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Glastenbury Mountain

  • Start: stealth site just south of Goddard Shelter
  • End: Story Spring Shelter
  • Approx miles: 10.4

I wake up today at 4am with horrible back pain, tossing and turning before finally giving up and taking ibuprofen to get back to sleep. I have some Inception-style nested lucid dreams before waking up for real.

First, I dream that a bear is messing with my tent and I have to yell to scare it off. I wake up from that dream to bright light, and the hustle and bustle of city noise. I unzip my tent and look outside. I’m in an alley the same size and shape as my campsite, with a busy street right where the trail would be. The buildings are pastel colors; it feels like I’m in Spain. I sit up to find myself facing two young Black men wearing full motorcycle gear and charging their one-wheeled scooters1. They say they’re also on a tour. I comment that they probably can’t get very far between charges on those scooters. “You’d be surprised,” they reply. I ask how long their tour is and they say three days. Then I wake up again on a couch in dark house. I get up and go outside, and it turns out it’s the house I grew up in. There are driveway reflectors set up all over the yard, underneath where the birdfeeders used to be. There’s an ocelot running around in them. I chase after it and try to yell at it until I wake up for real. Dreams are weird. Anyway, I hope this back pain doesn’t get worse!

It’s still early when I get out of bed and quickly pack up camp after eating my usual trail breakfast of Pop-Tarts. I feel so much better than I did last night, and I’m bounding up the mountain towards Goddard Shelter. After seeing the terrain, I’m glad I didn’t try to push it yesterday. It’s not that steep, but I was really cooked—I don’t think I’d have been able to do this.

I reach the shelter to find Particle still packing up. I also meet Randy, an AT section hiker. I end up hiking on-and-off with the two of them for most of the day, which is relatively easy and uneventful. We cross over Glastenbury Mountain in the morning. Sadly the fire tower on top is closed, apparently it’s been deemed unsafe. I doubt there’d be a view anyway since it’s foggy. I can see how this area gets its eerie reputation. The woods here just have a kind of a mysterious, otherworldly feel.

Scenes from the trail near Glastenbury Mountain.
Some mysterious berries I kept seeing on the trail at high altitudes.

I stop for lunch at Kid Gore Shelter.

Passed by a few beaver bogs and stopped to take a break. My boots are muddy! You can see the beaver dam on the left.

I reach Story Spring Shelter, which is surrounded by a big clearing for tenting, just as it starts raining. Particle and Randy arrive soon after.

Randy’s from Brooklyn and just graduated high school in the spring. She’s taking a gap year before going to college at UVM in Burlington. She’s excited to get out of NYC, which is so strange for me to hear—it’s hard for me to imagine wanting to leave the city! I guess it’s different if you grew up there. It’s really nice hanging out with the two of them for the evening though, really different from last night by myself. Its funny feeling so old though. I can feel the life experience gap between me and the two of them. Have to try not to “back in my day” all the time, and remember to treat everyone as an adult 🙂. It strikes me that the trail is like RC2 in that way—brings together people of a variety of ages and walks of life who are so different from each other, but have one goal in common. It’s cool. Speaking of RC, I’ve been thinking about my life and future while I hike, and it strikes me that its easy to think about the big questions about here because none of it feels scary. Things that worry you in everyday life just feel sort of inconsequential, like they’re about a different world that has no bearing on this one.

Tomorrow’s a big day—our first real climb up Stratton. I’m a little nervous but I’m sure we’l be fine. Randy is carrying so much weight (eight days of food, playing cards, four pound tent!) I hope she manages. The thunderstorms Parfait was worried about seem to have dissipated to just a light rain fortunately. I’m also a little worried about being able to get a hitch into Manchester Center to resupply3, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

  1. The ones that are like a Segway without a handle, that balance gyroscopically and you move just by leaning back and forth. ↩︎

  2. “RC” is the Recurse Center, my former employer. It’s a free, self-directed retreat for programmers. People of all experience levels and ages come from all over to get better at programming by working on whatever projects they want to; teaching and learning from each other with no imposed structure. ↩︎

  3. Manchester Center is where I’m planning to stop and make my first resupply in a couple days. Thru-hikers typically buy a few days of food at a time, then go into a nearby “trail town” to resupply on food and gear when they run out. Some people mail themselves boxes ahead of time; I’m just planning to shop at grocery stores. Manchester Center is about 50 miles into the LT and a popular first resupply stop. The town itself is five miles from the trail along a busy road, so practically you have to hitchhike in and back out. Drivers in Vermont are generally friendly and happy to give hikers a ride. ↩︎