LONG TRAIL – Week 2: 22 – 29 Aug 2015

Aug 22, 17.4 miles:  My original plan was to hike to a shelter just short of Route 4 near Killington Mountain, spend the night, and then do a short hike to route 4 and go to Rutland, VT for the day and night to resupply and relax.  I made it over Killington fine and actually went to the Pico Camp shelter which is 0.5 miles off the trail. However, once I was there, I decided it was only 2.9 miles more to Route 4.  So, I hiked 0.5 miles back onto the LT and went down to Route 4.  I started thumbing around 6pm and a shuttle bus stopped and picked me up.  For $2 they took me the 8-10 miles straight into Rutland, VT and I stayed at the Yellow Deli Hostel for the night. This was a great place, very relaxing and I had a whole room for 10-12 people to myself since it was not very busy.
Aug 23, 5 miles:  I slept in and then got up to resupply in Rutland.  The hostel had some leftover hiker breakfast they gave to me.  It was an excellent rice and egg mixture.  I then walked a couple hundred yards to the Walmart and stocked up on a few days worth of food.  Around 2pm I took the bus back to Route 4 where the LT and AT cross over.  I hiked 5 miles to the Rolston Rest shelter for the night.  It was warm but not as bad as the week before.  Comfortable hiking to the shelter.

Aug 24, 13.7 miles:  It was a cooler day but there was some tougher hiking up and down slabs and around a lot of roots.  I stayed at the Sunrise shelter with a retired Air Force dentist and a former city planner from the Scottsdale, AZ area.  I was absolutely soaked again as I had been since I started on the 15th.  My gear was still wet in the pack and I was concerned what would happen when the temperatures dropped and I was not able to dry stuff out each night.  We performed an experiment that night and hung up my water bladder.  In the morning, it was down a liter as there was a very small leak.  What I thought was just sweat from hiking and the bladder sweating naturally from the hot and humid weather was not the case.

This was a huge pain so I decided I would get off the trail tomorrow and get back to Rutland, VT to a gear shop and replace it.  This was especially aggravating as I had the exact replacement piece in my hand a week before and contemplated buying it!
Aug 25, 5.4 miles:  I got up and hiked a mile to the next road crossing on route 73.  I was out to the road by 7:20 and started thumbing…the only problem was only maybe 10 cars went the direction I needed to go in 35 or so minutes.  I decided that this road was really poor for thumbing and figured I would just live with the wet gear for the rest of the trip. I was in the process of changing back into my hiking shirt when a pickup truck came up the road.  I threw out my thumb for laughs and it stopped!  I got a ride 10-12 miles into Brandon, VT.  Once there, I hitched again and after 15-20 minutes a truck driver gave me a ride about 20 miles back in to Rutland, VT and dropped me off 100 yards from the hostel I had stayed at a few days before.
I decided to have breakfast at the hostel and was talking to some AT hikers trying to figure how I would get the 6-7 miles to the EMS store and then back 30+ miles to the trailhead to hike.  I thought I might get a taxi and then thumb back to the trail and figured I would lose most of the day to get all this done.  A woman at the next table overheard me and said she would give me a ride to the store AND back to the trailhead!  My savior…known as Hot Tea because she drinks so much tea. She had two sons on the AT this summer…one was finished and the other was still hiking.  She was slowly working her way back to northern VT and Canada.  Incredible trail magic.  I got the gear I needed and was back hiking by 11:30am so I only lost half a day of hiking.
At this shelter I meet 3 Cups and his dog Mason.  Solman and his girlfriend Lark and Honeybee also stayed there.
Aug 26, 11.4 miles:  This was a cooler day which was nice although some trail maintenance was needed in some areas due to branches constantly getting in the way.  Went over the Middlebury Snow Bowl ski area which had some nice views and also climbed the Broadloaf Mountain peak which is on my New England Highest 100 list.  Stayed at the Emily Proctor shelter.
Aug 27, 11.7 miles:  Hiked to the Battell Shelter.  went over Mount Wilson early which is also on my New England Highest 100 list.  It was a nice day to hike…not too cold or warm.

Aug 28, 10.5 miles:  I hiked to the Appalachian Gap and went into the town of Waitsfield, VT to resupply and hopefully do some laundry.  I saw some kids at the parking lot and asked which way to the town and they offered to take me down there since they were going there anyway.  I resupplied for a couple days of hiking since I had sent myself 7 days of food to Jonesville, VT which I would pick up in a couple days.  I stayed at a B&B and the owner was nice enough to do a load of laundry for me!  I walked down to a farm that had organic flatbread pizza which was excellent.  They did not have small pizzas on the menu but she said they would make me one.  Then she called me over and said they messed up another order for the same pizza and instead of throwing it away, they gave me a large for no extra cost!  I did not realize it but Solman, his girlfriend Lark and his buddy Moose were there.  I had not seen them in a couple days and did not even realize they were in town.

These first two photos were on top of Mount Abraham early in the morning before the weather cleared.

Trail pictures…lots of green.

This is the Starks Nest at the top of the Mad River Glenn ski area.  They had a rain bucket for hikers to get water from.  This was very nice as the further north we went, the less water was on the trail.  In a lot of cases, the only water was at the shelters and some of that was pretty poor.

Moose, Solman and Lark at the American Flatbread pizza at Lareau Farm farm in Waitsfield, VT.
Aug 29, 10.6 miles:  Hiked to the Montclair Glenn shelter.  There were warnings that there were some bear issues in this area and especially at the shelter.  It was a great day to hike with some nice temps. The day started out cloudy but was nice and sunny most of the day. The climb up and down Burnt Rock mountain was tough.  You can see a picture of “Ladder Ravine” further below.  There were a number of ladders along what whole trail that are needed on some steep sections.  The Monclair Glenn shelter had a caretaker and was $5/night.  Because of the bear issues they had recently added a “bear box” to store all food, toothpaste, etc. in at night. They kept the door secured during the day and asked that you keep it closed unless someone was inside or around the immediate outside area.
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