Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ben and Jerry's next flavor? Vermud

A persistent underlying theme of my thru-hike? ICE CREAM.  What better place to be than Vermont, home of Ben and Jerry's?

I love Vermont. The Green Mountains are more rugged than mountains we have seen lately, yet beautiful. Beaver-dammed ponds add something new to the scenery and there have been some amazingly crisp mountain lakes for swimming.  The weather has been mild and there are few pointless ups-and-downs.  There are lots of ups-and-downs, but they lead to fire towers and views and lakes and things worth hiking for.

The only problem lately has been MUD.  Thru-hikers have nicknamed the state Vermud because the trails are very, very muddy.  Immediately after crossing the MA/VT border we were slogging through mud.  For a while we tried to avoid it by hopping across rocks.  It reminded me of that game that we played when we were little- the one where we jumped on furniture and tried to avoid the "hot lava" or carpet.  We jumped on rocks, logs and roots to avoid slimy mud.  Eventually that got frustrating and I just started walking straight through the mud.  I heard Day Tripper cuss for the first time, thanks to Vermud.

One positive aspect of the mud is that it preserves moose tracks!  I have seen dozens of huge tracks so far but have yet to see the moose itself. Unfortunately my camera is dead and I won't be charging it until New Hampshire, so I will have no pictures Vermont.  I'll come back someday though, because this thru-hike is really just an adventure along a narrow corridor of the Appalachians.  There is so much more of these mountains that I have yet to explore.  Plus I need to try my hand (or feet) at some of the Vermont ski slopes that I've been hearing about.

Day Tripper had to leave the trail AGAIN after just two days in Vermont, so I'm tackling most of the state solo.  But not really, because I am in a little cluster of other hikers, most of whom I really like.  I have been hiking around two especially interesting women lately- Wild Poodle and Cahoda, both in their 60's.  This is Cahoda's 5th thru-hike attempt.  These women are examples of persistence on the trail and how all-consuming this dream can become. I think this is their year.

I should be in New Hampshire in about a week. New Hampshire is home to the hardest section of trail- the White Mountains.  So I still have a lot of challenges ahead of me.  Also,  I am taking a week off of the trail in the middle of August to go to Day Tripper's brother's wedding, so that puts my Katahdin summit date somewhere around mid-September.  Less than 600 miles to go from here, but it feels within reach.

Time for some ice cream!



  1. Hey Thunder-so Cahoda is a woman who helped me through my thru when I was down in the dumps in Pearisburg. I guess I didn't marry anybody there so I was rather depressed. Glad to hear you're enjoying Vermont! God speed through the Whites! You've prepared and are ready for all they offer!

  2. I think Rob would be delighted to join you come winter for a little ski/ice cream adventure. :) Eat a few scoops for me!

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  4. Just caught up with your blog after not having read it in awhile. You are an amazing adventurer and an even more amazing writer, ET! Proud of you! Hang in there!
    Alex G