We got up early at 6am with the idea that we could race through the 17 miles to Bennington and get in early enough to run various errands. The weather was good and the hiking pretty challenging. We hit the Vermont border pretty early and were buoyed by the thought that we are down to three states left. We are definitely getting our climbs back and the elevations are getting taller than the last few states. The terrain continued to be a little boggy with further stretches of boardwalked trail. While not as bad as Pennsylvania rocks, the webs of large exposed tree roots are becoming an issue. After many miles of stepping on them, it seriously hurts the feet and tires the ankles.
We got to the final descent into Bennington at about 4:00. The final half mile descent was so steep and hair raising that it took almost 90 mins and left us exhausted at the bottom. Luckily the motel people picked us up and we were sipping a beer while sorting laundry in no time. We ran into Ten and Huggy Bear at the motel and had a couple beers out front catching up.
The next morning it was decided that we should zero and rest up after taking care of necessary errands. As usual, the zero was the right call– my feet really improved from nearly crippled to walks funny. I got the last installment of my winter gear back at the post office. We watched a lot of CNN with pizza and beer— always just what the doctor ordered.
Later that evening, my old friend Matt Hill drove over from New Hampshire and took Dancing Bear and myself out to dinner. It was great catching up with him and seeing a face from home. Tomorrow we are back at it. Happy trails.