May 12, 2017

Ouch! Last night was my worst night for leg cramps. I woke twice with excruciating pain from both legs. Between stretching, pressure point massage, and relax meditation, it took a while to get my muscles to relax. I need to make sure that I drink more water on today’s hike.

I wake at 5am and begin my routine to get ready for my hike today, except that I won’t repack my full pack, since I’m staying another night at Catamount Motel in Bennington, so I could get back to back slack packs of 18.5 and 20.2 mile days, without further beating on the heel of my left foot until tomorrow, when I expect to get my orthotics. This will be after my final 12 miles into Manchester Center.

I will be carrying a minimal daypack with food for snacks and lunch, my water bottle, dirty bag and Sawyer water filter, my rain/windbreaker jacket, toilet paper, pocket knife and spoon, and emergency blanket. In all, I’ll be carrying about 5 lbs vs my full pack weight of just over 30 lbs. I can hike more quickly and sexily on the trail and in shorter time. With the town 5 miles from the trail and cell service non existent at the trailhead, I will make the call for a ride to town once I’m on top of one of the final Mtns before dropping down to the road.

A Bald eagle greeted me, just as I hit the trail. It flew away as I pulled out my phone to take a picture.

Well, I raised my plateau of miles, hiking 22.6, not 20.2 as the shuttle person said. I checked my gps. So, I got off the trail later than I would have if only 20.2. It was a good day hiking those miles in 9.5 hours.

When I relaxed for joy of finishing hike I slipped on a rock. I knew better. I hope I learn my lesson to stay focused 100% of the time.

As I head into town for a cooked meal, I acknowledge the desirability of every person to take regular consistent time to move their blood more quickly throughout their bodies. Best medicine for body and mind.

Having my last meal in Bennington. Nice town. I’ll be hiking 17.3 miles into Manchester. I was in error thinking I only had 12 miles to hike. To compensation and still try to best tomorrow afternoon’s incoming rain storm, I’ll be on the trail by 7am.

I greeted Man in Black in the trail he was heading nobo, like me, except for today, when I became a sobo for 22.6 miles. It allowed me to slack pack.

Vermont mountains are unique and appreciated, reminding me of the Smokies, where the hike is a steep climb up to a mountaintop, then for miles staying on ridges without much big elevation drops or climbs afterwards.

While on the trail, when I noticed I had cell service, I called John, with whim I arranged to have him drive me back to Kelly’s Stand, where Dave had dropped me off, so I could hike the final 17 miles into Manchester, with John dropping my pack off at Sutton’s Place, where I’ll take a zero hike day on Sunday.

After 22 miles, which I hiked in 9 hrs, I relaxed a bit, once I saw the highway (Rte 9) and knowing that Catamount would have someone pick me up by 6pm, so I wouldn’t have to walk the 2.5 miles into town or spend time hitching. My relaxation was too soon, as I walked in the shallow water running on the trail. I noticed but took insufficient caution and stepped on a large rock that was partly green. I slipped immediately and hard, hitting my elbow, cutting it and causing a small tear in my shirt, which I’ll mend. The lessons I have to repeat are painful. Pay attention, Don!

Alan, who picked me up offered to take me to my room to shower and such, before he drove me the 1/4 to where I planned to eat. After the miles I’ve been hiking, I was so very appreciative. After eating, I walked back, stopping for gatorade and a pint of ice cream. With John picking me up at 6am, I quickly feel asleep, after the ice cream, setting my phone alarm to 4:30am.

Yawn yawn…goodnight…