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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday, August 31st. (Day 19)
Today was an adventure. We made a plan last night to take some time off, and thought instead of having a super long day today, and a zero day tomorrow, we would break it up. We got a good sunrise right from our beds this morning.

After the first two small mountains we climbed this morning, we climbed Mt. Mansfield. This is Vermont's tallest mountain. We had a great hike up the mountain and were very refreshed from extra rest last night. We actually slept in til 6:30 on accident. We are usually up by 6am.
Mansfield is a great hike, and didn't lack the difficulty.

(Straight up, of course)

It also serves some pretty nice views.

If you look close, you can see the leaves are beginning to change. In a couple weeks, this place will be lit up! It's beautiful!
There was one part of the hike that was a bit dangerous for me. We both had to remove our packs to crawl around a corner ledge rock. It was the scariest thing I have ever done on a hike. (Until about an hour later, that is)
Our fine plan we concocted last night was to take the gondola down the mountain, rather than pushing the hours to hike all the way back down. Tomorrow, we will get a ride back up and hike down. It will be a very short day. We found that there was a side trail off the Long Trail that was only 0.4 miles to the gondola. Perfect!
However, we should have put a little more thought into the fact that this trail was called the "cliff trail". This turned out to be the most terrifying experience I have ever had backpacking. Not only was this 0.4 mile trail steep, but it was very dangerous. We had to remove our packs several times to perform the maneuvers needed to get down steep rocks, and basically make very large steps over gaps in rocks that plummet down dozens of feet. Not many pictures were taken but this was one of the less dangerous, but annoying maneuvers.

We were extremely happy to reach the gondola without injury.

We even got a free ride down.
We hitched a ride to our hotel from someone leaving the gondola area. Cathy works there, and is going to pick us up in the morning and take us back. She is going to try to get us to a different point though. We may have to redo a little portion, but hopefully not have to go back up the dreaded cliff trail to get back. Such a sweet lady! She agreed that the cliff trail is way dangerous.
Tonight and tomorrow we are staying in the Green Mountain Inn. It's a lovely place, and probably the nicest room we have had so far. I had a sweet surprise waiting for me in my bed, from Alex.

That's the first time I've ever had flowers waiting for me when I checked into a hotel. Made me feel very special.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday, August 30th (day 18)
The trail was much kinder today. Good thing, because we were pretty beat up from yesterday. Zippy wasn't feeling too zippy, and I was a bit stiff and sore. My back was bothering me today. It might have something to do with me falling twice yesterday. No injuries, so I didn't think much of it, but my body felt it today. We made it to Puffer shelter, and we have a beautiful view.

The last 2 miles of the day were steep, and rather than push on 3.4 miles to the next shelter, that view makes up for not getting as far today (just under 10 miles). We need the rest. Tomorrow is a big day.

As we have hiked, Zippy has been finding dimes on the trail. No other coins, just dimes. It's really weird. She found the fourth one last night in our little stealth camp. I think she has an angel putting them there for here, telling here she is where she's supposed to be.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday, August 29th (day 17)
Today was our most difficult and longest hiking day yet. It took us 10 hours to hike 11 miles. The terrane was very difficult today. We climbed up and over camels hump. It was very steep, and in many places pretty dangerous. I was a bit shocked. We had to constantly throw our hiking poles ahead to use both hands to climb the rocks. We helped push and pull each other along in spots. Pictures don't do it justice, and I couldn't get photos of the most difficult parts because I needed to hold on. I really hope we don't see much more difficulty ahead.

(Ahead of Zippy is the steep top of camels hump)

(View looking back on the ledge we were climbing)

Once down the mountain, which was a 6 mile descent, we came to a newly constructed bridge.

We just learned last night that there is a trail re-route. We had to decide at this point weather to take the old route to get to our planned shelter, or take the new route that would bypass it. We decided to take the new route, to accommodate for shelter and water easier for tomorrow night. It was too many miles to get to a shelter from here, so we found a place to stealth camp for the night.

It should be a dry night, so we are both sleeping without our rain cover. I love to be able to see the sky at night! We even had some visitors from the cliff we camped at.

Some rock climbers decided to climb up to where we are. Pretty cool to watch.
Friday, August 28th (day 16)
It was rough leaving the Inn this morning, but we were on the trail by 9 am. Even though we only had 10.6 miles to hike, this was a late start, because it took us 8 1/2 hrs to get to camp. I've decided that the trail can no longer be called a trail. It is more of an obstacle course. We are mainly scrambling on and scaling rocks lately. We use ladders, iron rungs, and ropes to climb. It was pretty intensely difficult today. Sometimes we have to cross a big of deep mud, and if we pick the wrong log to step in, we will sink 10 inches into the mud.

We did get some pretty massive views today, though.

It is all very green here, and I love the moss that covers everything. Some of the moss is kind of a pink color, and is very pretty.

There are also a ton of mushrooms everywhere. All kinds of colors, but I thought this mushroom wall was pretty neat.

