I left the shelter late this morning because I only planned to hike 14 miles. The heat began to drain my energy as soon as I began climbing the hills in Vermont. I walked though a lot of pastureland today. The hills are still challenging, but the miles are pleasant. The heat is the hardest part of Vermont so far. The fields offer no protection from the sun so I relish every moment spent in the tall hardwoods.
Today I crossed and walked along old stone walls. The walls amazed me, they mesmerized me actually. As I hiked the flat trail paralleling the stone walls, I watched the changing stones as I passed. The way that they all fit together, like a puzzle, amazed me. Many of the stones were probably carted by horse to the location and stacked by human hands. Flat rocks, long rocks, cubical rocks, and spherical. They all fit together so perfectly. I examined the wall with my hands, feeling the rocks and green moss. The wall had been made to last hundreds of years. Today it stands as a reminder of old property lines and hard work. The walls really captured my imagination, and I thought about all the hands that may have touched the miles of rocks, the wealthy men on horses that leapt the walls in a foxhunt, or two young lovers meeting secretly at a prearranged point in the remote corners of their adjoining properties. I was transported to early America, and my mind ran wild on the trip. I was told tonight that I will see many more of those walls on the trip and that many are in better shape than the ones that I saw.
As I hiked today I came across several people that told me about a country market on Route 12. When I got to the road, I took the 0.2 miles detour to escape the 2:00pm heat. I had already hiked 8 miles, so I figured a break wouldn’t hurt. I sat on the porch of the small building and ate strawberry ice cream, drank Diet Cokes and Gatorade and ate chips and candy bars. I met another southbound section hiker named Dave. He is from Fayetteville, NC. He will only be on the trail for three more weeks, but we hike at similar pace so we may be spending time together.
Again today I stopped short of my intended destination. I hiked 12 miles, not 14. The shelter at 14 miles had no water, and I only have the capacity to carry 1½ liters since I lost my Camelback. A couple days ago, my backpack caught on a tree and I jerked it loose. As I found out miles and miles later, the limb had snagged my Camelback and yanked it out of my pack. It was too far for me to turn back to retrieve. In Hanover, however, the middle brother of the three brothers showed up after me with a Camelback just like the one I had lost. I asked him if he had found it on the trial. He said no. Tonight he came to the shelter where I am sleeping. I took a closer look at the Camelback. It is missing the mouthpiece like mine. I think I will ask him again tomorrow if he is sure he didn’t pick it up on the trial. I’ll never get a straight answer out of him. He is the same brother that got arrested for stealing the credit card in Gorham. I can never prove that he took it and I’ll never know for sure, but at least I can let him know I am suspicious and maybe he will stay away from the rest of my stuff.
Forget that. I used my alcohol stove for the first time tonight. I ran out of propane cooking last night’s dinner. A strange thing happened at the shelter though. I have never had all the pieces needed to use the alcohol stove. I figured that I could use rocks as a windshield and to prop the pot on. At the shelter though, I found all the pieces that I needed. They had been left by another hiker. I also found a new tube of toothpaste, which I needed, and a full bottle of Purel hand sanitizer, which I needed. Also, a man gave me a bag of cranberries, a packet of bacon and an Inertia spaghetti meal. Good stuff. He also gave me a mousetrap. I already killed one this evening.
Tomorrow I’ll hike to within a couple miles of Killington, VT. The next day I will stop in town and pick-up my mail drop. The mail drops are proving troublesome. They are tough to time. I still have a few days of food leftover. So, I’ll be carrying extra weight. I do need to make sure that I don’t take a zero in Killington. No more zeroes until Kent, CT.
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