The whole ball game

Green Mountain House Hostel, Manchester Center, Vt. AT NOBO mile 1,647.2, Monday June 2, 2014 — Plunk yourself down in a living room just like your own and turn the TV to the Red Sox game. What could be better than that?

Well, for one you could be cooking up a juicy steak with a tossed salad in a sparkling fully equipped kitchen. Did I mention the Cherry Garcia ice cream in the fridge?

About now you’d be thinking the hiker life is good, and so do I. If only the Sox were ahead of the Indians… Oh well, they ARE the Red Sox.

Last night at Stratton Pond was fascinating. We shared the shelter with two middle age couples who were on their maiden camping trips. It’s safe to say it was a humorous night.

Here are a couple of highlights. Nobody could believe we hiked the same distance in three hours that took them all day. One of the women refused to use the privy. It was too gross. Neither couple brought sleeping pads or air mattresses.

Needless to say, sans insulation they suffered an uncomfortable and icy cold night in spite if their adequate sleeping bags. Little did they know, as we explained when everyone got up, that insulation underneath is more important than what’s up top.

At least these folks were out there learning the same lessons we’ve all learned. I mean, who am I to talk. I’m the idiot who forwarded his sleeping bag ahead to Hanover, NH. Bo May know baseball. I know cold. 😦 The over night temps haven’t been above 40 F since I put that sucker in the mail.

We reached town around noon and worked our way through the usual town chores after a trail magic ride from a local emergency room nurse who takes care of two shelters and some trail. Thanks Marge for all you do!

Tomorrow in light of heavy rain in the forecast, Jeff, the owner of Green Mountain House, is going to slack pack us 18 miles forward. We’ll hike southbound back to town and spend the night here. It’s safer on the slippery rocks and in the mud to walk with lighter loads – snacks and first aid kits.

There’s another reason. Green Mountain House has the best hot water on the trail! Can’t get enough of that. P






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.