Just as soon as I stepped over the state line, Vermont lived up to its nickname – Vermud. I found myself at the edge of a muddy part of the Trail that was full of frogs. As I was trying to snap a picture, I lost my balance and had to catch myself by stepping my right foot into a foot deep section of the dark mud. I was stuck in way deep and couldn’t get my shoe out without backing my foot out. As I was trying to maneuver that, I almost tipped backwards and just barely kept from falling by grabbing a tree limb. Now, I was cracking up. I sloshed around in my sock foot and rescued my shoe.
It took a good while to get myself sorted out and I continued down the hill enjoying the forest service road part of the Trail. After a few minutes, I realized that I had gotten off course a while back and didn’t see any white blazes around. I turned around and headed back up the hill to discover that the Trail cut off to the east. That’s right – just before the big mud pit that tried to eat me. All that drama and I wasn’t even on the dang Trail.
It was that kind of day. I picked a nice spot next to a beaver dam for lunch and dumped everything out of my backpack to settle in for a long lunch and a cup of PG Tips tea. As soon as was settled in I was swarmed by black flies. These guys are way worse than mosquitoes and they leave tiny red welts everywhere they bite. I grabbed everything and held it in my arms and went stumbling out of there as quickly as I could and had to go a pretty good ways down the Trail before they let me eat in peace.
The rest is the day was much better. I got to retrace some steps on part of the Trail that I’ve hiked before. I took a long weekend and flew up here to Bennington to hike this section. That was two years ago when I really got serious about wanting to thru hike. I had such a blast on that trip because I got to meet a bunch of thru hikers that really got me excited. I couldn’t see a way back then how this was going to happen but dreamed about it anyway. And here I am. I’m so glad a listened to those hikers and let their funny stories encourage me.