(Pictures coming soon)
Saturday June 20 – Day 1
Mark drives Andrea and I to the Pine Cobble trail where we start on our 272 mile journey northward. The Long Trail in Vermont is the nations oldest footpath. We leave at noon. We hike uphill in good sunny weather. After 3.3 miles we reach the VT/MA border and we really really become LT hikers.
We hike 10 LT miles plus a 3.3 bonus, making day 1 a solid 13.3. A few chats with fellow LT hiker Mr Iceland along the way.
Cogdon shelter is full when we get there. Set up tents, try to eat the most of our beans and rice. Andrea into her tarp tent and I into my tarp poncho. Immediately the rains begin. True tarp test.
The tarp holds up well to rain! Less well to slugs. I wake in the middle of the night to Andreas light shining in her tarp tent. I grab my bug net and feel something wet. Slug. Gross! I throw it and squeal. Andrea hears that I’m awake and asks if I’m ok. “Slugs!” I reply. During the course of the night I find a slug crawling on the roof of my tarp, and one on my pillow. Yes, my pillow.
I dream of my tarp shredding and water pouring in on me. It holds up.
Sunday June 21 – Day 2
I wake restlessly to the occasional raindrop backsplash. Mostly dry = success.
A slow going on our first morning, to be expected. Much rain. We eat and pack up in the shelter. Chat with AT through hikers Blood Blister and Beat. Trail by 10.
We survive the drizzly morning with umbrella cover. Over Harmon Hill and chat with a trio of inspiring middle aged menopausal hikers. Down the hill, across Route 9, over the bridge and climb up to Glastonbury Mtn. Views at Porcupine lookout. AT hiker Warewolf passes us.
40 minutes before we reach Goddard shelter the sky opens up. Rain, rain, thunder, heavy rain. The umbrella is all but useless. The trail turns into a river. We’re drenched. At last the shelter! A solid 15 mile day. Andreas lips are blue but we’re fine.
We eat and make our beds on the cozy shelter platform, lined up next to Blood Blister, Warewolf, Smasher, me, Andrea, and Beat. Sleep. Andrea wakes me about possible animal stirrings. Back to sleep.
Monday June 22 – Day 3
The seven of us sharing the shelter stir simultaneously and wake at the same time like a cute little hiker family.
Hiked from Goddard shelter to Stratton Pond Shelter. A bigger day – 18.5 miles.
Up Glastonbury, past the fire tower in the clouds, past Kid Gore Shelter, Story Spring Shelter, the occasional mud pit, across the stratham-Arlington road, so many aggressive deer flies, and up Stratton mountain.
Good chats about climate change. Up the seven story fire tower! Lots of laughs on the way down Stratton. Andrea falls while laughing and can’t get up because she’s laughing too hard.
We reach the shelter at 6 pm, toss our stuff in the shelter loft, and hike the 0.3 down to the pond where we encounter the fountain of youth and life in the form of an enthusiastic young man-boy at a crossroads in his life and small trout practically jumping into our hands. Beautiful sunset.
Trek back to the dark shelter in the shady woods where 6/7 hikers are asleep. Dinner. Sleep. Rain sounds loud at night on a tin shelter roof.
Tuesday June 23 – Day 4
Up and at ’em by 8:30. Just 10 miles till our first town stop in Manchester Center.
Some rain but it mostly hits the tops of trees as we pass underneath. Epic mud pits. A nice fast 0.9 mile road walk. Cloudy views from Prospect Rock.
Rain abates. Past Spruce Peak shelter. We see Blood Blister and Beat. To the road. Hitch! Into town. EMS stop. Find a hotel – the Palmer House Resort Motel – with a nice hiker rate.
Shower, laundry, beer, burger!