Twig Adventures

LT Day 3: Back in the game

Fri Sept 25th, 2020, 0600-1630
Spruce Ledge Camp to Waterman Brook, SOBO LT mile 54.7
24.0 miles, 7200 gain, 6500 loss

I slept perfectly overnight, despite some nearby anonymous snoring (earplugs do wonders!). My shirt and skirt were still wet in the morning…recall my pond excursion the afternoon before? I optimistically hung them to dry overnight, but nothing dries at night on the east coast. I hated putting on wet clothes to start the day but at least it wasn’t cold.

I woke feeling pretty great, like Tony the Tiger grrrrreat! Perhaps I’d finally found my hiker groove. I hit the trail very early, having to use my headlamp for the first 15 minutes. I already felt productive, despite an in-your-face steep climb to start, followed by a few more. The miles in-between were quite gentle. From reading some blogs, I knew to expect an easier day, ending with a nice country/forest road walk. This also helped boost my spirits. I was flying along, making it to the Corliss shelter, 6.7 miles in, by 0830 am. It was a really nice shelter, with a loft and 4 sides in a beautiful notch. A chipmunk was sweeping up inside after the overnight occupants. I caught him in the act and he sheepishly scampered out the open door.

I began to think I might even be able to make 10 miles by 10 am…my rock-steady goal for fast hiking. It took me until 2 pm to go 10 miles the day before, but today was a new day. I took off for another climb, feeling charged. Laraway mountain came and went (including a nice overlook to the south) and so did 10 am. And the winning number was…almost 11 miles hiked! At this pace, I’d have more miles hiked by noon than I managed in total the day before. I descended to a small valley where the trail rambled gently over some hills, through a few meadows, across roads and past a very nice shelter with skylights.

The view south, with Whiteface Mountain, Madonna Peak and Mt Mansfield lining up from left to right. I’d make it all the way across these valleys to camp just at the base of Whiteface for the night. How’s that for progress!
Roundtop Shelter. Based on the previous day’s mileage, I thought I might end up here for the night…but it came too early to even stop for lunch! I loved the skylights though!

I finally took my lunch break at a stream, 16.5 miles into the day. I was so relieved to get all the miles in early, I could just take it easy the rest of the day. I came down into a big valley, with a nice overlook above the Lamoille River. We crossed the river on a pedestrian suspension bridge and continue for a mile through fields and along a cruisey bike path…all so relaxing and such a joy to walk!

We turned onto a country road where there was a small farm stand offering fresh and pickled veggies. The sign read “pay what you think it’s worth.” I put a $5 spot in the can and snagged a small jar of dill pickles. They were so good, I ate them all, leaving the jar to be re-used. I also grabbed some cherry tomatoes to add to my couscous dinner. I wish there were more of these self-service healthy-food stands on trails I’ve thru-hiked! I hadn’t really enjoyed such a find since New Zealand. Way to go Vermont!

It was a picturesque day and a perfect rhythm. We walked casually along the forest road in the dappled sunshine. We arrived at Bear Hollow Shelter by 3 pm, our “best case” destination for the day. I’d hiked 22 miles already, but there was plenty of time left in the day and I still had energy. We went a few miles more, making it to a creek on the slope of Whiteface mountain. We could save the mountain climb for the next morning, finding some passable tent sites in the wash near the creek. A waterfall tumbled down nearby and I relished the white-noise it would bring overnight. Not every night need be next to a shelter, especially when the weather was so nice. The perfect ending to this great day was my dinner with fresh cherry tomatoes: yum!

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