Monday, September 24, 2007

I Made It!

I made it! I reached the Canadian border at about 4:00 PM. Here's a photo of me at Line Post 592 at the northern terminus of the Long Trail in North Troy, Vermont. What an adventure this has been. I'm relieved that it's over but I'm also a bit sad too. I'm very proud to be a Vermonter, and am extremely thankful to all of my family and friends who have supported and encouraged me on this trip.

Check back for more posts, photos, statistics, and other details in the coming days.

I just came down off

I just came down off Jay Peak summit. I can see Canada!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Big Push, Now Plush

All the hikers I talk to seem to use the term "push" to describe those extra miles at the end of the day, like when you're trying to get to your shelter or other destination. Well, today was one heck of a push. With nearly 32 miles remaining when I got up this morning and the mileage between shelters, I had a decision to make. I knew I was poised to finish up in two days, but one of the days was going to have to be a long one. I decided today would be the day.

I crossed Route 118 in Belvidere at 9:00 AM and was met by my co-worker Kathy and her friend, also named Kathy. They brought home baked cookies and were enthusiastic for the hike up Belvidere Mountain. This was just the energy I needed for the first big climb of the day. After we enjoyed the view from the top and had a little snack, I decided to try to make it to Jay Camp. We parted ways and I continued north, hoping to make it by dark.

Along the way I had an idea. I could shave a little off the days trip, but still log some serious miles by getting off the trail at Route 242 at Jay Pass. I thought to myself, "I bet Liz would like to meet me, and maybe we could stay in a little bed and breakfast somewhere near the trail." One call is all it took and Liz was booking the honeymoon suite at Phineas Swann B&B in Montgomery Center.

It took all the energy I had, over what seemed like countless peaks, but I made it to the road and Liz picked me up just before 7:00 PM. I got washed up and we just got back from a superb dinner across the street. Now it's off to bed, or maybe a quick soak in the hot tub.

19+ miles today! About 12 miles remain.

Belvidere Mountain Companions

On this Sunday I was joined by the two Kathys (Murphy and Hollandsworth). They brought magic homemade cookies and offered to carry my pack. We had fun hiking up Belvidere Mountain.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Left Plot Rd in Johnson

Left Plot Rd in Johnson at 9:15 AM. Hiked 14.2 miles to Spruce Ledge Camp, arrived at 5:00 PM. I'm 2.5 miles south of Route 118.

Spruce Ledge Camp

This was a nice shelter and beautiful location. Spruce Ledge Camp is a couple of miles south of Route 118 between Belvidere Center and Eden.

In the Spirit

Some say that hiking the Long Trail is a religious experience. Well, on this day you might say that getting to the trail head was just that. Pastor Cal Briggs-Harris volunteered to give me a ride to Plot Road in Johnson so I could resume my hike. Is that a cross in the photo or just the sign for the trail?

Friday, September 21, 2007

46 Miles Remaining

Today I started at the Whiteface Shelter, which is perched above Beaver Meadow near Morristown and Stowe. After a short steep climb to the top of Whiteface Mountain, I began the long and mostly easy descent into the Lamoille River Valley and Route 15 in Johnson. My parents met me at the road because my mother had been wanting to hike a section of the trail with me. This worked out nicely. Mom and I shared the 1.6 mile hike up to Prospect Rock and Dad drove most of the way there with sandwiches and cold drinks. We enjoyed a nice lunch overlooking the valley below. Then Mom and I continued on for another 2.5 miles over a big hill to the Plot Road., where Dad met us with the car. We headed back to Winooski, which is where I'm entering this post.

Tomorrow I'll start back on the trail with only 46 miles remaining. I hope to be at the Canadian border by the end of the day on Monday.

The Streling Mountain Range

Looking south over the Sterling Mountain Range from Whiteface Mountain with Smuggler's Notch Ski trails visible. Mount Mansfield and Stowe Ski Area are in the background.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Top of the World (or at least Mighty Mansfield!)

This was THE day of the grand summit! Carl called at precisely 11:04am to share his moment of glory as he stood on top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak at 4393 feet. He sounded super happy.

Standing on top of Madonna Mountain, Carl called again just a few minutes ago to fill in more of the detials:

Turns out that last night he did make it to Butler Lodge, ending a 13.3 mile hike from Bolton Notch Rd. The lodge was super nice and he was treated to a spectacular sunset over the Champlain Valley to the southwest. Carl seemed glad to have a the company of the two care takers of the lodge. They had the place to themselves.

