Birch Glen Camp to Waitsfield, VT
October 7, 2007
LT Miles – 2.6
Total LT Miles – 109.8
Extra Miles – 4
I wake with a mission. Today is Sunday, and I’m going into town. I intend to get a room, shower, purchase my food resupply… and then most importantly, I intend to spend the remaining time doing nothing but eating pizza, drinking beer, and watching football.
The rain went on through the night – with a bit of thunder – leaving the morning damp and fogged in.
The fog begins to clear, with some amazing rays of light shining through the trees. I do my best to capture it.
I meet a number of day hikers on the final descent to the road. An older couple is interested in my hike, and they ask all sorts of questions. It’s encouraging and I’m apt to talk, with the whole day in town ahead of me.
I step out of the woods at Appalachian Gap, and discover the cause of all the day hikers. The top of the hill serves as the finish line of an annual bicycle race up the mountain. Most folks have cleared the area, but a few racers are still coming in.
Some guys with motorcycles jokingly offer me a ride down the hill. I wonder if I would have the courage to take them up on it, if they were serious.
The fog continues to clear, revealing a blue sky that makes for the best day of the year for foliage. It’s a perfect Sunday morning atmosphere.
The guidebook lists a place called the Hyde Away Inn, four miles east from Appalachian Gap on route 17.
I feel a little guilty for spending such a nice day in town, but it’s been twelve nights without a bed. So to enjoy at least a little of the day, I choose to walk the four miles downhill to town.
Some riders are still finishing the bicycle race. A couple of them have clever comments in the vein of how they’re going up the hill and I’m going down.
An elderly woman appears from her driveway, says something about the beautiful weather and crazy traffic on the road nowadays, and proceeds to shuffle up the hill to an unknown destination.
The check-in desk is in the tavern, where the Patriots game is just getting underway. They have some good local brews and hot dogs to hold me over. The owners are kind enough to take my laundry, so I retreat to my room, shower, and watch football and wait.
Once my clothes are done, a regular customer leaving the tavern drives me to the supermarket in Waitsfield for groceries. I buy five days worth of food.
This is my first opportunity to replace my lost water filter with a new treatment system, but the outdoor stores are closed. I’d have to settle for household bleach or get back into town tomorrow when the stores are open.
Since I’ve come so far on the trail already, I choose to forego water treatment for the rest of the trip. It’ll be a sort experiment.
A family with young kids drives me back up the hill to the inn. Hitchhiking is so easy in Vermont.
I order a pizza and spend the rest of the day lying in bed and watching the NFL – with the pizza box in my lap. I eat the whole thing.
They interview Bruce Springsteen on 60 Minutes, and Field of Dreams comes on later.
Life is good.