August 6, 2015
Grumpy Earth grumbling about the trail ahead…
I walked to the pond today and was completely moved by its beauty. The water was still and reflected the clouds like glass. I stopped in at the shelter to write in the log and post my pin up body builder. In the log I saw that Earth had been there last night.
I got really excited! Earth! Earth was a lot of fun!!!!
I hiked hard over the next mountain. It was one of the first real mountains I had encountered since Virginia! It felt amazing to look out into the distance as I walked. The ecosystem changed notably here and continued to intensify throughout the remainder of the hike. Dense evergreens filtered the pale light and left spots of brightness on mossy forest floors. The rocks were turning into boulders and tree roots were creeping up into the trail, creating mild obstacles I hadn’t experienced before.
At the top of the mountain I stumbled upon a rock cover in piles of smaller rocks. The immense collection of stone sculptures caught me off guard. It was unexpected and surreal. I had also been hiking alone all day and there were lots of people at this specific spot. I was suddenly, completely overwhelmed by human presence.
And standing in the middle of the chaos, booming in his thick German accent, was Earth. I forgot about the day hikers and tediously made my way through the rocks to say hi to Earth. I shouted his name and we both started yelling, startling the tourists out of their glazed-over picture frenzy.
Earth and I walked together for the remainder of the day. We sat at every overlook and talked about the world. He was very sick, yet still so happy to be out in the woods, appreciating the world. We stopped at each shelter and took extended breaks. I talked him into moving on closer to Killington, which I kind of regret now.
He was very sick. I had no idea how badly off he was until we got to Rutland.
We crossed over a gorge on a swinging bridge and reluctantly climbed up a steep rocky face to the next shelter. We took hours to get there. He seemed more grumpy than usual, and I was starting to get worried.
That evening JP and Mina showed up at the shelter. They had left me the day before with my trail dads. A few south-bounders showed up too, but they were extremely judgmental and seemed rather aloof from us. They talked about the difference between the fast hikers they met first and us…the party bubble. They talked about my friends as if we were completely different humans. I couldn’t help but feel like they were missing something. I sure hope they found it. These south-bounders were a bad representation of south-bounders. It was live entertainment to watch Earth interact with them, although his sickness put a damper on his usual, vibrant crassness.
The next morning Earth told me he was going to call the Twelve Tribes and get a ride into Rutland, so I took off to conquer Killington Mtn. and meet him on the other side.