LONG TRAIL – Week 1: 14-21 Aug 2015
Aug 14: My buddy Dave Doyon gave me a ride to North Adams, MA after work on Friday. He was most helpful by driving me to GA and then meeting me a couple times in MA and NH to exchange some gear when I did the AT. I dub thee “Pancho Villa” for a trail name.
I rented an overpriced room at the Holiday Inn for the night. On the way into North Adams there were thunderstorms for the evening with a lot of rain – I was concerned the trip would start out very wet. But, watching the news during dinner, they said VT would be having a heat wave with temps in the high 80’s to low 90’s and very humid. They were correct! Although temps were a few degrees cooler in the woods and at higher altitudes, it was very hot & humid the first week.
|AT – Aug 2013||LT – Aug 2015|
Aug 15, 14 miles: “Pancho Villa” (Dave) dropped me off at the trailhead in North Adams, MA which is about 3-4 miles short of the VT border. I started hiking and ended up at the Congdon shelter the night. It was a hot day and I was soaked with sweat by the time the day was over. It was a long day and the last two hours seemed to take forever to reach the shelter. Nighttime temps the first week were in the high 70’s, maybe even the low 80’s. It was very warm.
Aug 18, 12.6 miles: Another warm day of hiking. At the top of Stratton Mountain, there is a lookout tower and there were some great views with minor clouds off the peak. Stratton Mountain is where Benton MacKaye conceived of the idea for the AT. I did get to hike near Stratton Pond and contemplated jumping in to cool off but decided to keep hiking.
Aug 19, 8.8 miles: This was a short day as I stopped into Manchester Center, VT to resupply and buy some gear. I spent 4 or so hours there and had a burger on my way out of town. I have been absolutely soaked the past few days and some of my gear in the pack was wet every night when I stopped. I assumed this was because the weather was so hot and my water bladder was sweating due to the humidity. I almost purchased new water bladder at the gear store and was holding it in my hand but declined at the last minute. This was a mistake as we will see later! I hiked out 3 miles to the summit of Bromley Mountain. This is a ski mountain and they let hikers use the Ski Patrol hut at the summit. I arrived at the peak around 4:30pm and the weather was great. Nice temperatures with a good breeze. I took apart a lot of my gear and changed clothes so I could lay everything out to dry off. I decided to stay in the hut for the night and 3 other hikers rolled in also.
Aug 20, 13.5 miles: Woke up to a cloudy, misty morning on top of Bromley. This was a great day of hiking…somewhat cooler and I just made the Big Branch Shelter before some rain moved in. Honeybee and I thought we might have the shelter to ourselves but then 7-8 AT hikers rolled in and another 4-5 LT hikers! It was a busy night at the shelter but the river was just in front of us and you could rinse some clothes out and wash a bit which was nice.