Roundtop Shelter to Bear Hollow Shelter
October 1, 2007
LT Miles – 7.2
Total LT Miles – 54.6
Extra Miles – 3
I slowly drift awake, lazily lingering in my sleeping bag. I feel especially relaxed and content this morning – content to simply lie and watch the leaves rustle in the breeze. Maybe it’s because I’m going into town to resupply today. The simple awareness of town’s anticipation has me at ease, happy in the moment.
I notice a dead dragonfly, precariously dangling in a spider web on the shelter’s rafters. It’s hanging directly above the place where I rested my head all night long.
This motivates me to pack up and begin the day.
After just one and a half miles of hiking, I come to Prospect Rock. It offers a commanding view to the south over the Lamoille River Valley.
I descend to the Lamoille River. The Green Mountain Club recently built a suspension bridge spanning its width.
Fortunately a ladder was placed here. It looks like the river tends to erode the banks. Note the white blaze on the lower right!
I emerge from the woods into a field along VT Route 15, and prepare to hitchhike into Johnson, Vermont.
It’s only two miles down the road to town, so I begin walking with my thumb out. I walk half the distance before kind lady picks me up. She drops me off at their local “supermarket.”
Inside I purchase about 4 days of food to get me to the next town – bagels, peanut butter, honey, snickers bars, mac & cheese, pouches of tuna, pop-tarts, and so on. In front of the store I sit on a bench, dump my purchases on the sidewalk, and repackage everything into ziploc bags. It’s great fun – I’ve missed the life of a backpacker.
I call my mother from a pay phone to let her know that I’m alive and well. For the duration of this trip she’s the only person I intend to communicate with that is not face-to-face – no text messages, no internet access, nothing.
Next I look for a place to get a good meal. My heart is set on eggs, sausage, and pancakes… or pizza, but there’s absolutely nothing open in Johnson on a Monday. Even the famed Long Trail Tavern isn’t open until 3pm, so I don’t wait around.
Instead I gorge on gas station fast food. You know the processed cheeseburgers that come wrapped in foil and sit under a heat lamp for hours? Yeah.
I sit outside on a curb and consume the goods.
A young customer at the gas station asks if I’m doing The Long Trail. He hiked the Appalachian Trail a few years ago, and went on to do the Pacific Crest Trail. Small world. He sort of lingers, as if to absorb as as much of “the hiker world” from me as possible. Most former long-distance hikers do this when they meet a present hiker. I’ve done the same.
The path ahead leads up some logging roads before fading into trail. My stomach is so full from the salty gas station food. Add this to the extra weight on my back from a fresh resupply, and hiking becomes especially slow and difficult. It’s the way it goes – light pack down into town, heavy pack up and out of town.
Daylight fades when I reach Bear Hollow Shelter. I meet an older gentleman who identifies himself as Papa Rose. With a Boston accent he tells me he’s from Connecticut, and originally from Rhode Island. His first child was born in ’68, and he has plenty of grandchildren. He retired this past June, and since then has been hiking The Long Trail in bits and pieces – only a few days at a time. He loves to tell of his experiences on the trail thus far.
I’m still so grotesquely full that I don’t cook dinner. We fall asleep shortly after dark.