Mon 10 Jun - Manchester, VT

A walk in the woods - the sequel (with more apologies to Bill Bryson who apparently lives not far from here in Hanover, NH).

Today's hike is a short 8.2km return trail to Lye Brook Falls. As rain was predicted to arrive in the afternoon, a morning hike was the solution. We started the trail at 8am just to be certain that we would beat the rain.

Lye Brook Falls is in a wilderness area, which differs from national forests in that human activities in wilderness areas are restricted to scientific study and non-mechanized recreation; such as motorised vehicles and we assume mountain bikes. From a maintenance perspective they also "let it be" in that if trees fall and landslides occur they leave the fallen trees or land as is.

The Forest Service asks all hikers to register on their way in. Di was writing quickly so we could be on our way. However, we forgot to "sign out" on our way back, but please don't tell anyone.

The Lye Brook Falls trail climbs gently but continuously uphill as most of it is along an old logging track.

An exception to the wilderness approach of "let it be" seemed to have been made for these fallen trees. We guessed because hikers were going around them and creating multiple new paths into the forest.

However, there is no bridge across a creek, where in our experience there normally would be one, as the Forest Service won't build one. The water level was high for this creek crossing and all the stepping stones that we could see were either submerged or insufficient, so...

Hans opts for a barefoot wade across. The smile may appear a bit forced as the water was very cold!

Di chose the "boots'n all" option so her soft dainty feet (what?) were not hurt by the nasty rocks! Also because her hiking boots were at the end of their earthly life and what better way to say farewell than with a (wet) bang. What again?

Perhaps not a brilliant plan because Di then had to walk about 6km in wet socks and boots but she wisely did not complain. On our return journey the same process was repeated in reverse.

We continued our hike uphill and eventually reached the spur trail to the Lye Brook Falls (to the right). Di took the opportunity for a "refreshment break on the deserted trail" ahead and Hans was helpfully trying to show this in photos! Good luck spotting Di in this photo.

Next obstacle - a landslide. This landslide was caused by hurricane Irene about 2 years ago, but we could easily follow a path that other hikers have taken across. Again, no action by the Forest Service was evident to repair or replace the path.

Hans going a bit cross country. Watch out... Behind you...

We reached the Lye Brook Falls in just under 2 hours, and they are lovely (as mentioned in reviews). Several photos follow of our nice break by the falls.

A sandwich for Hans.

Di is staying a little further back from the edge after her snack...

We loved having the whole walk and falls to ourselves but after about 20 minutes or so we were ready to head back.

It takes only an hour to do the return hike, including the creek crossing, and near the end we meet a few people with dogs. We thought this was a wilderness area? Clearly the rules are different here as we saw no signs about dogs not being allowed here.

The Runkeeper map for today's hike is dull and we wouldn't normally include it in the blog, BUT check out the street name just left of the start and finish (Carlen St if it is too small on your screen) Cool, hey? We are everywhere, man...

Rain was predicted for later today so we decided to return to the cabin, have showers and lunch and then drive up Mount Equinox before the rain is due to arrive.

Nope! The rain came about 4 hours earlier than predicted and it also costs quite a lot ($20) to drive the short tollroad up to Mount Equinox, so we turned around as we thought that was too much to spend to see rain and clouds. We know, cheapskates...

Instead we went hiking boot shopping for Di.

First stop was Orvis, a major fishing/outdoors store headquartered in Manchester. The inside of Orvis was lovely and built like a giant ski-lodge, but they don't sell hiking boots. They did sell great and beautiful gear although it was quite expensive. Location shot including a bear for sale, a small plane suspended from the ceiling and a "different" but very beautiful caravan.

A cuddle for the big guy before we leave. You could buy him, for just under $5,000... No, the girl to the left is not for sale.

We move on to the next store down the road to look for Di's boots - Manchester Footware. They only had one make of boot, Merrell, and we had previously been advised that these were at the lower end of quality for hiking boots. Di tried on a few, not brilliant and for $120 perhaps not good value. We also did not like the bored grumpy sales lady. She clearly knew nothing about hiking and we doubted her statements about waterproofing etc.

In the centre of Manchester we have previously seen a shop called The Mountain Goat that displays various hiking boots in its window. Good karma as soon as we walked in and the sales lady certainly knew everything about hiking boots and looked very fit. After asking Di a few questions about her hiking patterns and intentions, the sales lady quickly brought out 3 different types of boots to may suit Di's day hiking needs.

At the same time, the very social sales lady chatted about her time in Oz (6 months mostly in the ski mountains and a 2 day whirlwind sightseeing of Sydney), her hiking in the south island of NZ (which she absolutely loved) and various American hiking destinations that she had been to and liked (Grand Canyon anyone?).

Result. Well, of 3 pairs of suggested hiking boots, Di found that 2 pairs were good and 1 pair was fantastic! We got a deal. So, after 2 months of searching for the perfect pair of boots, Di had finally found them. Can't wipe the grin from her face.

Di's new Oboz boots are modeled in the photo below, with accompanying box. True to the trail all right...

Well, as the rain sets in and is forecast to continue for the next 36 hours or so, we spend the rest of the day in our cabin. Of course, the outdoor area at the front is under cover and with an extra jumper it is quite pleasant to sit there say, with a glass of wine. Which is exactly what Hans was doing at beer o'clock. Di opted for inside relaxation with her Kindle.

Today was not a big photo day, so we finish off with a few shots from inside our cabin, with the appropriate level of travelers' untidiness... The outside has been shown earlier. We love this place.

Dinner is gourmet. Di is making Madras Chicken Curry a la Microwave. Key ingredients apart from the obvious are sugar from Dunkin Donut and Madras powder brought from Lancaster in Pennsylvania Dutch country... As you do.

"Camping" dinner on the porch... From the Master Chef herself...

Verdict, well, tonight's microwave dinner at home sure did beat last night's microwave dinner at Christo's. Very yummy. That's all for tonight. Good night.


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