1: BHM to Bennington to Goddard Shelter

It’s been a busy summer. The last week, especially, has been a whirlwind of packing my apartment in Georgia, finishing up work, preparing for a conference in North Carolina the day my hike ends, and getting ready, of course, for the hike.
Oh, and giving a presentation on the work I’ve done this summer in order to hopefully secure a job. NBD.
So, I did all of that, because I had no other option. And on Thursday I turned in my badge and started hike preparations in earnest.
No woman is an island, and I could not have done all of this without my parents. My mom helped me shop for the conference and pack and take care of all of the little errands that have to be done in order to disappear for three weeks. Or more, really, because the conference comes directly after and then classes have already started while I’m at the conference…
I spent Friday morning with my nephew, playing Legos. “Look at my house, H!”
“Don’t you mean *our* house?”

The packing and errands and etc began in earnest once he left. My mom drove me to the airport and I gave her a hug, promising to keep her updated.
I weighed my pack as I checked in. 14 pounds with no food or water but including my hiking poles.
It’s funny– I stress constantly about every little thing. Work, school, traffic. But you give me a flight or a trip like this and I’m cool as can be. I mitigated my TSA risk by preparing an alternative plan in case they made me check my poles and tent stakes, and got to the airport early, but flying just doesn’t stress me out anymore. Thanks, French degree.

I did make it through TSA, with no questions asked. Go figure. My first flight was delayed but I didn’t worry about making my connection. I could walk fast.
When I boarded, I chose a seat near the front between two dudes, so I could deplane quickly and make my connecting flight. We talked the entire time. One guy asked for a trail name. I named him Tiny Truck. He gave me his number so he could bring me trail magic when I hike through Maryland. Either that or he was hitting on me. I’m not sure. Maybe both! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I hoofed it to my connecting flight and made it right as boarding began. I’m very good at walking.
I slept in weird positions the entire flight.
Carpenter and his sister Susan picked me up at the airport. It was so good to see him again!! The drive to Susan’s house was exactly what I hoped it would be–a tiny little New England town.
Sleeping in the most comfortable bed I’ve ever been in, I kept expecting Charles Wallace to be downstairs heating milk. He wasn’t.

But in the morning, Susan was downstairs cooking blueberry pancakes with the best blueberries and maples syrup I’ve ever had in my life. They were delicious.
We packed food and bags and eventually we were ready. I had a 23 lb pack; carpenter was at 25 lbs.

Susan took us to her daughter Sarah, who drove us out to her husband Sean, who drove us to Bennington, VT, where we started our hike. Well, first we stopped at the post office, where Carpenter mailed our first mail drop with food for us.

The trail was …a good first day. Some uphills, so my muscles knew what was up, and some flats, so I wasn’t too pooped.

And here’s some Indian Pipe for Stewart.

We made it 10 miles to the shelter at about 7:30. I was ready for bed already. After several weeks of networking and talking and chatting, I was ready for some time alone and to be quiet. I ate a quick small dinner and got in bed.
Day 1: complete.
MVP: bed

LVP: pack too heavy

Miles: 10.1

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