Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 10: And into Rutland!

Dscn5523September 13: It rained overnight—no surprise there—and well into the morning. The weather forecast called for the rain to stop near sunrise so I figured I could wait it out. And that’s how I ended up sitting around in the shelter until 11:30—far later than I ever expected!


In the meantime, though, I pulled out my laptop computer and started working on blogs. I didn’t get wi-fi, of course, and obviously I couldn’t plug in anywhere, but it was fully charged when I carried it into the wilderness and it seemed like a good time to make use of that charge. Create a couple of blog posts so they’d be ready to post as soon as I got into town. At least I could get some use out of carrying a friggin’ laptop on the Long Trail for nearly a hundred miles!


Which is probably why when a southbound AT thru-hiker arrived, she didn’t pay much attention to me. “Obviously,” I was an idiot weekender that didn’t know better than to carry around a laptop. I did actually say that I had thru-hiked the AT, but I don’t think it really sunk in. Or maybe she thought I was lying.


But she was awfully excited to catch up with the other two hikers in the shelter and chatted away like I wasn’t even there. They started discussing the trail ahead—what the conditions were like, how steep it might be up Killington. Hello? I just came from that direction! I could be extremely useful in providing information! But they didn’t seem to care what I thought. Or that I was even there.


It was very annoying. So I mostly eavesdropped, occasionally adding a tidbit here and there. But really, I just wanted to slap the whole bunch of them for treating me like a second-class citizen. If anyone was to be treated like a second-class citizen, after all, it should have been them. They weren’t even thru-hikers. Not yet, at least. They were just trying to thru-hike the AT. My two shelter companions overnight I have severe doubts they’ll truly be thru-hikers. This woman might be, but she could hike all the way down to Georgia and back and I’d still have had more backpacking experience than she did. Wanna-be thru-hikers…


The three started discussing what shelters they planned to stay at later that night. They had originally wanted to get to Clarendon, but given the weather and their late start, they figured Governor Clement would be more likely.


And you know what I thought? I thought, Hmm… I bet they would just love to know about a certain shelter, a secret shelter, that happens to be located directly between those two shelters.


Dscn5524And you know what I then thought? I thought, I’m not going to tell them where the secret shelter is. Nope. I’m not even going to tell them that there even is a secret shelter!


It was a petty form of revenge, but if they felt that my experience and knowledge of the trail that they would soon be covering wasn’t worth asking about, I certainly wasn’t going to volunteer anything about the secret shelter. Let them stay in that old, moldy Governor Clement Shelter tonight. I didn’t exactly make their hike worse, but I wasn’t going to do anything to make it better either. It’s called karma, I thought ungraciously.


Eventually, though, the rain settled down and I packed up my bags and headed back onto the trail. The rain had stopped, but some tree snot continued to fall. I pulled out my umbrella, just in case, but never did end up using it.


I arrived at Highway 4 rather quickly, but that wasn’t a surprise since it was less than two miles away from where I camped for the night. I had told Amanda to meet me at the Inn at Long Trail, though, which was—technically speaking—about 0.8 miles to the east of the trail. The Long Trail used to go right by it but had been rerouted years ago and now just comes close to the inn, and I had told Amanda to just wait for me there if she arrived in the area before I did. I kind of thought I’d look for some letterboxes in the area then hike down the Sherburne Pass trail to the inn and wait for Amanda there, but given my very late start in the morning, I now expected she would have beat me to the inn.


So I started walking up Highway 4 grumbling a bit about the situation I put myself in. She was probably inside, drinking a beer, while I was doing this stupid road walk. And Amanda could have just driven and just picked me right up from where I got off the Long Trail. Darn that weather!


But when I arrived at the Inn at Long Trail, Amanda was nowhere to be found. Hmm… Maybe her flight got in late? Maybe… I don’t know what. I hadn’t been in contact with her since five days earlier when I was in Manchester. What to do? What to do?


Dscn5539I putzed around a bit, found a phone I could use and tried calling Amanda, but it went right to voice mail. I left a message letting her know where I was, then called my mom to let her know that I was okay and off the trail again.


Now what? Oh, heck, I should just go into Rutland and look for a hotel. I called Amanda again, leaving another message telling her such, then went back outside and waited for the hourly bus to pass by. It seemed easier than hitchhiking.


The bus drove up at the appointed time, and I got on and paid the $2. It whisked me away to Rutland, where I got off and proceeded to walk to the Roadway Inn. I had a coupon from one of those hotel booklets you find at rest areas for the place, but the desk clerk just shook his head and said no.


“Why not?” I asked. He just opened the book and pointed to the small print at the front of the book that talked about the coupons not being valid during special events and based on availability and such. Which is fine, I understand that—but I still wanted to know why he wouldn’t accept the coupon. If there’s a big convention going on in town, I wanted to know! It might mean all of the hotels might be full! But he just kept shaking his head no.


“Is it because you’re already full?” I asked.


He pointed to the small print again. Not helpful at all.


“Do you have any rooms at all?” I inquired. And again, he pointed to the small print.


Do you understand English? I thought to myself.


“Fine,” I finally told the man, “I’ll go somewhere that actually wants my business.”


Dscn5543And let me tell you—if I’m ever in Rutland again, I will never even try to book a room at the Rodeway Inn there again. Never. Even if they had the cheapest room in town and begged me to stay, I wouldn’t do it because the desk clerk couldn’t answer a simple question: WHY?! Not that he said no to the coupon, but that he wouldn’t tell me why he wouldn’t accept the coupon. Customer service, people! It matters!


So I ended up walking towards the other end of the town and wound up booking a room at the Comfort Inn. When I walked into the lobby, I asked if they had any rooms available, and the desk clerk told me they had exactly one room available. “That’s fine by me,” I replied. “I only need one!”


He checked me in quickly and efficiently and I was already happy with the unplanned change in hotels. =)


I called Amanda again to let her know what hotel I had checked into and I logged online where I finally got an email from her telling me that she didn’t get onto either of the first two flights she tried to fly out on but finally got onto the third flight which is why she was running so late.


She did show up about an hour later, though. I got caught up with a lot of email and such, took a shower, and then we headed out to dinner at a local establishment Amanda had noticed on her drive into town. The good life… I didn’t even have to walk there. I let Amanda drive me. =)


Not only is the Inn at Long Trail a famous landmark
for both Appalachian Trail and Long Trail hikers,
but—for all you letterboxers out there—it was
also the site of the very first letterboxing event
in the United States way back in 1999. =)


This peacock made of hay was across the street from
the Inn at Long Trail and appeared to be trying to
hitch a ride to Killington. (Which was the opposite
direction from which I wanted to go.)

1 comment:

Papercrafts by Cindyellen said...

home. . .it's fun to read your blog. . .

and karma is a hard one!! LOL