday May 31, 2014 — New York had mud. Connecticut had mud. Massachusetts had mud. It was all warm up. Vermont has mud, real mud.

Vermont reminds me of northern Minnesota. The forest features firs and birch. The glaciers cleaned off the soil. Now there’s bits of soil that becomes black goo slathered on smooth bedrock when it gets wet. The water has no place to go, so you get mud and mosquito breeding habitat until the water evaporates.

It wasn’t long before mud became Vermont’s middle name. That said, the deepest I’ve found is eight inches. It also so far hasn’t been as terrible as predicted. The trail crews use rocks, corduroy wood and duck boards to mitigate the mud’s impact. There’s a lot of Vermont left, so time will tell.

We’re 30 miles from a real treat – a stay at the Green Mountain House hostel in Manchester Center. It’s the third jewel in the hiker hostel triple crown which also includes Woods Hole and Bears Den. Jeff, the owner, sent me an email saying he’d welcome a visit, and I cannot wait.

Meanwhile the temp dropped into the mid-30s last night. My feet got cold! Should never have switched to a quilt. This is not a normal spring/summer transition. I’ll survive, a wiser man for the experience.

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