Monday, September 23, 2013

LT 2013 Day 4

Fast forward to 6:00am the next morning.  Emily and I awoke to mega loud booms and super bright flashes directly above our tent.  Oy, another thunderstorm.  Nothing we could do but wait it out.  Thankfully, Charlotte and Parker slept through the whole thing... we are lucky that neither of them is scared of thunderstorms and we know that we are lucky.

After the storm passed and the rain let up a bit, we packed up and went back to the shelter, where all of the hikers were up and at 'em.  We made breakfast of coffee and oatmeal, then waited for the rain to stop.  We waited and waited some more.  Surprisingly this didn't bother me in the least.  Sometimes it's nice to have a REASON to stay put.

The look of "not looking so good out there is it?"

Happy as a clam

Sharing oatmeal

That's the same Marmot jacket I used to woo Emily with 10 years ago in Arizona

Sleepy eyes already?

Goofing off in the shelter after all the hikers left

As 10:00am approached, the rain began to let up, so we packed up and headed out!  Within 10 minutes we came to a surprising view... of a tree completely obliterated by lightning.

Onward.  We had 10 miles to walk for the day, so the goal was 5 miles or more before breaking for lunch.  Around 11:30 Parker fell asleep so we walked until she woke up, which was about 12:30 and ~5.5 miles.

While P was sleeping we got a pic of this guy, to show her later.  "Bumblebee wooly"
During lunch, we heard some thunder in the distance, so we had a short one and kept moving.  With about a mile to go, we got DUMPED ON.  Thank god we were getting off the trail this afternoon.

Happy for our waterproof Olympus camera, to get these kinds of shots

FYI don't use the flash in a rainstorm


Monday, September 16, 2013

LT 2013 Day 3

So one of the things we didn't mention in the last post was that, during our layover at Stratton Pond Shelter, we checked the weather forecast on my iPhone.  It wasn't looking good for Day 5: rain all day and then a low into the 30's that night.  Not only did that help us decide to skip Stratton Mtn, but it also persuaded us to make plans for a bailout on Route 9 (Bennington, VT) at Mile 40, meaning we would plan to get off the trail 14 miles early to avoid the cold damp weather.  We were thinking of our 2 dependents, not ourselves.

Day 3 dawned warm and muggy, and we had 19 miles to our destination... 9 miles to Goddard Shelter, where we planned to stay this night.  After coffee and oatmeal and ProBars and a Parker stand-up tinkle and poop (yikes!) right in the middle of our campsite, we packed up and began walking south.

Crossing South Alder Brook

Passing a beaver pond
At 5 miles for the day, we came to Kid Gore Shelter, so we stopped for lunch...

Kid Gore Shelter, 1600 miles via AT from Springer Mountain, GA

Dee-ya (quesadilla) and powdered milk

...and a nap!

Siesta on the Z-Rest

Everybody then got sleepy.

Oh, and this shelter had a nice view to the east

So I made afternoon coffee.

And after 3 hours spent at Kid Gore, we moved on with 4 miles until our destination for this day.  But... 3 miles in, Charly dog went on an excursion off-trail for about 45 minutes, which not only scared the bejeesus out of us because she hadn't done this before (she also had a bear bell on, so we could hear where she was) but it also pushed back our arrival time to Goddard close to sunset.

Once Charlotte reappeared (phew) we kept walking south towards Glastenbury Mtn, and as we approached, loud thunder booms and bright lightning flashes greeted us.  We hustled up and over the mountain, and set up our tent close to the shelter, finishing up just as the skies opened up (phew again).

