Vermonster (or ilovermont)

4 Sep

Day 66, Mile 629

New state, new month, new blog post. Right now I am in Boston, MA enjoying a day off the trail, visiting my friends Rachael and Sarah in their new home. But I want to tell you about Vermont!

I crossed over the border in Vermont on August 14, after spending a lovely afternoon in Hanover, NH, home of Dartmouth College. I was immediately struck by how quaint Vermont is. New Hampshire was all about big craggy mountains and rugged terrain, and Vermont is about pastures and hills and farms and forests. The trail frequently follows ancient roads through the forest, going past forgotten stone fences and the centuries-old foundations of houses. And then, the trail will crest a hill and come to a beautiful pasture in the sunlight, overlooking the farms and valleys in the distance. It was very mysterious and romantic, in that sort of swashbuckling adventure sort of way.

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Trees

The people of Vermont are really “nice-good-folks,” easy going and happy to help. I stayed at this really neat hostel in Pittsfield called the Amee Farm. Apparently, the owner is a very wealthy man from New York City who came to town and built this really nice house and barn, with the intention of setting up a hostel on the top floor of the barn. He had been too busy to do much with it, but earlier this summer some southbound hikers came through town. One thing led to another—the story is long but includes broken bones, interior design, and the “Pittsfield Death Race” (which you can read about here)—and now they run the place. Anyways, the place was really sweet, and I “worked-for-stay” by helping to build “survivor shelters” à la Bear Grylls for the afternoon.

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The Amee Farm Hostel

Pittsfield was also the town where I completed the “Green Mountain Feast” breakfast challenge. The Feast consisted of 8 pancakes, 6 pieces of bacon, 6 eggs, 4 pieces of toast, and a double-helping of home fries, and if you ate it in 30 minutes it was on the house. The cook was pretty skeptical that I would be successful, but 29 minutes later I showed him my clean plate! My picture is now up on the wall, next to 6 other 300-lb biker dudes. I must say though, I never want to eat that much food again in my life.

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The Green Mountain Feast

I also had some good wildlife encounters in Vermont (finally!). When I started in Maine, I was expecting to see moose and dear and bears around every corner practically, and I remember my first few days trying to be very observant and see all the animals. As you read in the statistics list below, however, I didn’t really see that much. I had practically given up on seeing moose, and then 30 miles from the VT-MA border I saw not one but two of them on the trail! I came around a corner, and there they were, and I looked at them, and they looked at me, and we kind of stared at each other, probably all thinking “wow, that’s one goofy looking critter.” And then they wandered off, and so did I. I also spent about an hour watching a couple of beavers floating around a pond, and was able to get some really good pictures of them up close!

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Beaver near Congdon Camp

I kept heading south, going over a handful of the major peaks in the Green Mountains. After going through the Whites, however, these were all a piece of cake. My miles have gone up, I am taking fewer and shorter breaks, and I am walking faster now! It feels really good to have finally got my “trail legs” underneath me. And now I am here in Massachusetts! Massachusetts is the start of some of the “bread-and-butter” states that only take a few days to hike through because they are so short. A fellow southbounder (SOBO, in the hiker vernacular) and I were doing some calculations, and we figure that if we boogie, we could step foot in nine states in one month (Vermont to Virginia). I don’t know if I’ll do it, but it sure would be neat to say I did the “Nine-State Challenge.”

One more note, and then I’ll go. I took a week off and came back to Texas for my interview with the Rotary Foundation for their Ambassadorial Scholarship. Things went really well, and I have been selected as an “Endorsed Candidate!” That means that my application is being sent to Rotary nationals for final approval, and if all things go well there then I will be going abroad next year for grad school! I am looking at studying development economics at a handful of schools, including University of Glasgow and University of Edinburgh.

