Day 7 August 21,2016
WOW! A whole week on the trail. It’s hard to believe I’ve been out here that long. It has been great! Aunt Julie and I have been hiking very well together. I do have to admit that she is a faster hiker than me especially around the roots and rocks. I think I could hang with her on what I call “cruiser” trail, no roots and rocks, but that’s it.
We started that day at 7:45 am, after Julie had to wait on me for about 20 minutes to finish getting ready. I just love to sit and enjoy my breakfast and not rush through it. I slept well last night and felt great this morning and the trail was really cruiser so we were moving along at a great pace, until we ran into a bunch of roots and rocks, than that was it for me I was whining like a baby.
We arrived at the shelter at 1:30 this afternoon. We planned a short day today because of some rain that was suppose to move in about 1pm, but it held off until 5:30pm. The weather report we got while we were in the town of Manchester was calling for up to an inch of rain with winds 20+ mph. We wanted to make sure we got a spot in a shelter so we didn’t have to sleep in our tents in the rain. We didn’t want to be washed off the mountain in the rain. Total milage for the day was about 10 miles. We heard the rain should move out by 9am tomorrow and the day should be nice so we have a 15 mile day planned.
We had some spectacular views today. It makes those difficult climbs worth it.
We have met some really great people out here on the trail, and others that seem like they have smoked way to much weed and I mean WAY TO MUCH, like there aren’t any brain cells left. We are camped tonight at a shelter with two men who I would guess are in their 60’s and they are a hoot! One has a trail name of Johnny Walker(no he didn’t offer us any) and the other is Snake Doctor(which is a type of dragon-fly).
Things are going well for me. The first few days I had an area on my big toe that seemed like a blister to me. By the fourth day it started to improve. Then while we were in Manchester I picked up my new shoes that Jim mailed to Uncle Brian. Yesterday was the first day that I wore them and my Achilles tendon on my right foot was bothering me, but today was better. My knees bother me slightly on the down hills and they are pretty sore when I squat all the way down. My back also starts to bother me if we have hiked a while without taking a break. So nothing really major at this point.
Some how I slept through my alarm this morning. I didn’t sleep that well last night and ended up reading for a few hours during the night. We also left a window open in the room last night and out got pretty cold so I had my covers up over my head so I didn’t realize it was light out. I was still up in plenty of time to get ready for our 7:30am shuttle back to the trail. This was my first hostel experience and it was great. We got there around 3pm and there wasn’t very many other hikes there yet so we didn’t have to wait to use the laundry or shower, but we did have a full house.
We got to the trail head at 7:45 am and proceeded to eat mountains for breakfast. We had 2 big climbs today. Bromaly Ski resort was the first one. It was a fairly easy climb. The second one was not so easy. It was very steep with a sharp incline rather than gradual. Plus this was just before noon and it was a little warm, but I’m not going to complain. The weather today was great! It was a sunny beautiful day and we had very little muddy trail.
Today was a first for me…6 days on the trail. The longest I have been out is 5 days until today. The time is going by so fast, miles not so fast. The terrain is really rugged. It is the rocks and roots that are really getting me.
I got new shoes in my resupply and I was glad to keep them clean, but I don’t know how long that well last. I heard it is suppose to rain tomorrow. I had originally wanted to start the trail in these shoes but I had to order a new pair because the tread on my old pair was pretty worn and they didn’t come in on time.
I received my first trail magic today. It was from a couple of day hikers. The woman who gave the granola bar had thru hiked long trail a number of years ago with a 37 lb. pack. She saw me stretching my back after I had eaten lunch and I think she was thinking back to her hike and feeling sorry for me that I just had the carry my pack up Styles Peak(our hardest climb today).
We rolled into camp a 4 pm, or I should say “I” rolled into camp at 4 pm, Aunt Julie was way ahead of me. She has a faster hiking pace than me. We finished the day with 14.8 miles for a total of 69.2 miles on Long Trail.
We had an amazing camp spot last night on Stratton Lake. We had a whole area to ourselves. The trail has been so busy with AT and Long Trail hikers we haven’t had any solitude at night. So this was a treat and we had a full moon.
Today was beautiful. The weather was pleasant and we knew we were headed into town today for laundry and showers. So there wasn’t much that could dampen this day.
My Uncle Brian was picking us up today along one of the road crossings to bring us into town and dropping off our resupply to us. We hiked 11 miles by 1pm and timed things perfectly for meeting Uncle Brian. We had lunch at Firefly’s in Manchester, then proceeded to make some stops before being dropped off at the hostel.
The Green Mountain Hostel is the cutest place. Julie and I have our own room and everything is very neat and clean. We even get a free soda and pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, plus breakfast and a ride back to the trail.
We started the trail at 9:30 am after a 3 hour drive from Aunt Julie’s house to the trailhead in MA. We followed the AT for almost 4 miles to get to the beginning of the Long Trail on the VT/MA border.
