Saturday, September 26, 2015

So, sorry for the lag between posts, but Vermont. It is stunning here. The leaves are starting to turn and I have never seen a wider array of colors than here. It is amazing. There are leaf colors that I have only seen in things like that huge book of color. Unreal. Add to that visiting with friends, going for walks, looking at stores in little towns, driving about, it is actually pretty easy to forget that we have a blog where we are supposed to be telling everyone about our adventures.

Tomorrow we are planning on going hiking with our friends on Mount Ascutney. Yes, that is actually the name. It is nearly in New Hampshire. But since this isn’t really a large state anyway we aren’t exactly stressed about the long drive. :D

Monday, I plan on going to Warren Falls and swimming in the river. The thing is, Warren Falls is a great swimming hole area. The water is really clear and there are several deep pools there that will be great. There are even some places where you can dive into the water. Sure it is going to be tit shrinking cold but I want to do it because I am a touch nuts. J

Tuesday we are back in Montpelier for a few things and then get with the packing. Hopefully we will be able to squeeze in a visit with another friend in the area before the next day because on Wednesday we are shuffling off to Buffalo, where I will eat me some Buffalo Wings.

But today, we were in Montpelier and I bought some books, including a number of Heinlein first editions. Major Score!! We also went to Warren Falls where I came up with my brilliant idea of swimming. I am already cold in anticipation. Now we are home and all is good.

Love you all and miss many of you. Those I don’t miss might be because you are terrible or simply because I don’t know you. Just saying.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Yesterday was fun. I planned on hiking the Mount Abraham trail and reaching the summit. I had lunch packed and other stuff ready to go, so I was looking forward to it. After the fairly short drive to Lincoln Gap, Cindy and I reached the trail head.

The section of the trail I was going to be hiking was a section of The Long Trail. This is a trail that runs through the mountains of Vermont from North to South. It starts at the border with Massachusetts and ends at the Canadian border. It is fairly rough since the terrain here is fairly rocky. Also of note, the Long Trail is the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail.

I kissed the wife and headed off. The trail started pretty steep, but I was fresh and it was good. See… the thing is, when you are climbing to the top of a mountain there is a lot of up, and I do mean a lot. There was a lot of steep grades, rocks, roots, etc… all in the way. And stairs… lots of stairs. Some with rock steps and others with wood. It made my inner Taoist squeal happily but my inner hiker just sighed and groaned.

As you can see through the pictures, the trail was on the rough side. It didn’t take long before I was very happy that Cindy decided that hiking this was not for her. The trail was lovely but it was listed as strenuous for a good reason. Several groups passed me, as I quickly came to the realization that if I didn’t pace myself that I would run out of juice. And about a mile in I came to the realization that maybe this was a dumb idea for an overweight woman in only fair shape. I was overheating and started using a bandana soaked in ice cold stream water to help moderate my temperature. I was soaked to the bone and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

After 1.8 miles on the trail, I came to the Battel hut. This is a place where thru hikers can camp out on a flat surface with a roof over their heads. I thought it was pretty nice. There is a water spot and a picnic bench. I sat there for a bit, talking to two guys doing the Long Trail who were carrying lacrosse rackets. Apparently that was something they were doing for fun. Go them.

At this point I was only .8 miles from the summit and I was excited, despite being tired. 

However, the trail was far more intense in the last half of that. The first bit was nice. Sure it was still up but it was in nice shade with moss covered ground about, peaceful and still for the most part. I liked that. 

Then came the rock.

Those pictures are of the trail. Yes that is bare rock face. Yes I had to hike/climb that to reach the summit. It took forever because I got wore out easily. But climb I did. The view did not suck either.

There was also this really cool and large rock that stood out from the others. I call it Whitey Boulder, after the Boston Gangster. And in true Tennet fashion, I licked it. 

What was also fun was that the closer to the summit I got the shorter the trees got. Near the very top there were scrub pines that came to maybe my hip. The summit itself had alpine/artic plants up there and had twine to mark the boundaries so they could grow undisturbed. But I had made it to the top.

The view was stunning. The panorama shots here do not do it justice.

To the north I could make out a little bit of Canada. To the East I was able to see the White Mountains in New Hampshire. To the south were several of the Green Mountains. And to the west I could see Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks in New York. The day was clear without a cloud in the sky and the only impediments to seeing forever was the atmosphere itself. It took my breath away, which wasn’t too difficult as I had really been working.

This is the USGS seal of approval, stating the the summit was at 4006 feet.

Going down sucked, because all your weight shifts forward and hurts your toes. It was certainly a lot faster but it certainly did hurt. They still ache. And as to the question, does a Heather pee in the woods? Yes, and it was certainly an experience. Thank the Gods for through research. I did spot this great bit of surprise clover.

