I left The Green Mountain House on August 28th and only hiked a few miles out to the first shelter. The following day, August 29th, was my 5 month anniversary on the Appalachian Trail. I hiked an easy 14.5 mile day and stopped at Big Branch Shelter for the night. A group of us built a fire and it dawned on me…I couldn’t remember the last time I had sat by a fire. Sometimes us thru hikers get lost in the labor of hiking and forget to enjoy the tranquility of camping.That night I journaled by the fire and just enjoyed being encompassed by the woods.
The next day I hiked to the road leading to Rutland, VT. I had been hearing about The Yellow Deli Hiker Hostel for a few weeks and I decided to see what it was all about. As I hitch hiked in, rumors flew claiming the Yellow Deli to be a cult.I’m not much on hearsay, so I decided to check it out and form my own opinion. The Yellow Deli is run by the Twelve Tribes Community. My experience with them was essentially no different than the 1st Baptist Church folks in Franklin, NC. Both groups brought hikers in and offered them something (food, lodging, etc) to present a brief opportunity to tell others about their religion. Neither group forced their spirituality on anyone else, but instead displayed significant gernerosity. I am very appreciative of the Yellow Deli hostel–I don’t care to join, but my experience with them was great. I would suggest the donation based hostel to anyone! Don’t let rumors and fear of the unknown keep you from going. Often times people use harsh words to describe something they don’t understand. The deli is open 24 hrs a day (except for the hours of their sabbath). They serve food grown on their farms, and let me tell you…it is phenomenal! From the sandwiches and chili to the fruit salad and tea…mmmmhmm.
Not only was I able to enjoy a real bed, they also had a washer and dryer. Their loaner clothes were very–well, modest. But hey, when in Rome… Just another interesting experience to add to the list thanks to this amazing adventure!
During this stretch of trail, one of the most challenging climbs and prettiest views encountered was Killington Peak. Topping off at 4229 feet in elevation, it was the highest point I climbed in Vermont.At the top of the peak, there is a gondola that offers free rides to hikers. A chance to kick my feet up and enjoy the scenery? Of course I’m going to jump on the opportunity! As if the gondola ride wasn’t exciting enough, I also passed the “500 miles” to Katahdin sign and crossed over mile marker 1700 the same day.
I hitch hiked back to the Yellow Deli Hiker Hostel just before dark and stayed for a second night. After a wholesome breakfast the next morning, I set out on a mission. I was determined to reach Hanover, NH in two days to watch college football. I about wore myself out, but I made it! You can take the girl out of the south, but good luck taking the south out of the girl… I enjoyed a double zero in Hanover which included a lot of college football, of course. Hoping Dartmouth might be playing at home for the weekend, I went by the stadium to find their season had not yet begun. I was able to spectate during their practice, though. Watching Bill Bryson’s “A Walk In The Woods” was also on my radar. So, before hiking out of Hanover I stopped by the local theater and indulged myself with laughter and air conditioner for a couple hours. The Appalachian Trail definitely isn’t a simple stroll. It is significantly more difficult than the movie portrays, but it was funny anyway. A lot of thru hikers have been critical of the movie. But it’s a comedy…and after all, comedy shouldn’t be taken so serious!
My time in Hanover was a much needed relaxation period. As I crossed into New Hampshire, I knew the White Mountains were looming only a short distance away. I had been warned that they would be tough, but I don’t think I could truly comprehend the difficulty of the terrain until I was smack dab in the middle of it. Kind of like a toddler can be told a stove is hot, but doesn’t fully understand until he or she places a hand upon it and feels the scorching heat. But, I’ll have to tell you more about that next time…
I saw many beautiful sights during this section of trail. Below is a little taste of the splendor I witnessed:
Well, until next time–
Happy Trails 🙂
I am reading your post on Oct 7th. Can’t help but think you’ve already completed your trek by now. You may even be sitting at home in Alabama with your feet up reminiscing about the past 5 months. It will be difficult to top what you’ve accomplished! The fact that you hiked the entire AT doesn’t define who you are, but it does add color and excitement….and confidence to who you are.
Its cool that you now have this experience in your life to share with all the young and old people you come in contact with. You can motivate and encourage others because you’ve lived through a lot of ups and downs on the trail. People need encouraging! Your writing, story telling skills, and positive attitude have captured a broad audience. I applaud you for being positive and uplifting regardless of the situation. I never once heard you use foul language in your blogs or videos. You never diminished your education or self-worth by using street/trail language. You don’t know me from Adam, but I am proud of you!
Basically I think you should resupply and become a SOBO thru-hiker so that your audience can stay connected with your life adventures! I know that would not pay the bills or move your career forward, but it would provide the fix we have come to rely on.
Looking forward to the rest of your story. Don’t leave us hanging for too long.
That’s funny.. A lot of those pictures look really familiar. Who took those professional quality pictures? You must have a professional photographer with you. Lol. Hey Dixie, I’m currently sitting at the Lakeshore House in Monson with Pan, DieFree and Cookie. Can’t wait to start the 100M.W.!!
I first became interested in hiking the AT several years ago and then again just recently after watching, Wild. So I became a little obsessed and started looking for any thing I could to educate myself about hiking the AT. This is when I stumbled upon your vlog. Let me say, I binge watched your vlog, like any of my favorite Netflix shows. At first I thought I just wanted to section hike North Carolina, because that is my home state but after seeing the beauty of the AT and your vlog I really have to reconsider thru hike the entire trail. Thank you “Dixie”. Can’t wait for your next vlog. I started following and reposting your stuff on my blog. Happy trails and #wolfpack football.
If you finished the AT,congrats. You are one of the many people that hiked that trail. I did it back in 1978,with some good friends. It was a blast back then,but some of the foot bridges were not there. I plan to do it again in 2017,but this time im doing it with a new leg and foot. Im going from Georgia to Pa. I dont want to take a chance of breaking my new leg,then i would be stuck. But ive watched all your videos. Im very glad that you made it.
Looks AMAZING! Keep it up, almost there!
Dixie, what an amazing adventure, and thanks for sharing it with the world! I just discovered your vlogs a few days ago and I have literally binge watched them from 1 to 38! I only wish I had found them sooner… I definitely would have linked up and section hiked with you all in VA-MD-WV-PA, or at least found a way to deliver some well timed trail magic! It really awesome watching you go through the sections of the AT that I’ve hiked through to see it through your perspective (including the ice cream challenge…oh the pain…).
I’m in a break at the moment to finish up a doctorate after several years of hiking all up and down the mid section of the AT and some mountains in the Southwest, but vlogs like yours, and the two books/movies “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods” have really put the bug back in me! I even posted to a friend of mine from high school that he and I should recreate Bill Bryson’s story… we would no doubt give everyone on the trail much comic relief!
So I see from your post that you are planning to summit Katadin tomorrow… just know that even though you don’t know me, I (and so many others) feel like I know you through everything you’ve shared… and that we are all very proud of what you have accomplished! Thanks for inspiring so many to “get out there”…
Dixie, I have really enjoyed following your adventure from day one. I check each day to see if you have updated your progress. You really should consider doing something related to broadcasting when you get home. I hope to visit the trail and do some section hiking next summer and visit some of the places you posted. I wish I could do a long hike but I have kids in high school and college so that would be difficult.. I’m trying to convince my high schooler to go with me. You have inspired me to dust off my equipment and get out and hike.
Felt compelled to say I’m in Rutland and your vids have inspired me for the Yellow Deli breakfast tomorrow
Hope the PCT is going well!