Today was a very rough trek. With the 40 lbs pack on his back, he had to scale the "forehead" of the mountain on the exposed rocky cliffs. It was pretty hairy trying to secure his footing when his weight wanted to shift in the opposite direct because of the pack. And the hike down the chin was no cake walk either. For those of you who have hiked up to Spruce Peak from the road, you know how challenging that leg can be. Carl and I hike down that trail with a couple of friends not long ago, and I can attest to the ups & downs, the winding cliffs, and the 2 or 3 ladders that you have to climb to get to the top. Better him than me!

When we hung up the phone, he was headed an hour north to White Face Lodge. He could see it from where he was standing and hopes that the cell reception is just as good there. If it is, he'll post a text message before he turns in for the night.

So thankful that he feels strong, has had good luck with the weather, and can almost taste Canada. I have to remind myself that it's not about the end; it's about the journey.

Liz signing off at HQ.

Sterling Pond

The waters of Sterling Pond, above Smuggler's Notch. Ahead stand the soon-to-be-traversed ridges of Madonna (right) and Morse (left) Mountains.

Mansfield Summit

The weather was not too great at the top of Vermont's highest peak so I didn't stick around for long.

In the Clouds at the Top of Vermont

The Mount Mansfield summit was veiled with clouds as I made my approach from the south.

Climbing Up The Forehead

Here's one of the tricky parts of the ascent up Mount Mansfield. Getting up to the Forehead of Mansfield involved several steep ladders and scrambles over, across, and around ledges and boulders.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Early start @ Bolton Notch Rd

Carl hit the trail at 7:35am this morning at the Bolton Notch Rd. With one of the nicest days yet, he was in store for a challenging hike up the forehead of Mansfield to Butler Lodge. No official word, yet. I imagine that he is out of cell range tonight.

Liz signing off at HQ

Sunset over Lake Champlain

A view of the sunset over Lake Champlain from Butler Lodge on the side of Mount Mansfield. The Adirondack Mountains of New York can be seen on the horizon.

Butler Lodge

This is professed to be one of the nicest shelters on the trail and I'd have to say I agree. At least among the ones I stayed at (which wasn't all that many). Butler Lodge was very cozy and had a spectacular view toward the southwest.

Harrington's View

Here's a photo from a nice lookout called Harrington's View, perched above Bolton Valley. Mount Mansfield (Vermont's highest peak) looms in the distance.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

He Dillies, He Dallies. Eventually He Rallies

Today was a short day of hiking. After resting up from the previous day, I had quite a bit of regrouping to do. I had to make a trip to the store, deal with some car repairs, and do a little bookkeeping. Before I knew it it was mid afternoon and I was slightly panicked (and depressed) that there wouldn't be enough daylight to get any miles in today. Right before tossing in the towel and calling it another rest day, I realized a way to avoid a total loss. I decided to "slack pack" the five mile section from Jonesville to the Bolton Notch Road. This way I'd at least get some miles logged. And when Liz picked me up we decided to eat out again. This time we upgraded to the Kitchen Table Bistro. I wasn't sure they would let me in, but they did. It was delicious.

One neat thing about today's hike was the vantage point I had to look back at Bamforth Ridge, the six mile decent from Camel's Hump. This photo shows Camel's Hump (on the right) with the ridge line running left (north) toward the Winooski River Valley. Yes, I hiked that sucker, and it was only 1/3 of the distance I covered yesterday!

Well, tomorrow I get serious again, strap on the heavy pack, and cover some big miles. It will be mostly uphill. First Bolton Mountain, than on to Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak. I'll probably cross the top of Mansfield sometime on Friday if everything goes as expected.

Check down the blog for a few new photos. I back posted these entries so the time stamp would correspond to when the photo was taken.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Camel's Hump Looms

Here's a photo of Camel's Hump from a spot on the trail near the Appalachian Gap early in the day (Camel's Hump is the pointy mountain in the middle of the photo). It's about 12 miles away at this point. This was one of the tougher sections of the Long Trail. I would be standing on the summit in seven hours.

