Did I say the Arizona trail was rugged? Ha, me fool!
After celebrating July 4th in New York on a rooftop, hiker trash MASH (Robert Adamski) provided awesome trail magic and drove Soda and me out to Massachusetts. Thanks, MASH and happy trails on the Colorado trail.
Late afternoon we set foot on the Appalachian trail and soon crossed the state line to Vermont also called ‘Vermud’ because of obvious reasons. Everything I ever heard about the AT proved itself to be true immediately. Going up up up with rising steepness until you even have to use your hands to crawl up the big boulder rocks followed by ankle deep mudholes. It’s fun and intense. Kinda like a fast-moving computer game or Takeshi’s castle hopping from stone to stone over the mud but ending up sliding off into it at some point and you think “Oh come on”. It means having wet and muddy feet, so gross :).
After 7 miles of this AT introduction, we reached the first Vermont shelter right after sunset. This was pretty occupied by four other hikers who didn’t really seem they wanted to scoot over. The campsites all around the shelter were also filled up so we kept walking and fortunately found a place under some powerlines next to two friendly AT thru-hikers we met earlier that day.
Hiking wise the first days on trail felt really good, the legs felt strong, the shoes finally worked fine (new trial: Altra Lone Peak 3.0 – I had issues with sliding sideways in those shoes until I glued in the insoles) and the pack weight without a big water carry felt awesome too.
After the first shelter experience, we attempted to get to the next shelter in 20 miles as early as possible without rushing too much and got there just before 5 pm. We took the last two spots as all campsites around were full already. One girl in the shelter told us she was around at 2 pm and there were already two people setting up camp in the shelter. Reminded me of the stereotype about German tourists putting their towels on the benches near the pool early in the morning to reserve the best spots haha.
Sleeping in there next to so many people was tough. The next day after getting up last we got ahead of everyone we met in that shelter and made it to the first resupply town “Manchester”. We decided to stay there and give our muscles some rest to catch up. Starting off with 20-26 mile days after sitting on our butts for almost two months is not really considered easing yourself in again. Especially on this kind of terrain. It’s a great physical challenge though and is almost no need to carry water or too much food. There is water everywhere gushing out of the mountain and the towns are mostly only 50 miles apart (2-2.5 days of hiking).
So far so good.