Sometimes it is good to fall off the face of the earth, the earth as it has become anyway. Rip Van Winkle seems to have discovered this 200 years ago.
Today we start in Lincoln, New Hampshire at the west base of Kancamagus. I have slept so well next to a burbling brook that I do not feel like getting up out of my bag but I walk 1/3 a mile to the bathrooms and shower. By the time I arrive I look like I have measles from mosquito bites. Another joy of leaving my comfort zone. Nonetheless I have hot water and soon am dressed. Back at camp I fix myself coffee and eat my kefir which has been growing so well in the trailer next to all my dirty clothes. Probiotics are just germs…right?
I decide to leave on my own today early…there is rain in the forecast and if lucky I can get to the end by noon before it gets bad. Almost immediately there is a 9 degree climb…my legs were tired yesterday but seem to have a new spring. After an hour of climbing I finally reach the top and cross the Appalachian Trail and head down towards the Connecticut River separating New Hampshire from Vermont.
I top out at 38 mph on the steep descent but Angel and Flossie are now firmly in place.
As I reach the valley floor it starts to rain but it is soft and warm, a welcome relief to my body’s sweat. Turning south I pace myself with the river to my right and marvel at the beauty of the Green Mountains in the distance.
Field after field of green pasture land surround me on both sides. The soil is too rocky for crops but does well with the sweet green grass. Flossie yearns to join her kin in the verdant fields but decides she has re- found her home.
On we ride.
As I crest a hill next to the meandering river Angel nudges me and I stop to see the most beautiful poppy I have ever seen.
Here, in the middle on nowhere.
Above, a house sits on a hill nestled among forest trees.
Crossing the river I enter Vermont. Up 4 miles of very steep hills I climb to Thetford Hill and soon drop with a two mile descent to Thetford Center. Along the way town’s children have posted signs for us encouraging us on our last climb.
This very small town is buried in the belly of the earth along a fast running steam, home at one time to a mill first built in 1807.
With modernization it did not last and the mill works have moved on.
Now we are hosted in the Community Center with several town folk showing up to fix us dinner followed by shuttles to their homes for showers. Breakfast too is planned.
Across the street is the only store, something from the past. In back the post office, open until 2 each day.
I ask the woman behind the cash register, she must be at least 100, if there is phone or WIFI service. She grins and says
“ Sometimes if you stand next to that Jeep outside you can get service”.
I suspect she is pulling my leg but try anyway.
I look back to see her giggling at me through her front store window.
I just smile back.
I ask another woman at the community center across the way.
“ Try standing next to that light pole close to the road ” with the same grin I just left across the street.
Right, fool me once but not twice…
I smile back at her and she winks “ Honey, you’ve fallen off the face of the earth”.
I return to the Community Center for a quiet nap and decide that maybe sometimes it is good to be lost…
PS I walked back to the store to get a picture of the 100 year old woman when I woke but she too had gone home to take a nap. I suspect people here have good sense…