Thursday, August 12, 2010

Long Trail Report - Week 1

I'm happy to report that I made it through Week 1 of my Long Trail hike. I came off the trail after five and a half days and 85 miles in order to come back to Boston to do some job interviews. Yes, reality is starting to slowly settle in. After the interviews tomorrow and early next week, I hope to get back on the trail.

The first week was awesome. My cousin Bevan joined me for the first three days and we had a great time walking through the woods. Here we are getting dropped off at the Appalachian Trail in Williamstown, Massachusetts. (The Vermont border and official start of the Long Trail is 4.1 miles away):
There are three-sided shelters every five to 10 miles along the trail, so I based how far I'd go each day on which shelter I wanted to stay in that night. Bevan carried a three (!) person tent for the sections with me, which we used one night. The second night together we stayed in one the shelters. The scenery we walked through was amazing, particularly Glastenbury Mountain. There's an old Fire Tower on top and the views over all the Green Mountains were very nice.
Bevan even found his 700th geocache up near the Fire Tower. Good work Bevan! After his wife Tammi picked him up on the third day, I resupplied from a stash in Tammi's car and continued on. I packed a one-person tent and got to use it twice; once I pitched it inside a shelter to double as a mosquito net, and a second time I pitched it outside in the pouring rain. Both times the tent worked like a charm. I camped by a few lakes, including beautiful Stratton Pond, the biggest body of water along the Long Trail. Combined with a climb of Stratton Mountain, it would make a lovely day hike, or short backpacking trip.
Since this beginning part of the Long Trail overlaps with the Appalachian Trail (AT), I got to meet many, many AT thru-hikers. They are a varied and interesting bunch, to say the least. They're also very social for the most part and I enjoyed chatting with them and hearing about their journeys. All the hikers use "trail names" to refer to each other, in many cases they don't even know each other's real names. Since I was only out on the trail for a few days I didn't get a trail name, but when I continue on the Long Trail later, maybe I'll get one. Apparently, you can't name yourself; someone else has to give you the name.

I created a Picasa album of my pictures so far, including a map of where most of the pictures were taken. I'll keep adding to it when I pick up my hike, hopefully next week.

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