Having Supper at Bridge Street Cafe

Having supper at Bridge Street Cafe in Richmond. Long day. 18.7 miles. Some say this is the most difficult section of the LT - from the Appalachian Gap to Jonesville. If so, I'm glad it's over with. I've got about 87 miles left to go.

Can You Find My Parents?

More fun with mirrors from the top of Camel's Hump. My parents used a mirror to send a signal from their home in Charlotte to me on the top of the mountain. I signaled back using a little mirror I was carrying. Click on the image to view the enlarged version and see if you can spot them.

Over the Hump

Here's me at the summit of Camel's Hump, 4083 feet above sea level.

Left Route 17 at 8:30 AM

Left Route 17 (Appalachian Gap) at 8:30 AM. Stopping for lunch at Mount Ethan Allen, which is about half way to Jonesville.

Headed to Camel's Hump

Yesterday, Carl and Louanne hit it right.... a beautiful, fall day hiking the ridge between Lincoln Gap and AP Gap with fantastic vistas most of the way. LT miles are over 155 todate!

Today, Carl will continue on from AP Gap over the top of Camel's Hump. If all goes well, he'll click off 19 miles in one day! It is an aggressive plan, but he's traveling light again which paid off during yesterday's hike. His left leg did well without the heavy pack, and a good dose of vitamin i (ibuprofen) kept the inflamation down.

A special thanks to Nancy who got up before the crack of dawn to make sure that Carl got to the trail head as early as possible.

Liz signing off at HQ.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lincoln Gap to Ap Gap on a Sun-day!

With a good night's sleep, dry boots, a bellyful of good food from the night before (courtesy of the Picket/Staples Household), Carl got back out on the trail early this morning. He met up with Louanne Neilsen, and they plan to hike the 12 miles between Lincoln Gap and the Appalacian Gap, today. Louanne is a veteran LT hiker and advid Green Mountain Club Member. No doubt, Carl is in good hands!

As earlier entries indicate, Carl has been nursing a sore left leg tendon. It has been acting up toward the end of each day and causes a good amount of pain. Ibuprofen and rest has it ready for the next day, but to give it some rest, he's hiking with a light pack, today. Since he is able to come home tonight, the sleeping bag, rain gear, and days worth of food can sit on the back porch until tomorrow morning when he heads out for a long stretch between AP Gap and Jonesville.

Liz signing off at HQ.

Hitting the Slopes

On Sunday I was joined by Louanne Neilsen for the 12-mile section between Lincoln Gap and the Appalachian Gap. We crossed three ski areas along the way. In this photo we're stopping for lunch at the top of the Castle Rock area of Sugarbush Resort.

View From Mount Abraham

Louanne and I had some great views from Mount Abraham. Here's a photo looking south across the Lincoln Gap toward the Breadloaf Wilderness Area. The distant ridge line (up the center of the photo) is where the Long Trail tracks from Middlebury Gap.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

In From The Rain

I called to be picked up from Lincoln Gap at about 2:00 PM today. I got pretty soaked hiking the 10.5 miles out from Emily Proctor shelter and decided it wouldn't be much fun to continue, especially with such cool temperatures. It was a cold, wet, and blustery night last night and hiking many parts of the trail was like a wading in a small stream. Not good for the feet. Now I'm home taking it easy and drying out. I'm also concerned about some pain I've had in my left thigh. This started to flare up towards the end of each of the last three days and may be a strained muscle or tendon. It feels better each morning, maybe in part to some vitamin-I (ibuprofin). The weather looks good for the next few days, so now I just need to decide if I'll start back tomorrow, or wait another day. Can't let myself get too far behind.

Thanks for all the great comments!

The Trail Becomes a Small Stream

Hiking from the Emily Proctor shelter to Lincoln Gap was a drenching experience. It had been raining off and on for about twelve hours at this point. I spent about four hours getting wet and pushing onward. In many areas the trail had become a small stream. I had to totally give up trying to keep my boots dry.

Friday, September 14, 2007

11.4 miles today. Spending the

11.4 miles today. Spending the night at Emily Proctor shelter - 10.4 miles south of Lincoln Gap.

9 miles Hiked today. Chillin' at Skyline Lodge

So Carl is chillin' out at Skyline Lodge for the evening, 5 or so miles north of Middlebury Gap. He says the views are unbelievable and the lodge is really nice.

