Saturday, 2 August 2008

AT: Vermont - happily hiking again - almost

Mysterious cairns
 Vermont is my absolute favourite state - eventually I am hiking again instead of rock climbing. There is actual trail here! And there are switchbacks! And there are places where to stealth camp and lots of them. But I did not understand why I encountered a short stretch of trail where people have built hundreds of small rock cairns.... Even the weather is good - it has not been raining for almost a week. Actually it is very hot, but anything is better than the tropical rain storms I had a week ago. And the landscape changed: I am hiking through pastures with flowers, there are a lot of raspberry bushes on which to snack and life is generally good again. I love Vermont!!!!!

There is only one problem and that is a health issue: I have an infection under the nail of my right index finger (Nagelbettentzuendung or onychia) and it hurts like hell. First I tried to cure it with my own medical invention: In order to soak my finger while hiking, I filled soap water in a condom and fixed it around my finger. Pretty creative! This contraption earned me some pretty curious looks from other hikers.But it did not help much and I decided to detour to Rutland and see a doctor. The doctor prescribed antibiotics but so far it has not gotten better - but I have just taken them for 3 days. I can hardly move the finger any more (and I am right handed!), but at least it does not hurt any more like before. I do hope it will get better soon. If anybody has had that before and can tell me anything about it, please do!

Beside that I am getting worried about my appetite. I have been hiking for 1,5 months but hiker hunger has not kicked in yet. My dinners take forever because I just can't stand Lipton side dishes any more. And if I have to eat oatmeal again, I will probably scream. I still enjoy snacks, but I definitely do not eat enough I have been losing weight rapidly. Hopefully they have different dehydrated food in Australia...

Still smiling despite infected finger
I real highlight of this section was my stay with a trail angel in Manchester: The Green Mountain House. This is definitely one of the best organised trail angels I have ever met. Luckily he was recommended to me by another hiker from whom I learnt that you have to make a reservation to stay there - which I did and was accepted. Because of this reservation system Green Mountain is never crowded and actually feels more like a B&B than a hiker place. I stayed in a posh room that I only had to share with another lady and was treated with free Ben&Jerry's ice cream and soda pop. Because I am not used to caffeine I avoided Coke and still ended up having a sleepless night. When I wondered about that next morning my room mate informed me that the innocent sounding "Mountain Dew" that I had consumed in great quantity instead contained even more caffeine than Coke. Well, I have learnt that lesson now.

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