What is this blog about?

My name is Lori. In August, 2014, I plan to hike the Camino de Santiago trail. Feel free to join me on my adventure by following me on this blog.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tuesday, September 8th (day 27)
Today we made it to Journey's End. That is what they call the north terminus of the Long Trail, ending just across the Canadian border. We expected rain all day long, but instead, the wind brought the rain early, starting around 11pm last night. It rained all night long, until about 5am. We were on the trail just before 7am. It was very wet, muddy, and foggy in the morning. The northern section is known for being very muddy. I have a friend who hiked the trail a month before I started. June and July were very rainy months in Vermont this year. He had emailed me, saying that the last few days on the trail were his worst days hiking, ever, just because of the poor trail conditions. The month I have hiked, we have had very little rain. We have been very blessed with much better trail conditions. I can't imagine how terrible the mud conditions were a month ago. Last nights rain definitely
made today more difficult with mud and slippery rock faces, but still better conditions than I expected. We also had very little bug problems this month. The heat we had was unexpected, as it is usually much colder in Vermont by now. If you know how much of a wimp I am in the cold, you know how thankful I have been for that, even if the heat did make the afternoon climbs difficult. Overall, what an amazing experience. Though I was warned of the difficulty, this trail was much more difficult than expected, making me very proud to finish the journey today. Sometimes, we need to be put in our place, and be reminded of our weaknesses. This trail did this for me every day! It also reminded me of my strengths, perseverance, and yes, my stubbornness. This kind of hiking is not always fun. It can be exhausting and miserable, but the things it does for your soul is amazing. It's so worth it!
There were 4 viewpoints today on our hike, but the clouds and fog made every one a "white out". Until the very end.

This is the only view we really cared about today anyway. That bare line you see through the trees is the Canadian border line. How cool is that?
After reaching the terminus, we just had a couple miles to walk to get to a parking lot, where Zippy's husband, Rob, came to pick us up. On the way to the road, there is one last shelter, called the Journeys End Camp.

I was almost sad that we weren't staying here. And then I thought about the bathtub, bed, and razor to finally shave my legs, waiting for me at Zippy's house! We celebrated by having dinner at the Parker Pie. It's a little pizza pub that the town of West Glover, VT seems to be known for. It was awesome!
Huge thanks to all who followed me on this journey, and sent me words of support. Zippy, you will be a friend for life. I am happy to have shared this experience with her, and make a new friend. Thank you!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday, September 7th. (Day 26)
Another great hike today. We climbed 4 mountains, the biggest at the end, being Jay peak. I enjoyed that one a lot. It was very windy all day. It is going to be bringing us rain all day tomorrow, I think.
Jay peak is a ski mountain and there is a little lodge and cafe at the top. Another hiker bought me and Zippy some Gatorade and ice cream to celebrate being almost finished. He was hiking southbound, so he is just starting.

A bunch of our hiking buddies probably finished today. We got a nice note in the jay camp shelter today from Outback. Congrats everyone!

I will miss these tiny little trees. They are all over the ground here. They feel like fake Christmas trees

I will not miss the mud that is one inch deep in one place, and two feet deep in another.

I will miss climbing big rocks.

And these little elf slipper flowers growing everywhere.
Tonight, we are at the Laura Woodward shelter, camping with Hiccup, who hiked south, and when he finished in Massachusetts, decided to turn around and hike back north. Also with us is Joe, who is a retired teacher, hiking southbound. This is his first night on the trail. Being our last night, we gave him as much advise as we could.

11.3 miles to go tomorrow to the finish line! Bittersweet.
Sunday, September 6th. (Day 25)
I had a great nights sleep at Zippy's house in her guest quarters with the lake view.

After a very delicious breakfast of granola encrusted stuffed French toast at a nearby diner, we were back to the mountain. My high sugar breakfast got me going right away, and I had a great hike all day. We knew it was going to be a long day. Our guidebook estimated the section we had at about a mile/hr pace, so we expected some tedious, slow going trail.

