Hiker Friends

September 12, 2016

“Hiker Friends, we need a hiker friend, to pick us up at this trailhead and take us to town.”

That’s my new thought when I have to hitch a ride into town for resupply. I accept that most of the drivers passing us by don’t know anything about the Long Trail and why backpackers would be hitching a ride. I pass by all the self-hating things they could be thinking about me. They are not who I am signalling with my thumb.

I’m signalling one of the Hiker Friends, who know that long distance hikers need a ride into town every few days.  read more

Moonlit Mansfield

September 13, 2016

The Forehead on Mt. Mansfield, 6:21 pm

It’9 p.m. and I’m standing on the highest point of Vermont. No, really! I climbed Mt. Mansfield, the highpoint of Vermont, at night! 
We reached the first peak, The Forehead, at 6:21, just as the sun was setting. The almost full moon was up. Happily, we had made it that far in daylight. Some of those obstacles had challenged my agility greatly. Leaning ladders, a slot called Eye of the Needle, an oblong and rounded boulder squeeze, things like that. 

The moon lit up the slope for the last half-mile easy slab walk up the final knob called The Chin. We kept our headlamps off and picked our way over the gray rocks. I kept thinking, “This should be scary and forbidding, but it’s actually very thrilling and not even so hard! What a neat thing to do!” read more

Intown Ingenuity

September 12, 2106

I bought a backpack in Waterbury. It’s very cool, emblazoned with “I ♡ 1 Direction” and a photo of the boyband. “Whaaat?” you say!

Actually, it’s perfect…….because…

It has a zipper! My pouch needs a new zipper, and this backpack has a good one. I can cut it out and use it. And it only cost one dollar at the Bargain Boutique in Waterbury.

With my tiny swiss army knife scissors, stashed needle, and multi-purpose dental floss, I can switch out the failing zipper in my pouch. read more

Camel’s Hump

September 11,2016

My New Story that my amazing body takes me up stunningly beautiful mountains whenever I want helped me fulfill a wonderful accomplishment today!

We kept going past the Montclair Shelter, a good stopping point for a comfortably short day, to Camel’s Hump!

Tricky rock climbs, slabs, and straight-up trail made our approach up the 4,080 feet to a windy, cold summit.

But…

Wow! What a place!

360 degree view, perfect visibility, and even a siting of a surprise mammal, perhaps a flying squirrel. read more

Rain 

September 11, 2016

First, I remember the World Trade Centers. May all the significance of that day be sanctified and elevated to its spiritual clarity, in perfect timing.

Now, for my current story. It’s 6 a.m. Thunder rumbles in the distance. The severe weather that motivated us to choose yesterday’s early stop at the Birch Glen Shelter has finally arrived.

I have no idea how many hikers are bedded down in this structure. After we had gone to bed, granted 7 p.m. is early, two college orientation groups of 8-10 hikers arrived!
They were graciously quiet, except for their clumping boots. It was a remarkably quiet night! Apparently, college freshmen sleep through the night! read more

Amazing Body

September 10, 2016

It’s hard for me to admit and write about my Old Stories, those beliefs that could sabotage  my outer journey and yet open gateways to my inner journey. I’m up for walking my walktalk, so here goes!

Yesterday, we walked 11 1/2 hours through dense forest, up some steep and rocky mountains. 14 miles was enough – a big day. But, I was fine! We had reached our destination, Battell Shelter. We knew it had a caretaker, and we had heard that another  couple had already taken space in the shelter. No problem, we would tent nearby. read more

Grocery Shopping

September 8, 2016

I’ve spent almost as much time shopping when I lived in Decatur, GA, than I did today starting from the trail! When I lived in Midway Woods, John Reiter and I would don our backpacks (we had no car then) and walk 45 minutes to the Dekalb Farmers Market, shop for a while, sit outside and eat a snack, then walk home. That would take 3-4 hours, and we enjoyed it!

Today, Hiker John and I reached Rt 125 at about 10:30, not knowing who would be givi g us a ride to Middlebury, VT, 10 miles away. John noticed a bus schedule posted at the trailhead. He called the bus company to confirm that the bus made a stop at this spot later in the afternoon. read more

Slabbing- with Bears

September 7, 2016

The local hiker we met a couple of hours after our 6:43 a.m. start on our first full day of this walk said, “This slabbing makes for quite a walk, doesn’t it?” I was unfamiliar with the term, but realized she was talking about how the trail was carved out of the side of the mountain. Sometimes the trail was very narrow and slanted sideways making it hard to keep from sliding down the steep mountainside! I had called this kind of trail “sidehill”, but “slabbing” is a good name for it too! read more

We Started

September 6, 2016

8 miles completed on this section of the Long Trail! We got out on the trail about 2 p.m. A sense of home at the Inn at Long Trail pervaded the day. Was it the familiarity with that spot since we had stopped there last year, even though we didn’t stay. The hefty breakfast, included with our stay could have had something to do with the feeling. Perhaps the homelike arrangement of the furniture in the common living room or the laundry room tucked in a hallway next to the kitchen. The place seemed, well, livable, not like a hotel. I got a surprise service from the Innkeeper, Maury. Another hiker and I were waiting at the bus stop across the road from the Inn, with plenty of time to catch the 10:38 bus. We stood, chatting about our hikes, when zoom, the bus passed by! Right on time too! “Hey! It’s supposed to stop here and it didn’t!” read more

A New Journey!

September 5, 2016

The sign here we left the Appalachian Trail, finished and new complete, and a little sad, said “Please Stay on the Trail.”

In my mind I sang along with Arlo Guthrie, “That sign was made for you and me.” And we also knew that what we really wanted to do was heed that sign and stay on the trail.

But, not the Appalachian Trail. We finished that – twice! You may not know that for 100 miles in southern Vermont the Applachian Trail coincides with the Long Trail, 372 miles on a vertical axis through Vermont. read more