Friday, August 12, 2011

August 8

Bear Bag: Do you want to stay at The Vortex so we can take showers?
Me: Well, yeah...*sigh*...we don't have any willpower
Bear Bag: We have tons of willpower; we're not at The Bird Cage anymore are we?

It poured down the rain last night and I wasn't soaked but there was definitely a small puddle in the corner of my tent. I couldn't figure out where it had leaked but apparently my second seam sealing job was insufficient as well. The floor was damp under my sleeping pad as well which I assume was condensation. Anyway, it wasn't raining anymore when I got up around 7. And I felt good! My left foot is finally feeling normal and I had energy and enthusiasm. It felt wonderful.
The trail was muddy of course but not too difficult and we took a break at Congdon Shelter and I took advantage of the very new and very nice privy...always a treat!
The trail was pretty swampy in some sections so there were planks to walk on. I stepped up onto a board, my muddy foot slipped right off the side, and down I went into a swampy mud puddle. My legs were splattered in mud but I and the bottom of my pack were more wet than dirty, and my arm was scraped up from falling on a rock. I expect to have some bruises tomorrow! So...we got to thinking that showers, laundry, and the chance to dry out our wet gear sounded great and decided that we'd stop at The Vortex hostel in Bennington. We've heard from several southbounders that it's a good place to stay, so why not check it out?
The descent down to Route 9 was steep, rocky, slippery, and slow. We got down to the parking area at the road and saw a pavilion set up. Hmm...could it be? We walked over to find exactly what we'd hoped for: trail magic! A couple who had thru-hiked before had lots of snacks and drinks; GPS, Spins, Baboon, and Still Steve were there as well and everyone was playing a board game in the parking lot. While we were there, a guy walking his dog offered to take us into town. Awesome! He took us to the Vortex, run by a unique couple, Chris and Arla, who welcomed us with a tour of their house and "the barn" where the hikers stay. Their house is full of paintings and little artsy things...very neat. They have bicycles as well and let us take them to the laundromat after we got showers. I haven't ridden a bike in months and it was wonderful! A bit scary at first but it was great to move so quickly! We went to Friendly's for dinner and both got delicious greasy hamburgers and fries, and ice cream for dessert. We're sleeping on the front porch tonight as there are a lot of people here. Firestarter and Rainbow and another hiker are on the porch as well. Hoping for a good night's sleep in the midst of all the traffic!
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