Sucker Brook shelter to Middlebury Gap. 6 miles
“And it is a profound consolation, perhaps the only one, to this haunted animal that wastes most of a long and ghostly life wandering the future and the past on it’s hind legs, looking for meanings, only to see in the eyes if others of it’s kind that it has to die”. The Snow Leopard, Peter Mathhiessen ( referring to “it”- intuitive wisdom)
We are off the trail for most of today, after a relatively strong ascent of 1,000 feet from the shelter. Things come full circle sometimes, like today when Susan picks us up at Middlebury Gap and takes us to her home some 50 minutes away. Susan and Lee are Duff’s parents.
Duff is a striking 26 year old woman who hiked over 2,000 miles with General Lee and me on our 5 month west coast backpacking trip. We welcomed her when she began to hike with our group- MeGaTex- and her spirit, beauty, and strength only added to our own experience, as we forged ever northward through searing heat, icy cold, and fear. S
Duff’s somewhere in Tahoe now, but when she heard (through Facebook) that Lee and I were hiking the Long Trail, which she completed herself 5 years ago, she encouraged her parents to reach out to us and offer us warmth, shelter, food, and the care that a hiker rarely experiences on their journey.
This place is a Vermont hand hewn palace, built by her parents’ hands in the late 1970’s. There are fields here, large ones, that have been cleared by hand that are now grass carpets, and a vegetable garden that is up in the top 5% of any of the many that I have seen.
At 134 miles, we are now half way through our hike. We left the Appalachian Trail some 30 miles ago and the footpath is more difficult. Things are opening up here. I am lightening up too, having lost 7 pounds in 11 days of walking.
I was out first today. No music in my ears. At 2,700 feet up the side of a mountain I came upon two moose in the early morning light- a mother and a yearling, who moved on quickly after the big one’s eyes and mine locked for a moment.
On the way over here, I asked Susan to stop at a bookstore so that I could buy a volume of Robert Frost’s poetry. From up high today we had just one view- of the Breadloaf writer’s colony, which Frost co-founded in the 1920’s. How could I not be reading The Road Less Traveled in this land?
Back to the second half of the Long Trail tomorrow