Vermont is a large state when you compare it to some countries here in Europe. Although the route I took through it ended up taking just 3 days. Thanks to the company i had they ended up being some of the most enjoyable days of the trip so far! Just a simple fifty four miles to cover… oh and I almost forgot, three mountain peaks.
After leaving the wet but very friendly state of New Hampshire I was now entering the first of my big challenges. Mentally leading up to this point the terrain was all very much similar, beautiful views, a few hills, but not overly challenging. Vermont was going to change all of that as I passed through the Green Mountains. Thankfully I was not going to be alone for my time there as Lindsey who hosted me in Boston was coming to join the mountain fun.
As per usual when Lindsay is around, the meeting place is a brewery.
Even though she was not planning on walking with me, she was going to spend her time being “car support”. This made my life so easy in the mountain range. I could dump all of my non-essentials from Bugster into her car and they would be waiting for me at the end of the day in whichever hotel she had found for the evening. I didn’t have to worry about anything!
Back to the Brewery
As per usual when Lindsay is around, the meeting place is a brewery. After a relatively easy, albeit wet day crossing into Vermont, it was just the place I needed to be. Tonight’s stop, The Whetstone Brewery with a perfect view of the river as the sun went down in the distance. This might have been the most relaxed part of the crossing since my birthday lobsters up in Maine.
Day two in Vermont was where the real challenge began. Winding mountain roads, tiny shoulders and lots of traffic made me search for an alternate route before I had even stepped out of Battleboro. I didn’t want to risk becoming a mess on the road before i’d even made my first 1,000 miles! So I decided to take a longer but more scenic route through the mountains. It included a lot more ups and downs but personally I think it’s a worthwhile exchange for the traffic. I passed through some beautiful farm land and forests right up until a reached the maple farms.
At the time I didn’t even realise that maple was produced this far down in Vermont, so when I stumbled across the trees all all stringed together I got very excited. Who doesn’t like maple syrup and candies? I luckily had the chance to stop off at the tiny farm store to stock up on a few bags of fresh maple candies to get me over the mountain range.
As the day went on the mountains became my new worst enemy. Always going up and seeming to never drop down. Surprisingly my fitbit told me I had only covered 5,000ft in elevation that day. I’m blaming the beers the night before for my bad mountain form.
Mixing in the crazy mountain gradient with the deteriorating roads that Google was enjoying taking me down, I couldn’t help but think this was the perfect time for me to have Lindsay as my support crew.
I came very close to giving up with the mountain roads at one point. As I was just about to call it quits for the day I noticed a sign for a scenic outlook just a half a mile ahead. I decided to push on and take a break there instead of giving up and I was glad that I did! Not only was it the last peak of the day but the view was incredible. It stretched as far as you could see over 180 degrees of pure green mountains. I could have spent the whole day up there if I had enough beer. Thinking back maybe Lindsay should have brought me some up!
As for my last day in Vermont, I must make a confession. I mentioned this on social media at the time and everyone agreed that it was the best thing to do at the time. That day I was supposed to traverse an 18 mile pass through the mountains on the same shoulder less roads as before. I had no side roads or alternate routes anywhere close that I could take, and, according to the locals there were roadworks long the majority of the route where they were digging up the road.
I decided that I didn’t want to take the risk of being stuck on a mountain, on a tiny busy road in bad weather, so I accepted a lift to the other side of the pass.
Since then I have made up the 18 miles I missed out by taking short runs on my rest days. Ironically I now actually love the road works as they usually give me the whole lane to myself. Accepting the lift is not a decision I regret taking as I know that I would have been a mess making that mountain crossing unaided.
I spent the rest of the day heading toward the state line of New York. The fourth for me to enter on my challenge, and the largest so far. Its so large in fact that I may have too split the next blogs into three parts next week!