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  1. #1
    Member Green Mountain Boy's Avatar
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    Long Trail VT - Solo SOBO Wallingford to Stratton

    I did a solo trip on a southern portion of the Long Trail/AT in Vermont from July 22 to 24 of this year. I debated which direction to do the hike, and in the end decided to go SOBO. It's been a difficult summer to get out for a number of reasons so I was very appreciative of my wife's encouragement to do this hike during the first three days of my one and only week of vacation this summer. The temperature during the first two days was HOT and humid, in the 90's - I didn't look up the heat index, but there's no doubt it was up there True to form (for me anyway) it rained while I was out - but just one little thunder storm - the thing is, when I last looked at the weather forecast on the morning I left, there was 0% chance of rain until three days later! Oh well. I wasn't the only one throwing up a tarp in the middle of the night

    The trip was about 43-44 miles through mainly mixed hardwood forest, most of the time in the Green Mountain National Forest. I traveled through three designated "Wilderness Areas" while on the trip. Water wasn't a problem though many of the streams were quite low. In spite of this, there are many wet, boggy areas in this part of Vermont and "bog boards" are common along this section of trail. I crossed many dry "seasonal" stream beds that would be a big problem during snow melt.

    The first day covered between 16 and 17 miles from VT route 140 in Wallingford to Griffith Lake. There are designated tent sites with platforms at Griffith Lake, as well as a caretaker collecting the $5 fee to camp there. I met a few NOBO AT through hikers there as well as a couple SOBO LT through hikers I had passed earlier in the day. The lake was great for swimming and I thoroughly enjoyed cooling off after hiking throughout the very hot day. We all cooked and chatted around the campfire that evening. One of the NOBO's is a hammocker, but not active on HF.

    Day two started with a thunder storm between 4 and 5 a.m. I, and my neighbors, had to scramble out of our hammocks and tents to put up tarps for the unexpected storm. I should have known better, with the high humidity and all, the conditions were just right for a thunder storm. The storm and ensuing rain delayed the start of my day by a couple of hours, but nevertheless I ended up putting in a big day (for me) and spent my second night at Stratton Pond. It was another hot day, in the 90's and humid again. I climbed a few mountains: Peru, Styles, Bromley, and Spruce, met some SOBO AT through hikers who are also hammockers, and saw a black bear. I met my first "trail angel" at the Rte 11 crossing where many through hikers go into Manchester, VT for resupply and rest at a popular hostel - this trail angel gave a frisbee to the SOBO hammockers I mentioned above. He also gave us all ice cold beer, which, at that particular moment, was just the right thing I had planned on spending the night at the Spruce Peak shelter just 3 miles from the Route 11 crossing, but I arrived there around 4 p.m. and felt pretty good so I opted to press on to Stratton Pond, 8 miles further, in the hopes of having a shorter day on Sunday, day three. I saw a bear a couple of miles before reaching Stratton Pond - I was within fifty feet of it before we saw each other - it saw me first; if I was walking a little dazed before I saw it, I was wide awake after I couldn't wait to crawl into my hammock, it's all I thought about for the last few miles, at least until I saw the bear. But... some time between tearing down my set-up that morning and attempting to hang it at Stratton Pond, I pulled my adjustable loop into the whoopie sling I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes, it was dark, so I made a beeline for the shelter, which fortunately had plenty of room for me. It was a terrible night, lots of mosquitoes and very noisy late arrivers with a noisy dog. I had to sleep (tried to sleep) with a head net on and zipped-up in my summer bag (my TQ). BTW, temp still in 80's-90's.

    Day three was short and sweet. Up early with a good breakfast and coffee, faster than expected climb of Stratton Mountain, and a very nice visit with the caretakers at the top. Jeanne and Hugh have been the caretakers there since the 60's, and Hugh actually helped build the current lookout tower in the 30's. While visiting with them, a friend of theirs arrived, a fellow named Robert Hauptman. He is a very interesting man, among other things he is a mountaineer and an author. He wrote "The Mountain Encyclopedia" as well as his most recent book, "Grasping For Heaven" a book of interviews with north American mountaineers. I spend an hour on Stratton visiting with these folks and could easily have spent the entire day visiting with them. I finished the trip at the foot of Stratton Mountain on the Kelley Stand Road where my son and I had left a car three days before.

    http://youtu.be/oTJkKM8zRa0

    July 22 2011 0003.jpgJuly 22 2011 0013.jpgJuly 24 2011 0008.jpgJuly 23 2011 0011.jpgJuly 23 2011 0020.jpgJuly 24 2011 0010.jpg

  2. #2
    Administrator Yukon's Avatar
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    Nice report GMB, really wish I could have made that trip with you

    Was the stream at kelleystand road a fitting end of the hike for you?

    We need to do a hike together before the snow flies

  3. #3
    Member Green Mountain Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon View Post
    Nice report GMB, really wish I could have made that trip with you

    Was the stream at kelleystand road a fitting end of the hike for you?

    We need to do a hike together before the snow flies
    Yeah, I wish you could have made it, hopefully next time. Yes, that little stream was very nice, there were a few "locals" there too. Okay on the hike before the snow flies - am hoping to get out next Saturday and Sunday if all goes well - my friends are doing the section from Brandon Gap to Appalachian Gap either Thurs/Fri, Fri/Sat, or Sat/Sun. I have to work Friday so my only option is Sat/Sun. They don't like to hike in bad weather so I don't know whether they'll actually go out. I have a medical procedure on Thursday so if I feel okay I'm going out Sat/Sun. not sure where yet, either the section they're doing or maybe Killington to Brandon Gap.

  4. #4
    Administrator Yukon's Avatar
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    Think I'm going to take Friday off and do a three day section. If not, I'm at least doing an overnight. Haven't decided which part yet though...

  5. #5
    SkyPainter's Avatar
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    NICE trip report! Great info along the way. Hope to do some of the Southern end of the LT this fall, or next summer.

    Thanks for sharing!
    SkyPainter - "... and then the police came."

    All these years people said,"He's acting like a kid!"
    He did not know that he could not fly, and so, he DID!

    Live Purposefully; Dare Greatly; Land Gently

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  6. #6
    Member Green Mountain Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyPainter View Post
    NICE trip report! Great info along the way. Hope to do some of the Southern end of the LT this fall, or next summer.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Thanks. The section south of Stratton Mountain to the southern terminus is on my to-do list before the snow flies this year so maybe I'll see you out there.

  7. #7
    Administrator Yukon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Mountain Boy View Post
    Thanks. The section south of Stratton Mountain to the southern terminus is on my to-do list before the snow flies this year so maybe I'll see you out there.
    That's one of my favorites! Let me know when you want to do it

  8. #8
    Member Green Mountain Boy's Avatar
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    Yukon, I'll be in touch; probably late September/early October for that one.

  9. #9
    Administrator Yukon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Mountain Boy View Post
    Yukon, I'll be in touch; probably late September/early October for that one.
    Great time to do that hike, the view from Glastenbury fire tower is awesome during the foliage! Look forward to it GMB

  10. #10
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    I have some LT envy!
    Shug
    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Good in the Backwood Hood.

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