July 9, 1998

7/9/98 Clarendon Shelter

17.0 miles (1661.0 total)

Continued to rain all night, very hard at times. Max’s grandfather coughed all night. I asked him if he needed anything but he said no. So it was very hard to wake up this morning. A light sprinkle outside and a warm sleeping bag inside. Finally, after 7am I had to get up to go to the privy. Bluegrass and I didn’t leave the shelter till 9am. Grandfather was still sleeping, so I told Max to look out after him. A good kid. Most of the morning was just slogging through the mud. If only it would just stop raining long enough for the ground to dry.

Met an 87 year old woman out for a day hike. Considering the trail we’ve been doing, a considerable accomplishment for her age. She’d hike while her husband with a bum knee would wait ahead for her in the car.

Little Rock Pond was shrouded in fog. On a hot afternoon, I’m sure it would be a great swimmin’ hole. Stopped at Greenwall Shelter for lunch. At times, it really seemed like the sun wanted to come out. We went through an area covered with big Spruce trees with the forest floor covered with 2-3 foot saplings. The afternoon did turn sunny and warm. The Deet had worn off, so the mosquitoes were biting while we slogged through more muddy trail. The register at Minerva Hinchey Shelter revealed that Finn had fallen in love with Groovin’Moose but he had moved on.

Bluegrass couldn't get enough wild blueberries

After leaving the shelter, our pace quickened a little because we were headed for VT-103 near Clarendon Gorge. The descent turned into a steep drop. Fell once pretty hard. Got to the gorge to cross the Mill River suspension bridge which was one of the bounciest I’ve walked across. Saw a bunch of kids swimming in the river. But our real destination was the Whistle Stop Restaurant, about ½ mile off the trail. Had a good sirloin burger and fries, and washed it down with a M&M flurry. Sat under the umbrella eating and writing in my journal. After awhile, we headed back to the trail.

Note to self: Don’t eat too much when you have a climb still to do!

Our ascent out of the gorge was an almost vertical stone stairway. Both Bluegrass and I were struggling. Ended up dropping the tent under the bunks at the shelter late last night at the Clarendon Shelter. Bluegrass moved back into the shelter when we started hearing thunder (again).