Twig Adventures

LT Day 11: Meeting the Appalachian Trail

Sat Oct 3rd, 2020, 0550-1200
David Logan Shelter to RT 4 / Inn at Long Trail, SOBO LT mile 166
13 miles, 2900 gain,  3600 loss

Rain drops on a metal roof made for a very pleasant sleep. But the dying fire also made for a smokey cabin. The early morning brought a thick fog and gear that reeked of smoke. Ah, The Great Outdoors.

I could barely find the nearby privy in the dark, my headlamp beam was so distorted by the fog. Finding the side trail from the hut to the main trail was another adventure, then it was a game just trying to stay on the trail. We could’ve made it easy on ourselves by just sleeping in a bit, but no. We were creatures of habit and stumbling around in the dark is what we did. It was still worth it to see the slow transition to light, made all the more unique because of the fog. I walked in and out of pockets of it and then there was another transition later in the morning…into the full sunlight!

Such moments are so inspiring. Many thoughts went through my head. I reflected on things and still others I pushed aside, ones that were too painful. Walking’s a meditation. The Navajo say it’s a prayer, your feet in rhythm with Mother Earth,  breathing in Father Sky, finding happiness through exertion.

The return of good weather magically came with the return of northbound hikers. I passed 2 lone guys and then 2 women out for a section hike. The forest was otherwise quiet. I wondered, where is all the birdsong? I’d seen so few animals. Not one deer, only small mammals like squirrels and chipmunks. Also a few grouse and owls. Maybe they were there watching, but the forest was too dense to notice them?

I came to Maine Junction…the point where the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail meet/diverge. The LT was the original trail and the AT shares it. I took the AT north for a few hundred yards to pick up a spur trail leading to the lnn at Long Trail, where we left resupply boxes. The Deer Leep trail went straight over the hill and down to a large rock overlook. I read later that the rock was pre-cambrian, over 1 billion years old. From the overlook, I could see down to our destination for the day. It’s a landmark for both LT and AT hikers.

For the remainder of the trail, I joined the masses out for a day hike on a crisp fall weekend. I pulled my buff over my face and bumbled along, going off trail often to keep my distance. It was a short walk from the overlook to the gap, where the parking lot was overflowing. Leaf-peeping was the latest and greatest spectator sport in COVID times. What better excuse to get outside?

It was noon when we arrived, just in time for lunch at the Irish pub. While we were at it, we decided to go 3rds on a room. It was pricey for the weekend at peak fall rates, but included breakfast. The room was tiny and soon filled with hiker funk. I spent the rest of the day doing chores and playing on my phone. Worry about off-trail stuff crept in. What’s going to happen with the election, pandemic, etc? These were weird and sad times. I wanted to disappear back into the mountains.

The journey, summed up by Scrabble.

We ate an early dinner at the pub and were also early to bed. I didn’t even have a beer all day. It rained again in the evening, so I was glad to be indoors once again. The low also reached the upper 30’s this night. Hiker funk be dammed, it was good to have a room.

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