Kid Rock Shelter [mile 1582.2; SOBO 563.8]
OK, OK, so it’s not Kid Rock Shelter; it’s Kid Gore Shelter. But I kept calling it Kid Rock Shelter all day. It’s kind of a dump. There are three Long Trail section hikers up there with, I think, four dogs. In the shelter. The dogs were aggressive when I came down the path. That’s the second time in a few days that aggressive hiker dogs have made me a little nervous. Famous last words: “Oh, they’re friendly.” Then they bite you! (Nobody bit me; just illustrating. Although the one on Bromley Mountain bit and lunged at my poles and I had to scream at it.)
So last night was frigid: 28, I was told, but that was at higher elevation. I’m guessing it was right around freezing where I was, with wind. Not pretty. I had an alarm set but I didn’t really need it; too cold to really sleep. The cure for that is to get to North Adams as soon as possible to pick up my downmat and my puffy stuff. (Also, it’s some kind of arctic blast that’s supposed to be moving on in a day; tonight should be several degrees warmer.)
So I got up and hit the trail at 6:45.
It was a cold day! I climbed a mountainlike object—Stratton Mountain—and it was foggy and bitterly windy. There was a caretaker up there who told me that her thermometer read 28. Which explained why the tall firetower there was showering me with icicles. The fog was wetting the firetower, then it froze, and the wind was so fierce that it blew the ice chips off. Just like winter!
I didn’t climb the firetower. I don’t do firetowers… although this was a historic one, so I might have given it a shot in better weather. On Stratton Mountain, according to the guide, Benton MacKaye conceived the idea of the AT. I wonder if he also conceived the idea of 2000 jackasses trying to do it all in one shot every year?
I got off the mountain as fast as I could, hoping the wind would be less at lower elevation. It eventually did die down some, but it was a fall day. Cold but with a blue, blue sky.
And I got treated to a big dose of Vermud today. I get it now: the mud is as endemic to the landscspe as rock is to New Hampshire. But I don’t understand it. The mud fascinates me. I don’t know why it exists in one spot, then vanishes, then shows up again, then vanishes, for dozens of miles. It’s like Vermont is a thin skin over a giant underground ocean. A creme brulee of mud.
The trail was pretty. Vermont is making me think of caramel apples. I wonder if summer hikers think of caramel apples here?
Somehow, I managed to do 15. Fifteen miles is my 20—that mileage goal that people aim for. I haven’t managed 15 in a while.
Trivia: I figured out back in North Carolina that it takes me almost exactly 3000 steps to do a mile. That means that if I finish, it’ll take me 6,558,000 steps.
And that’s kind of all I’ve got! Vermont is Vermont; still my favorite, I think. Except for the cold. Brrrr.