August 17-18: mile 1685: The Seven Tribes Free Hostel/Cult

We got up early thinking we would do 17-20 miles putting us close to Rutland Vermont.  The hiking was just gorgeous.  I recommend the stretch between Manchester and Rutland as a two to three day hike for day hikers looking for moderate difficult trail with gorgeous views.  We were at altitude again with most of the day at 3000 feet or above.  The trail followed bubbling streams cascading down green mossed rock falls the whole way.  Vermont is a really special section of the trail.  Again, it feels like lord of the rings as you navigate up and down moderate hills.  

As the day wore on we hit a nice trail magic road crossing where we hung out for an hour sipping dr peppers and eating Oreos.  By 4 o’clock we hit our shelter objective but noticed that storms were forecasted for 3 am.  DB and I decided to press on and try to make Rutland and stay at the famous 12 tribes free Hostel slash cult.  We pounded out another four miles — 23 for the day– and hit the road crossing at 630.  We got there and were checked into the cult.  They gave us “kool-aid” in the form of Mate tea from Brazil.  Because of the weather there were fifty hikers already checked in.  Free bunk, free kool aid, free shower, free laundry, ect.  In short, heaven.  

We were going to hike out the next day but it was storming like hell.  So we zeroed at the cult and I used the opportunity to fix my smashed phone.  I took two buses to a far flung mall to pay 135 dollars for new glass on my phone.  The mall was 75% unoccupied with no customers anywhere– eerie as hell.  The repair kiosk replaced the glass while I waited an hour.  No mall customers anywhere– weird.  I took two bus transfers back and had time to freshen up before the Sabbath celebration that appeared somewhat mandatory.  

After I got out of the shower, I was approached by a “member” who asked me if I was “handy” with tools.  I said “I guess” at which time he handed me a sack of new door knobs and locks and instructed me to replace the locks and door knobs in the hostel and leave the new keys at his desk.  Ok…. I guess I can do that…The project took me about an hour leaving me time to meet my obligatory appearance at the sabbath celebration.  The dancing and singing had already begun when I arrived in the basement.  The peace and love were in full bloom with some hikers watching with mild appreciation while others banged away at tambourines or danced along.  Don’t get me wrong, it was all very benign but very weird.  Every guy had a pony tail and wore similar cuffed geans.  The women and children wore long dresses, while everyone had a corded head band.  There were songs and dances and testimonials while waited for or food.  One testimonial was a gal who had hiked here four weeks ago and was baptized into the clan.  Admittedly, she professed to never being happier in her life and how she had finally found peace and love.  She wasn’t faking it.  

So after we finished our mate tea and smoked trout I whispered into Dancing Bears ear:  “do Germans know what a French exit is?”  They dont.  But he was one step ahead of me and said: “I go make a pee and wait for you out on street.” I said that I was five minutes behind him.  Of course there was a member upstairs around the exit warning me that I would miss the Israel folk dancing.  DB and I met outside and high tailed it to the saloon for some much needed barley based deprogramming.  Happy trails.

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