Monday, April 4, 2016

Selling our Condo

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Steep Gets Steeper, Long Trail Part 2

 We left Rutland last Monday after spending the morning resupplying, blogging and packing our bags.  Samson figured out that we could take the public bus back to the trail saving us a complicated hitch.  While on that public bus, sunny skies turned into a thunderstorm.  With freshly dried shoes and clean clothes we were a little more wimpy than usual to start the hike into the muddy, drippy woods.  So, instead, we had a giant plate of nachos at the Inn at Long Trail.  It was still raining when we finished our nachos.  After feeling sorry for ourselves under the inn's porch for a few minutes, we hiked out.

We got about 3 miles into the hike when Garrett's ankles (which had been sore for several days) began really causing him problems.  We decided to turn around and go back to the inn to figure out next steps.  Unfortunately, Samson was too far ahead of us on the trail for me to catch him to tell him our plans.  With very swollen ankles, we ended up taking a zero day on Tuesday at the Inn for Garrett to ice.  We found this book in the inn and read the whole thing out loud to pass the time. 

A thriller about a former FBI agent hiking the PCT where he stops an epic terrorist plot to smuggle dirty bombs over the Canadian border on the trail......  oh yeah.
 With the swelling down on Wednesday we hit the trail bright and early.  We lightened our loads a little to make the going easier.  I think we had over packed on the food our first time out making our bags packed for 6 days very heavy.  This time around we figured we could get by with only 5 days of food.
Speaking of food, here we show off our different tastes in wraps.  Anna has cheddar and salami and Garrett has his special Nutella Peanut Butter spread.

Here we passed the Middlebury ski area.

Beautiful Bunchberries in bloom.  These tiny flowers are related to the Dogwood tree and grow abundantly in Vermont's alpine zone.  Can you see the resemblance?

These days were filled with hard hiking on trail that was steep, rooty and PUDy (pointless ups and downs).  Getting to this shelter at the end of a long day was perfect.

View from the Skyline Lodge shelter.

Skyline Lodge

We slept in the top shelf of the shelter.  Here's Roxie, the dog of another hiker out on the deck.

Steep trail!

Camping on Mt. Abe at Battell Shelter with some other Long Trailers, Simple Victories and Food Dude.

At the top of Mt. Abraham at 6 am.  Normally this mountain has 360 views.  Not this day.

Mad River Glen's iconic single seat chair lift.

Steep trail that necessitated iron hand holds.  Apparently the Green Mountain Club isn't a big fan of switchbacks.

Neat cave!

Appalachian Gap crossing.  Here we hitched a ride a few miles down to the Mad River Glen ski pub where we ate a DELICIOUS hamburger and then hitched back up to the trail.  You've probably seen Mad River Glen skiing bumper stickers.   They're every where with the iconic "Ski it if you can" logo.  It was neat to see that actual place.  Here was a variation on the bumper sticker on the sign at the trail crossing.   We care.

After a day and night of heavy rain, the rocks became very slippery.  Here was a neat cove surrounded by cold, damp boulders.

An obvious place to take the trail.

As promised, Garrett's multi-purpose mouth tool.  He was also using the brush to clean our pot after meals, which I thought was just a little weird. 

Steep, rocky, slippery "trail"

Climbing Camel's Hump.  Notice the encroaching cloud?  We got .2 from the top of this iconic 4,000 footer when rumbling started.  We opted to take the bad weather route, which was also very exposed and crossed the granite treeline around the base of the hump. 

Needless to say, we got drenched and came a little close for comfort to some thunder and lightning.  Eventually we found a low spot to hide under our ponchos.  We'd hiked without our ponchos during the storm because they made it hard to climb over the boulders.

Drying out our wet clothes at the Bamforth Ridge Shelter.

At the Route 2 crossing, we hitched into Richmond, Vermont.
We ended this section at mile 180.  We'll pick up the last (and hardest) section of the trail in July.  We had to come back home for a couple weeks to take care of some details related to our move.  Stay tuned !

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Long Trail Begins


Garrett and I send our greetings from Rutland, Vermont where we are supplying after finishing the first leg of the Long Trail.  Over the last 7 days we have hiked 103 miles from North Adams, MA to Vt Rte 4.  The Long Trail is a 270 mile trail running the vertical length of the state of Vermont to its terminus at the Canadian border.  The Long Trail is the oldest long-distance trail in the country and so at its naming in 1910, it was indeed a long trail unlike any other.  The trail for this first leg as overlapped with the Appalachian Trail, so we got to revisit many familiar sites.  It was neat hiking from the opposite direction (we southbounded the AT in 2006) because everything looked a little different. 

Our first four days out were basically a wash with heavy rain or drizzle each day and often all through the night.  The trails are steep and muddy which makes for an interesting combination.  There are lots of rocks and roots to hop from which is a nice to way to TRY to avoid the mud, but also makes for a hard hike physically and mentally as you think about each step's strategic placement.  And then every tenth step you mistake a lump of mud for a rock and bury your foot in suction-cup like thick mud and wonder why you bother placing your steps at all!  

During these first days the trail was crowded with other Long Trailers and AT hikers.  Shelter space was at a premium as some hikers stayed for several days at a time in one shelter to avoid hiking in the rain.  We were lucky to squeeze into a shelter each night and avoided having to tent in the rain.  It's been great to meet lots of hikers and hear everyone's story.

Posed photo mimicking one taken here seven years ago as we hiked south on the AT.  The VT/MA border is the beginning of the Long Trail.

Long Trail sign.... and a soggy start!

Overlooking a former beaver pond whose dam must have washed out during Irene.  Now it's a green field.  Also, it was a little windy!

Shelters like these are placed about every 6-8 miles making nice lunch and break points OUT of the rain.

It was nice to be with an old friend.

Big boulders make the trail fun.  I thought this one looked like a sailboat.

This is the Goddard Shelter.  We have a black and white picture of this shelter on our living room wall and when we came up to it unexpectedly, it was a wonderful surprise.

The Long Stream......I mean Trail.

Bending tree

The sun came out on the fifth day!!

The trail overlaps with the Catamount Trail for a bit around Stratton Mountain.  The Catamount trail is a X-C ski trail that runs the length of VT (a dream for some winter adventure).

Bromely Mt with its spaceship-like lift.

Looking super-hero-ish as I dry my poncho in Bromley's wind.

We met up with a another Long Trailer and former AT thru-hiker named Samson.  We've been hiking with him for the last three days.  Here we are crossing a stream where a bridge washed out in Irene.

Ah, a sunny lake and a foot-soaking after a long day.

Samson and Garrett enjoying a beautiful shelter at Little Rock Pond.

White Rock Mtn has lots of these stacks of white rocks left by other hikers.

Just a shot of Garrett filtering our water.

Climbing out of Clarendon Gorge. 

There is a lot of Hurricane Irene damage still.

Looks like it would make some excellent card-making material for a certain holiday which just passed on Sunday.

Here in Rutland at the Twelve Tribes hostel where Garrett is trying to glue together his spork and tooth brush  head to make a multi-purpose tool.  For pictures of the final product you will have to stay tuned.

Rutland is a great place to stay for a night and we are all resupplied and tanked up for the next leg.  We even saw Garrett's college friends Nelson and Molly randomly in town and got to enjoy dinner together last night.   

Have a great week!