He took things at a leisurely pace, making sure he didn't over due it. At the end of yesterday, his left leg was hurting. Seems the decents on Thursday were a bit hard on it. Today though, it feels good. When we hung up the phone, he was sitting on a ledge, looking west and taking in the scenary....ahhhhhh.

Thanks for all of your comments, love, and support!

Liz signing off at HQ

Breakfast at Sucker Brook

Breakfast at Sucker Brook shelter with Sara, Peter, and Daniel who were from Germany.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

12.6 miles today. Staying at

12.6 miles today. Staying at Sucker Brook, 4.5 miles south of Middlebury Gap.

Jim Cross Joins For An Afternoon

Today I was joined by my friend Jim Cross, who met me at Brandon Gap at noon and hiked about 6 miles with me. Here's a photo of Jim with the Brandon countryside below.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Left Route 4 at about

Left Route 4 at about 9 AM. Went 12.7 miles, now staying at David Logan shelter, 7.4 miles south of Brandon Gap.

Chittenden Reservoir

For several hours I hiked along the ridge above and to the east of Chittenden Reservoir. Only ocassionally did I get a good view it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Reflections During Rest Day #2

It's another gray and damp day and I've decided to give my feet and the rest of my body another day to recuperate. My father, who maintains a ham radio installation on the top of Killington Peak, is heading down there tomorrow morning, which makes for the perfect ride to take up the hike where I left off on Route 4. In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few reflections.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the men and women who built and maintain the Long Trail. Of course it's been the Green Mountain Club that has been the organization that provides oversight and vision, and I'm proud to be a supporting member. What really amazes me is the massive labor and effort that goes into making this trail functional and sustainable. The heavy lifting (literally) is done by trail crews, individual section chapters, and volunteers of all sorts. Here are just a few examples of what I'm talking about, and as I'm hiking I always try to remember and appreciate these things:

The Rolling of the Stones:
In so many places along the trail hikers will come to large rocks, stones, and boulders that have been carefluly placed to form a nice even walkway or stairway. The immediate reaction is to say, "Wow, how great that someone made these nice steps to help me get up this hill" or "How nice that I don't have to step in that mud." While this is sort of true -- trail crews were trying to make it a little easier -- the real reason is erosion control. These stone steps and other formations (such as water bars to channel drainage off the trail) are everywhere on the Long Trail. When I step from one perfectly placed large flat stone to another while crossing a swampy area I marvel at the effort to move and position just one of these stones. In many cases the big rocks were dragged from the surrounding woods before becoming stepping stones for thousands of hikers. Sometimes these walkways go on for fifty or a hundred feet. Then there are the stair steps. The valley where Route 9 crosses the trail outside Bennington was the first major example of this. Trail builders and maintenance crews probably learned long ago that repeated hiking on steep soils simply creates a path for water, which eventually makes a deepening channel that erodes the hillside. At Route 9, and many other places on the trail, crews have positioned thousands of massive rocks to form steps on the steep inclines. Again, the effort to move just one of these stones is worthy of high praise. When these steps go on for close to a half mile, it's just plain phenomenal. Sorry I don't have a good photo to show this, but I'll get one.

You Can't There From Here:
Another way to protect vulnerable vegetation and soils is the use of puncheon. "What's puncheon?" you ask? Well, I didn't know either. It's a term used for planks that are laid to form a path or trail. The planks are supported by short sills that rest on the ground, creating a slightly elevated walkway and minimizing the impact of hiker traffic. These planks are thick and heavy, often 2-3 inches thick by 6-8 inches wide and 6-8 feet long placed two-wide. Now remember, we're talking about being way the heck out in the middle of nowhere. How did this big planks get here? Well, in most cases trail crews carried them in one by one. And like the stone work, these puncheon often go on for great distances in many cases.

As you may know, I have not stayed in a shelter so far due to the generally good weather for tenting. But I did try to stop and see most of the shelters I passed. Some of them are very beautiful and demonstrate real artistry and craftsmanship. In most cases the tools and materials for these had to be carried for miles through the woods to construct these structures. Here's a photo of the Goddard Shelter near the top of Glastenbury Mountain, a terrific timber-frame shelter with space to sleep twelve people.

