Forest Road 71 (Stratton, VT) south to near Kid Gore Shelter


About 1.5 miles north of Kid Gore shelter southbound from Forest Road 71.

The Hike: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Trip length: 10.7 miles
Departure time: 10:15 am
Return time: 4:45 pm

We were blessed with another day of beautiful weather in Vermont. We had a later start than we would have liked, but the weather couldn't have been better. We headed south on the trail with the original goal of making Kid Gore shelter. The total trip would have been about 12 miles. Unfortunately, things don't always work out the way we plan.

We went out loaded for our upcoming multi-day hike for one more check on fit and comfort. Despite our best efforts to trim pack weight (my base weight is just over 16 pounds and Mike's is at 19), the addition of food and water makes a difference. My pack weighed in around 25 pounds with the consumables and I only took 1.5 liters of water. In case you'd like a bit more perspective, that is about 27% of my body weight. If you were an average male, say 185 pounds, that translates into a 50 pound pack.

That would have probably been fine, except that, well, it wasn't. I seem to have given myself a bit of food poisoning (bad, Tracy, bad choices). I was not feeling well on Friday and it continued on Saturday, lingering well into Sunday. It was a relatively mild case, mostly with fever, stomach cramps and other abdominal disruption. I was lucky.

And you know, some days are just hard. Hard to hike. Hard to feel peppy. Hard to get the miles underfoot. Saturday was one of those days. I was nearly catatonic for at least 5 of the 11 miles we hiked. I kept setting goals in my head, "45 minutes. You have to walk 45 more minutes. Then you can stop, have a little water, then take a trip into the woods. C'mon." 

I hiked incredibly slow. I think we saw grass blades growing before our eyes. But I didn't quit. I didn't complain. I just kept moving. And that, my friends, was a time of strength. Mike didn't need to hear me belly-aching about my belly ache. He could see it. He was stuck in a slo-mo world, patiently waiting for me every step of the way.

And so I celebrate gratitude. Gratitude for a beautiful day. A wonderful time in the woods with the man who makes me happiest in this world. Someone who is patient and understanding when I am a mere shadow of my normal self. I am incredibly blessed to be able to get out and hike for 11 miles under any condition. To have gear to protect me and food to fill my belly.

I also have the hard-earned knowledge that I am strong. I can get through any situation, on or off the trail, by continuing to put one foot in front of the other. And that I have an amazing partner who will stay by my side, no matter what speed I travel.

Below is a little video we made for you.