Location: Addison, VT
Written by: DJ Doran
TAKE NOTE: This post was written while DJ & Joey were on their RV roadtrip across America. Sadly, their trip ended before it really got started. No worries, Shelly & Lucia are taking the Connextions Out n About Roadtrip to new heights, exploring one RV park at a time!
With our introductions complete and plans confirmed for our Sunday hike, Joey and I decided to head back and take the rest of the day to get some needed work done on Priscilla and to catch up on our writing.
As Sunday dawned there was a slight mist in the air and I moaned about how the hike was going to be ruined by the weather. I got up out of bed and turned on the heat so someone who shall remain nameless wouldn’t have to get up to a cold Priscilla. I began my morning routine of starting the engine and turning on the generator so that I would have the coffee making 110 volts needed to brew the reviving elixir with hazelnut creamer. As I sat sipping my coffee and enjoying each aromatic whiff of coffee and hazelnut, the sky began to clear. What started out as a cool, grey misty morning had turned into a bright sunny fall day in what seemed like 10 minutes? In a much better mood and feeling ready for some hiking, Joey and I left to meet our new friends for a day on Snake Mountain.
When we pulled up to where everyone was waiting, I blew the 2 trumpet horns on top of Priscilla to announce our arrival. After parking her outside the front door we walked upstairs to a group of people that were excited to meet us and Priscilla. John told us there were coffee and Bagels in the lounge area and we didn’t need to be told twice! After a fresh cup of coffee and a bagel we mingled with our soon to be passengers and got to know them. The time came to go and we all walked down toward Priscilla. Everyone ohooed and ahhhed over how much character she had and then they climbed aboard. John and Mike had asked if they could bring their adorable little Pug named “Georgia” for the ride to which we of course said yes. She was full of personality and almost right away staked out her place on the cushion covering the engine cowling. After everyone got seated and situated we cranked up the engine and began our hour-long drive to Snake Mountain.
Priscilla was filled with laughter as we cruised toward Snake Mountain. We passed a huge Teddy Bear made out of hay bales and pumpkins in front of the corporate offices of The Vermont Teddy Bear Company www.vermontteddybear.com and I made a note to stop on the way back for a photo with the guys. A short while later we came to the turn off toward the trailhead. It was a dirt road and along the way as we passed a typical Vermont farmhouse - Mike explained that that house was where he had come out to his friends. As we rolled easily across the dirt road, I was reminded of why we had chosen a Bluebird Wanderlodge as our vessel during this adventure. She was built like a truck and had over 6” more road clearance than most newer motor homes. We pulled up behind a line of cars and prepared to begin our hike. Priscilla stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the sedans and SUVs’ as she towered above the rest. I am sure people were wondering about her as they walked by, but to me and Joe, she was doing what we meant for her to do, which was being more than just our mode of transportation during our journey but also be actively INVOLVED in our adventure.
We gathered at the trailhead and began our ascent to what was sure to be a spectacular view of the valley below in its entire fall foliage splendor! The hike was easy to moderate and we casually walked and talked as we made our way to the top. Joey and I got to know each of the members of our group and stopped to explore the beauty and wonder of this mountain. There were hikers going up and coming down and we took tons of photos along the way. As we approached the top Mike explained that someone many years ago had begun to build a house on the mountain but had only poured the foundation and never completed it. Now it was just a great platform for weary hikers to rest and wonder at the breathtaking beauty of the valley below. John, being ever prepared, had filled his backpack with bottles of water, granola bars and some fruit snacks that were the center of a debate about what constitutes “fruit”. We hungrily snacked as we explored the foundation form various vantage points. Rested and fed, we gathered for a group photo. We asked one of the guys sitting near us with his family if he would take a photo of all of us. As he positioned himself, several people in our group gave him their cell phones as well. After a few click click's, our triumph of making it to the top of Snake Mountain was immortalized on film!
As the sun began to set lower on the horizon we decided that it was time to prepare for our descent back to Priscilla. A head count was done to make sure no one was mistakenly left behind and we began to walk down the trail. After a few steps, one of the guys, Marc, discovered a little plastic box hidden in a crevasse of rock just off of the trail. It was a “Letterbox”. These are placed all over by others for the sake of Geocaching www.geocaching.com. Letterboxing or Geocaching as it is also called is sort of like a treasure hunt but use a GPS to either hide or seek containers, called “geocaches” anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof box usually containing a logbook of some type which you are supposed to sign and date and sometimes a small toy or trinket with sentimental value. This one had the logbook and an ink stamp. We stamped the book and then proceeded to press one finger into the ink to create a fingerprint, which we then signed our name above. After we had completed our imprints into the logbook we carefully put it back together and placed it in exactly the same spot for the next person to find.
The walk down was a lot easier and quieter. After we arrived onboard and everyone got comfortable, we headed back to Burlington. Along the way, Ryan suggested that we stop for real Maple Flavored Ice Cream at Dakin Farms www.dakinfarm.com. Ryan explained that it was his favorite place for a “Creamie” www.creamies.com, which is what they call soft, serve ice cream in Vermont. With all of us in agreement that a “Creamie” would be a perfect treat after our hike we drove toward Dakin Farms. As we walked in we stopped at the sample counter. After hiking all day we were like Great White Sharks at a Harbor Seal Convention! Samples of Jerky, Pepperoni, Salami and Cheeses were no match for the collective voracious appetites we had worked up during our hike. Finally it was time to order our “Creamies”. We each ordered our Maple flavored Ice Creams and filtered outside to sit and enjoy our tasty Vermont Maple “Creamie”. Joey and I chatted with the guys about how much fun we had had during the hike and how much we enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them.
The drive back to the offices where it all began was quiet as the toll of the days hike settled down on everyone like a warm blanket on a snowy winter day. As we said good by everyone went their merry ways except John, Mike, Joey and I. We were leaving the next day so we wanted to say an extra goodbye to our new friends who had welcomed and included us in their lives over the last few days. As we were preparing to say Goodbye, John offered to let us take a shower in the community showers up in their offices. Being that we had been having some issues with the hot water system on Priscilla we nearly shook his bones out of his skin thanking him. You don’t realize how much you take a hot shower for granted until you go a day or three without taking one. We hugged Mike goodbye and rushed into Priscilla to get our stuff to take our shower.
Freshly showered and feeling like a million bucks we hugged John goodbye. It felt like Dorothy hugging the Scarecrow, as she was about to go home because we had somehow connected with John and Mike more than just travelers passing through, we were fellow human beings, each on our own journey and for a brief time our paths had crossed and we were all hopefully better because of it, and that has been the most inspiring part of our adventure so far.