Day 38: Peru Peak Shelter to Danby, VT (8 mi)
It absolutely poured rain all night. Luckily we opted to stay in the shelter due to the rain forecast, but man, the pelting rain drops on the metal roof of the shelter kept me up and I had a pretty sleepless night. Again.
My hiking was labored and sluggish. Just like yesterday. I was so fatigued and sleepy with every step. Something seemed off because my lack of energy was kind of incredible. I’m not usually that fatigued.
It was a rainier hike than yesterday as well. When we got to the summit of Baker Peak, which was a slippery, steep, and rocky summit, we had cell service and decided to ask Jamie’s friend Dawn to come and get us a little earlier than previously planned so we could escape the rain and because my fatigue was paramount.
As we started to descend it started to really pour on us. My pants were plastered to my legs and each step was in a giant puddle as the trail turned to small streams.
We finally got to a shelter and took a small break. The rain did not let up. We decided to press on. 3 more miles.
We got to the parking lot and I did a quick outfit change from wet to dry so I didn’t get too cold. Jamie had been hiking with his umbrella and was relatively dry.
We met up with Dawn and her daughter Onora and we went to a very cute little cafe to have lunch. We plan to take the rest of today and tomorrow off to hang out with them, do some laundry, shower and rest.
Day 39: zero day in Poultney, VT
We had a leisurely morning at Kyle and Dawn’s house. We opened our resupply box from Kate and found SO MANY GOODIES inside (including homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies!!!) Thank you Kate! We devoured most of the snacks instantly and I’m so excited about adding fruit leather and Skratch bars to our mix (Thank you Kate!!).
We went to Fair Haven for lunch and errands and ate delicious vegan paninis at a local cafe. When we got home, I passed out again for a nap (took a very long nap yesterday as well and could have kept sleeping if I hadn’t been woken up for dinner). The fatigue was so strong I could barely speak. The only reason I woke up was because I was sweating, otherwise I think I could have kept sleeping. I think my body was definitely fighting a virus or bacteria.
Shortly after I woke up from my nap, more college friends of Jamie’s came to visit us! Jordan, Laura, and their adorable 3 year old Eloise came for the afternoon/evening. They also brought us resupply goodies in the form of dark chocolate which we devoured and relished! THANK YOU!
We all went to a local swimming spot in a river for the afternoon as it was pretty warm out (88 degrees and no A/C). I felt super sleepy and out of it and had a few bouts of diarrhea, so I knew I wasn’t doing well and glad to have the zero day.
We went out to dinner with everyone and the kids and stopped by a playground on the way home. This wasn’t just any playground, it had a zip line swing that was legit! (Among other features!)
We went back home and I continued to have diarrhea and went to bed on the earlier side.
Day 40: Danby, VT to Clarendon Shelter (15.7 mi)
Woke up and had more diarrhea. I wasn’t too sure how today was going to go if I was still maybe fighting off some type of sickness, so I would just take it chunk by chunk knowing that there were potential bail out spots for Kyle/Dawn to come get us at.
We hit the trail around 9:15 ish this morning. We took a short break 2 mi in at Little Rock Pond which was beautiful. Climbed for a while up to a rock garden where we took another break. It started to rain on us, wore the rain jacket for the descent, but it wasn’t too bad. When we got to the bottom of the descent at Bully Brook, we took another break. I had to take my shoes off to cross the brook to not get my shoes completely drenched. I rinsed my socks in the brook because they were dripping with brown mud, and switched to dry socks. I put my rain jacket away because it was drizzling slightly and we had a big climb ahead.
The nameless peak we climbed up was a long climb. I actually enjoyed it. It was nice trail with switchbacks, but never ending climbing. Jamie prefers the shorter and steeper climbs so he felt this climb was brutal. We took a pack off break at the top to give our left shoulders a break. For some reason we are both having issues with cramping in our left shoulders (especially with heavy fully resupplied packs).
We descended to Minerva Hinchey Shelter and there was a group of adolescent boys from a nearby summer camp doing a 3 day hike. They were very sweet and curious. A few of them said they were from Brooklyn, NY and had never been hiking before or spent more than 1 night away from home. They were excited to tell us about the next 4 miles because that was what they had hiked that day. One boy encouraged us by saying “if we can do it, and we’re just little kids, you can do it!” We left the shelter and I felt in better spirits just from having those sweet interactions with middle school kids. There is something truly special about that age group.
We had a nice gradual descent for a while and then we had a 0.7 mi very steep and rocky descent down to a foot bridge and roaring river. I slipped a few times but didn’t really fall but Fresh Feet was going a bit quicker and fell a few times on the slippery rocks.
We paused for a minute under Jamie’s umbrella at the footbridge as the rain picked up again. After we crossed we only had 1.2 miles left to get to our shelter, but it was steep and rocky and we had to do a bit of scrambling. I was really grateful to not be going down it. It took us a while to get to the shelter because of this last challenging climb, but we finally made it. I washed and changed at the water source and then we set up in the shelter, which had double wide bunks. It is supposed to rain pretty hard tonight, so the shelter is pretty full. I don’t feel as fatigued as I was, so I think I may be over the hump.
Day 41: Clarendon Shelter to Churchill Scott Shelter, VT (15 mi)
Hit the trail around 8. It poured rain all night, so we were glad to be in the shelter. I slept with ear plugs and I really think it helped. It was still a bit rainy most of the day. We hiked 6.5 miles to the next shelter where we took a break from the rain before hitting the 4 mile climb up Killington Mountain, our first 4k-er.
The climb wasn’t that bad. It got a bit steep and rocky towards the top, but it didn’t last too long. Once at the top, there was a lot of flat-ish trail before getting to the shelter at the top where we took a break.
The rocks, greenery and roots were so bright and beautiful at the top. I really enjoyed the colors and the Christmas in a cloud feeling.
At the top we took a break with some other hikers and I was pretty wet (mostly my sports bra from sweating during the climb. My rain jacket kept my shirt pretty dry). I should have changed right away, but was hungry and not cold yet, so focused on making my soylent drink. Then I changed into a dry sports bra and put on a long sleeve shirt and my buff as a hat, but it was too late. I was SUPER cold and my whole body was shivering. I threw on my rain jacket and started descending because I needed to move my body to warm up. It took over an hour before I finally started to turn a corner. Jamie gave me his buff to put around my neck and mouth, and the heat from my breathing helped warm me up some. It was a bit scary dealing with that wee bit of pre-hypothermia, but all along I knew I had to keep moving to try to get my heart rate up to warm up my core. I tried to run, but it was so slippery and rocky that I couldn’t get much in because I had to be super careful with my footing.
I finally made it to the shelter at the bottom right when the sun started to peak out. We hung all our wet clothes up and we had the shelter to ourselves. We decided to sleep in the shelter to not get the tent wet (ground and tent pad are wet), although not expecting rain tonight. It’s pretty rare to have a shelter to ourselves because we have been running into folks doing the long trail each night, as well as quite a few SoBo-ers, but most people hiked 2 extra miles to get into Rutland to stay at the infamous Yellow Deli. We felt that we had spent enough time off trail recently and that we would get an earlier start if we stayed on trail, hence the shelter.