So Im happily and sadely to say that I am back from an amazing 5 days and four nights on the Long Trail in Vermont. I was planning on end to ending the the whole thing but due to injury on the morning of the third day I decided it was no longer safe to be on the trail. My knees swelled up like ballons and by the fifth day It took me 3 hrs to hike 3 miles out to the road crossing and that was on flat trail. Ive always had bad knees but never expected them to inflate like they did. The time I had out their was amazing though and here is my trip report (and gear review to follow in another thread) plus some pictures
On Monday 6/21 me and my buddy left for Clarksburg St Park in MA. We had a great time camping out their. We were their for two nights before my hike to get myself aquanted with my gear and just chill out. I spent the time playing with my bush buddy which I love (when I have dry wood and thanks to WV dave who I thought of on the second day about one of his post saying he dosent wait till camp to get wood and he picks up dry wood along the way on the trail) and my MBA with felt which I am not a fan, I do not like the storing of the MBA in a plastic bag when denatured alchole is soaked in the felt bc when you open up the bag its filled with fumes and just seems dangerous. You also never know how much fuel is left in it or how much primer you need to light it. Every other piece of gear was excellent. My summer burrow and crowsnest kept me nice and warm, BWWD plenty of coverage, ULA Catalyst ridding like a cadalic, I love Paul's gravity filter favorite piece of gear by far. Its just so easy to collect water that way IMHO. Went over packed food, miles for the first week etc... etc....
6/23/10 Day One, N. Adams to Cogdong. 13.3 mi Amazing first day, Started off in North Adams and hiked to the trail spur. It was weird walking through some ones back yard to a trail but also kinda cool. It was really xiting to hit the trail I had a 3.3 up hill battle with some rocks to the VT state line. It was a ruff going but It was really awesome hitting the beggining of the long trail. A years worth of planning and finally got their. I was delighted. It was a perfect day not rainy sun shineing. I learned to LOVE mud real fast. Every step was a twist and turn and a sink in the mud. It was awesome hikeing up my first peak and seeing the first view of vermont and I really enjoyed crossing the wetlands and beaver dam. Pulled into camp about 7ish meet a nice guy who was a SOBO'er finishing his hike the next day and two GMC workers who were building a new privy. All nice guys helped me out the first night in random ways, set up my hammock bear baged my food and off to lala land.
6/24/10 Day two, Congdon shelter to Goddard Shelter 14.5 mi. Woke up with a few so soar muscles but feeling good. I really enjoy wakeing up in the woods and just lying in my hammock enjoying the breeze. Had some breakfest and hit the trail ready to rock and roll. Put on my wet shoes and cloths packed up and hit the trail. It was really awesome entering the Green MT national forest, it really made me feel like I was on my way. The forest was green everywhere it was so beatiful and vibrant with colors. So prestine and un touched. Stoped by a stream for lunch and hiked on to Goddard shelter where I meet a few guys and gals two of whom were going LT NOBO whom I ended up hikeing with for the rest of my trips and various times of the days.
6/25/10 Day Three. 10 mi Goddard Shelter to Story Spring Shelter. Woke up with knees that looked like they had been inflated with water ballons. Every part of my body felt great except my knees. Left Story Spring limping with a smile on my face. It was another beatiful day with no rain. The sun was shineing and I was smileing. The hike that day was really nice. I really enjoyed the brooks on this one lots of really nice streams and some old growth forest. I climed an unamed summit with some great views of VT. Seeing more beaver dams was also really cool. I got to camp a couple of minutes after my buddies who I had been hikeing with. We all started to set up camp and cook dinner and conversation started and we talked about how much we missed beer. No more then a few min later a great guy named Tank came along and offered us up some home brew. It was my first sweet taste of trail magic and boy did it taste good. The four of us hung out for a while and bc of my aching knees I called it an early night. They were sleeping in a shelter that night and were very intrigued by my hammock the next morning and wanted to buy one in town. I talked to them about the difference between an ENO and WBBB and think I explained it ok. One had a four man tent and a 70 pd pack the other a 2 man tent and a 60 pd pack.
6/27/10 Day Four Story Spring to Stranton Pond 10 mi. When I woke this mornign my knees felt no better. They were still swollen but I was determined to tackle at least on MT, Stranton MT the first "real" Mt on the LT. I was very leary of going up it and was going to take the RT around but when I got to the base I was feeling pretty good so I decided I would attempt it. The scenery was amazing. It was a long hard hike up. I wont give the aganizing details of how many times I fell as my knees were buckling going up and down the MT. Any ways the hike up had lots of steep rock steps up and same thing on the way down. It started to drizzle right before I got to summit. I meet the GMC care taker who had been watching over Mt Stranton for over ten years really nice guy. Got to the top of the fire tower and the views werent that clear due to cloudyness. I hiked down to Stranton pond and found a some what of a stealth campsite and set up by the pond for the night. I could hear the bugs buzzing all around me which really made me appriciate my sewn in bug net on my WBBB.
6/27/10 Stranton Pond to Old Rootville Road 3mi. Woke up again to swollen knees. Had a 3 mi hike out to a dirt road where I was hopeing to catch a ride into town. I left stranton pond. The sun was shineing down through the trees onto the lake. It was wonderful wakeing up in my hammock that morning and smelling the fresh air. The view was great. I got to hike through more wilderness today which was by far was my favorite 3 mi of the LT I had hiked so far. To see such prestine wilderness IMHO is truly humbeling and makes me appreciate all things beatiful. I got to the dirt road and luckly enough their was a GMC member and his wife checking out the area, I told them my story and showed um my knees and they gladly drove me back into town. With in being in town an two hrs, I was picked up by my cab driver, taken to his friends house to watch the world cup, droven to albany NY to catch a train home to baltimore officially ending my E2E in a blink of an eye. When asked why I got off the trail my answer simply is "I dident want to be one of those hikers people read about in the news paper then started a thread about". I just dident feel confident in my knees to take my up any more ups or down any more downs. As dissapointing as it was it was a real accomplishment and I cant wait to get back on the trail. It was an experience of a life time and am amazing trip all toogether.
Thank's all for reading be safe and have fun on the trail