Dog Days in the Green Mountains

     Summer was cooking the leafy green Vermont mountainsides. The flies continued to hum and we continue to complain about them. With the increasing heat and humidity, the sweat flowed freely from our Trail tortured bodies. The dog days of summer had taken their toll, slowing our pace and decreasing our desire to hike. We were getting close to Manchester Center so we cut off some Trail and hitched into town after walking a couple of miles down a lonely dirt road.

     Manchester Center is a “factory outlet” town which means many gomers with money. We stayed at the hostel in town. The hostel is actually part of a church function hall with a full kitchen and lots of space. When we were there, Greg and Danette (the hippy chick and friend) showed up as well as an obnoxious stranger. This guy actually tried to get me to rub his feet… woah! He made the entire stay at the hostel a bit uncomfortable. To top it off, that evening Greg and Danette “tore off a piece” (as Mark so eloquently put it) right in the common room. The next day Mark and I beat a hasty retreat, hitch hiking back to the Trail after a hearty feed at Mac’s.

     We climbed to the top of Bromley and watched the peregrines play in the thermals for a long time. Then we hiked on through Mad Tom Notch, over Styles Peak then Peru Peak and onto the shelter at Griffith Lake. This was a shelter site with a caretaker so we had to pay a couple of bucks to stay there. We were just about to set off the next morning when that bearded, camera wielding, trail friend, Frodo stumbles into camp. After a raucous greeting and a quick haebar, we hiked together to Minerva Hinchley Shelter but not before we enjoyed a swim in Little Rock Pond. Mark emerged from the tea colored water covered with leeches. On the shore he did a comical dance as he quickly yanked them off. I came out the water with nothing on me. I guess the little suckers didn’t like my blood type.

 Mark, Frodo and I walked down a dirt road that was doubling as the Appalachian Trail. Road walks are a part of the AT experience and at times were a great diversion from the woods walking. We were having a great time playing the “walking stick” game as we strolled. It was a simple rock whacking contest that took skill and concentration. We were so caught up in the competition, we walked right past where the Trail turned into the woods again. “Whose turn was it to watch the blazes?” Frodo asked as we turned around to find the AT.

     It was great to hang with our friend Frodo again. That evening we burned a haebar and spun up some trail stories. It was a memorable night of much laughter and silliness. The next day we had to move on and we said farewell to Frodo. We would be enjoying a winter expedtion with him, however, a couple of years later on Bigelow in Maine. Some of Frodo’s photos from the Appalachian Trail have been published in the ATC calenders over the years, including one taken during the winter Bigelow adventure. I thought the camera he carried the length of the Trail was too heavy until I saw the quality of his photographs.

…continue the expedition, read: Hiking Away From the Long Trail {link}