You can hear the whistle blow!

Pico Camp, Vt. AT NOBO mile 1693.2, Thursday June 5, 2014 — Under 500 miles left to go! You can almost hear the whistle.

As the trail gods would have it, no sooner did I pass the 500 mile sign – not even 20 steps – than the Kingston Trio began singing “500 Miles” in yet another episode of iPod serendipity! It’s hard to believe, but the iPod seems totally in synch with the hike.

As I’ve noted several times previously. This is no time to become over confident. The most challenging states are yet to come. Plenty of thru hikers have bitten the dust in New Hampshire and Maine just a few miles short of their goals.

Today’s hike featured the Hurricane Irene bypass, except we missed it. (Yah, I know. Pretty dumb on our parts, but they didn’t remove the old blazes and we missed the first one for the new route.)

That led to two Colorado style stream crossings because the bridges were washed out. This is good practice for Maine where there are no bridges. Warren, aka Swayed, made a video of me inching along a tree trunk which I’ll try to post when I have WIFI tomorrow.

Tonight we’re on the old AT before it was rerouted for highway safety. It leads directly to the Inn at Long Trail where we’re headed in the morning.

Our digs remind me of a trapper’s line shack from yesteryear from which we have a beautiful view of the Killington ski area.

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A Tale of Two Hikes

Clarendon Shelter, Vt. AT NOBO mile 1680.6, June 4, 2014 — It was the best of hikes and the worst of hikes albeit in reverse order.

After last night’s thunderstorm deluge the hiking was no surprise this morning. I’ve always complained that the trail in Vermont was more like hiking in a dry river bed. Well, today they turned into real rivers. The torrents raging down the trail could have been on a movie set.

Oh yah, we also found Vermud too. The viscous goo was ubiquitous, black, juicy and about as sucky as it could be. Stick in a trekking pole and you’d just as likely lose the rubber tip in the ooze as any thing else.

That was all this morning. Our fortunes reversed when we crossed Vt. 140 at mile 1,673.3.

The trail conditions shifted radically on the climb out. It appeared that far less rain had fallen on that side of the mountain. The trail was mostly dry and the going quick. What a flip! We were able to double our pace.

That was the best of hikes. It was like a new day. The humidity and temperature even dropped to more comfortable levels.

Tomorrow we scale 3,920 ft. Killington Peak. If the ski patrol warming hut on the summit is open, we’ll sleep there. Otherwise there’s a shelter not much further down the back slope.

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