[at-l] Reporting on the trip.... Just Day One.

Felix J AThiker at smithville.net
Sun Dec 6 16:37:19 CST 2009

Welp... I reckon I'll try to tell y'all about my recent little hike up 
in Vermont. Even though I never did finish tellin' ya about my 
no-longer-so-recent hike up in Connecticut.  The highlight of that hike 
was that there IS someone nice in Kent, CT.

Anyway....back to the recenter hike in Vermont....

Left here (home) after all the late NFL games had pretty much been 
determined.  I can't not leave until the late NFL games had been 
determined. So, I said my goodbyes to the cats and Joe, got in my truck 
and left about 6:45.  Somewhere in NW Ohio I stopped and slept in a 
Walmart parking lot (on a mattress in the bed of my truck). Got several 
hours of pretty good sleep. Much better than when I sleep in rest areas. 

I got to Sundown's house sometime around 9 Monday morning (11/23).  A 
few minutes later, we were headed to Vermont.  We stopped for calzones 
and pizza in Troy, NY. Seeing that really strangely shaped building in 
downtown Albany had made us hungry. We looked for  Uncle Sam, but didn't 
see him.

It was pretty much dark when we got to Bennington. That was somewhere 
between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. I didn't like that it was dark that early!  
We stopped in a little town....Dorcet?...for the last of our supplies 
(14 oz or milk and some snacks for me...Snacks for Sundown). We pulled 
in to Mrs. Gorp's a little after 6 and she pulled in as we were getting 
out of my truck.  Good timing. 

We got settled in to our third-floor accommodations...which are 
OUTSTANDING...and made our way back downstairs to watch/talk a little 
football with Mr. Gorp (I don't know if that's his name, or not). We 
'early to bed, early to rise'd  it as I was tired and knew/assumed the 
next day was going to be a long one for the old man.

Up and at 'em at 5:30-ish, hot coffee waiting downstair. A quick ride up 
the highway (VT 140...or, is it county 140?) and we were on the Trail 
about a quarter 'til 7:00. The air was heavy, but warm.

We saw our first hunter about 20 minutes in. A friendly little chat and 
we were gone...still evaluating how everything felt and excited with the 
underwayedness of the hike.

~4 miles in we stopped for our first break at Minerva Hinchey Shelter. 
It's nice when you get someplace and memories of being there another 
time come back to you. Especially if the memories are good.  We pushed on.

There is a big body of water, I believe Spring Lake, to the east just 
north of Minerva. I don't recall it at all from '98, presumably because 
it is hard to see when the leaves are on.  It made for a nice view for a 
mile or so. Somewhere in that mile, we saw our second hunter...talking 
on a cell phone 50' or so from the Trail.  I apologized for making so 
much noise and he gave me a thumbs-up sign. 

We got to VT 103 and headed west to the Whistle Stop (I think that's the 
name of it. There might be another word in there, too) There were about 
20, maybe more, turkeys that 'got up' in front of us and flew, lowly, 
across the heavy-tafficked highway. Lots of swerving and braking 
ensued.  It was nice walking back in the Whistle Stop (I still think 
that's the name of it.).  It was even nicer, for us, that there were no 
other patrons in the Whistle Stop (if that's the name of it). 

I ordered pancakes and scrambled eggs, Sundown a turkey club sandwich.  
While eating I was reminded of a very humorous conversation that had 
taken place here, at the Whistle Stop, back in '98. I smile about it 
now, too.  After I was done eating, and as I looked at the bill, I told 
the woman that I'd decided I didn't want the scrambled eggs, and was 
therefore taking them off the bill. Initially she believed me, I think. 
Finally, she said "You are, are ya?" and smiled. I then said "And, he 
didn't eat much of the cole slaw, so I'm gonna take that off, too."   
She said "But, he ate some of it." I said "But, he didn't like it." 

Once back on the Trail, Sundown had to make his typical mad dash to the 
woods. In fact, we barely made it back to the Trail. I don't know what 
they put in that cole slaw....

There was a steep little climb out of Clarendon. A climb I didn't 
remember at all. I didn't remember a lot of things, a fact I blame on 
Kay K. Harvey and his talkin' to me while I hiked back in '98. The 
nerve! I DID remember, however, Clarendon Shelter and that pleasant 
setting. Before Sundown and I got there, I was drawing a complete blank 
on what it looked like. It was really, really nice seeing it again. 

Somewhere in there, (Beacon Hill?) there was a sign that actually said 
how long it'd take to get someplace. Like "VT 103-- 2h 40m"  That was 

I was also glad to be able to put a specific road crossing scene in my 
mind to an actual place.  There is a place that the Trail joins a road, 
crosses a bridge and then goes back into the woods. There are a couple 
of house/trailers right there, as well. I remembered this scene from the 
hike in '98 (everything is looked at through the prism of the Hike in 
'98, you know). So, I was glad I now know where that scene is. Funny 
thing...there is a car in a driveway there with the license plate of 
"2AT95".  I wonder if there are hikers living there looking at things 
through the prism of a 'Hike of '95'.  (Was there an AT in '95?) 

Had a nice little hike through the Gould Brook area. The only problem 
was...it seemed like it was 'late in the evening'. It was overcast, 
there were some evergreens overhead and the sun was setting. As I 
crossed Upper Cold River Road I saw two bucks in the woods on the Trail 
in front of me. There was a pick-up truck parked up the road a few 
hundred yards, so I waited for Sundown to catch me. I didn't want to run 
some deer off if a hunter had them in his sites...and, I thought it'd be 
better for us to hike the last mile or so together. Especially since we 
were going to a 'secret' shelter that neither of us were sure how to get 

We found the shelter easily enough. And, loved it. We hurried to get set 
up before dark...getting our beds ready and eating dinner. I was still 
more or less full from my late breakfast, so I just ate some Grape Nuts 
with milk, some hot tea and some snack or another. Sundown made his 
standard Lipton meal. After all was said and done...and, we were getting 
into bed, I checked my clock (which was on my cell phone...so, I had to 
power it up):    4:15!!!!  We were getting in bed at 4:15!!!!!  We 
apparently had gotten to the shelter at around 3:00!!  It was so dark in 
the woods, and the danged sun went down so early, we assumed it was 6 
o'clock or later! 

We had a really nice evening all the same. The 'secret' shelter is a 
really nice place and has good water and privy (even if the two seem to 
be pretty close to each other).  A good day.   (My GOD that is one 
long-assed story for a single day that not much happened on!!) 

Felix J. McGillicuddy
ME-->GA '98
"Your Move"
ALT '03 KT '03

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