We woke up to cloudy skies and rain in the forecast. We said goodbye to Tom and Kris and thanked them for having us and everything they did for us. We were on the trail by 7:30 and the rain started 45 mins later. It was a down pour. I made it 6 miles to the shelter we planned to have lunch at and am currently sitting here trying to get warm. It is in the mid 60’s, but when your wet it is pretty darn cold. I would love to take a nap. I just finished eating lunch with the FLIPPING FOUR and I think we may wait things out until the rain let’s up.
Well we decided to go to a hotel for the evening. We wanted to get warm and dry. We were cold wet and muddy. I had a little slip on the slick ground. I stepped in some mud and went down quickly on my backside. I wasn’t hurt at all and hopped right back up. I did have mud on my shirt, but at least I wasn’t hurt.
We hiked almost 8 more miles to get to VT 103, the road that would take us into Rutland. We were able to get a ride into town from someone that was at the trailhead parking lot.
When we arrived at the hotel the guys wanted to pay for my half of the room since I included them in my stay at Tom and Kris’. I was humbled by that. It was truly a great surprise. Thanks DISCOUNT and HOOTIE!☺️
I am getting tired the last three nights I haven’t been able to get to bed before 9pm. Maybe tonight I can find a place to set up my tent and get to sleep early.
Tom dropped us back off at Manchester and we slackpacked over Bromley Mountain, Styles Peak, and Baker Peak. Today was an amazing day. Abundant sunshine and cooler temperatures. Perfect for going over three mountains in a day. We still have the black flies torturing us. I hear that they should be gone by July 4th ish.
Bromley Mountain is a ski area and we went up the slope rather than down. The view was worth the effort. I did the first 105 miles of the AT in Vermont last year when I did Long Trail with my Aunt Julie. I remembered Styles Peak from last year. I pretty much died at the top of it. This time around I am lucky enough to be slackpacking it thanks to our hosts, Tom and Kris, and I made it to the top with ease. I had forgotten how beautiful the rock slab climb up Baker Peak was. I had less fear climbing it this go around. Plus the light pack definitely helps.
I did have a number of accidents today, the worst being splitting my head open on an over tree that I did not see. It hurt when it happened, but did not have any lasting effects and didn’t need sutures.😡 The other two were a couple of bloody shins that got banged while climbing over fallen trees.
Kris picked us up from Danby, VT and we head back to the guest house. She had a chicken pot pie ready for us to put in the oven. WOW! It was so unexpected and delicious. We were so grateful.
After last night’s rain the trail was pretty wet, but I still managed to keep my feet dry.
I slept in a little this morning and didn’t get up until after 5 am. I was hoping to get to sleep early last night, but some hikers were talking to loud for me to sleep. I had to cram my earplugs in deep to block them out, which is uncomfortable. Earplugs can be painful.
We were blessed with easy trail today and took our time. With no major climbs and we were done by 12:30pm. We were being picked up by Tom (a client of Jim’s), but he was golfing until 2 pm. We decided to hitch into town to get ice cream and resupply at the local Price Chopper.
This is the first time I have ever hitchhiked and it was successful! The FLIPPING FOUR were heading into town in under 3 minutes. A young girl, BUFFY and her dog LUCKY picked up us. After some struggle she got LUCKY in the very back of her suv and SOULFLOWER, DISCOUNT and I all piled into the backseat with our packs on our laps and HOOTIE in the front. We were so thankful for the ride we didn’t mind at all.
Just as we were finishing our shopping TOM arrives to take up back to his place. He got us settled in his guest house and we all showered up.
TOM and KRIS’ place sits on 60 acres of land with an amazing view of Mount Killington. I can’t thank them enough for the time we spent with them. Their generosity is over the top. Thank you TOM and KRIS!
Tuesday June 13, 2017
Stratton Pond Shelter 13.6 miles
Total mileage 617
I was on the trail again by 5:30 am. Ahead of the rest of the group. I was racing to the next shelter to use the privy. I didn’t make it. 😣
The Flipping Four all left the shelter together and hiked aways together. It was pretty cool to hike in the group. We later separated. SOULFLOWER and I hiked on while HOOTIE and DISCOUNT stopped for water. Then SOULFLOWER stopped to pee. HOOTIE and DISCOUNT catch me then awhile later SOULFLOWER comes cruising up behind us then blows past and leaves us in her dust as she flies up Stratton Mountain. We all watch her with our mouths hanging open as we are huffing and puffing.
We regroup at the top of Stratton Mountain and eat lunch on the fire tower trying to avoid the swarms of black flies.
This is me sitting on the first landing of the fire tower (because that is a high as I will go) trying to avoid the black flies.
