Sorry this is a week late! Didn’t have time to find Internet to publish it last weekend. -HHF
Yesterday we lumbered down the trail with huge loads for the last time. We’d been slowly moving out of camp since Tuesday, which meant we only had to bring down one monster load on Friday and one on Saturday. I know i’m happy to be done with our backcountry spike and move onto a frontcountry one.
We finished out our time on Hunger Mountain with a bang. We knocked out some enormous projects in record time, including re-setting a massive stone staircase, 7 check dams to control erosion (including one bathtub sized check dam) and our second and final ladder. I never have to remind my crew to work hard; I sometimes have to tell them to take breaks!
We ran into some snafus the final few days at camp. For every problem we faced, though, there was some serious problem-solving on behalf of my crew, as well as no complaining. It started off with all our filters slowing down over the course of the week and basically stopping by Thursday night. After putting in a call to the manufacturer, we learned there was no way to backflush or to clean the cartridges, so we decided to boil water for the last day. When we went to turn on the propane to make dinner, though, we were only able to get a tiny flame for a few minutes before it petered out. Not sure how we possibly could have been more cautious with propane use, but we only had to do one night of cold cans of veggies & beans in lukewarm veggie stock. It was mediocre tasting at best, but again, as a testament to my crew, all ate it with gusto, leaving no leftovers. We ended up treating our drinking water with bleach, but luckily we had enough regular water to dilute it with so the taste was fine. Again, no complaints.
Friday night was planned to bring the kitchen down and make dinner in the parking lot, which worked out nicely because our second propane tank was completely full and waiting for us in our trailer. Alas, the lighter and the matches were left up in camp, an hour’s hike away. After some resourceful attempts with rocks and mirrors and asking some loggers for a light (turns out that stereotype is not true; none smoked), we decided to ask at the houses down the road. No luck at the first (but they had an impressive view from their front porch), but we struck gold at the second house. The woman not only gave us a giant box of matches, but insisted on us taking a Baggie of some protein cookies she had made. They were phenomenal, and it was great to head back to the rest of the crew not only bearing matches, but cookies for all. I am continually humbled by the kindness of strangers.
This weekend is our move to Missisquoi. To break it into manageable chunks, we stayed at the HQ barn last night. When we arrived, my assistant crew leader had to announce that she was leaving VYCC to the crew. We all wish her the best.
After dropping our sleeping gear in the lean-tos, we headed off to do laundry and start on some of errands. Before we left, one of the VYCC farm staff donated a whole box of fresh veggies to our crew!! If we finished our errands early, I was hoping to take the girls swimming at the Bolton Potholes, but something better got arranged for us: a free luncheon at a restaurant owned by the parents of one of my girls in Stowe. It was absolutely incredible food, and we feasted like kings (think fried cheesecake). Thinking nothing could top that, we were delighted to learn that free tickets had been arranged for us to the Stowe Balloon Fest around the corner. We spent our evening marveling at hot air balloons before heading to the lean-tos for the night.
Today we have a busy day of cleaning spike gear, cleaning ourselves (showers!!!), grocery shopping at Costco, driving to Swanton, setting up camp, and doing some tool maintenance. I mustn’t dawdle any more, we have a big day!
Please write us: VYCC | Attn: Name, Cons. 8-FLDC | 1949 E. Main St. | Richmond, VT 05477. We’re running out of thank you notes for all the generosity we’ve encountered recently, so we wouldn’t be opposed to a pack of them sent our way :)
Enjoy your week!