The sixth of fifty possibly fictional places to visit in Vermont you won’t find in any travel guide. These are the places the locals keep to themselves and if you go, you’ll soon learn why.
This story was related to me by my doctor a couple years ago. The locations may have been changed to protect privacy.
Years ago, I ran out of gas on the old highway 89. It was a hot summer afternoon I was heading back from med school. I left the car on the side of the road and hoofed it to find the nearest gas station.
I started down a circular exit ramp. Now, this ramp was a perfect circle so that the bit of woods in the middle was completely surrounded by pavement. Not sure why but I decided my best bet was to cut through the trees and introduce myself to the local insect population.
My error was apparent within three steps but I was too stubborn to just go back to the pavement. I continued on and it’s getting darker in the dense woodland. The mosquitoes are devouring me. After ten minutes my skin looked like bubble wrap.
Not that I needed more torture, but when I continued on I stepped onto a trap door made with some leaves and twigs that dropped me into a dirt pit, two feet deeper than my height.
That’s when I met the tent girl of exit 34b. I’d say she was 14 years old. Hard to tell for sure as was she was covered in dirt. She could talk but in a weird guttural manner that gave away her lack of schooling immediately. I explained I was a student looking for gas.
Guess I was convincing because she pulled me out of the hole with her feral girl strength. She had a campsite nearby, completely hidden by trees. It had all sorts of things people toss or fall off their cars. Gas tanks, clothes, mattresses, even a bike. She’s lived there her entire life, unnoticed. Her parents reside at an exit fifteen miles North.
As curious as I was, the mosquitos were still feasting on me and the girl noticed this. Mind you, she’s free of bites despite the surrounding environment. I’m thinking it’s the dirt all over her but it’s wasn’t. She motions me to have a seat on a log outside her tent. She goes into the tent. I hear some pots and pans rattling while she’s in there searching for something.
A minute later she comes out with an empty plastic coke bottle a quarter of the way filled with a liquid I’m pretty sure is urine. Then she empties the contents of rusted Altoids tin into the bottle. The contents I’m pretty sure were dead flies. Next, she hocks a loogie into the bottle and tops it off with a powder she had in an old sandwich bag which may have been the dehydrated remains of an old sandwich.
She places the lid back on and shakes the bottle like a mad woman for nearly five minutes. When she’s finished the urine, flies, spit and sandwich have merged into a yellowish brown liquid. She hands it to me a grunt.
I was, of course, wary, of the mixture but out of desperation, I gave it a go. And wouldn’t you know? Tt worked Works better than any product on the market and I even emptied it into a spray bottle when I got home. It lasted me the entire summer.
To get home though, I needed gas and the girl gave me can that had just enough to get me off the highway. I thanked her and was on my way.
Thirty years later I enjoy hiking and being out in the wood more than ever and I’ll spend hours with nary a bite. No ticks even and due to the girl’s secret formula.
So now when I see items of interest on the side of the road, I stop and fill my trunk. Once I have collected enough, I pay the girl a visit. I say girl but she’s in her forties. I trade my items and some doctorly advice for the best damn mosquito spray in New England.