After a zero day in Hanover I crossed over the Connecticut river (attached picture) and into Vermont! I have now survived the two toughest states, Maine and New Hampshire. Eagerly anticipating easier trails, less rock, and climbs and descents that are less steep. I was not disappointed! Hiking was enjoyable again and a lot less pain coming from my knees. Still many ups and downs, that is the trail, seeing more meadows, farmland, and the green Mountains of Vermont. Even some color is starting to show. I covered just over 50 miles over the five days of hiking averaging about 10 miles a day. I’m doing less miles over easier terrain to allow my knees to heal and it is working. The challenge is it is putting me farther behind schedule to complete by Thanksgiving Day. I’m now about two weeks behind where I would like to be (100 miles). Mainly due to the difficulty of Maine and New Hampshire plus the zero days of recovery I needed (4 extra days). I need to hike what my body will allow. My other concern is my weight loss. I have now lost about 20 lbs! Eating the right foods, high protein and calories has been a challenge. When I make to hostels or towns I am to stuff myself to build my protein back up, but the daily hiking and energy I’m expending exceeds what I’m taking in. Talking to other hikers they suggest eating at least six ounces if peanut butter every day,drinking or adding3-4 ounces of olive oil to my meals, eating granola and high energy bars every hour based upon the energy I’m expending (I’m sick of them) plus tuna fish and salmon packets in oil which I’m doing. I need to figure my diet out,or I will need to make more frequent stops into towns to replenish. The weather has been better with only one moring of rain. It is allowing the trail to dry out with a lot less mud and water. The streams still have plenty of water to collect and filter for my drinking water.
Their are still lots of hikers on the trail. I pass between 15-20 north bound hikers each day and I’m with about 10 south bound hikers as we pass each other (mostly passing me) through out the day. The north bound hikers window to complete their through hike is getting smaller if they are going to get through New Hampshire and Maine before the October 1-15 timeframe. Many think they can still do 20 mile days, highly unlikely!
Still have not seen any big critters! Many signs warning of bear activity, but have not seen any. It’s probably a good thing! No moose and moose droppings are less frequent. Just lots of squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and a few snakes crossing the trail.
Your prayers for me, Brenda, and the Grounds ministry are greatly appreciated. I will continue to give updates when I have cell phone coverage which is mainly in towns.
Attached are pictures of the trails in Vermont.