Every day I cross brooks, streams, and/or rivers. If worthy of a bridge, each crossing seems to get a unique treatment. Some bridges are very simple in design, consisting of a simple steel girder turned on it's side to form a foot-wide path across the water. In other locations, like Clarendon Gorge, elaborate suspension bridges span high above the rushing river below. Here's a photo of the Big Branch suspension bridge near Danby. Each of these bridges represents a big effort in engineering and labor. Quite amazing indeed!

Monday, September 10, 2007

And on the 10th day, Carl rested.

Normally I'd already be on the trail at this time of day, but today I'm back home in Winooski taking a little break. Saturday was a real killer of a day. I covered close to 17 miles in what seemed like the hottest day so far. The last seven or so miles involved going up the south slope of Killington Peak, the first 4000+ foot mountain I've hit (so far). To make matters worse, it started to pour around the time I got to the steepest section. I continued slowly up the mountain, knowing that I would not reach Cooper Lodge (just below the summit) until after dark, but I was looking forward to dry accommodations. This was to be the first night I would not stay in my tent, but no such luck. When I arrived, the lodge was basically full. I probably could have squirmed my way in and made some people move over (several people were taking up space for two) but I decided not to be disruptive. There were empty tent platforms above the lodge and I visited with a couple of other hikers who were hanging out after the rain had subsided. I set up my tent, made some quick dinner and went straight to bed.

Sunday morning was cool and foggy. I went right up to the summit to see if I could catch the sunrise, but the cloud cover was too thick. Then it started to rain again. I went back to wait it out in my tent but it never really let up. Gradually the other hikers departed, leaving the lodge mostly vacant, so I started dragging my stuff inside to better facilitate loading my backpack. Nothing was going to dry out in this weather, so I just started packing my wet stuff the way it was.

By about 9:30 AM I was back under way. I hiked a little over 6 miles, during which it rained very hard off and on. Despite having a pack cover and rain gear, I still got pretty soaked. Stuff in the bottom of my pack got wet too, including my sleeping bag (on the next leg I'll be sure to bring a couple of extra trash bags to line my pack). Somewhere along the way down I passed the 100 mile mark of my journey on the Long Trail.

Liz picked me up when I reached Route 4 in Mendon. Our plan was to spend the night just up the road at the Inn at the Long Trail, but I was really dragging, totally soaked, and feeling like I needed a day off. And my greatest concern was my feet. What had been manageable blisters on my heels had now become soggy, gaping wounds. It was time to take some time to let my feet recover.

Liz and I went to the Inn at the Long Trail for some food and a couple of Guinness beers anyway. We even helped to shuttle Craig, Gina, and their dog Max up to the Inn. I had encountered this hiking trio from Los Angeles a couple of times on the trail. They are hiking the Long Trail northbound too. The pub at the Inn is definitely a cool place, though it was pretty quiet. We got home by 6:00 PM. Liz helped me wash all my clothes and hang everything else out to dry.

Now I'll watch the weather (and my feet) to decide when to return to the trail. Watch for updates and maybe even a few photos, which I'll try to insert into back-dated postings, so remember to scroll down. Thanks to everyone for posting comments, words of encouragement, and other useful advise.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Made it to Rt 4.

Made it to Rt 4. Done for the day - soaked. Liz is on her way to pick me up.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

17 Miles Hiked. Tenting at the top of Killington.

Carl just arrived at Cooper Lodge at the top of Killington (9:15pm)...wet, tired and still happy! The lodge is full, so he's setting up the tent on a platform. The rain has stopped, and he's hoping things will dry out over night.

He's had quite a day. He didn't get much sleep last night on Domed Ledge because it was so hot and humid. This morning he made breakfast in and around a couple of brief rain showers. Shortly after hitting the trail, he came across a black bear. It was crossing the trail in front of him when it turned and looked right at Carl, then scurried up the hill at a good clip! I imagine that it rained most of the day which probably helped him keep a steady pace and the breaks short.

The good news is that tomorrow's hike will be a short jaunt down the mountain (5 or 6 miles) to meet his sweetie (that's me)! I plan to hike up from Route 4 and meet him on the trail. Carl had a few special requests, 2 trash bags to keep things extra dry, laundry detergent for doing laundry at the Inn on the Long Trail, and shaving kit (his disposable razor is about done). In addition to his drop box, I'll have some fresh fruit and other goodies. Word has it that there is a bar at the Inn, so cold beer will probably be a welcomed treat for Carl, too.

