Home Forums 2020-08-06 TH – from cafeteria to meadows in 4 miles

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    Udar Gromov

    Summary: arrive to Thundering Falls parking in Killington, VT and deposit bike.  Drive to the beginning of the trail to Joe Ranger Rd. closer to Quechee and route 89.  Drive to a local Golf Course for electric power for laptop to complete some work.  Start the hike over new terrain – Vermont meadows. Camp close to Bartlett Brook with a slight overshadowing the original plan.


    05:00 – wake up without an alarm and login into work. Email to all relevant business and technical parties – please send your requests before noon today – I am disappearing into the woods after lunch till Monday.

    05:57 – depart from home

    06:16 – 60,000 miles on odometer. I am on route 3. An important milestone reached in 5 years.

    07:33 – 08:20 – odometer 109 mi +16°C. Rest area in Springfield, NH.  Connect and do some work. Remaining gas range is 6 mi.  My task is to clear the head of all concerns and remember to rest mentally.

    09:43 – odometer 166.2 +17°C – I am at Thundering falls parking lot in Killington, VT.  There is a please here for 3-4 cars.  I hid the bike and places in the bike bag 2 apples

    and coconut water

    10:20 – email check. An email request will arrive 2 minutes later at 10:22 while I would be driving to Joe Ranger Rd. My trip is approximately 31 mi or 50 minutes.

    11:19 – odometer 197.3 – +20°C – I arrived to Actual Appalachian Trail Crossing, Joe Ranger Road, Woodstock, VT.  I took Pomfret Rd to get here.  So, I arrived from above, from higher grounds.  Joe Ranger Rd is an active logging road, and there is parking to speak of here.  I placed the car on the side of the road and started to final backpack preparation.

    11:39 – I connected over a very weak signal – I see a request from work that will require several hours.  I must go down to civilization for a strong signal.  No problem. Meanwhile, let us see if anyone can help me to continue after I initiate the process.

    12:06 – I am in a Country Club diner. Connected. Working. Wireless mouse batteries failed, and I probably have a replacement, but too lazy to go to car to search for them. Also, I made 2 great moves in both check games.  I will probably win both.

    12:45 – a picture from Golf Course diner, where I found electric plug, table, chair, and a stable cell signal.  I am wearing a mask, drinking coconut water.

    12:49 – odometer 202.2 +22°C – departing from very welcoming Highland Golf Course.  Thank you!

    13:04 – odometer 206.3 – I am back on Joe Ranger Rd.  I’ve recorded elevation profile – I can see it was 3 mi several times up and down.  This time I found a good nook that almost looking like parking spot.  I will be safe here.

    Hiking sector 1 – 13:11 – 14:01 = 0:50 1.85 mi (2.3 mph) – gentle uphill from Joe Ranger Rd. (1200′) to Thistle Hill Shelter (1700′).

    13:17 Let us go – start hiking. What a striking difference between busy resort and calm somber atmosphere here on the trail.  Just 3 miles away you suddenly in a different world.  Usually this transition is softened by hours of driving on remote roads, but now it happened so suddenly. From manicured trees and bushes to nature as it is.

    13:29 First picture from Vermont meadows. Very unusual section of AT – open fields, meadows,




    AT VT exotic plants along the path Soft forest road – what a pleasure to walk on Typical Thursday in August


    13:56 I have reached the first shelter – Thistle Hill Shelter.  .4 mi done.  3.6 mi to go. Weather is wonderful. Sunny and is it not a scorcher.  I have met 2-3 groups of hikers and there is one lady here, meditating in her tend near shelter. Forecast changed to all dry, but today will be the coldest night – 11°C at night.

    14:09 – unexpected connection to the big world out there. One of the last stocks that I bought close to the market top on February 25 finally sold just now with a decent gain.  Now I am completely free of COVID impacted positions.  Just to gain a perspective market at the top was 331 (Feb 19), then fell as low as 218.26 on March 23, and nor completely recovered and then some to 333.  What a wild ride.