(In Vermont, it's not IF you fall in the mud, it's WHEN)

They also like to put these helpful bog boards where the mud isn't 3 ft deep. Hmmm.

Not sure if this was the scramble, or some other tree down in the middle of the trail that snagged my backpack strap and broke it. Luckily I was able to perform a temporary fix. I will be sending my pack back to the company for some much needed repairs after this trip!

We got into camp around 6pm, and were pretty exhausted. We stayed at Hazens Notch Camp.

It looks a little "murdery", but it proved cozy for us. When we first arrived there were two bear hunters at the camp. They were all dressed in camo, and faces were painted. One with a bow and the other with a gun. They were not very talkative, and after Zippy asked them some questions about what they were doing and where they were from, they decided to leave the shelter for the tired thru hikers and they would tent. They must have left, because we didn't see them again. Or maybe their camo was just that good. Either way, I thought they were creepy and was glad to see them leave. In the shelter with us was a southbound hiker, named Alex. He was good company for the rest of the evening, and was impressed by my homemade dehydrated meals. I will say so myself, I did a good job on my camp food for this trip!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Saturday, September 5th (day 24)
Last night was a surprise. After not seeing many people on the trail for the last couple weeks, we ended up having 7 people at our shelter. I guess we have been hiking between some hiker bubbles, and slowing down a bit allowed others to catch up. One of the hikers, "Catnap", is someone who also hiked the AT in 2012, only I never met him then. We were both in an AT film that year (Squatch films- flip flop flippin). It was cool to meet him and reminisc. Today's hike was good. The highlight was going through Devils Gultch.

It was a fun section!
After about 10 miles, we met Zippy's husband at a road crossing, and he brought us to their home for the night. An annual neighborhood party was going on tonight, so it was great timing!

We had great food and company, but didn't stay too late. We still have 3 days to hike, so it was an early bedtime for us!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday, September 4th (day 23)
With how our schedule worked out for today, we only had 8.2 miles to hike. It was a nice hike, with lots of squawky birds along the way. We took a nice hour lunch break at the top of Laraway mountain.

I zoomed in a little on Mt. Mansfield and could finally see the face. Adam's apple, chin, nose, and forehead. Can you find it?

We were at our shelter very early and have been enjoying the day. Corliss Camp is a nice cabin to spend some time at too.

Tonight, it's me, Zippy, Outback, and Cricket. We have a nice fire going for some evening relaxation.

I almost forgot to mention the cool maple sap lines we have seen the last couple days. I've never seen anything like it. It's really cool. The maple trees are tapped and the sap goes into these tubes, which are spider-webbed down from tree to tree, down the mountain by gravity. Very interesting. Evidently, the sap is boiled down to make maple syrup. Yum!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thursday September 3rd (day 22)
Compared to the last couple weeks, today was an easy hiking day. We enjoyed the break. It was hot today, yet cloudy, and sprinkled on us several times throughout the day. I found some mushrooms that look like toasted marshmallows.

Because of the clouds, we didn't get many views today.

After almost 11 miles, we were at our shelter before 3pm to relax and dry our sweaty clothes. It's a great shelter! It's just me, Zippy, and Outback here again, and tonight.

I noticed on the shelter details that one of my AT buddies is the adopter to the shelter. I'll have to give "Chronic" a call and let him know I stayed here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wednesday, September 2nd (day 21)
It was sad to leave my super soft bed at the Green Mountain Inn. Even more sad that my pack is heavy with 7 days of food. It was still a great day! There's one thing about long distance hiking, and thru hiking. Sometimes you start focusing on miles and getting done, and forget to enjoy everything else. We decided to add a day to our final section of the trail, and enjoy the camping by hiking fewer miles each day. The hike was fantastic. Steep climbs, but great views, and a long break at Sterling pond and a ski warming hut.

We got in at around 3pm today and have relaxed at our shelter with a view of the mountains we have climbed the last couple days.

We are camping with "Outback", who we just met today. Our friend, Detroit, got ahead of us while we took some leisure time at the Inn. We might not see her again, but getting messages from her along the way.