I arrive at Stratton Pond Shelter around 2 pm and head down to the pond to get water. I decide to go for a swim. I was covered in sweat, dirt and bug spray. It sounded great and it was. I was so happy to get clean.
As I was swimming in the pond I noticed that some dark clouds were rolling in so I didn’t stay in long. I collected my water and headed back to the shelter. Shortly after getting back it started to rain. It was a very hard rail with hail! The shelter had a metal roof so it was so loud and really cool. I love storms.
The photo above is if a local Vermonter who is hiking the Long Trail in celebration of its 100th year anniversary. His name is SATCHMO and he is hiking in the same style that the first hikers did when the trail was first constructed.
First of all I have hiked over 600 trail miles. Which does not include all the side trails to the shelters, water sources and privies. It’s hard to believe I have come so far and yet am not even close to half way.
We left the Catamount hotel at 6:30 am. Alan agreed to gave us a ride back to the trail at this early hour when the first shuttle is normally at 8 am since he is an early riser like SOULFLOWER and I. Thank you, Alan.
We had 3 big climbs today, finishing up with Glastenbury Mountain at 3748 feet. Our highest climb to date. We were in the Glastenbury Wilderness for most of the day and the bugs were horrible!😠 I wore my bug headnet for the first time today and it saved me. I was much more comfortable without bug buzzing my ears and dive bombing my eyes. There have been literally clouds of bugs! I have never seen anything like this.
We planned to stay at the Kid Gore Shelter this evening, but the only tenting at the shelter was taken and the guide book said there was more taking 200 yards up the trail, but we couldn’t find it. So we walked until we found a stealth spot. Which turned out to be about a mile and a half up trail.
After we get our tents set up HOOTIE and DISCOUNT found us and joined us. I decided we needed a group name so HOOTIE came up with FLIPPING FOUR! We all started the trail as flip floppers on the same day.
Town of Bennington, VT – Catamount Motel 13.9 miles
Total mileage 587.5
We fell a little short of our ending point last night so we made up the miles today. With the early stop last night I was able to soak my feet in a stream. The water was so cold that I couldn’t leave them in for very long, but it felt so good. So good in fact I soaked them again today on my lunch break. 😊
It gets light so early here and the birds really come to life at first light which is currently 4:38 am! So I have been up early every morning. Plus today was supposed to be hot so I wanted to get an early start. I was out of camp at 5:15 am heading to the next shelter 2 miles away to use the privy. DISCOUNT and HOOTIE were both there. We hiked with them on and off throughout the day and ended up going into town together.
There were times throughout the day that I wondered if I was off trail and walking up a creek instead. There was water flowing down the trail and it truly looked like a creek! 😯 The rocks and tree roots were a blessing in these areas. It gave you an area to step out of the water. I spent most of the day hopping from rock to rock or tree root.
While we were eating lunch at the Congdon Shelter this little mouse came out to eat some of the cracker crumbs that SOULFLOWER dropped. We all marveled at how cute it was! 🐀
Most of the day went well. My feet did get really sore by the end of the day. We had a steep descent down into Bennington which bothered my knees some, but after resting some at the hotel they are feeling better although my feet are still sore.
I don’t think anyone has to worry about me losing weight. I managed to eat a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Which contains 1040 calories, 52 grams of fat and 120 carbohydrates!😁 My hiker hunger has definitely kicked in. I have gone from eating 1-2 snacks per day to 3 or more. The last time I weighed at the Bearded Woods Hostel I had not lost any weight.
The funniest things remind you of some people. The hotel I am staying at has a pink toilet and it made me think of my Dad. He was a handyman and had a supply of a colored toilets that we had to dispose of after he passed away. I miss you, Dad!
I think my trail name should be changed to MAD BEAR! Last night a group of guys camp into camp at 10 pm! And woke me up! 😠 The tenting area was small and someone set their tent up right next to mine. I was awake for over an hour while they were setting up. I do have to say that they were whispering and seemed like they were trying to keep the noise down, but then the snoring started! UGH! 🙁
I was up at 4:15 am because of my bladder and started packing up at 4:30 am. That was the end of the snoring until I was gone! 😁
We were out of camp at 5:30. It was our earliest start. We finished our climb up Mount Graylock and made our way down to North Adam’s, MA. The descent was long and horrible. I didn’t think it was ever going to end and I was ready to be off my feet. Once we made it into town I sat down at the first place I could find which happened to be the front steps of a school. I took my shoes off started to eat my lunch and called Jim looking for sympathy. He basically told me to suck it up! 😟 It may not have been the first time I’ve called him looking for sympathy.
