I am now working in southwestern Vermont, in a place that is very close to the Appalachian Trail. Bennington is a “trail town” and I have been fortunate enough to be here in the summer to witness what that means to this area. For quite some time now, I have had a slight obsession with the AT-I’ve read quite a few books, I know some people who have thru hiked and I have been trying to create my own “trail magic” by getting involved with the hiking community that is here. I enjoy giving hikers rides to and from town and to hear their stories. I have had very good experiences so far. I think if anyone wants to have some faith restored in humanity, they should become part of the trail community. I have encountered nothing but kind and generous people. Whether it is giving a ride to someone, having a cookout set up on the side of the road or just some kind interactions, I have witnessed all of these things.
I don’t have any grand illusions that I will thru hike this trail, but I have been working on getting active on it. I have now hiked a very little (in the grand scheme of its’ 2190 miles or so) of the trail in a couple of states. I find it fascinating to stand in the same place that so many people have and will continue to do so. I love imagining what brought them to the trail and what keeps them there. Even more interesting to me is my personal journey and love for the trail. It is a story that starts sad and gets happier as time passes.
I recently went to the top of Greylock Mountain, the highest peak in Massachusetts and did a little “blue blazing” on some of the miles of trails there. It was beautiful, but the weather changes so quickly, which I wasn’t expecting. At the top, there is a war memorial tower for the men and women of Massachusetts that have lost their lives fighting.
Part of the trail that I did in Vermont is called by some as the mountain of 1000 steps. It’s a little brutal. I think I picked just about the hardest part of the Vermont trail to start in. Interestingly enough, the AT merges with the Long Trail for 105 miles before they branch off again-the LT heading toward Canada and the AT toward New Hampshire.
I will continue to research and learn about the trail and hopefully put more of it under my hiking boots.