That’s all for now. Here are a few more pictures to help fill in anything I left out above:

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Mist over Stratton Pond

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The View from Stratton Mountain Firetower

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Windows in the Glastonbury Firetower

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Wetlands near Congdon Camp

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Flowers on the Amee Farm

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16 Responses to “Vermonster (or ilovermont)”

  1. uncle Craig September 25, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    fri PM. So you finally caught the gang. Where are you. Are you staying in the shelters on the trail. Which shelter are you closest to? fivemillionsteps.com has great map.

  2. uncle Craig September 25, 2009 at 7:09 am #

    Fri. 9-25 Have you crossed the Lehigh river yet?

  3. uncle Craig September 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    I hope you haven’t been traumatized to badly by yesterdays experience. Made me remember what Pa girls were like in ’64. The ones I met would be early 60’s.

  4. uncle Craig September 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    ur making good time now. Take your day off and go to Philly visit friends. Get back to trail and make it to Maryland by early next week. 8days to get there.

  5. uncle Craig September 18, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    So how far have you made it in NJ. Have you passed High Point and turned south. Names of nearby towns help tracking you.

  6. uncle Craig September 18, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    one old eagle to one fledgling eagle “Be Prepared” not for what you plan on but for everything that might occur. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. You’re a wayfarer in a foreign land. If your mother is following your posts you have probably set her nerves on end.

  7. uncle Craig September 17, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    U r on schedule now. 3 days to Pa. Keep on trekking

  8. David L September 16, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    dude. that breakfast looked awesome. and congratulations on the rotary candidacy! proud of you.

  9. uncle Craig September 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm #

    Love the NYC skyline. what is it, 40miles or so? How far did you get today (Wed the 16th)? Will you make NJ tomorrow?

  10. Rachel Beil September 16, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    and by bonne i meant bon courage…

    silly language. have a good one.

  11. Rachel Beil September 16, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    congratulations on the “endorsed candidate” status…that’s great! can’t wait to hear about how many states you hit this month…even if it isn’t nine. bonne courage!

  12. Rachael and Sarah (aka Trouble Makers) September 8, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    Take your Uncle Craig’s advice. And let Julia take care of you when you make it down that way to NC.

    I’m glad to finally read the post that took 3.8 hours to write at the coffee shop in Cambridge.

    Do us proud, Bobert.

    Love,
    Rach and Sarah

  13. Laura September 8, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    What beautiful pictures! Glad to hear your adventure is still going well. Jealous you got to visit Rach and Sarah!

  14. Julia September 7, 2009 at 12:09 am #

    Robert, I am so impressed with your eating ability! After seeing you go through a load of Nutella crepes, though, I never would have doubted this feat!

    Hey, not too much farther, and you will be in North Carolina! And don’t worry, Uncle Craig, I will keep Robert out of trouble!

    Question of the day: Has your pronunciation of “Appalachian” changed since you began the trail?

    Check out this website: http://inogolo.com/pronunciation/d1345/Appalachian_Appalachian

    I must admit that I, admittedly a “non-geologist,” pronounced it “A-puh-LAY-shun” prior to my move to North Carolina. Now I could get jumped with that pronunciation. Here it is “A-puh-LATCH-uhn.” Note the short a used in the South and, more importantly, the hard “ch” sound (apparently used by “real geologists”).

    I’d be interested in hearing your comments. Have you found much usage discrepancy on the trail?

    Send me an address that I can send goodies to!!! 😀

    Happy Trails!
    Julia

  15. Molly September 6, 2009 at 12:13 am #

    bob i think you have a really neat life. i love the pictures! especially the mist and the flowers. and edinbourgh! ah! i hope i fall into a bunch of money in the next year so i can visit!

    (i am also enjoying this post above me. boy, you and rachael better stay out of trouble!)

  16. uncle Craig September 5, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    I was wondering about the leave of absence to go to Boston. When I saw the tweet about Rachael I thought ohno! distracted by a girl. Now I read not 1 but 2. Stay on the trail! You’ll stay out of trouble!

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