Greetings everyone! As I have hiked this trail, I have come to realize that the absolute best plans out here are the spontaneous ones. Spider, Sriracha, Fool Hardy, and Sriracha's dad, Ten Year, hiked into Manchester Center, VT, so that we could resupply and then knock out another 7 miles that afternoon. While in a local pizza place, a past thru hiker and native of Vermont, Johnny Thunder, informed us that there is an unmarked, unofficial shelter on top of Bromley Mountain 3 miles from town that the ski resort allows thru hikers to use. He went on to add that the view from Bromley is absolutely stunning and that we should definitely consider staying at the summit for the sunset and sunrise. Well my whole group jumped all over this idea! For one, that only meant we had to do 3 additional miles, not 7. For two, that night was also the peak of the month long meteor shower! We decide to make this special occasion into a big event and pack out a few special items that we don't typically pack out into the woods. Spider for instance packed out a huge container of yogurt, Oreo cookies, and strawberries so we could all have delicious parfaits. Sriracha and Ten Year packed out hotdogs, Fool Hardy packed out Blue Moon's seasonal beer, and I packed out the night's feature item: 5 liters of Franzia's finest White Zinfandel. As we are gathering our party supplies, more and more thru hikers began to take notice to our odd resupply items and start to ask questions. Once they find out what we have planned, they all begin to change their plans too until we have over 20 thru hikers coming up with us to the top of Bromley! Hiking 5 liters of wine up a 3 mile, 1000 foot climb was not a whole lot of fun. As a matter of fact, in down right sucked. But, once I made it to the top, I was welcomed as a hero and had several toasts in my name. I even got extra parfait and 2 hotdogs for dinner :)! The night turned out to be a smashing success. Once we reached the top everyone was giddy with excitement just thinking about our epic night to come. We played on both of the mountain's ski lifts and even got to go inside the cold weather ski lift's motor room that oddly resembled a space craft. We then all gathered around at the top of the mountain to watch a beautiful Vermont sunset. It was honest to God one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. Just gorgeous and truly special. Once the sun went down, we built a campfire right under the "No Fires" sign and cooked hotdogs, told trail stories, and sang songs along with Avacado's guitar.
Side Bar: That night I decided that thru hikers are illiterate. It's really the only explanation for our blatant and total disregard for signs displaying rules and regulations. If any of us can read, they sure don't tell anyone! Signs such as "No Fires", "No Camping", "No Loitering", "No Alcohol", and "Shoes and Shirts Required" are our absolute favorite to ignore, and quite frankly encourage whatever act they are attempting to deter. Besides, rules don't apply to thru hikers anyway. We pretty much do what we want. It's pretty great.
After our camp fire we all grabbed our sleeping bags and laid out on the summit for hours watching all the meteors shoot across the sky. Wow where there some amazing ones, with huge, long tails that glowed red and left huge streaks in the sky. The star gazing alone was worth it enough to lay out there for hours. And the wine made it all the more fun :). That day was one of the most amazing days I've had on trail to date. I'm so glad I got to share it all with my amazing friends. A sunset, meteor shower, impromptu hiker party, and a sunsrise?? All in one night? Talk about epic! Life is good out here my friends.