Friday, August 26, 2011

Long Trail Section #2 - Part 1

VT Route 4 - David Logan (12.9 Miles)

It has rained all night and now this morning.  The air is cool, no not cool, COLD.  I'm still feeling sick from the party that we had well over a day prior.  All i want to do is lay on the couch and take a zero day.  Unfortunately that's not an option I'm in Vermont, 20 miles from the start of an 80 mile journey, and my ladies are raring to go.

The wind is driving the rain sideways as we try get out of the car.  We struggle with our packs, covers and ponchos in the rain.  Another pair of hikers sits in a truck next to us.  Eating breakfast and staying warm. No doubt laughing at our struggles having been there before.  After 10 minutes of clicking and tightening we're off.   As we run across the road it looks like the trail disappears through the brush.  I push the brush out of the way the best i can and head in.  Huh, where are the blazes?  There are a TON of footprints.  How are we lost already?  OK, go back, we obviously missed something.  Yep, wrong trail. I feel like a fool.  I'm soaked, I've already got lost, and i can still see the warm car i got out of now 25 minutes ago.  What am i doing here?

Finally we start making some headway but pause to pin down our ponchos again after they got pulled apart in the brush.  A speedy (i assume) ATer zips past us singing "oh what a feeling, and i'm happy again. just singing  in the rain!"  It was just the boost I needed. It cracked me up so the travelers three were off again, whistling the same song.   The trail is beautiful, rain and fog aside.  We are surrounded by an abundance of green and mushrooms. Leah spent the morning laughing at Loni and I, as our ponchos draped over our entire bodies AND packs make us look like something out of the Dark Crystal.

We approached where the Tucker Johnson Shelter should be only to discover ashes.  We pushed on down the trail.  Rain coming down in heavier bursts from time to time, but always steadily.  Before too long we were snacking on lunch at Rolston Rest about 5 miles into our first day.  We had caught up to a pair of speedy Northbounders (NOBOs) who's goal was to finish the trail in 17 days. This would be the last time we saw them.  While snacking on our heaviest lunches of the trip a group of younger kids from the GMC Club showed up.  The seemingly spacious shelter filled up rapidly and i was anxious to leave.

We experienced our first heavy climb of the day just beyond Rolston.  "Does anyone else smell cranberry macaroni bake?" I ask.  And instantly feel shame when the only response i got was, "No, just feet and fecies."
A couple of hours later we stumble upon familiar terrain.  "Hey guys, if you look this way through the blinding grey fog you'd see Chittenden Reservoir,  Peak's race comes right this way.  This means we're close!"  Oh how wrong i was.   An hour later and after Leah muttered, "I'd rather fall down then get raped by this branch."    We pass a pair of sections SOBOs  and are told that we've still got a couple of hours ahead of us.

An hour passes, Hey a sign!  "I saw the sign....."  Argh, it's only Telephone Gap.  And from the look on Loni's face that means we had a ways to go still.  The rain is pouring down and the wind is picking up,  I'm freezing. I got to start moving faster and dart ahead of the girls.  Pausing ever 5-10 minutes waiting for them to get back into my sight before darting ahead again.   Another sign, thank god.  Camp finally.
(Making ourselves at home)
Enter Rocket, an AT Thru hiker in 2010.  He said when he was at the junction we passed earlier today he thought "I wonder where this goes north" and decided to come back this year and find out.  Thankfully Rocket was the only other person in the shelter so we were able to hang all of our gear out and be dry for the first time in 10 hours.  We quickly gulped down our food, and got into our sleeping bags cold, wet, and tired.  It was only 730 but i was ready for bed.  It was a brutal first day.

Quote of the day:
"The inside of my mouth is the dryest part of my body"

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