I reached the 200 mile mark yesterday. There was no fanfare and I didn't realize until later on in the day. Yesterday was a day when keeping hammer to rock got put to the test. It was our third day of rain, third day of alternating between the suffocating and depressing green tunnel and the fog shrouded summits of both Camel's Hump and Mansfield. I'm not sure if I talked about Camel's Hump yet so I'll go through it quickly. It's the third highest peak in Vermont and is a challenging and tough climb in dry weather, but on the day we tried to summit the rain was pouring and the wind was screaming down on us. Mountain Goat and Sarah went for the bad weather route but I attempted to reach the top. When I got just above the tree line, about a tenth of a mile from the top, the wind was coming over the top of the mountain so hard that it was pushing me down the hill. There was no debate, no feeling of failure. I turned back and walked the bad weather route. By that point I'd been shivering for a while but hadn't noticed because of all the climbing we'd been doing. I guess I should mention at this point that the trails were nothing more than quickly moving streams that cause us to have to carefully calculate every step we took, especially on the downhills. It was mentally exhausting. Anyway, back to shivering. It finally dawned on me that I was in the beginning stages of hypothermia and that I needed to find someplace warm and dry to get myself straightened out. The shelter we were shooting for was an old open shelter, not a lodge that would have put me within four walls and a roof. With miles and miles to go before we got there Mountain Goat called her daughter and drove us to her house in Burlington where we took showers, did laundry, ate pizza, and finally got warm and dried out. It would have been an awful and desperate night if she hadn't been there. That' enough for now.
"Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the surface of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise". Annie Dillard