By: Marian Van Vlack, Lifetime Girl Scout from Whitesville, NY
Today I write from the Green Mountain House, an Appalachian Trail (AT) hostel outside of Manchester, VT. I can’t believe that I have already hiked through two states and am almost halfway done with my third. After my trip into Dalton, I had a very exciting day on the trail. I hiked 16 miles over Mt. Greylock and hiked my 100th mile! The night before, I camped with a man who was 20 miles away from finishing the entire trail which he has been hiking in sections for about 5 years. He inspired me to push through the day and hit my first big mileage goal. I stopped in Cheshire, MA and got a milkshake from the ice cream shop as the trail passed through town. The ascent wasn’t too hard, but it was long. Unfortunately, when I got to the top, there was too much fog to see anything. There is a very nice lodge at the summit though, and I enjoyed some tasty snacks and a much needed rest there before my descent. I was thrilled to complete the first 100 miles of my hike.
The next day I headed to Williamstown for a break and to resupply. My new pack, which I ordered from L.L. Bean, was waiting for me and I spent the next two days figuring out how to arrange everything in my new pack. By Sunday I was anxious to get back on the trail. I pushed myself to do 15 miles, which took most of the day. I soon passed over the border into Vermont which was another exciting accomplishment. I got to the shelter around 8pm and I was exhausted. I ended up sleeping on a picnic table inside the shelter, which wasn’t bad at all. I met a few different hikers, some were thru hikers on the AT, others section hikers, and I also met some people hiking the Long Trail which runs about 275 miles in Vermont from the MA border up to Canada.
The next few days I was pretty lazy. I only hiked 6 miles the next day and got to camp around 2 pm. I spent the day with Sprinkles and Bacon who are hiking the Long Trail (LT). I also met Goose and Hummingbird, a father daughter duo who are also hiking the LT, and 50tree who is finishing this section of the AT after more than 10 years. The next day I hiked to Goddard shelter which was a really beautiful shelter which overlooks a pine forest. The sunset was spectacular. The next day I finally hiked more than 10 miles and ended up tenting for the first time in quite a while. Stratton was my next big peak and the trail up the mountain was very easy going. There is a fire tower at the summit and the view was incredible. I could see mountains and ponds and forests all around. I met a lot of hikers at the summit and ended up staying there for a while before descending. I ended up staying at the Stratton Pond shelter, which was nice and big, with bunks and a loft and a covered porch. We had quite a few people stay in the shelter and amazingly, there were 9 women and only 2 men, which is certainly not the norm out on the trail.
Today I hiked 10 miles and got a ride into Manchester where I stocked up a little and ate some delicious food. I’m staying with 50tree and Fizzi, another woman doing a solo section hike along the AT. This hostel is wonderful, fully equipped with showers and laundry and breakfast. I even got to have a true taste of Vermont with some Ben and Jerry’s. Unfortunately, it’s way past hiker midnight (9 pm) and I need to get some sleep before my hike tomorrow. My next post will come from New Hampshire!