Liz signing off from HQ.

Domed Ledge

Here's a view of my campsite on Domed Ledge, east of Wallingford.

Friday, September 7, 2007

16 miles today. 84 total.

16 miles today. 84 total. 191 to go!

No H2O at Greenwall, so

No H2O at Greenwall, so I pressed on to Domed Knob, 1 mile north of Rt 140 near Wallingford.

Updates have been delivered!!!

Hello from HQ!

In and out of cell range, it has been a while since we had heard from Carl. He made it to Manchester on Wednesday and connected with his brother, Eric and family. With clean clothes, a hot shower, fresh supplies, and a good night's sleep, he was back on the trail Thursday morning. He had Eric send unneeded supplies back to HQ and included his journal notes for me to post. It will take a bit of time to sort through and get them posted, but I wanted to give you the latest news asap.

Yesterday he hiked 10.6 miles and tented at Griffin Lake. It was the only rough night of sleep to date due to the heat and humidity --- he said it was "hotter than a sucker"! He called from Baker's Peak at 9:45am and talked about the fantastic views. He sounds SO happy! Today he planned to make it to Greenwall which would total 13 miles for the day.

More to come from the hiker's own words....stay tuned!

Liz signing off from HQ

White Rocks

One of the more bizarre things I have come across (so far) was this sculpture garden, located in the White Rocks National Recreation Area east of Wallingford. After walking through what seemed like miles of pine forest, I came upon two of these communal art projects. It appeared as though passing hikers had continued to stack rocks in various formations around these little sections of the woods.

Baker Peak

Baker Peak was a bit of a surprise. This was my first "scramble," which is when you basically have to get down on all fours to get up, over, and around rough, rocky, and uneven terrain. The view in this photo is looking south. Though it was hazy, I could see Emerald Lake in the distance and a locomotive train passing through the valley below.

The Chips are Down

At Griffith Lake near Danby, I had a guest join me for breakfast. Next time I'll have to remember to bring a smaller spork.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Back on the Trail

After spending the night in Manchester with my brother and his family, I started back on the trail and began the three-mile hike up Bromely Mountain from Routes 11 and 30. My sister-in-law Hope and my nephew Nathan dropped me off.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Battenkill Valley

Here's a view of Manchester Center nestled in the Battenkill River Valley as seen from Prospect Rock, which is east of town. I used my cell phone to call my brother Eric, who happened to be on his lunch break down below. Using small mirrors we were able to signal each other across the valley at a distance of about 4 or 5 miles.

Stratton Pond

Although it's very secluded, Stratton Pond is described as one of the most heavily used areas on the Long Trail. I would not have guessed this at all. I was the only one in the tenting area. There were some hikers staying at the nice, big shelter about a mile to the southeast, but I never saw them after I passed the shelter on the way in. I managed to take a quick dip in the pond before dinner, then got up to see the sunrise over Stratton Mountain and the pond (see photo).

Here's a photo of me making breakfast at my campsite.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Stratton Mountain

At 3936 feet above sea level, Stratton is the highest peak in the southern Green Mountains. It's also the place where James P. Taylor (no, not the singer) first envisioned what would become the Long Trail as he waited for the mist to clear back in 1910. The Long Trail is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States. The LT inspired the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine.

The summit of Stratton Mountain includes a fire tower and a caretaker's cabin. I had a great conversation with Jeanne (see photo), one of the caretakers. Jeanne and her husband Hugh have been at this post for eighteen years. Before that they actually worked for the U.S. Forest Service and were among the last people employed to maintain an active watch for forest fires from the tower here. Jeanne and I knew some of the same people (Jeanne says hi to Sylvia P.).

After some lunch and drying out I began the 3+ mile descent to my next camp spot at Stratton Pond (see photo with Mount Equinox in the distance).

Only play on Labor Day

On Day 3, Carl’s adventure included another beautiful September day in Vermont!  

Family hookup #1:
He was able to meet up with his brother Lars at the fire tower on Glastenbury Mtn.  It was such a clear day, Lars said they could see forever from the top of the tower! He reported that Carl was in great spirits, feeling good, and really enjoying himself.  Traffic on the trail is lighter than Carl expected.  He’s only seen day hikers and a handful of people hiking the Appalachian Trail — no other end-to-enders yet.

