Fun with Instagram:
In which a very amateur photographer explores Northern Vermont with Instagram and discovers the expected and the not:
Amazing views from the Lake Champlain Islands? Expected. World-class meals at Shelburne Farms and (the ungodly amazing) Hen of the Wood? Not. Kitschy tourist traps stocked with apple cider and maple syrup? Foreseen. Rural snack bars with exquisite french fries? Not as such. A multitude of picturesque steeples and brick-red barns? Yep. The steepest, @$$-kickingest vertical trail my legs have ever endured? Holy smoke, no.
And the grand prize for the most surprising thing learned this week goes out to the St. Albans Raid, in which 22 so-called Confederates “invaded” a tiny town just across the Canadian border in 1864, robbed 3 banks, stole a bunch of horses, and shot up the place. The “raiders” were caught, but a portion of the money went MIA. Come to think of it, given what I know about my dear ole’ Southern rednecks, this isn’t particularly surprising at all. Lost cause? Thievin’ and shootin’ to no purpose, under the guise of ‘patriotism’? Sounds about right.
And so on my last night here, I salute you, tiny state of Vermont, for all that photogenic magic, both anticipated and otherwise. And of you, Green Mountains, I ask this: What kind of crazed bad@$$es build trails straight up a mountain? Seriously, 2,800 feet of elevation gain in 2.3 miles? Haven’t you guys ever heard of switchbacks? Wicked steep. Worst part: as my quads heal over a period of four days, I keep thinking of the wiry 70-year-old guy at the outdoor shop who said (of the Long Trail up Mt. Mansfield), “Yep. Gets kinda steep at times.” That guy, I presume, has logged a great many miles on his hiking boots.
Sir, before you, I stand humbled (with legs aquiver). Vermonters, I want to be like you when I grow up.
Related post: Journeys—How the West Won Me
Related post: Journeys—Yellowstone