Twig Adventures

LT Day 7: Quintessential Waitsfield

Tue Sept 29th, 2020, 0800-0915 Birch Glen Lodge to Appalachian Gap / Waitsfield, SOBO LT mile 106.9 2.5 miles, then about 5 miles of walking in town 1200 gain, 900 loss I slept really well overnight. The wind blew strong all night but there was no rain. We don’t get too early of a start since it’s a short walk to the road. I hate to disturb my fellow lodge mates banging around before it’s light. We hang out for a bit, then say our goodbyes to Broken Toe and company. I figure I’ll see him again… he’s like an ephemeral spring along the trail. We hope to also see a father/son pair, Doug and Steve, again since they too[…]

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LT Day 6: Over the Camel’s Hump

Mon Sept 28th, 2020, 0600-1530 Gleason Brook to Birch Glen Lodge, SOBO LT mile 104.4 15 miles 6600 gain, 5100 loss An early start is clutch this day. A huge climb of over 4,000 feet greets us. We begin in the dark and enjoy the transition into the world of colors. I’m shortly on a ridge, where the air’s fresh and the day bright. The trail follows solid rock ridges for long stretches, offering clear views among the stunted conifers. It can be hard to find the trail at times… a study in looking for the white hash marks painted directly on the rock. The colors of the surrounding deciduous forests are astounding. Camel’s Hump looms prominently at 4,072′. At[…]

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LT Day 5: The Top of Vermont

Sun Sept 27th, 2020, 0600-1800 Taft Lodge to Gleason Brook, SOBO LT mile 89.4 23.5 miles 6350 gain, 9300 loss (highest & lowest points on the trail, in the same day!) I sleep surprisingly well in the lodge, despite the comings and goings of my fellow occupants throughout the night. The door latch gives everyone a fit, making a lot of unnecessary noise. We should set an alarm for everyone to go pee at once. Several get up at 5 am, including myself, all hopeful to see a sunrise from the highest point in Vermont. I set off in the dark up the steep, rocky flanks of Mt. Mansfield. My headlamp beam is distorted by mist and I struggle to[…]

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LT Day 4: Ski areas, quaint villages, mountain lodges

Sat Sept 26th, 2020, 0545-1730 Waterman Brook to Taft Lodge, SOBO LT mile 66 11.2 miles, plus about 2 miles walking around town 5900 gain, 4500 loss I’m ready to go early but don’t feel as well as the day before. I call it a ‘Hiking Hangover,’ most often experienced after a previous big day. Of course, the rugged terrain from day 2 is back. Whoa Nelly! is the climb to Whiteface Mountain steep! I’m scrambling over slimy rock faces while grabbing onto roots and limbs…a lot of that in the light of my headlamp. I get to the top for a nice view of the sunrise through the valley haze. It’s very humid but there’s probably also smoke from[…]

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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 sleep perfectly throughout the night, despite some nearby anonymous snoring (ear plugs work great!). My shirt and skirt are still wet in the morning…recall my pond excursion the afternoon before. I hung them to dry overnight but nothing dries at night on the east coast. I hate putting on wet clothes to start the day but at least it’s not cold. I wake feeling pretty great, like Tony the Tiger grrrrreat! Perhaps I’m back in my hiker groove. I hit the trail very early, having to use my headlamp for the first 15 minutes because it’s still so[…]

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LT Day 2: Humbling

Thu Sept 24th, 2020, 0700-1630 Hazen’s Notch Camp to Spruce Ledge Camp, SOBO LT mile 30.6 14.0 miles 4600 gain, 5100 loss I don’t set my alarm and end up sleeping until 6 am. Usually I start packing by 5 or 5:30 am. Clearly I needed the rest. I’m very sore when I start moving about. Stellar suggests some endpoints for the day, the shortest of which is over 20 miles. I don’t think I’ll make it that far based on the time and distance we managed the day before. He’s also ready to go, yet I still have to pack my tent and belongings. I leave almost 30 minutes after him, already feeling pretty demoralized. But I shouldn’t be[…]

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LT Day 1: Journey’s End

Wed, Sept 23, 2020 , 0645-1800 Journey’s End Trailhead to Hazen’s Notch Camp, SOBO LT mile 17 18.6 miles 7100 gain, 6400 loss We have to be out the door and on our way to the Canadian border by 0530 am. An early start isn’t just for our benefit…our incredible hosts lead very busy and productive lives! Eric, Stellar’s cousin, has a work zoom meeting at 0830 am, so luckily the 1.5 hr drive to the border goes well. We’re ready to start at the trailhead before 7 am, even as it’s still a bit dark out!  This is my earliest first day since 2017 on the Colorado Trail. One of the best Trail Angels, Stellar’s cousin Eric I didn’t[…]

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LT Introduction & Pre-planning

2020 was a bust for many thru-hiking plans, including my own for the Appalachian Trail. Yet if I couldn’t hike the whole AT, a few hundred miles was better than nothing. Stellar also had AT aspirations, so we put our heads together while in Colorado, coming up with a plan to thru-hike the Long Trail. It had been one of his goals since he and Sandy had lived in Vermont. He was also eager to re-unite with several of his family members that still reside there. The LT is 273 miles, running the length of the Green Mountains from the Canadian border to Massachusetts. It’s in fact the first long distance, continuous footpath purposely designed. Built by the Green Mountain[…]

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2019 CDT & AZT Gear Summary

This is a summary post on my gear and stats from my 2019 thru-hikes, combining both the CDT and AZT, since I didn’t change a thing about my gear in between. In fact, I’ve barely changed a thing from my previous 3 thru-hikes. I carried a bit heavier gear in 2019, mainly because I expected some rain and colder conditions. I wasn’t wrong about this. The CDT is high-elevation and therefore a colder and somewhat wetter thru-hike. The AZT was dry but also quite chilly at times, given that we were above 8000 feet during many parts of the trail and also approaching the end of October / beginning of November. I needed my 22 degree quilt and women’s Thermarest[…]

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