Dedicated to Mara's travel and hiking adventure journals as well as her words of wisdom and suggested resources for hikers and travelers.
VT/MA AT weekend
This past weekend's point to point hike was courtesy of shuttler extraordinaire, Cosmo Catalano. At less than 24 hours notice, he agreed to shuttle me to VT 9 so I could take two days to walk back to my car on MA 2.
For Pittsburgh: So 18 more miles on the AT this past weekend. I think it's about 4 in MA and 12 in VT.
For Rockdancer: It took me 2:30 driving time to go from Medford (near 16), out route 2 to the trailhead on route 2 north of Graylock. It takes less than 2 hours for me to get to N. Woodstock up 93.
I had been fighting a really nasty cold for the past week and a half and was still coughing quite a bit when Cosmo dropped me off at the VT trailhead. That made for an interesting climb on the steep stairs up Harmon Hill. Basically, to climb without coughing, I used a typical high altitude rest step pace. It was very frustrating as my legs and body wanted to go faster but the lungs were unwilling. But it didn't take too long to get to the top of the steep section and then the rest of the hike on Saturday was mostly gradually gaining elevation.
The trillium, spring beauties, and trout lily were blooming after the three day heat wave New England had just endured. Thankfully, the heat had passed and I was hiking in perfect 60 degree, sunny, weather.
I took a break at the Congdon shelter. Pushed past a number of downed trees south of the shelter, and saw one northbound hiker near the bog bridges under the natural dam. Saw only one snow patch before Congdon shelter but there were a few more at the higher elevations (especially near the power lines) between Congdon and Seth Warner shelters. There was even some on the trail itself in some dense evergreen forest just before the turnoff to the Seth Warner shelter. There was also a lot of evidence of moose along the trail.
Since I was going a bit slower to keep my lungs calm, I took the time to clear the trail of a lot of downed branches. There's still plenty more to be cleared though and a chainsaw will be necessary to clear the path in a few areas. My legs are quite scratched up from having to bushwhack around the downed trees.
When I arrived at the Seth Warner shelter, my solitude was only marred by the noise of an ATV on the nearby roads. But, I ended up having the shelter to myself for the entire night. Woke up once around 10:00pm and thought there was a small layer of snow covering everything but it was just my sleepy eyes playing tricks on me. The full moon had bathed the area in bright light. It made me wish I had brought a book to read. But it was cold so I was just as happy to stay warm in my bag.
I had an easy walk out on Sunday. Met up with two young men with HUGE packs at the VT/MA line. They were just starting a 140 mile hike. I didn't ask but I suspect they had planned no resupply for the entire hike. Ugh!
The walk down was uneventful. Slow going over the rocks. Slow going past the beautifully distracting Sherman Brook. I had no need to rush.
I was back at my car by lunchtime. Notes: There was no register at the state line. The register at the Seth Warner shelter was full. The register at Congdon was OK. There is an old register that should be removed at this point at Harmon Hill. Saw a 3/25 entry from Brian before he got off the AT due to snow in VT. Saw a 4/18 entry from another AT northbound hiker still on snowshoes. Snowshoes are no longer necessary.
For the first time, I attempted backpacking in my trail shoes as opposed to my heavy Limmers. While I definitely liked not having all that weight on my feet, the jury is still out on whether or not I can do a long distance backpack without more support.
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