Tag Archives: Appalachian Trail

Mud, Sweat & Tears: The Long Trail 2013

12 Jul

It’s been a while!

There are many, many reasons why, but the biggest may be that we’ve been prepping for Hardtack’s Thru Hike of the Long Trail in Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains. I’m happy(ish) to report, he’s deep in the mountains now!

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I’m also happy to report that I successfully completed the first 58 (or so) miles of the trail with him last week, July 2-6..so today’s hike profile will cover my stint as a Long Trail section hiker!

To begin at the beginning…

DAY 1

We started our journey with an early morning run to Stop & Shop to A) dump the change HT had been saving as his Trail Fund in the CoinStar machine; and B) grab some last minute fresh food (wax-coated extra sharp VT cheddar and apples).

Then we drove to Enfield, CT to drop the Duchess off at her country retreat (aka grandmother’s house) for the duration of HT’s hike. HT’s mom graciously drove us to the (rough around the edges) Springfield, MA bus station, where we caught a bus to Williamstown, MA, where the LT (sort of) begins.

We jumped off the bus somewhere near the middle of town and navigated to a coffee shop and hippie sandwich joint based on HT’s memories of the town from traveling through in his hockey coaching days. We packed a sandwich for our first night’s dinner, charged up our phones and walked….2+ miles…to the trailhead (talk about an annoying 2 miles).

Note: The trailhead was not the beginning of the Long Trail, as we were actually still in Massachusetts. We proceeded to hike the Cobble Hill Trail to take us to the Long Trail. We didn’t even BEGIN hiking until 5pm on Tuesday night. Hardcore, right?

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And of course, the SECOND we stepped foot into the woods, the skies opened up and the downpour didn’t stop until we reached the…

Seth Warner Shelter (the first on the LT, NOBO/northbound) where we pitched camp and attempted to dry off before scarfing down sandwiches and passing out.

DAY 2

Next morning, we picked slugs out of our soaking shoes, put our wet trail clothes back on and suited up for another day of anticipated rain. The rain held off but the mud more than made up for it. Continue reading

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Do these Merrells make me look fat?

14 May

Yes, they do. They create a spectacular cankle phenomenon, especially when paired with high socks. But do I care?

If you hike with me, you’ll hear me say it. My hiking clothes are, for lack of a better word, a little mannish. I’ve tried to infuse femininity into my trail wardrobe but when it comes down to it, sexy and cute never prove to be practical, and if I’m ten miles into the woods and truckin’ along…

I’ll take performance over pretty any day.

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AT, Smokies in NC/TN (Spring ’13)

A 90 degree hike in Beacon, NY (Summer '12)

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Presidential Traverse, White Mts, NH (Summer ’12)

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Get Me Outta Here!

29 Apr

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore
There is society, where none intrudes
By the deep sea, and music in its roar
I love not man the less, but Nature more

-byron

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I sit at my desk today with a stress fracture in my foot and my darn crutches leaned up against my desk, stalking SmartWool 2012 closeouts and dreaming of dehydrated trail meals. Hardtack spent his weekend backpacking a stretch of the AT in Harriman State Park with a hiking buddy, testing out some new gear and soaking in the first gorgeous weekend of the spring. I’ll encourage him to post some reviews and pics.

I’m wondering when I’ll be back in the woods…

A Celebration in Asheville, NC: The Ithaca of the South

22 Apr

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Oh what a treat. I recently returned from a great trip to Asheville, NC with my (big) little broski. He even earned a trail name on the trip. I’ll reveal that in a minute. The trip feels like a blessing now, considering the past year’s events…

Why Asheville, you ask?

We’ve both been told for years, “Ya know what town you’d really like? Asheville. It’s like the Ithaca of the South.” So about a year ago, we planned a trip, just for fun. Our sis had a companion flight she donated to the cause and we booked an airbnb. Then the unthinkable happened and one year ago today, little bro got in a really, really brutal car accident. He teetered on the edge of survival and was in the hospital and rehab for months. He underwent surgery after surgery and my family took turns manning his bedside. On top of repairing damage to internal organs, he had extensive, complicated orthopedic reconstruction in his hip and ankle (which he’d previously had reconstructed after jumping off the 2nd story porch onto a trampoline. lovable idiot.).

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The Long Trail: A Thru Hike For The Working Man

8 Feb
Time will tell if I go the shelter route.

Time will tell if I go the shelter route.

A few months ago I decided it was time to plan a hike on America’s oldest long distance hiking trail.  The Long Trail, inspiration for the creation of the Appalachian Trail, stretches over 270 miles through the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts-Vermont border to Canada.  Despite a high point of only 4,395 at the summit of Mt. Mansfield,  the Long Trail averages 500 vertical feet of gain or loss per mile for its entire length, nevermind that it is renowned for the presence of rain, mud and bugs.  By all accounts, it is a deceptively difficult trail, especially in the North.

Long enough to be a challenge, short enough to keep my job, the Long Trail seems like a good fit for now.

Since Christmas I have been doing my research.  Yes, I like to do a lot of research, especially when it comes to gear.    But, for this hike, I have to prepare for 270+ miles and gear is only part of my preparations.    As much as I hike now, the vast majority of my ventures are day hikes.  I’ve relied heavily upon Bob McGraw‘s “End to Enders Guide” and the Green Mountain Club‘s “Long Trail Guide” and official Vermont’s Long Trail Map in my planning.  All three are terrific and offer tremendous information and advice.

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Philip Werner’s www.sectionhiker.com (highly recommended), also offers an experienced perspective.  An example—he is a strong advocate of using the shelters provided on the trail to avoid wet nights and wet gear.  There was a time when I wanted to hike the AT, but all the accounts I read of mouse-ridden shelters have taken their toll.  I will be using a tent on this LT trek.  I’m guessing I can handle the extra 1-2 lbs. Mice or tenting in the rain?  Right now I prefer rain.  I’m sure Phil is right, but as I write from my warm, dry house, I plan 100% on using a tent each night.

As a precursor to the Long Trail, Blue Bin and I plan on tackling the infamous Devil’s Path in the Catskills.  If you are not familiar with the Devil’s Path, it is arguably the toughest hike in the East.  In a mere 24 miles, you endure over 14,000 feet of elevation gain and loss.  At the very least, after completing the Path I expect to be a bit more trail-ready and hopefully test my gear a bit.  As for Blue Bin, she plans to join me for the beginning of my Long Trail hike.  This of course, is assuming she is willing after a weekend on the Devil’s Path.  Stay tuned.

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HIKE & EAT: Camp Smith Trail & Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

25 Jan

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A challenging day hike a mere 45 minutes from New York City is the Camp Smith Trail from the Bear Mountain Bridge Toll House to Anthony’s Nose and back.  We recently completed this hike on Martin Luther King Day.   According to our mapmyhike reading, it is a 7.77 mile hike back and forth.   I have found mapmyhike to be relatively accurate in determining distances.  The Town of Cortlandt lists the hike as only being 2.5 miles each way—this is absolutely wrong as the road distance between the two trails is 2.5 miles and the trail is anything but straight.  In fact, part of what makes it a challenging day hike is the constant change in direction and elevation changes. 

Given our struggles at Storm King as detailed in my last post, we came prepared with Yaktrax.  Bear Mountain to the West appeared covered in snow.  Fortunately, the trail was in great shape and except for a few icy areas we could hike at a quick pace.  As with most of our hikes, the Red Headed Stranger led the way.  We can always tell if there are hikers ahead as she pushes the pace to absurd levels in their pursuit. 

There were a few stretches where we might as well have been running. 

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