I did see another porcupine. This one was next to the trail, but there was too much undergrowth to get a picture. This one was bigger than the last one I saw.
I have left Massachusetts behind and I am now in Vermont. I did the first 100 miles of Vermont last year when I hiked Long Trail. So the next 100 miles will be a repeat. I’m hoping this time will be a little easier since I know what to expect.
I left the hotel at 6 am and headed back to the trail. I ate breakfast before leaving and wasn’t hungry for a few hours. It was a cool morning in the upper 40’s. I bet within the first 90 minutes I had my jacket off. I was climbing and warmed up quickly.
It was an 8 mile walk to the town of Cheshire and I was there at 10 am. I walked into town to use the library but it was closed. It had VERY limited hours. I was hoping to handle some stuff with my retirement accounts and download some more audio books to my phone. Luckily Jim was able to handle the stuff for the retirement accounts for me. Thanks Babydoll. Thank you for all that you are doing for me. I love you and miss you.
I enjoy listening to the audio books late in the afternoon when I am starting to get tired. It also takes my mind off tough climbs.
The trail started out pretty easy then got noticeably harder as I got closer to Mount Graylock (the highest point in MA) which I will be going over tomorrow morning. There was a chance of rain for today, but never materialized. 😊 There is still a chance of showers for tomorrow, but after that it should warm sunny and rain free for a few days.
There were still sections of trail that were muddy, but my shoes and socks stayed dry. And dry socks and shoes make me happy.
Jim had his follow up visit with the orthopedic surgeon after his MRI and he does need to have rotator cuff surgery. So on top of my bad day yesterday I find out that last night too. He says it is feeling better every day, but it does need surgery. 🙁
I wake up to mostly dry shoes this morning, get packed up and we are out of camp at 6 am. We manage to find more muddy trail before making it into the town of Dalton, MA.
We arrive at the hotel at 8 am and are able to check right in! Also we get to see our friends HOOTIE and DISCOUNT! It was a nice reunion. We haven’t seen them in weeks. I find out that they both have had some nasty falls in the slick mud. HOOTIE even broke both of his trekking poles when he fell. So I wasn’t the only one sitting in the mud.
We drop off our packs and head out to breakfast. I was craving home fries. Of course they are not even close to Jim’s breakfast potatoes, but they satisfy the craving. I also had a broccoli omelet that was terrific. I’m going to start to request those at home too. I’m sure Jim can make me an even better one.
Back at the room it was showers, laundry, cleaning gear and doing other errands. Plus a nap for me! 😊
I spent the last couple of days at a hotel avoiding some bad weather. Yesterday was a very yucky rainy day with a HIGH of only 49 degrees. So I was glad to be inside.
While I was at the hotel, SOULFLOWER had a friend come and visit her. His name is BILLY GOAT and is a pretty famous hiker. There was a recent article about him in Backpacker Magazine. He is also a triple crowner (has hiked all 3 long trails) and has hiked over 48,000 trail miles. He is hoping to hike 50,000 before he turns 80 which is only 18 months away. He treated us to an awesome lunch. Thank you BILLY GOAT!
The rest of our time was spent relaxing and making upcoming plans for the days ahead. As we were trying to plan out our trip through the white mountains and make reservations for the huts that are above tree line we found out that the huts we wanted to stay at are all booked up. So I will have some long days in the whites trying to make it from shelter to shelter over very hard terrain. I’ll admit that I am nervous about this. I’m going to be saying some prayers for nice weather!
We left the hotel at 6 am and headed back to the trail. The temperature was in the mid to upper 40’s and overcast. The trail was a river! Shortly after starting my shoes and socks were soaked. The trail was over grown to, so my gloves were wet and I was Cold. Things just got worse from there. All the glory and beauty of the trail could not console me.
I stopped at the next shelter for an early lunch at 10:30 am. Shortly after leaving there I was crossing a bog area on a fallen tree and slipped of the tree trunk and ended up in the muddy bog on my backside with the weight of my pack holding me down. I looked like a beatle on its back with limbs flailing all around trying to get back on my feet. I’m sure it was a funny sight to see but when it happens to you it’s not so funny!
After mostly cleaning up in a stream and rinsing all the mud off my gloves and wringing them out I hung them on my pack to dry. Later I noticed I was missing a glove. I was pretty bummed about it. They were my favorite running gloves.
Oh but that’s not it! The day ends up being really nice and the sun comes out and my socks and shoes start to dry out, but then I end up slipping in the water again getting my socks and shoes wet again.
That’s when I call Jim and tell him about my horrible day and he makes things all better by just talking to me. Thank you, Babydoll! I love you.