Appalachian Trail Mile 1610.6; Bennington, VT

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 (Day 112)

I rose before the sun. I looked out the windows of the hut. So dark, so cloudy, so strong the wind. I waited for the sun to rise before departure.

I had cellular reception. I emailed my brother, letting him know that I would not be in Bennington to meet him by the afternoon, that I was about 25 miles away, and hoped to make it before night fall. I told him to meet me at the Catamount Motel.

Then I set off, determined and hopeful.

I am not the speediest of hikers. To remedy this, I did not stop save for a 15 minute break after 18.5 miles. During that break I ate a cup of oatmeal, and changed my wet, mud drenched socks. The break was energizing.

I encountered three snakes. They were quick to clear from my path, save for one. I urged it to move along. There was no way for me to go around it, as we met on a boardwalk surrounded by water and mud and tall grasses. I told them I was in quite the hurry. Finally it slowly slithered by in compliance.

Not long after continuing, a hiker came up behind me. This hiker I had met before in Virginia. We chatted as we hiked. This helped to make the miles pass quickly. We made it to Route 9 at around 7:30 pm, affording just enough daylight to hitch in to town. It took about 20 minutes before a truck with a New York license plate pulled over. As we headed down the road towards Bennington, I beamed with excitement. It had been seven months since I had last seen my little brother, who attends Marlboro College in Vermont. Oh, how I adore spending time with him! When I first set out to hike the trail, we had discussed meeting up when I reached Vermont. Now it was actually happening. Oh, isn’t life sublime!

I tapped on the window of room 8. My brother, who was sprawled sleepily on one of the double beds, weary from a long journey from British Colombia where he had spent his summer, lifted his head and smiled. He greeted me at the door and we embraced. We then chatted and chatted and sat on the floor and ate fruit and black beans and tofu, which he had sweetly collected at the store in anticipation of my arrival.

We laughed and mused and carried on long in to the night and early hours of the morning, until we both fell asleep, reunited and happy.

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