8/28 Thistle Hill Shelter (14.4)

October 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm

 

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Today we woke up in the dark and climbed the crows nest to see the sun rise.  By far the best view on the AT in Vermont is from the top of this unassuming little cabin.  The cloud sea stretched out across the hills beyond and, as it always does, hid the roads and houses so that all we could see was the mountains, raising like cold, thoughtful monoliths out of their misty bed.

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Of course, then we went back to sleep.  This is a vacation, after all.  We woke up for a second time and got going after everyone else, feeling lazy this morning.  We wanted to stay at the Lookout Cabin forever.  Eventually, though, we made ourselves move and we ran down to route 12 with visions of pie in our heads.  We promptly found First Gear, Greenlite, and Limey gorging themselves on pie and discovered that Limey and the French lady at the pie stand had had a European altercation.  Our infuriated Brit marched Northward and we ate an entire pie and a pint of ice cream between us (after hearing the French side of the conflict).  Vermont has certainly kept us on our toes.

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We reached a beautiful view today just as a flash thunderstorm appeared.  We were able to actually watch it move towards us over the valley.  We debated whether or not it would actually hit us until a sudden downpour broke over our heads.  Running for cover, we discovered that the storm was so isolated, we were able to walk out of it in five minutes.  We immediately met a group of SOBOs who we questioned about weather.  They hadn’t seen any rain at all.  We tried to explain to them that it was pouring on the bald coming up – and only on the bald – but it’s the kind of weather phenomenon that it’s hard to believe in unless you’re part of it.

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We hiked on, but felt the winds shift every time we switchbacked and realized quickly that we were only just ahead of the storm.  There was amazing trail magic at Cloudland Road with frozen gatorades!  It’s strange how much of a difference it can make to consume something that is very hot or very cold.  These are the things we can’t easily get out here, without access to microwaves and freezers.  We greedily ran away with our frozen treats and hiked to Thistle Hill, where we debated what to do.

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The sky was getting darker – either because of the pattern of our trajectory or an increase in the wind speed, the storm behind us was winning our race.  Did we want to push on to uncertain shelter in West Hartford, where our trail family was headed, or stay in certain shelter and avoid a wet tent?  We opted for the latter, deciding that it was about time we got an early start for a change.  We had lots of room in the shelter with a group of Mayflies as our only companions.  We fell asleep knowing that it was our last night in Vermont.  Tomorrow we will be walking home!

IMG_20130829_070008_328Hiking through a cloud