Day 190: Mud, moose, and 1600

Seth Warner Shelter [mile 1608.1; SOBO 589.7]

‘Moose, mud, and Massachusetts’ would have made a better title. Alas, I decided to stop here at the shelter instead of pushing on to Mass. Five o’clock, getting cold… the usual. I like to salvage what warmth I can before the night turns my pad into an ice cube. But after tonight, no more of that! If the US Postal Service has come through, then a great big package of WARMTH is waiting for me at North Adams, and I’ll have it tomorrow afternoon. No more freezing nights! Sleep, blissful sleep!

I’m less than three miles from the end of Vermont.

So what do we do first, celebrate or gripe?

Let’s gripe!

Honestly, the mud today was atrocious. I know I’m about the billionteeth person over the decades to have commented on the mud in Vermont, but Vermont, today I hated you! I made it almost through the entire state with dry shoes—until today.

Today there were rivers of mud, prodigious lakes of mud, deep wide fonts of mud. For ten miles. Sure, it lacks the inimical malignancy of the quickmud seas of Maine, but today was just annoying. Rock hopping, log leaping—and the rocks didn’t even have the decency to stay put once you vaulted onto them. They jerked up like seesaws then came splashing down to ensure a good high coating of mud on the pants.

A section hiker down at the shelter said the next three miles aren’t any better. Yay.

And that’s it for the griping portion of our journal entry! On to the celebrations!

First of all… 1600 miles, baby! I don’t know how to feel about that. The pressure is on to finish. I need to get home and deal with the consequences of the extra time off work. But I’ve been out here so long that it’s become a lifestyle, and I’m already wondering how the change will be. But I try not to go that far, mentally. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. 1608 done; 578 to go.

[Aside: I hope the WordPress gurus have debugged this thing by the time I get to North Adams.]

No condensation last night, yippee! So last night’s soaking must have been situational.

So the day was brief and fallish and chilly, except for that wonder hour from noon to one, which almost cracked the skin of warm. Almost. There was a breeze all day, and there are still enough leaves that the bright sun wasn’t penetrating too deeply.

The day was mostly uphill, too. Vermont, it rolls. But midafternoon… surprise! I was trudging along with the earbuds in, and I looked up and there was a moose charging across the trail. He was a teenage boy, with smallish antlers, no bigger than a horse. And he galloped like one, too—an inky shadow that just flowed into the trees. He was the first skittish moose I’ve seen; the others were full of nonchalant aplomb as they ate their salad.

Thank you for the 1600-mile, end-of-state present, Vermont!

People say they hike the AT for all sorts of reasons, but really? It’s all about bears, moose, and rattlesnakes.

Tomorrow: Into North Adams. I’m taking a zero, and I’m meeting a fellow ’13er who’s up here from Texas. Things are nuts and I’m slightly overwhelmed.

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Day 190: Mud, moose, and 1600

  1. shari wb

    OHgosh. The BLUE of that lake. Breathtaking.

    Sorry to hear you’re overwhelmed – can only believe that this zero with your friend is perfect timing. Relax enjoy laugh recover.

  2. Hi, wvevie! Happy New Year!

    This year I heard from several hikers who were caught and were asked to pack up and move. Now, was it because they chose a visible site? I’m not sure. Sometimes you end up more visible than you’d like to be.

    Twice I met hikers who had slightly worse scenarios. One guy in NY missed the train back to New York and set up his tent in ampatch of woods right near the train station parking lot. The police rousted him and made him pack up, then made him stand (not sit) for seven hours at the actual station (they watched him from their car), giving him the alternative of “dealing with this down at the station.” Another few people camped right by the parking lot at Big Meadow in Shenandoah and not only were asked to move, they got $75 tickets. I’d consider both of those site selections to be just asking for trouble.

    I’m guessing people camp inappropriately and get caught every year, but don’t talk about it much online. You pick the best site you can, and hope for the best. 🙂

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