DF: Today we lost a battle with the trail demons (most of the time we talk about trail gods, but not on the Long Trail). We are still going to finish this damn trail, just not as quickly as we’d hoped. It started raining at 4 AM, and it rained hard until after 6. Because of that, and because it was so dark inside, we slept in until 6:30, and didn’t get on the trail until 8.
We began with a short but very steep climb up Tillotson Peak. It started raining again just as we started down. Next up was Haystack Mountain. By this time it was raining hard, and thundering. The trail was a mess–steep, rooty, and rocky, as usual–but now it was also extremely wet, muddy, and slippery. Our pace slowed to a crawl. It took us four hours to go about 4 ½ miles. By the time we got to the road at Hazen’s Notch, we knew we wouldn’t make the 12 miles to Jay Camp today.
So we pulled in at Hazen’s Notch Camp a little after 1 PM and called it a day. We put on dry clothes, made a hot lunch, and regrouped. Of course, the sun came out. But that let us hang out our clothes to start drying, and just relax a bit. We expended a lot of energy this morning–not only navigating the awful trail, but also going through the stages of grief about not finishing tomorrow and having to change our plans again.