Tonight we are camping at the Montclair Glen Lodge. There has been some bear problems here and they have been making improvements to take care of it. I was under the impression that it was not a problem anymore, and maybe they had relocated the bear. Unfortunately that isn't the case, but they did put in a bear box for people to place all food and items that have an odor. It's also a huge bummer that the shelter is full tonight, and we have to be in a tent. It makes me nervous because of my previous bear encounter on the AT. The caretaker, Mariah, was nice enough to let me and Zippy use her two person tent that was already set up so we could be together. She has another tent as well, near us, where she will sleep. Hoping for a good nights sleep and uneventful night.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday, August 27th (day 15)
Today was a great hike! We actually hiked the section of the Long Trail today with the best 360° views. Unfortunately, we were hiking in a frigid cloud this morning, and didn't get the best views, but there was some good ones at the end of the day.

We passed by 4 different ski lifts today. We got another great rest break in another ski lift control room.

Today's hike was very rugged, and very fun, especially without the extra weight of a full pack (we only brought essentials, and left other gear in the hotel).

This picture in the cave used to be the actual route. Now it is an optional route to take to a shelter. The other option was climbing around the rock rather than through and up this small cave. In all, it was an 11.6 mile day, but it took us almost 8 hours to complete because of the difficulty. We got to see a mother bird feeding her babies who were out of the best and we assumed, learning to fly.

We were very happy to be back at the Hyde Away Inn for a shower, laundry service, and super good food in their restaurant. What more could you ask for?

Tomorrow, it is back to sleeping in the woods.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday, August 26th (day 14)
This morning was our first chilly morning. I was warm at night in my sleeping bag, but putting on my still wet (from sweat) clothes to hike was a shock. We packed up quickly and were on the trail by 7am. It wasn't a particularly long day, 10.6 miles, but we had conjured up a plan last night to get into town today and stay an extra night at the hotel. We had planned to get to the Hyde Away Inn tomorrow. However, Detroit was out of food and had a friend picking her up at Lincoln Gap to take her to town. It was just 1 mile before our nights destination, so we decided to hop in the car too. We are staying in the hotel tonight, and tomorrow. Detroit (who lives in the area now) will drive us back to where we left off so we can slackpack (carry a light backpack with just a days essentials) to the spot we would need to get off to come back to the hotel for a second night. Luxury!
We had a great hike with some awesome views today.

The Hyde Away Inn is a great place. Very comfortable, and super nice staff. We had dinner at the bar, which is a locals hangout. I'm so glad we will be here two nights. I also had a sweet care package waiting for me from Mr. Alex, that they set right on my bed. How nice!
Tuesday, August 25th (day 13)
Last night was my best nights sleep on the trail so far. I'm not sure how. I slept in the shelter with Zippy, and it started raining hard with thunder and lightning at about 1:30am. By 2am, we had to move our beds to the back wall of the shelter because the roof started leaking on us. Somehow, even with all the scrambling around, I went right back to sleep and slept like a baby. We stayed dry. After an unexpected difficult day yesterday on Mt. Horrid (yes, that was the actual name, and it lived up to it for sure), we really studied the maps and mentally prepared ourselves for an even more difficult day today. It had stopped raining, but started up again 20 minutes into our hike. It wasn't too bad. It cooled us down for the steep mountain we had to climb first thing in the morning. All day was a bit dark and hazy, but still beautiful.

The worst thing to me about hiking in the rain is that you don't have a nice place to sit down and take a break. We take our packs off for a break usually every hour or hour and a half. When raining, those breaks become fewer, and it's very tiring. Fortunately, almost two hours into our day, we came across a ski lift that wasn't mentioned in the guide book.

There was a very small unlocked room/closet that the lift operator probably uses. We all three huddled in there out of the rain for a dry seat and a snack.
The rain stopped but the sun didn't really come out until the end of the day, keeping us from being so hot. We had a couple more nice breaks at shelters along the way.

We made it to the Emily Proctor shelter after 12 miles of difficult terrain.

We have two ladies also staying in the shelter as they hike a few days. One of them talked non stop until her head hit the pillow. She is now snoring, which is actually better.
The hiking today reminds me of the White Mountains. It's fun, but difficult, so I am glad we are hiking together to help one another. It was a good day. We also passed our halfway point today! 140.9 miles hiked out of 274. Yay!
Monday, August 24th (day 12)
Today was a difficult day. It's well known that once the Long Trail splits from the Appalachian Trail, it gets more difficult. We already see this happening. The climbs are steep and rocky, but we also got some good views today.

The trail is beautiful and green. When I get the chance to look up without tripping on a root or rock, it's very nice to look at.

Tonight, me, Zippy, and Detroit are staying at the Sucker Brook shelter. After a sleepless night last night, I wanted to sleep in my tent tonight, but it is supposed to rain most of the night. I'd rather not pack up a heavy wet tent in the morning, so shelter it is.

There is also two men camping near the shelter who are hiking for a few days. We only saw a couple other people on the trail today. It was a hard day, but we did it, so it's a good day.