    Hiking sector 2 – 14:27 – 16:35 = 2:08 4.37 mi (2.1 mph) – mostly down from Thistle Shelter to Pomfret Rd.

    15:18 crossing another field with a gentle reminder to stay at the edge of the field.

    15:24 I am crossing first road – Cloudland Rd.  This is an improved gravel road, very quiet. After crossing the road, trail starts zig zagging up on open private lands that fill like an orchard.  Who did all the negotiations to allow public trail to pass on private lands?

    15:46 AT comes on top of the meadow hill, and here the warms and the beauty combination is a top notch.  It looks like in 5-7 years this will be a young forest, and shadows will cover the grasses, but for now it is place of beauty and sunshine.

    15:57 – now AT goes on the nice shadowy, soft forest road. You go down with the road, and then suddenly trail decides to part ways and turns sharply down to the valley.

    16:12 – another meadow with a wide view

    16:30 – 6.2 mi – I am crossing Pomfret Rd. This was my target for today, But I want to find something nice and quiet, and away from the road. I already drove here today about 6 hours ago on the car. Trail descends for sharply towards the road, that they built a wooden ladder for safety.  There is a sign here that next shelter is 4.6 mi away, and next road – Woodstock Stage Rd. – is 2.2 mi away.

    Hiking sector 3 – 16:36 – 17:08 = 0:31 0.86 mi (1.7 mph) – mostly flat from Pomfret Rd. to the first camp – Camp Meadow

    I see a Trail Magic box attached to a tree by the river. It contains a variety of soft drinks in cans, and I chose long narrow sparkling St. Pellegrino can (330 ml). Nice!  Thank you, anonymous helping hand.

    There is a brook right here along the road, but there are nor flat surface, too noisy.  So, I move on.

    16:56 trail crosses another small dirt road – Bartlett Brook Road – I am tracking on the edge of a field and I can hear a small brook running its course.  I would be nice to camp somewhere here.

    17:06 – another 0.8 mi from Pomfret Rd. I picked a spot few years into the forest but still with a good view out to the fields and other side of the valley.  There are some thick wires runs across at human height, but they do not bother me.  Next morning, I will find out that these are not wires, but hollow tubes to collect maple sap for making maple syrup. Automation!

    Hiking summary – 13:11 – 17:08 = 3:57 7.10 mi (2.1 mph)

    17:19 – I am naming this “Camp Celebrate Meadows”. Two victories in chess, managed to postpone big chunk of work till Monday, and sold long battered SPX.  Plenty to celebrate in these gorgeous Vermont meadows.

    18:01 – hammock is hanged. Last picture of the day showing the hammock, and “wires” and the gear around.  The main challenge of this camp spot is a slanted surface.  Everything tend to slide down the hill and needs to be stabilized.

    18:20 – I changed and ready to start eating home food – no need for stove and cooking tonight.  There is plenty of light from the fields, although am in a shadow of the hill and more and more space goes into shadow till tomorrow.

    19:22 – without hot water and tea – I simply drink water – also from home.  There is no signal, so I did not send anything home.  Tomorrow then. There is a pleasant feeling that I managed the day tasks aptly.  Got a late work request, drove down into unknown, Not only found a good signal, but the whole table with chairs and electricity, handled initial task, postpone most of the work till Monday and still completed my hiking plan for one day.

    19:37 There are not many bugs here, and I would be protected in hammock anyway. To write in more natural position I placed a bunch of long branches and formed a seat while leaning against a tree. Everything is quiet. A dog is barking from time to time.  Rare passing cars can be heard in a distance. Sun is sitting down, but still the other side is brightly lit.  Today is the coldest night, and I will sleep in the pants and wrap myself in tart for additional layer.  Very unusual section of AT with meadows after meadows and tiny narrow path in the tall grass.

    19:48 Contemplating two chess victories, looking at errors and lessons learned. Excellent home food container freed up, and I will use to carry my dry mix of 3 types oatmeal and Grape Nuts. This is more secure than carry it in a Star Bucks paper cut with removable top.

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