Day 122

Today, was about an 18 mile hike to get near Bennington, Vermont. That’s right, Vermont. Due to normal trail conditions, this State is known as Vermud on the AT. I have no idea what is in store for me, but I never do and I embrace the uncertainty and diversity. It was 80 degrees first thing this morning and on the way to triple digits again.

In addition to starting a new State, I crossed 1600 miles before lunch.

The first half of the day was climbing to the top of a mountain. There was a good stretch that was literally straight up climbing. I was so sweat soaked from head to toe. It has been a while since I had to breath so hard. It was challenging and exciting at the same time. Other thru hikers were handling the conditions just as I was. We would take a few breaks together and look after each other and make sure everyone was ok and enjoy some human contact. I have been seeing a small number of the same thru hikers for the last few weeks. On the trail, this is called your tramily or trail family. These are the people you see, you laugh with, talk with, cheer up or be cheered up by and if something bad happens, these are the people who one will save or be saved by.

I got to the top and took a break to catch my breath and hydrate. At the same time I was thinking how much I am going to miss spending the 4th of July with my girlfriend, cooking food and watching fireworks from my balcony. I was also thinking about my other family members and relatives and what they have going on.

Passed by some very scenic bever ponds today. Got water from one of them, it was full of leeches.

Somewhere along the line, which I do not recall, I got a good gash on my left lower leg. Must have got caught on a rock. I must have been focusing on priorities like footing to even notice. I cleaned it up, put antibiotic on it, some gauze and tape. It will be fine.

Then at the end of the day, had to go down the mountain. It was a series of steep descents virtually on a cliff face. It ranks as one of the toughest, steepest and dangerous descents on the AT yet. Met a local who said he has taken people to the hospital with major facial damage, compound fractures of the arm and so on. I was glad it was not raining on the descent. Pictures cannot do justice to some of the terrain.

Today was the first day of biting flies. Several got me. Also, the gnats are getting bad and it really is not fun when they fly into your eyes on purpose, when you are trying to be careful with footing.

I am still having a blast and the time of my life. I am a different person now because of this experience. I will discuss more on this later.

9 thoughts on “Day 122

  1. PartAnimal PartMachine July 4, 2018 — 3:01 am

    Congratulations buddy!!! 1600 miles… Awesome! We so look forward to hearing about your adventure and transformation. Speaking of, we had a bit of a chuckle at the first photo in this post. A chuckle at what appears like red elf boots that you outgrew and could not get off as you transformed into Santa sized boots…

    At any PC rate, while you’ve hiked 1600 transformative miles, most others have hiked an equivalent distance with our fingers across keyboards, staring in a trance like state into a shiny screen with a desktop image depicting authentic and natural beauty as a soothing backdrop, all ones and zeros, products of a culture of make believe.

    Yes, a different person. How appropriate on this day of celebrating Independence. Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it. Live.

    For the wild – PAPM


    1. Thanks man…the elf boots comment made me laugh. A laugh that filled the woods.


  2. Thanks for the daily updates.
    I’m living vicariously through your adventures.
    If you have any time in Bennington, I explored a burying ground next to an old church. Stumbled across the gravesite of the poet Robert Frost. Pretty cool to see if you like cemeteries.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jessica, Chad, Dean and Ryan July 4, 2018 — 2:23 pm

    Take care and always stay safe big brother. We are cheering you on!!! Lots of rain here in Nevis followed by a few hours of good weather. We have been swimming, playing baseball, kickball and fishing when the weather is good.


    1. Sounds like a great time. Get the boys an ice cream from me.


  4. Congrats on another state, J. You’ll like the Green Mountains, the Killington area, and by your look in the picture above, perhaps you’ve had the thought of hiking the Long Trail too… it would be a piece of cake for you! Maybe next year! Enjoy Vermont, it’s a beautiful state. Won’t be long now and you’ll cross into New Hampshire…WoW!
    ps if you get near the Long Trail Brewery (so. of Killington I think), they have great food and beer!


  5. Mary Lou Iverson July 4, 2018 — 3:59 pm

    Happy Fourth of July. I wonder if you will see any fireworks tonight? !! Changed person? Most likely. All for the better. The isolation (except for a few trail people and layovers in town), the “next to nature,” and great physical challenges make a person figure out what is the real stuff in life. Bravo, Jason. You are a real trooper!


  6. Leaving us in suspense… something J loves to do. It’s hard to imagine the challenges you face because you write about them like they are nothing. Just another little bump on the road. HOw did you find out about the leeches? did you go for water and find some hitch hikers? ick…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it is best to look at all challenges as doable. otherwise it is self defeating. you can see the leeches swimming around. I have not had any on me.


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