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AT 2017: Day 123, Bennington to Kid Gore Shelter

Trouble ahead, the lady in red

Hike with Gravity

Several businesses along the trail have gained a reputation for being “hiker friendly,” which is a vague term with an understandable meaning. Owners of these businesses ignore the fact that hikers are smelly hobos, and provide the kinds of services that make a hike easier and more comfortable.

Catamount Motel in Bennington is such a business. The motel is more than five miles off the trail, so the owners know that to attract hikers they need to provide services like laundry and rides to and from the trail.

Being truly hiker friendly means more than that, though. There is an attitude of care and concern, and I found that here as well.

Weather Cloudy with a high temperature in the low 70s, with sprinkles in mid afternoon
Trail Conditions Rock, roots and mud
Today's Miles 14.4 miles
Trip Miles 1,625.0 miles

I walked down to the motel office this morning to see if I could buy a postage stamp in order to mail my wife Kim a birthday card. The owner gave me a stamp and refused my attempt to pay for it.

After returning to my room to finish packing, I discovered that I had forgotten to charge my backup battery the whole time I was staying here. It was foolish mistake, considering I had been here for two nights.

The best I could do was plug it in and hope it charged up enough to get me by until my next stop where an electrical outlet was available. I hadn’t run out of power yet while on this hike, but the next few days will be a test to see how long I can stretch the power in my phone and camera. I think I will have enough, though, because we intend to stop in Manchester Center in three days.

We were delivered back to the trailhead shortly after 8 a.m. Now we were a hiking crew of three, as Stick was joined by his daughter Becky.

After walking for a little more than an hour we entered Glastenbury Wilderness Area. It was designated as a wilderness area in 2006 and is just under 22,500 acres in size.

Stick and I looked ahead at the profile of this section of trail before we started, in part because we wondered how difficult it might be for Becky. She didn’t have the experience of hiking more than 1,600 miles, as we had.

We saw what looked like a long and sometimes difficult climb, but it didn’t turn out to be as difficult as expected. It was sometimes rocky and covered in roots, but for a climb of more than 2,400 feet it wasn't bad. It helped that the climb was stretched out over more than 10 miles.

This is why I tend to ignore trail profile views of maps. They can deceive you into thinking a trail is easier or more difficult than it really is. Of course, physical conditioning has something to do with how easy or difficult it is to walk that profile.

The last part of the climb to the top of Glastenbury Mountain remained pleasant. The trail near the summit was well groomed and lined with thick moss.

A fire tower stood at the top. Though towers like this have been made obsolete by improved communication and modern methods of tracking fires, it was nice to see this one was still standing.

Hikers are allowed to climb to the top of this tower, and though it was a cloudy and somewhat rainy day, there was still good visibility from the top.

Several people have vanished in and around this mountain; so many in fact, the area has become known as the Bennington Triangle.

I'm not making this up.

One of the most interesting of the stories about missing people happened on December 1, 1946, when an 18-year-old Bennington College student named Paula Welden disappeared while hiking on this trail.

Several people had reported seeing her that day wearing a bright red coat. When she didn’t show up for classes the next Monday, a search party was formed to look for her. Eventually, students, faculty, and local residents mounted a massive search effort, the size of which was probably due in part to the fact that Paula Welden's father was a well-known industrial engineer, architect and designer. Bloodhounds, helicopters and even a clairvoyant were used in the attempt to locate her.

She was never found.

To this day there are people who say it’s bad luck to wear red while hiking on this mountain.

From the top we had only four miles to go to reach Kid Gore Shelter. The hike down from the summit was slowed, though, by some of Vermont’s famous mud.

We arrived at 6:30 and found a spot to pitch our tents on a ledge near the shelter. For a climb like we did today in sometimes sloppy conditions, going nearly 14.5 miles made for a good day.

Rain began again at 10:15 p.m. I’m going to take a wild guess and say there will be mud on the trail again tomorrow.

Trouble ahead, the lady in red
Take my advice you'd be better off dead
Switchman's sleeping, train Hundred and Two
Is on the wrong track and headed for you


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine." ref.