Equipment failure:
On Day 2, Carl called to report that his new ceramic water filter cracked.  He already had a good amount of filtered water with him. He was able to finish filling up in a fast moving, cold stream and continue the day.  Lars brought him a purification drops on Monday that will hold him over until he hooks up with his other brother, Eric on Day 5 in Manchester.  He should be able to get a replacement water filter, there.

No word yet about the miles hikes or where he put up tent last night. I rest easier knowing with the report from Lars.  Thank you, Lars!

Liz signing off at HQ.

Busy Beavers

One of the dozens of beaver ponds I've passed. Some hikers I met the previous afternoon said they had seen a moose in this are, but I only saw the tracks.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Glastenbury Fire Tower

My brother Lars met me at the top of Glastenbury Mountain and we climbed the steep stairs of the fire tower for some spectacular views. Lars, who lives in Shaftsbury, followed a series of logging roads and snowmobile trails near his house to reach the Long Trail about a mile north of the summit. Unlike the northern green mountains, most of the southern peaks are tree covered so this was an unusual opportunity to get a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. The Long Trail Guide proclaims this to be "a view that includes more wild forest than can be seen from any other point on the Long Trail."

Sunday, September 2, 2007

11.6 miles today. Camping at

11.6 miles today. Camping at Porcupine Lookout. Goodnight :)

Porcupine Lookout

This is my campsite on the second night. The spot is called Porcupine Lookout, atop a ridge with easterly views. Here I'm about 5 miles into to Glastenbury Wilderness area, part of a 20+ mile section of the trail that has no road crossings. On a distant ridge line I could see some of the wind turbines, in Searsburg I think.

Route 9

On day 2 I stopped to cool off beside the City Stream after crossing Route 9, east of Bennington.

Harmon Hill

Here's one of the first scenic overlooks on the southern part of the trail. This is the view of Bennington from Harmon Hill. This spot seemed to be popular with day hikers and was loaded with blackberries.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Hiked 10.3 miles today. Tenting

Hiked 10.3 miles today. Tenting at Consultation Peak. It's challenging but good. Keeping text short to save phone battery.

Southern Terminus of Long Trail

I reached the southern terminus of the Long Trail at the VT/MA border shortly after noon on September 1. This was after 3.3 miles and a 1700 foot gain in elevation from the Pine Cobbler trail head in Williamstown, MA.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

First Posting: Preparations Continue

Hi Everybody, and thanks for paying a visit to my hiking journal.

Preparations continue as I divide up my food and jam my backpack with clothing and equipment. I'm still thinking of little things that I might need and the shopping list is getting longer again with only about 48 hours to go until I take my first step in Williamstown, MA. I still have not weighed the whole load, so I may change my mind about some of the "extras" if my pack is getting too heavy.

Very special thanks go to my dear wife, Liz for all of her help and support (she's measuring out breakfast in the second photo). Soon Liz will be doing all of the postings to this blog, since I'll be miles away from a computer. There were several times when I became somewhat overwhelmed with the details but Liz was always there to help me continue in the right direction. She'll be "holding down the fort" back home and doing countless other tasks on top of her already busy schedule. Thank you soooooo much Liz! Thanks also go to my family and friends who have offered to help with supply drops and other moral support.


I'll try to post a more-detailed itinerary soon, but here's the basic plan for my supply drops (photo shows some of my food stock):

Sept. 01 - Begin Hike - Williamstown, MA
Sept. 05 - Supply Drop #1 - Routes 11 and 30, Winhall, VT
Sept. 09 - Supply Drop #2 - Route 4, Mendon, VT
Sept. 14 - Supply Drop #3 - Route 17, Appalachian Gap, Buels Gore, VT
Sept. 19 - Supply Drop #4 - Route 15, Johnson, VT
Sept. 23 - End Hike - Canadian Border, North Troy, VT

Of course these dates are subject to change due to weather or other circumstances that may slow me down (or speed me up). Basically, I'll need to hike 10-12 miles (about 8 hours) per day on average to maintain this schedule. I think this is a reasonable goal and allows me some time to enjoy the experience.

I'll probably try to include some cumulative information in each posting to help show my progress. The format should be something like this:
  • Day Number: minus 2
  • Location: At home, Winooski, VT
  • Total Trip Miles: 0
Well, that's all for now. Please check back for more updates.