August 2nd 2018
Clarendon Shelter – US route 4 / Rutland (mile 1701.9)
16.7 miles
Total miles: 1723.5

Since it was cold I have been wrapping up warm at night which has been unnecessary. I’ve employed the tricks of tucking my top into my pants, putting my buff on my head and burritoed myself in my sleeping bag and I’ve woken up sweating and really uncomfortable. It’s definitely not cold now, especially at the lower elevations and I am wondering if I needed my puffy sent back to me after all. 

It rained so hard in the middle of the night that it woke everyone up. I remember hearing it pounding on the tent, opening my eyes and seeing it was still dark and thinking ‘oh no’ and immediately falling back to sleep. 

It had stopped raining by the time we got up and the fly was still a bit wet but considering how much it rained I was expecting to wake up in a puddle. I visited the privy in the hope that I would be able to release the hostages but they weren’t ready. The privy was quite the experience though and when I sat on the seat I thought the whole thing was going to collapse. Imagine landing in a pit toilet. Gross! 


I left with peaches around 7am and we had a big climb ahead of us up to Mt Killington. This would be the first time we would get about 4000ft since, I don’t know, many many miles ago. The morning started off with a very steep climb up to an unremarkable peak. It was a rough start to the day and I was sweaty and damp within 5 minutes of hiking. Not that anything was dry when I had started on the trial. I wish I could describe the smell. It’s like wearing clothes to the gym and getting all sweaty, then leaving them in your bag so they never dry, then wearing them to the gym again and repeating that process every day for a month. Then you might start recreating the smell. Add that smell into all the straps of your backpack, which never goes away, it just gets worse and worse. 

For the rest of the early morning the trail inclined gently and uneventfully until we encountered two bulls and a cow just milling about in the middle of the trail. One of the bulls let out a rather loud cry and then tried to mount the female. There was not an easy way around them, and we weren’t sure how they had managed to escape the field on our right and end up on the trail. So we shouted and made mound noises and encouraged them off the trail and into the woods. Bulls are scary but this one was only interested in the female cow so we were able to slip by without a problem.


Peaches decided to go down the road and try to find the farmer to tell him that his cows had escaped. I carried on and continued to slog my way up the 5 mile climb. Peaches and Shred caught up to me and Shred was on a mission because he powered on past and he was quickly out of sight. I kept pace with Peaches for a little while and then when it got steeper I fell behind.


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The climb up was so beautiful. The wet trail adding to its mysteriousness. The further up I got the more mossy and mushroomy it became. This is definitely where the fairies hang out. I kept stopping to take photos of mushrooms and I was getting way behind but it was ok. It was such a beautiful part of the trail and I had the feeling of not wanting to rush it. If I was last to town, so what? 

The closer to the top I got the mistier and cooler it became. I was hoping it wouldn’t rain, the rocks are roots were wet and slippery enough. There were so many different plants and moss and  trees and I couldn’t identify any of them! I must try harder with this. The top was covered in Christmas trees which was weird. 


Eventually I made it to top, after walking into a broken tree branch which hurt a lot. To my surprise Peaches and Shred were in the shelter, I thought Shred would have been halfway down the mountain by now at the rate he was moving. I was starving, I was starving the whole way up and I ate all the snacks in my snack pouch and I was still hungry. I had my tortilla with peanut butter and Shred gave me some jam. I had one cliff bar and some fruit snacks left and my food bag is completely empty. My bag is so empty and so light and I’m only carrying half a litre of water, I definitely could have used a smaller capacity bag for this trail. 

The way down was really fast. I was leading us down which is the only thing I’m good at, I can go nice and fast on the downhill. It was quick but also seemed to go on forever, we just wanted to be done and in town eating. 


We got to the road a started to try to hitch and the bus pulled over and picked us up. 2 dollars each. We went with it. The bus dropped us right next to the Yellow Deli. Jukebox was already there and had caught the bus into town too. Her friend had come to visit and we ordered food as a priority. I got an egg and cheese sandwich and a cup of chilli, it was very good. Jukebox’s friend paid for our food without telling us which was a really nice gesture. 


We got beds in the hostel. I feel like this is a bit of a must do on this trail. It’s an iconic stop. The Yellow Deli is a place run by the Twelve Tribes, which is basically a religious cult. A mix of Judaism, Christianity and Fundamentalism. It is heavily revolved around community based living. 

Their belief is that in order for the messiah to return, the church needs to go back to its original form as described in the book of Acts. They also believe that when the time comes all but the righteous will be sent to the lake of fire. They observe mostly Jewish law and respect the Sabbath and most of the Mosaic laws –dietary requirements and festivals etc. They also give themselves a Hebrew name which reflects the character of the individual – a bit like a trail name. I’ve paraphrased it but you get the general idea. 

We showered and I dressed in loaner clothes, a nice floaty long shirt. They like you to volunteer to help as the whole community gets involved with everything, and the hostel is donation based and can be seen as work for stay, so we volunteered to help in the bakery. It didn’t matter so much what we were wearing but if you volunteer in the shop then you have to wear their clothes. 

We were in the bakery for an hour and it was really hard work! We packed rolls into bags. That was easy. Then they gave us a snack which was great and unexpected. Then the hard bit was carrying the trays of bread down three flights of stairs to the freezer. With no upper arm strength it hurt! Then we helped to clean down the kitchen and we got a whole bag of rolls for our help! 


We also listened to Kepha talk about his ‘cult’ and his religious beliefs. It was really interesting and fascinating to me to learn how other people choose to live. We were invited to a big group dinner tomorrow as they celebrate the sabbath on a Friday but we said we were hiking out. 

We went to the supermarket to resupply and passed a movie theatre which was showing Incredibles 2 and we all really want to see it. We couldn’t go tonight because the hostel has a 10pm curfew and we would be locked out! We did some calculations. Our plan was to get to Hanover on Sunday. It’s 47 miles over three days so we were going to do low twenties for 2 days and then Nero with only 5 miles or less into Hanover on Sunday and stay the night. 

There is nothing in Hanover. There is 100% chance of rain tomorrow. The Incredibles 2 is playing. We have been invited to a cult dinner. This is a nice little town. Why don’t we just zero here tomorrow? We would still get to where we needed to be on Monday just the same. Plus for me it’s been 58 days since I had a day off. Decided. We got our resupply and then went back to the hostel. We saw Kepha outside and told him we would be coming to the dinner and he looked so happy. 

It’s one of those take the crazy opportunity moments. We sat in the communal area for a while and there are a few people we know here. Hamster and a couple we have been leapfrogging with and the boys and their father from the shelter last night, plus a bunch of other people and some southbounders. 

It’s quite the little community feel. I’m excited for tomorrow. 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 86




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