DF: Twelve tough miles today. The day started badly for me–rough trail, wet clothes, and black flies. I was not having fun and was completely ready to go home.
By late morning, both the trail and the weather eased up. We had a gorgeous cool, sunny, breezy afternoon, and about two hours of perfect trail–wide, dry, and well-graded. Now my clothes are dry and my shoes are mostly dry. The little things make all the difference.
The Long Trail is turning out as promised–lots of climbing and descending, often very steeply on rock steps. We move very slowly on trail like that, especially when it’s wet and slippery. It’s taking us longer to do ten miles on this trail than to do fifteen on the AT.
This afternoon we climbed up and down four big mountains. I’ve noticed that the forest changes from beeches and birches to conifers at about 3000 ft. It also gets very rocky, with narrow ridgelines at the tops. On the very tops of those mountains we saw piles and piles of fairly fresh moose scat. Also areas where they bed down, and where they’ve recently been browsing on vegetation. I kept expecting to round a corner and come face to face with a very large moose, but so far so good.
For most of the day our travels have been accompanied by the glorious song of the Hermit Thrush, Vermont’s state bird. Our other companion is the Red Eyed Vireo. It’s fast-paced song seems to be cheering us on during challenging sections.
At the shelter tonight are two women out for a week and two of our companions from last night–Punkin Pie and Freight Train. Both are doing the whole LT, and both have thru-hiked the AT. We were able to give a day or so of food to Freight Train–she had underestimated and we had overpacked, so it worked out perfectly. I expect that both of them will go farther than we will tomorrow, so we may not see them again.
BC: Hard start to the day, then an easy five miles to Brandon Gap, followed by a steep climb up Mt. Horrid (yes, that’s its real name.) The climbs are getting easier, though the straight-up-the-mountain thing still isn’t any fun. Had a great view from Cape Lookoff Mountain.
Everyone tells you to expect ten miles per day on the LT north of Rutland, and I can see why. We’re trying to do 12+ and it’s exhausting and takes all day. If we put this amount of time and effort into hiking in North Carolina, we’d be getting 16-18 miles per day easily.
Saw a lot of moose scat, and there were juncos and red eyed vireos everywhere.