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  • Start: Inn at the Long Trail
  • End: Inn at the Long Trail
  • Approx Miles: 0

My first true zero day. I only booked one night at the Inn yesterday, and have been debating whether to stay another. Today I wake up, look out at the drizzly gray weather, and go right downstairs to the front desk to book another night.

My stay includes free breakfast at the attached restaurant, which is delicious. Apple-cinnamon pancakes, sausage, orange juice, tea. The restaurant is actually built around part of Deer Leap Rock. Apparently it’s a huge maintenance hassle. The wall where it joins the rock is constantly leaking and having to be re-sealed.

The base of Deer Leap Rock where it butts into the restaurant.

My only aim today is to go into Rutland to resupply, so I take the free city bus late in the morning. Apparently Rutland made the bus free during the pandemic and just never got around to charging for it again. Suits me!

I wander around Rutland for a bit before going to the Price Chopper to get food. I try to buy only a couple days worth since I’m getting off trail again in just 35 miles, where I’ll stay a night off-trail with Tom, a family friend who lives in Ripton. After packing it all up though, I’m fairly confident I’ve overbought yet again!

Rutland itself is pretty uncompelling between the rainy, dreary weather and most of the local businesses being closed on a Monday. I eat a delicious lunch at Masala Corner and then hop back on the bus to the Inn and spend a relaxing afternoon zonked out watching TV on my phone.

I have dinner at the bar again, where the younger McGrath, Murray’s son, is working tonight. I also meet a bunch of other hikers who caught up during the day: Stiltz, a tall blonde woman from Pennsylvania about my age, and Hang Ten, a surf bro from New Jersey in his early twenties. Parfait (who I met on my first day) also caught up! There are also a couple of older fellows, Sir Sweep and Dr. Freeze. They’ve all been hiking together for the last few days, along with Mooch, who’s here with his mom again. It’s a good time hanging out and meeting everyone. I expect at least a few of them will be my crew for the rest of the hike, and I feel energized at the prospect of a more social experience.

The group at the bar. From left to right: Dr. Freeze, Parfait, Hang Ten, Sir Sweep, Mooch, Stiltz, me

Someone plays the acoustic guitar in the living room while I write in my journal before going to bed. The Inn is great. Such hospitality…the experience here vs. an AirBnb is night and day. You pay a bit more but you’re getting something really special for the price.

I fall asleep looking forward to another delicious breakfast tomorrow morning. And then onwards, down the trail!