We eat and are mostly packed. We go out to talk with Carrie, the woman who rolled in late last night. Sherman likes her immediately. She’s going north, so we compared trail and water info.
I realize that I’m afraid of going over Camels Hump and Burnt Rock Mountain. I use Sherman as my excuse. Can he do it? I’m projecting. He’s much more nimble and sure footed than I am. He had one slip and I put my anxiety onto him. I’ve had a dozen slips and three falls. The hardest last night going over a mudflat. I stepped on a log that was polished from all the shoes that have rubbed on it. My foot went sideways and I went down hard on my side. Again the trail spirits are in favor of this journey. I fell into soft mud. No bruises. No pain. Lots of dirt on my left leg and arm. Anyway… I make the space for and own the anxiety about these peaks. Foreword…
fullsizeoutput_214aThe trail goes by two beaver ponds. Along the trail here are blackberry bushes. Most are gone. But at each I find one bush with a half dozen wild blackberries. Very tasty. And very small. The six in my hand are smaller in volume than one commercial blackberry. Mostly seed. As wild fruit is.

Our destination, Duck Brook Shelter, is on the old LT. The GMC built a suspension bridge away from town and connected existing and new trails to the bridge. I haven’t heard the story of why they thought this was a good idea. I hear it’s a nicely graded and switch backed hike. However it has no water or shelter…
We’re taking the old trail which has a shelter and water. Duck Brook Shelter is less than 2 miles from the PO. And it’s on Duck Brook which looks like a major feeder to the Winooski River at the bottom. A woman trail runner arrives at our location during one of our break times. She’s RUNNING to the top of Mt Mansfield. This body has no cellular connection to that kind of effort. She says there’s no water on the trail until the bottom. I say we’re going to Duck Brook Shelter. That I assumed they’re would be water in the brook. She agrees it’s the best chance. And, 2 hours later, as we first cross Duck Brook, it indeed is a quick flowing stream. Yea!! Now just to hike the 3+ miles to the shelter. Gotta go over a couple small mountains before heading back down to the shelter which nestles on the brook.
fullsizeoutput_2152 Easy trail. Just moseying through the green Vermont woods…
fullsizeoutput_214cA nice overlook.
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fullsizeoutput_214bFall leaves beginning to fall onto the trail
Duck Brook Shelter is a nice simple lean-to. The coolest thing is Duck Brook. It’s a raging stream running through rock formations on its way down the mountain. It’s a steep trail from the shelter down a couple hundred feet to the brook. The hill is pine tree covered, so the ground is inches thick with pine needles. In places, slippery. When we get down there it is so rocky it’s hard to find a place to get close to the river. I want to get a liter of water, rinse my socks and shirt, and do a wipe off. Amazing how good that feels after having 2-3 days of sweat and dust on the body.
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fullsizeoutput_2142Some views of Duck Brook
After getting back up the hill, Sherman rests while I get the bed and food ready. Seems to be a pattern of ours. Is he taking advantage of me?
It’s going to rain tonite. Don’t know how hard. The prediction is rain from midnight until 10am or 4pm. Depends on who’s guessing. We’ll be here until 1pm at the latest. If it’s still raining, we’ll do a rain walk to the PO. If it breaks earlier… so will we.
I made a reservation to put our tent in a couples yard in town that offers that to thru-hikers. I’m hoping there’s an unadvertised shower in the deal. They’ll also pick us up and take us to the trail in Saturday. It’ll be nice to have a mostly resting day.