Today wasn’t really an interesting day with regards to hiking. I got up pretty early with the sun shining and hiked the rest of the path down into App Gap. My original plan had been to get to the Inn of the Long Trail the day after this one, so I had a day to get a bunch of miles to the south. I really wasn’t an experienced hitch hiker. After a few days on the trail, however, people seem a lot less scary and the idea of hitch hiking wasn’t very daunting.
My first hitch took several hours to get. At first, I was really hesitant to stick out my thumb but after a half an hour without success, I got more bold. Most of the traffic coming over App Gap was tourists as opposed to locals and I think I looked a little too grungy. Eventually a beat up old car stopped to pick me up. It was an older gentleman who was an interesting guy. He was incredibly absent-minded and our conversation jumped all over the place as his mind wandered. He seemed to forget where he was headed a couple times during our trip. But he was a generally safe driver and I managed to get to Route 7.
Route 7 was a major route and there was a lot more traffic. Here I was a bit more worried about getting in trouble for hitch hiking, but the traffic was plentiful and I didn’t see any police. I was picked up by a software engineer who was doing a pretty long drive down Route 7 to the other side of Rutland to visit a girlfriend. He was a bitter man who spent a lot of the time talking about how his life had ended up going poorly. Hitch hiking is really amazing in that you have these interesting opportunities to have these in depth conversations with some one who you know you’ll never meet again because there’s a finite time limit to your relationship.
He dropped me off in Rutland. There I had another interesting dilemma. Normally I would hop on the bus up to the Inn at the Long Trail. But I had forgotten to bring any money and the shuttle cost two dollars. I spent several hours wandering the streets of Rutland looking for change on the ground. Somehow I always thought one could find a dollar or two in this pursuit, but I was obviously either very wrong or untrained and I ended up with a dime or two.
Back at the bus stop I struck up a conversation with a guy who waiting there. He had a couple of extra quarters which he gave me without even thinking about it. I felt bad taking them, but he seemed so happy to help me. Eventually I had something like $1.50. I decided to beg the next shuttle driver to take me without the full fare (this is Vermont after all). Again, being in the woods for a couple days dramatically reduced the amount of shame that I felt for something like this. It seemed like a reasonable thing to at least try to ask. It turned out that he wasn’t interested in helping me, but some one had just got on the bus who would. It was one of the guys from the Twelve Tribes. They are a hippie-cult group that operates a Hiker Hostel in Rutland. He was taking his daughter(?) to summit Killington. He was very friendly to offer the dollar and I appreciated it greatly. I took back some of the weird thoughts I had had about the hiker hostel when I looked in it in Rutland.
At last, I had reached my final destination, albeit not via the transportation that I had expected. Beer and guinness stew awaited.