Long Trail Day 1 - Canada to Laura Woodward

Posted on August 6, 2017 by Chris Lumens in long-trail.

It’s been about a month since I got back from the Long Trail and I haven’t made any updates since then. It was more or less a success. We didn’t cover as much as I wanted, but we had to skip a day at the beginning and several at the end due to weather. Over the next several days I’m going to make posts about each day spent on the trail. Reading about hiking is kind of boring so I’m going to keep them brief and include lots of pictures. At the end I will do a quick recap of what worked and what didn’t.

Kaitlyn and I started out at the Journey’s End trailhead at 9am. This is the approach trail that climbs from a small parking lot at the end of a crappy road to the Canadian border.

It was cool, windy, and overcast all morning. We got to the border swath pretty quickly.

Here, we took a bunch of pictures, saw the first white blaze, and officially set foot on the Long Trail. From here on, we’d be hiking it southbound. We would only see one other southbounder the rest of the trip, though we would see a lot of northbounders.

My first radio activation was Carleton Mountain, between the border and the first road crossing. It had never been activated before. I was nervous about my first real CW activation, plus it was cold and windy. In the end I only made three contacts in the twenty minutes I could spend up there so no activator points for me. Kaitlyn went on ahead because she got cold while I packed my radio up.

After the road crossing, we continued hiking to the Shooting Star shelter where I had home-made dehydrated pasta salad for lunch. I tried to fix a toenail I had split when I ran my foot into a rock earlier in the day but didn’t have much luck. I was concerned this would cause me to have to quit but it never became a big problem.

At this shelter, we also got our first view of Jay Peak. We’d be spending the night just north of it.

I was pretty disappointed with the pictures I took throughout the week. Part of that was I assumed the camera would auto-focus, and part of that was because the camera was actually my cell phone.

Beyond Shooting Star, we did a long long climb up to North Jay and then across the ridge. It was less cold but still very windy. The mud up on the ridge was deep.

The shelter was pretty full, plus several people in tents around it. Everyone there was a northbound hiker having their last night out on the trail, so they were all very excited. On the other hand, we were on our first night out which meant we were tired and nervous and hadn’t gotten used to the trail yet.

The water source was a crappy little trickle a little ways down from the shelter. We had a good view of the summit of Jay from right at the shelter. It remained windy all night long, and we expected it would be very cold too. Surprisingly, it never got too cold.

We covered just about nine miles in an eight hour day, including our meal breaks and my radio break. The terrain is tough which prevents us from moving too quickly at all. Tomorrow we hike to the highest point on our trip, which I have also been to before.