Hikers Miss Camaraderie As Route 4 Re-Opens

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(Host)   Now that route four has reopened between Killington and Rutland a half mile hiking trail that was being used by hundreds of commuters every day will no longer be needed    VPR’s Nina Keck says that while everyone is happy to have the road open, many say they’ll miss the camaraderie of the trail.

(Keck) Just a few days ago, this was the sound at the end of Journey’s End Road in Mendon. Hundreds of commuters were getting dropped off there so they could walk a half mile trail through the woods to a part of Mendon that was still connected to Rutland and points west. 

(Prior)  "You need a ride?   or do you want to walk?  How you doing?"

(Keck) Roy Prior lives right near that trail head.  Sitting under a tent on his porch, he jokingly referred to himself as part of the welcoming committee.

(Prior) "Well, there’s two porta potties on the other side and my house bathroom is the porta pottie on this side.    My wife’s not liking it but what are you going to say when someone says they have to pee (laughs)."

(Keck) Prior was among a small army of volunteers who made sure people had rides, water, directions – pretty much anything they needed.  While Prior admits he’s enjoyed helping, he won’t miss all the traffic.

(Prior) "It feels good, but I’ll miss it like a tooth ache – I am getting tired.  I am 72 years old and I cannot work 16 hours day two weeks in a row."

(Keck)  Volunteer Debbie Poplawski drives up in an ATV.   

(Poplawski) "I will I’ll miss the people who live around here  especially Mr. Roy."

(Roy Prior) "You can come and visit any time Debbie – just don’t’ bring all your friends – just one or two. (laughs)"

(Poplawski) "Also I think it’s brought a lot of people together.  One person walking on the path just said, this is great – she had to go up to Sherburne school and she said I’ve been picked up by so many people in their cars and normally I wouldn’t just get in their car.  But now you just get in and how can we help you and where can we get you?    It’s pretty neat. "

(Keck) What will really be neat, volunteers say, is for the community to hang on to that warm caring spirit even as things return to normal.   For VPR news, I’m Nina Keck in Mendon.

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