LT Day 4 and 5

1.5 LT miles, 6 mile road walk, 20 mile hitch, 9 mile shuttle

I got an early start in hopes of either putting in some long miles or a shorter day ending early depending on how the climb up Haystack went. It soon became clear that Monday had done more damage to my body than I realized. Any sort of climbing was a struggle and by the time I reached the road in Hazen’s Notch I knew it was time to sit down for some hard thinking. Going up Haystack seemed sure to make things get ugly fast so the prudent thing seemed to be to get off trail to regroup.

As road walks go the six miles or so down RT 58 to RT 100 were beautiful. No one stopped to offer a ride but traffic was sparse and it was a nice morning in the shade.

Rather than focus on my troubles I opted to try to enjoy how pretty of a place I was walking through. There were a few dog encounters along the way, a German Shepherd that looked like it might have been abandoned threatened me for a while until a voice in the woods called him home. Another two big dogs followed me, barking at my heels, for a good quarter mile.

Still it was such a pretty place it was a walk to be appreciated. Various streams and brooks ran under the road in both directions.

Eventually I reached the highway and realized that I needed to figure out my next goal. Heading down to Johnson to pick up my resupply seemed logical since food was running low, so I stuck out my thumb. Once that was accomplished I talked to my wife a bit and decided to find a place to stay to either recuperate or wait for a ride home. Smugglers Notch to the rescue!

Dinner, beer and breakfast are behind me and I am still feeling a bit broken. I am coming to terms with the fact that this hike is over before it really got started. There has been some cussing and a few tears, but to keep going at this point seems foolish and probably dangerous to my health.

As much as I regret the way this turned out I am glad I tried to chase the dream. For an old fat man this was an ambitious challenge to begin with, but no one could anticipate tropical weather in VT at this time of year. With my aversion to hiking in the heat I planned to start this late in hopes of much cooler weather.

Will I try again? No, probably not. Putting my family through all of this again seems unfair. I also have to acknowledge that the universe seems to be trying to tell me something.

Still, no regrets! Not sure what crazy dream will come to me next, but I will keep chasing them, you can be sure. Thanks for coming along on this adventure and I apologize for not being able to share the rest of this beautiful trail with you.

4 thoughts on “LT Day 4 and 5

  1. I’m sorry you had to get off trail but glad you are listening to your body. I think going southbound is definitely harder on the LT. Northern Vermont is hard and that’s coming from someone who did it right after the JMT! I am covered in scrapes and bruises courtesy of Vermont boulders. This was posted 3 days ago… Any chance you’d feel up to a nobo hike instead to ease into it?

    • I was actually finding the trail itself easy enough. I beat book time climbing Jay by 20 minutes, but that was first thing in the morning 🙂 The heat would have caused me just as much trouble NOBO as any climb gets me steamed up. For me 40s and 50s are my favorite climbing temps so 80 is way too hot unless I have access to lots of water.

      When it cools down I may head back to do a section, definitely going to have to get out somewhere to use up my supplies.

      Enjoy the hike and stay safe out there!

  2. Also, I left Houston to get away from the heat and humidity! I absolutely agree that it’s been miserable in that regard. I took two afternoon naps because of it! It was like being on strike except nobody cared.

  3. John….just caught up with your blog to see how the trip was going. Sorry to hear about the issues, but you definitely made a good decision and listened to your body rather than try to push through and make things worse. Hope you are recovering well and look forward to hearing about future trips here and on Trailspace.

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