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Podunk Rd to Happy Hill Shelter, Norwich Vermont Appalachian Trail

Last week was an off week for me... Sluggishness this morning also had me thinking BUT, I was able to hit the road. Lucky me, Podunk Rd is not that far from my house. Up before the sun, I land at the AT crossing around 8am. It's a very small, only room for my car, pull off at the corner of Podunk and Tigertown. The AT blaze is very easy to spot and I am off into the forest. It's chilly and a little drizzley out there today but there is no snow in the area.

There are a lot of leaves down, now that it's almost November. I think this made it slicker than snow in some places on some of the down hills. I fell twice but, no injury resulted. Isis was having a good time sniffing out chipmunks and mice as we walked. The trail goes over a few hills in this section but nothing to get winded on. There are also a few stream crossings and with recent rains they are flowing but still small enough to hop over. Clouds are low and foggy which gives the forest an extra creepy feel. This close to Halloween, I was expecting the headless horseman to come galloping by. I stopped at a tree I thought I could crawl into for a selfie but I could only fit my butt in it... Smaller than I thought. As I kept walking, the trail just felt like home under my feet.

There was not another soul out there today which for me was nice. Once I left the car noise from the highway behind, I had nothing but the sounds of the forest to keep me company. Isis and I made our way to the shelter and in no time at all, we stood at the junction. Taking the .2 Blue Blaze trail to the shelter was a breeze. The shelter itself was nice... Small, and at one point, it seemed that the water had run dry. Part stone and part log cabin style with many open windows and an arched door. It would be a chilly night there tonight if anyone was staying. There's also a decent size fire pit so, I am sure that would make up for the openness. I kind of did a double take when we had arrived as I underestimated my ability once again. At the shelter, I snapped a few pictures and checked the map as I had a snack and Isis had some cheese. If I went to Elm St in Norwich, that would leave only a mile or two left for the hike into Hanover New Hampshire. Wanting to actually leave some miles for that hike, I decided to call it short and hike back out. Isis showed no signs of protest once we got back up to the trail. It was getting kind of gloomy out there and a longer hike back in chilly wet weather was not appealing to her. 

Hiking back out, I was satisfied with the outcome and really enjoyed the solitude of the trail today. I have found that hiking the AT has taken me away from the crowds in the Whites and brought me back to why I began hiking in the first place... To clear my head and help me not only remain calm, but also process weekly events, and plan future hikes and trips. Spending time with Isis is also a plus and not having to worry about what's coming down trail at her is a bigger plus. She is less stressed these days as well. So, as it stands, my next hike will bring me into Hanover New Hampshire after I backtrack a little from Norwich to the junction of Happy Hill. That means I would just need to cover miles from Wintturi to Stoney Brook to fully complete Vermont. So.... 2 more hikes with the last one being an over night once the weather is better in Spring or Summer. Looking forward to walking into Hanover for my next hike though. 

The beauty of hiking your own hike is you can work at your own pace... It's your trail to divide up how you want. I'll freely admit to taking longer to hike these last few miles and also being OK with it, I'm out to enjoy this trail and I'm in no rush to complete it. New England is beautiful in any season... We'll see where I land in Winter this year. For now though, I will be exploring Pittsburgh NH next weekend... Low trails with hopefully a moose out there somewhere. 

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