Long Trail Day 6

Day 6 started early, or Day 5 extended on into the night depending on how you want to look at it. Sharing a shelter with three noisy sleeping pads and the folks rolling around on them all night was not a joy. Very little sleep was to be had before the rain began at dawn. It came in waves, with downpours for a bit and then showers. It was still raining hard when I left to head down into Johnson for my resupply.

It had let up a bit, just light showers, by the time I reached Prospect Rock. Instead of falcons I met a small flock of big wild turkeys there. A very neat spot despite the weather I’m guessing the view on a clear day would be amazing.

After dropping down off the cliff it was soon time to cross the Lamoille River just before hitting Rt 15 highway. I picked up my box of food at the hardware store and proceeded to cram it all into my mostly empty bear can.

Somewhere in there things fell apart and in conversations with my wife I decided to end the hike and go home. Mentally I was never really in the right place for this hike and my resolve to continue on was just not there. I’d been hiking in wet clothes for days and the thought of three more weeks of that seemed impossible. If money wasn’t an issue I would have just inserted a hotel stay every few days to dry out, but that would have added too much cost to the trip.

Looking at things more clearly now I can see that my Seasonal Affect was really bad this year. Mental focus is important on trail and my mind was a shambles heh. While my gear and logistics were all in place, without a focused mind every day was a struggle. When the moment came to embrace the suck I just didn’t have it in me. Hard lessons to learn on trail, but important. A trip of this difficulty level can’t be done by just going through the motions. If I try again I will have to make certain my head is in the right place before I start. Saving up enough for a few hotel stays would probably be a good idea too because drying out on trail didn’t seem very possible given the short days.

Sorry to string you along on a trip cut short. I haven’t looked at any of the video yet, but there may be a YouTube version of the story in the near future. I’ll leave you here with the view of my last night’s camp, alone in the forest.

Long Trail Day 5

Day 5 started with an early morning rain shower. Even without the rain my trail clothes were not drying overnight. That morning the wet extended to my tarp and even the quilts were starting to feel a bit soggy from the humidity.

Thankfully I was feeling a bit better that morning because the climb up from Corliss to the top of Laraway was waiting for me. The actual summit wasn’t much to write home about. A boulder and sign marked the spot, but i wasn’t even really out of the trees. Then I got to the lookout and found my views for the day!

Definitely a glorious spot to eat cheese and sausage! The rest of the day was back in the tree tunnel, but for a few minutes in the sunshine with the wind blowing hard I actually began to dry out. I met some day hikers who came up and then many more on my way down the mountain. This viewpoint was a local favorite and I could see why.

With a big storm expected overnight and in the morning I headed up to the Roundtop Shelter to spend the night. I am really not a fan of shelters, but the thought of getting any wetter was too much heh.

Long Trail Day 4

Apologies for the lack of pics. This was an ugly day of hiking with a bad stomach. The first few hours went pretty well actually though.

Just before dropping down into Devil’s Gulch this window opened giving me a peek at Spruce Ledge on the far side. It was heading up that steep climb the fun went out of the day heh. I was 6 miles from camp when my stomach gave out. The rest of the day was a mental game of holding things together while on the move.

I dragged my butt up that ridge and then up to the top of Butternut Mtn before dropping down steeply into a notch where I found Corliss Camp. It was nice to make camp earlier. There was time to chat with some of the many hikers I found there already before getting some nice rest.

Long Trail Day 3

Sorry for delay but haven’t had enough signal to upload pics 😀

Early start from Hazen’s Notch was a good idea. Very challenging day with lots of big elevation & some lumps too heh.

Some neat alpine beaver ponds near the Tillotson shelter.

I skipped the Belvedere summit spur & barely made camp before dark. Tough day!

Long Trail Day 2

The day started early. Neighbors had loud sleeping pads & were rolling around. Oh well I had mountains to climb.

Jay Peak was visible through the trees right from the start. Then the trail popped out on a ski run before heading back into the trees.

No more pics after Jay . The trail was an uphill rollercoaster over Gilpin & Buchanan before turning into a downhill rollercoaster to Hazen’s Notch camp.

Tomorrow will be new trail, up for a bit I hear heh. Not sure how far I will go. An adventure!

Long Trail Day 1

What a beautiful day to start. Blue sky, sunshine & even a breeze at times. Probably 20 degrees cooler than last time I was here.

Still sweaty work out there. This trail makes you climb to the start before it starts making you climb.

Camped at Laura Woodward in my hammock. Time to make some dinner & put on more clothes. I can see the top of Jay from here. Headed there first thing tomorrow.

Long Trail Day -1

Time to try this again. It has been 4 years since that heatwave tried to kill me.

Headed up to Journey’s End tomorrow for a Sunday start. The plan is flexible & slow. Carrying a lot of insulation & food so I can camp in comfort.

I will be covering this hike like the Cohos earlier this year. Most days should see a pic or two posted here along with a bit of babbling. Video will follow after I get home.

Should be beautiful out there. The colors are starting to pop. Hopefully the leaves stay on the trees!

LT Day 4 and 5

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.