Twig Adventures

LT Day 14: The Biggest Day

Tue Oct 6th, 2020, 0600-1700
Peru Peak Shelter to Black Brook, SOBO LT mile 235
28.5 miles
6150 gain,  6500 loss

Today proved that big miles are still possible, at least on the AT. We wanted to hike 26 miles so that we’d be able to reach a town for resupply the day after. It’s also supposed to rain the next day, so it’s better to get more of the miles done on a nice day. We meet our goal plus some! As always, the early bird gets the miles. I know this game plan works and another benefit is that I usually have the trail all to myself for a few hours.
The day starts with a climb to Styles Peak, up into the morning fog. It’s pretty thin but there are no views. Light begins to filter through as I make my way down to Mad Tom Notch (love the name). The yellow of the leaves and the early morning light give the forest an ethereal feeling. It’s like a dream.
Then I’m climbing again to Bromley Mountain. These climbs are easy, with the trail well graded. Or maybe I’m just super strong after all the stupid steep climbs earlier in the trail. The fog has partially burned off by the top and there are nice views from a ski area. I check out the warming hut, which seems to be a very fine place to spend a night. I will have to keep it in mind if and when I hike the AT again.
Down the mountain is the road to Manchester Center.  We were going to resupply there but had so much food from our last resupply that we decided to push on another 1.5 days. Our new plan requires bigger mileage days but we’re feeling up to it and the terrain is more forgiving. I see one backpacker standing by the road, looking for a hitch, then pass another 6 NOBO’s heading towards the road. I don’t know if they’re all going into town but it makes me glad I’m not trying to get a ride there myself.
The trail winds through low ridgelines for the next 10 miles and I just go on a slow, efficient burn. I manage to keep my 3 mph pace all the way until lunch at 1 pm, which means I’ve hacked away 21 miles by then! The rest of the day I can just relax. We have lunch at Stratton Pond Shelter. It’s huge and new but empty. We read that 3 Sobos stayed there just last night, so we can’t be too far behind them.
We decide to hike another 7 miles to a stream. But first we must go over Stratton mountain, a 1500′ climb. Like the other mountains in this area, it’s pretty easy. We reach 3,940′ and go up another 50′ in the awesome fire tower, which is fully enclosed by windows at the top. We spend some time admiring the views and peak finding. We can no longer see many of the mountains to the north but we do spot Killington, plus Bromley that we came over earlier today. It’s easy to pick out because of the ski area. I take a picture encompassing the expanse between it and Stratton Pond. That distance represents my morning… cool to think how I’ve walked all that way in just half a day.
Bromley is all the way to the right and Stratton Pond all the way to the left.
We head down towards our destination for the day, a nice stream with a bridge and flat tent spots. A barred owl greets us. This is only the second night that we haven’t stayed in or near a shelter. As such, it’s just us there…and the owl.

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