Things are happening very fast. So much is different about Vermont that it almost feels like a separate country. Beautiful clear water runs everywhere. The climbs and descents are now reaching into the thousands, as opposed to mere hundreds, of feet. And, almost as though someone had flipped a switch, the mosquitoes disappeared as soon as I crossed the border.
There is only one state between Maine and this one, and everyone keeps telling us that it just gets more and more beautiful each day as we progress north. Based on the amount of beauty I see here on a daily basis, I find that both very exciting and hard to believe.
I never get tired of saying this, so I hope you never get tired of hearing it: The people I've met on the trail are amazing. A few towns ago I met a hiker and fellow pizza enthusiast who is also from North Carolina. When I bumped into him on the trail recently, he saved me from having to hitch into town by inviting me to join him on his upcoming slack pack, starting at the next road crossing. For those who don't know, a slack pack is when the hiker carries just enough food and water for that day. Meanwhile, a partner (in this case his mother) with a car meets the hiker at the next road crossing with the rest of their gear. You know, all the heavy stuff. Purists look down upon this practice with great disdain, but considering that I slack packed the very first mile of the AT, doing so here in Vermont was not exactly a vexing moral conundrum. Besides, there's pizza involved.