Aunt Julie and I made my cousin Garett lead so we could avoid most of the cob webs. We had a lot of elevation to climb up and it was a pretty hot and humid day. We were soon sweating and starting to acquire our hike smell.
We finished the day with 13.5 miles at 6 pm. Unfortunate Garett was having some serious IT band issues so he planned to get off the trail the next day, since he had a cross fit competition coming up soon and didn’t want to do any more damage to his knee.
Day 2 August 16, 2016
We hoped to be out of camp early this morning because we were trying to beat some rain that was forecasted for later this afternoon, but it ended up being a later start than planned. We finely managed to get on the trail at 6:45am, 45 minutes later than we planned.
I had my first accident today. Somehow I managed to wack myself in the knee with my trekking pole. I even managed to break the skin and it swelled a bit. I am doing better with using them, but some times I manage to trip myself up with them or bang my shines and knees with them.
Today ended up being a really wet day. We found lots of mud before the rain had even started. The trail actually had water following down it!!!
The rain hit about 3 hours before we arrived at the shelter, and since it was a pretty warm day I just used my umbrella for the first time. It worked really well, I just attached it to the strap on my backpack so I could still us my trekking poles. With the rain the trail was really a river and since my shoes were wet from the rain I was no longer worried about trying to keep them dry.
We arrived at the shelter at 4pm, wet and muddy after a 14 mile day. The shelter was at the top of a mountain and it looked like we were in the clouds the fog was so heavy. As I was laying in my sleeping bag in the shelter I could see the fog being blown into the shelter by the heavy winds.
Day 3 August 17, 2016
We awoke to a very nasty morning. It was super windy with intermittent rain. So we were in no rush to start the day. Plus I was not looking forward to putting on my wet socks and shoes. Let me tell you it is not something I care to repeat. Cold wet muddy socks and shoes are definitely a low point for me.
We finely left the shelter at 8:45am in full rain gear and we soon found more mud and rain. The rain was light and didn’t last for long, but the mud lasted the whole day.
I had my first fall today. Slipping on some mud. Luckily I fell on the side of the trail and not in the mud. I was not hurt. I just added a little more mud to my trail outfit.
We arrived at out camp at 3pm after a 9 mile day. I was really having an issue with one of my toes today. I have been tapeing it , but I still may have gotten a blister. It is really hard for me to tell. I do know that it is sore to walk on. It is on the bottom of my big toe and to compensate I have been walking on the out side of my foot, trying to avoid putting weight on it. I will tape again tomorrow and hope for the best.
Day 4 August 18, 2016
OMG today was a glorious! I got to put on dry socks and mostly dry shoes this morning!! The simplest things mean so much out here. Plus we had awesome weather for most of the day.
We planned to get an early start this morning- but were 45 minutes late leaving, but still finished up the day at 2:30 pm. It was an 11 mile day and terrain was easier than we’ve had the last few days.
I tried to pop what I thought was a blister on my big toe, but after breaking the skin nothing can out so I am not sure if it was a blister out not. The area was not raised like a blister, but it looked like something was going on and it felt like something was going on, but I truly don’t know for sure. I do know that it did feel better today.
On top of Stratton Mountain there was a fire tower and I was going to try to go up to the first landing to see if I could get a view from there, but it was not meant to be. I was only able to see the tops of the trees. My fear of highs kicked in so this was it for me. I even had a hard time getting down from there so I was glad I didn’t go any higher. As it was I still had to sit down on the top step of the landing to take my first step down, then I was able to walk down the rest of the steps normal.
Julie and I are both looking forward to getting into town tomorrow. We are both ready to take showers and do laundry. I have been wearing the same clothes for the past 4 days. So my body odor is pretty strong. I do wash up every night with a wet bandanna and wet wipes, but…
This is it… My trip that I planned a year-and-a-half ago is finally here. I will be backpacking from Massachusetts to Canada following Long Trail in Vermont, approximately 280 trail miles. I can’t tell you how excited I am that this trip is finally here. I started packing my suitcase 3 weeks ago in anticipation. I have literally been counting down the days from way back when it was over a 160 days until the trip. I felt like a little kid counting down the days until Christmas.
For those of you wondering…No I will not be hiking alone!!! My awesome Aunt Julie with be doing the whole trail with me and my cousin Garett will also be with us for the first 5 days. Yes, I will be sleeping in a tiny one man tent. Yes, on the ground. Yes, in the middle of the woods. Yes, I will carry all my gear and food on my back in a backpack. I have made all my meals and dehydrated them. On the trail I just add hot water wait 20 mins for them to rehydrate then eat. Yes, I will shower and do laundry, but only every 3-5 days when I go into to town to pick up my food drops. No, I am not afraid of bears. Most just run away like deer when we meet. No, I will not be carrying a gun or even a knife.