Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Long Good-by: See You Next Year, Camel's Hump

Now that the countdown to Jordan has officially begun, life is starting to feel like a series of goodbye's, purging of possessions and packing.  One consolation is that a surprising number of Saint Michael's alumni are in similar situations, having spent the summer in Burlington and now making tracks to jobs and graduation school in other locations. On Thursday one of them, Kate, and I decided to put our packing aside and do the Camel's Hump hike that she never quite got around to during her four years of college.

A view of the trail on the way back down.
Given the ominous look of the weather, we thought it best to sign in in case we got stuck in the mud somewhere.

Kate did the honors when it was time to sign out.

The whole idea felt very appropriate for a whole host of reasons.  First was the fact that it's pretty much a crime to do an entire degree at a Vermont college and never do a Camel's Hump hike, and Kate was determined to fix that before she left.  From my angle, Camel's Hump featured very heavily in my life (and on this blog) last year when I got to hike it with all kinds of people, in all seasons and during all hours of the day (and night). Yet in 2011 I hadn't hiked it even once, and the opportunities to do it before I head to the Middle East  were rapidly drawing to a close. And finally, as Kate pointed out, there is something incredibly cool about the fact that she and I (and Alexsis) did our first hike of the summer in Jordan at Petra, where I'm now headed for ten months, and our last hike of the summer at Camel's Hump, the quintessential hike of the state of Vermont, which we are now leaving.
It's hard to convey in a photo how much the wind was whipping around and how bad the visibility was up top.  But you can sort of tell from the pained look on Kate's face as she clings to the rock.

It wouldn't be Vermont if there weren't at least a little kink in the plans, and we were a little surprised at how uncrowded the parking lot was when we got to the trail head for the Burrows Trail.  Apparently, many lesser souls were deterred by the dark, overcast skies.  We marched upward however, and passed a few intrepid fellow travellers on their way down who accurately warned us that the top was extremely windy and foggy.  But as we all know, it's not the destination but the journey that counts. Through the rain, the wind and the fog we had a great hike and took the opportunity to say goodbye to an icon of the state we've both come to love.  In a little over a week I leave for Amman and in a few months Kate will leave for Columbia, and both of us will take up our teaching posts for the year, Kate teaching English with the Harvard affiliated program World Teach and me as a Fulbrighter at the University of Jordan.  But of course, we'll be back, and on the lookout for all our Vermont friends on the Camel's Hump trail.


  1. So glad you fought the element and made it up Camel's Hump! Miss you both smarty pants heading off to foreign exotic land to do great things! miss you so much already!

  2. It wouldn't be Vermont if there weren't at least a little kink in the plans