When I got back to the hut, I was fried and still had a good ways to go. I sat and talked to this woman, who for her 60th birthday was hiking the Long Trail. Finally, I got to my feet and trudged back. The route still had those steep bits, but this time I was heading down. Honestly I started to wear down faster than expected, thinking I would be fine for the return trip. I was still overheating, and I ran out of water halfway back to Lincoln Gap. That was not good.

This really cool root system that had pulled up helped distract me for a while.

I did not have a good time after this. I was thirsty, my legs cramped up, I began stumbling, slipping and such. It was bad. There were times I had to force myself to stand up because otherwise I wouldn't have gotten back up. There was also a few times where I just wanted to lay down in the dirt and call it a day. And yet I still wasn't back. 

Finally, I reached the top of this climb and saw a sign I remembered from the beginning of the trail. I got excited and as I began down slope again I spotted the road. About halfway down I saw our car pull up and by the time Cindy got out of the car and walked over to the trail head, I was nearly down. 

Needless to say, I was done in. 

We got home, I showered, ate and lay there with my legs up, fried beyond all belief. I am still tired now, the next day. That was definitely more mountain then I could chew but I stubborned myself through. I am sure nobody doubts that.

I hiked 5.34 miles, took about 35k steps according to my phone and burned roughly 1700 calories. Not bad for a days diversion.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Yesterday was laundry day, see you there, underthings, tumbling...

Any way, yesterday we went to Rochester to get our clothes clean. That was fun. We first sat in the Bookstore and Bakery and then crossed the street to the cafe when the net was giving us issues. It was thrilling. We bought toilet paper.

Today was migraine and fibro, so again we just sat around. A thrill a minute. Though tomorrow should be fun as I am going to hike Mount Abraham. It's about 6 hours there and back again. That will be interesting.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Out of Touch in Vermont

So the trip from Virginia to Vermont was more of an adventure than we expected. We arrived in Wayne, PA around 5:30 Monday afternoon, discovered it was an adorable little town with lots of stone houses, friendly neighbors, great gardens, and a really close-by greenway where we went for a walk before dinner.

Discovery of a couple tasty local places for our dinner that night and breakfast the following morning put Tuesday off to a great start. 
Fresh Peaches & Vanilla Cheesecake in a GF Buckwheat Crepe!
Non GF Crepe with Sauteed Mushrooms, Bacon, and Cheese!

We were on the road before 10am and heading North again. Then, we passed a sign telling us how far it was to NYC via various tunnels and bridges. They were all in the 35 minute range, and I said “hey, want to see if Na’ama is free for lunch?” We fully expected this would add about 3 hours to our trip. It ended up adding about 7, and we wouldn’t trade a moment of it. It’s not often people from Tennessee can turn up in Long Island for lunch because “we were in the neighborhood.” 
This is the kind of friend you can't pass up the chance to see.

Oh, and the lunch we got! There are no pics of the food because it didn’t last long enough, but I had roasted beet tacos with mango salsa – so good! Heather’s gnocchi with pesto smelled amazing, and Na’ama gave me a few bites of her roasted beet salad, too. Everything at The Witch’s Brew was delicious, including the crème brulee we all had for dessert.

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful (another tasty dinner find on our way up, and we got to compliment the chef personally, so that was cool), but long. We arrived at The Gathering Inn around 2:10 AM, and stumbled in to explore our new short-term home.

Some of you may have seen brief mention of a phone call from the innkeeper yesterday – she has a house next door to the inn, and offered us that 2 bedroom, 2 bath space, just for us, for the whole month, instead of the room in the inn we had previously arranged for. Those of you who’ve known me for a while, know how I really like having my own space. With Airbnb, we’ve so far been in the house with other people, but had our own room. I’m okay with that – I can go retreat to my room when desired, and if Heather is in there too, well she’s my Heather; it’s okay. But if I’m offered a 2 story place with our own living space, kitchen, and an extra bedroom for guests (yes, she said we can have guests visit), and it’s not going to cost me a dime extra? Yes, I’ll take it!

There is one sorta downside to the house. The wi-fi signal doesn’t reach us. We’re welcome to use the signal in the inn, and she said it will even reach the picnic table out back, but it does mean our access to social media will be severely limited this month. Add that to the fact we have NO cell signal here, can’t send texts or make calls at all, and we’re gonna be a bit more out of touch than usual. It’s a good trade-off, especially since we’ve both said we wanted to do more non-internet stuff (read more books, study our interests, practice our crafts, play more games, go outside more, etc.). This is going to make those things much more likely when we don’t have the familiar internet habits to slip into as easily.

So far today we’ve walked to a nearby hotel/restaurant for breakfast, and I’ve walked the 4-5 minutes to the White River to see the little trickles there. We had a couple busy days of travel to get here, and I don’t expect there will be anything else today but relaxing and possibly picking up groceries (and at some point, carting the laptop to the inn so I can actually post this entry for you).

Knowing us, we’ll be checking in with our usual internet communication every couple days, but I imagine we’ll have more to share in between those times. J