Long Trail – Day 9
June 22, 2016
I took what is called in the hiking lexicon as a zero day, from hiking zero miles. Originally I planned to do nothing today, so as to rest my ankles and feet. The only thing I had to do was get my resupply box from The Inn at the Long Trail.
In the morning I hung out with the Yellow Birds. They were the guys from Quebec that I met my first night on the trail. Even though I had only met them once before and maybe talked for several hours, it was like saying goodbye to old friends.
I also went through my pack and sent home several items that saved me 3 pounds of pack weight. After this I took the shuttle to the Inn. It took a while to get there and when I entered I told the owner my name. She looked at a list of packages and said “I’m sorry, we don’t have it, when did you send it.” I told her I would call my wife and see. She asked “did she send it via USPS?” “I think so,” I replied. She then became visibly frustrated and said, “if a package is sent via USPS it goes directly to our post office and we don’t she I it that often.” I explained that I researched their site, did not see that, and even took the step of calling their phone number weeks ago to verify that I could send my package to that address via USPS. She looked at me and said, “well, that’s wrong and you probably didn’t understand our worker clearly, but either way I don’t have time to deal with you.” She was extremely angry and I was visibly shaken. “Ma’am, that package has all my food for the next 100 miles.” She again responded, “I don’t have time to deal with you.” I responded with all the kindness I could muster, “I don’t appreciate the manner with which I’m being spoken to, it’s only food, but I do not like being treated with rudeness.”
I left and went directly to the Post Office. As fate would have it, I befriended the Postmaster, whose brother was living in Leicester, not too far from where I live! He printed up the tracking information that not only was my package delivered, but the owners picked it up. He became very upset and called the Postmaster in Killington. She took down my information and also became upset.
Not thirty minutes later my phone rang. Patty, the owner asked for me. She fully apologized, said she was having a bad day and they had my package for me. I appreciate her sincerity, but in all it took me 5 hours of my zero day.
On my bus ride back to the Inn, I met a local woman who was doing her grocery shopping. She was older and very kind. I struck up a conversation with her and told her how beautiful Rutland was. She didn’t bat an eye, “Rutland? Are you serious?” “It’s the heroin capitol of the US.” I looked it up and she was absolutely correct: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/us/a-call-to-arms-on-a-vermont-heroin-epidemic.html
She started crying as she told me that at Halloween the police have to carefully watch the kids, because drug dealers will inject drugs into the candy. She recounted story upon story.
We got on the bus and we talked to the bus driver, a 75 year old man that has lived in Vermont his whole life. He also reiterated the change in Rutland since the drugs have come in.
I love seeing and getting to know different parts of America, even its underbelly.
Total mileage is zero miles.