Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Six Life Changing Weeks

Earthquakes, hurricanes, apocalyptic bird swarms – just a few of the things that Deanna and I encountered on our 6 week trip to Vermont. Perhaps the Universe was celebrating our marriage (or maybe we just got lucky), but we sure enjoyed an adventure filled trip.

We arrived in Huntington, WV coincident with a huge swarm of Purple Martins bound for South America. Groups were testing roof-top guy wires and other roosting places, until they all settled into 4 or 5 trees next to a retirement home.

On our first full day in Vermont, we finished hanging our supply caches in preparation for hiking the Long Trail. Then, although we never felt it, the eastern U.S. had the biggest earthquake since 1897. Here's Deanna enjoying lunch at almost precisely the time that the earthquake hit.

We got married in a wonderful celebration outside under apple trees with family and friends all around. Then hurricane Irene rolled in, inundating Southern Vermont, washing out roads and causing a state of emergency.

We set out on our 4 1/2 week hike, spent a few days wondering where everybody was (until we found out that the Green Mountain National Forest had been closed in the aftermath of hurricane Irene) then continued on with the trail and shelters virtually to ourselves.

Tropical storm Lee rolled through while we were out there. Thankfully it wasn't all rain and mud. We had some nice hiking days and great views.

In the end, we finished 200 of the 273 miles. There's something indescribable about looking back from whence you've come to see, fading in the distance over the horizon, the mountain peak upon which you stood just days before.

Getting off the trail, we had unbelievable car problems - my brother's transmission gave out before we got back to his house causing him to junk his van. Then our car suffered from a seized alternator and rear brakes because of the soaking from hurricane Irene. Welcome back to civilization :-|.

We made it back to St. Louis in time for Deanna to return to work, me to pursue my Adventure Educator path, and for us to begin the next stage of our lives together. Thanks for reading. More to come ...

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