7/5 Spruce Peak Shelter to Manchester Center, VT (2.8 miles)
When I was pulling down our bear bags this morning I discovered a small animal had managed to chew through my food bag. Other people had had similar issues in VT, but I thought it was because they were hanging them too close to the trees. I was wrong. Our bag was hung well away from any branch and the only way we could see a animal getting to it was climbing down the rope. Thankfully, I have some cuben fiber tape so was able to fix it pretty easily. We have since added a plastic container to our line to prevent similar events in the future.
We had a short hike down to a road and parking lot where we were able to hitch a ride into town from a local innkeeper who had just given a ride to a guest. He gave us some good hints on places to eat and resupply, including a great hole in the wall breakfast place. We got there and there was about a 15 minute wait. Since we didn’t have anything better to do we decided to wait. It was a great choice. We both ordered eggs and pancakes. They had real maple syrup, which I had been craving. I proceeded to use at least 2/3’s of a cup with my breakfast and thoroughly enjoyed every bite of it.
After breakfast we headed over to the local outfitters to see if they would exchange my Darn Tough socks (which have an unconditional lifetime warranty) since they had started to develop a number of holes. They were able to exchange them (although quite reasonably asked me to wash them first), and I was able to get a lower cut pair.
After that we resupplied and called for a ride to our hostel, the Green Mountain House. This was one of the best hostel I have stayed in yet. It was incredibly clean and had ample room for the number of guests. It felt like you were a guest in someone’s home, rather than a hiker hostel. I would consider it a must stay for hikers on the AT and LT. The hostel owner has a cool license plate on his car
My parents had generously driven up to spend the afternoon with us. They showed up with a very nice picnic lunch that we ate on the hostel porch.
After that we played Machi Koro (which Stitch introduced us to), which was a lot of fun. Garfield and I are going to pack it in to play on our short days (while we wait for Stitch). We then headed back into town to exchange my now clean socks and wander around the town which was a lot of fun.
We finished the day going to a local restaurant called The Perfect Wife and then headed back to the hostel for the night. It was great to get to spend the afternoon with my parents.
7/6 Manchester Center, VT to Griffin Lake Campsite (10.5 miles)
We spent the morning getting our gear together. Garfield decided to get rid of a bunch of stuff, which led us to reweighing our packs. My base weight (without food, water, or Machi Koro) is now just over 13 pounds, which is quite a bit less then when I started thanks to sending home my rain pants, long underwear and stove. With food water and the game (machi koro) it came out to be just over 23 pounds. As a point of reference Garfields was 29 pounds, but he will be losing about 4 pounds of stuff in the next town. I wouldn’t say either of us are true ultra-lighters, but we probably will have lighter packs than most other thru-hikers.
We started the morning climbing up Bromley Mountain, which wasn’t as bad as I had expected. The hiking summit was the same as it is for the ski mountain, and we spent the last bit of the climb going up a ski hill which was pretty cool. There were some very nice views from the top, where we ate an early lunch.
After lunch we headed up Peru Peak, which was tougher than we expected. This was in part because it had gotten really hot and we were both drowning in our own sweat (a day hiker told us it was supposed to reach 93 degrees. We hung out at the top for awhile cooling down, and then headed down the mountain.
We got to the Griffin Lake campsite, which was thoroughly disappointing. We had thought it would be on the lake, but instead it’s in a dense forest. When I finished setting up my tent we realized that the bugs here were really terrible. Had I not set up my tent yet we probably would have hiked further to find a better camp site.
After that we got into my tent and played Machi Koro. The game play was significantly different with only two people. There were two pretty simple strategies to follow, and it quickly became about who got the luckiest dice rolls. We tried a few more rounds modifying the rules to make it more difficult, but I think it is definitely best played with 4 people. Hopefully we can find some other hikers to join in the fun over the next week.
7/7 Griffin Lake Campsite to Little Rock Pond Shelter (9.2 miles)
Today was pretty uneventful. We woke up on the earlier side today in order to try and avoid some afternoon showers. We ended up arriving at the shelter just before lunch.
We ate lunch and then played cards for a few hours. After that I went for a swim. We are on a very pretty pond so it was quite relaxing. Since today was so short it definitely got a little bit boring sitting around the shelter. We will try to start later on these types of short days for the next week while we wait for Stitch.
Around 5 pm it started to intensely downpouring. It was some of the hardest rain we have seen in a long time. Some hikers ran to the shelter and avoided most of it. I was certainly glad to be in the shelter to stay dry.
7/8 Little Rock Pond Shelter to VT 103 (12.6 miles)
Garfield and I got off a later start today. It can be nice to just hang out in the morning and not be in a hurry to get out (although I don’t think I would want to do it regularly when we are back to our normal miles).
The trail in the morning was very wet since it rained so much last night. The were parts of the trail that were pretty much just a stream. The trail hasn’t been like this since Virginia so I feel pretty fortunate about that.
We got to the shelter that we had planned on staying for the night at around 12:30. The climbing wasn’t too bad, but it was wet out and Garfield and I were both drenched by about halfway up. We ate lunch at the shelter, and decided to go the three miles we were planning on going tomorrow to a restaurant that lets hikers camp on their lawn.
We got to the restaurant as they were closing so we couldn’t eat there, but they were very friendly and showed us where we could camp. It will be nice not to hike down to meet my friends tomorrow in the rain, plus we get breakfast in the morning.