We had dinner in the shelter with three hiker dudes, as the sky was dumping copious amounts of rain on the roof.  Worried that our tent was being flooded I ran up to check on it - dry!  Way to go REI Quarter Dome T3+!  The weather eventually let up a little bit, and we high-tailed it into the confines of our tent for the night.  Plans to have our just-add-water creme brulee fell by the wayside, as sleep came quickly.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Long Trail 2013: Day 2

Chris and Sarah amazed us with an awesome assortment of goodies at camp our first night out. Beers, nips, hot chocolate and dessert...mmmmm. Almost made it OK that our campsite was mildly trashy. (Charlotte had a nugget of human poop in her mouth at one point. Human. Feces. Infinite grossness. But that's the risk you take bringing a dog on a busy trail, I guess.) Loved spending time with those two, hearing their PCT stories and future plans. Made me wish they didn't live so far away...

Big water near our camp site, with a handy bridge to cross

Anyway, our morning started under gray skies. We headed out across the lovely "big water"—as Parker called the nearby water source—and continued south along the Long Trail. It wasn't long until the skies got darker and the heavens opened.

We put the pack covers on and continued on to a shelter to wait out the rain for a bit. Met a fellow from Boston (really, Wellesley but only Bostonians would care about the distinction) and stuffed our faces with snacks and indulged in some laziness that's not permitted during a serious thru hike.

Big fat rain: but the raincover on our Osprey Poco meant Parker stayed dry. It's an amazing pack!

Rain, rain. Go AWAY! This is the universe's way of making up for our dry PCT thru hike, I guess.

We had a choice ahead of us: do we want to slog up and over Stratton Mountain. I was the only one of the four of us—Chris, Sarah, Chris and me—who hasn't done this section of the AT/LT, it was up to me whether we wanted to make the 1500' ascent and decent. In the rain. On the slippery roots and rocks synonymous with the Appalachian/Long Trail. With a 28-pound kid on my back. Well, I'm hardly die hard and it wasn't a hard decision. I opted to skip Stratton Mountain and take the flat and lovely bypass trail.

Chris and Sarah: amazing and patient hiking partners given all our extra toddler and canine baggage

Waiting out the rain

The rain let up and the 5+ of us rambled through the woods, looking for animals and telling stories and enjoying an easy time of it. Slipped on a slick bog bridge and my passenger was not phased by it, only asked, "You OK, Mommy? Be careful, Mommy." Yes, Parker, I'll try. So cute.

The red efts appeared to love the moisture of the recent deluge
Oh the difference of a couple years. On the PCT, Chris toted his giant orange Crocs from the same carabiner

Lunched with Chris and Sarah by their car. They shared an avocado with us—luxury of all luxuries on the trail, fresh produce! They hiked with us for a few more miles before turning back toward the real world.

More big water, handy bridges in good shape even after Irene

We continued on to Story Spring shelter, where a few dudes (including a particularly chatty know-it-all) were already making dinner and swapping stories. Having a secluded tent site is nice for multiple reasons. It means we can put Sparky to bed without disrupting other thru hikers—and we don't have to chit-chat or jostle for floor space in a shelter.

Parker was obsessed with our SteriPen, which we used for purifying the water. Would have really sucked if her toddlery self broke our most important item of gear.

Tired dog making herself comfy in our campsite. She slept with us in the tent at night.

Friday, September 13, 2013

LT 2013 Day 1

Our last section of Long Trail, to become end-to-enders!  From Bromley (Rte 11/30) south to the MA border is the goal.  54 miles in 6 days.  We brought with us our 28lb daughter and 50lb dog, though thankfully the dog carried her own food :)

Charly dog stretching

Loves trekking poles, this girl

Tinkling in the woods "like Charly dog"

Excited for our hike!

And we are off.

Blue Bell (Charlotte) and the girls

OMG an AT white blaze

E and P leading the way, and leaving directions

Special sock mittens for chilly Parker

Dinnertime at camp, night one

2012 PCT thru-hikers Chris S & Sarah, Parker, and us (beer on night one thanks to Chris S!)

Passed out Parker

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Blast from the past (2003)

Looking back in my handbook from my '03 AT thru-hike, it turns out I hiked this section at the same time of year!  In early September... 8th-11th.  The shelters I stayed at were Spruce Peak, Goddard, and Seth Warner.  I think we'll likely be staying near at least 2 of those.

Thursday, September 5, 2013