This Open Road

A season walking southbound on the Appalachian Trail

Backpacking the Long Trail: In Photos

(To read about this trek, go here.)

Nachita, Truly Blessed and Deja, three seasoned thru-hikers.

Betsy, Jan and me, aka Nachita, Truly Blessed and Deja, seasoned thru-hikers.

Truly Blessed drove Nachita and me to the northern terminus of the Long Trail. Thank you, Truly!

We're ready to go! Nachita and Deja.

We’re ready to go! Nachita and Deja.

"O Canada..." At the Canadian border.

“O Canada…” At the Canadian border.

Betsy at the northern sign.

Betsy and the sign.

Officially at Journey's End - our beginning.

Officially at Journey’s End – our beginning.

First white blaze and we're off! These blazes will lead me all the way to Massachusetts.

First white blaze and we’re off! These blazes will lead me all the way to Massachusetts.

Whut...

Whut…

Ah-ha.

Ah-ha. We’re already rule-breakers.

Hiking up Jay Peak.

Hiking up Jay Peak.

Out of the woods, onto the slopes.

Out of the woods, onto the slopes.

From the top of Jay Peak.

From the top of Jay Peak.

Resupplying for the next section from stash left in Nachita's car.

Resupplying for the next section from the stash I left in Nachita’s car.

Last pic with Betsy. My hiking buddy has to go home now.  :(

Last pic with Betsy. My hiking buddy has to go home now. :(

Spruce Ledge shelter. Most of the shelters on the Long Trail are more like cabins - fully enclosed with a door and windows. They used to have wood burning stoves, but most of those have been removed due to the fire hazard.

Spruce Ledge shelter. Most of the shelters on the Long Trail are more like cabins – fully enclosed with a door and windows. They used to have wood burning stoves, but most of those have been removed due to the fire hazard.

Stone fences are common in some areas.

Stone fences are common in some areas.

A rare "calm" section of the LT in the northern section.

A rare “calm” section of the LT in the northern section.

The double blazes mean there's a change in direction.

The double blazes mean there’s a change in direction.

Had lunch at Bear Hollow shelter on my way up the Whiteface Mtn.

Had lunch at Bear Hollow shelter on my way up to Whiteface Mtn.

Some of the steepest terrain on the trail led to this peak.

Some of the steepest terrain on the trail led to this peak.

Typical section of trail.

Typical section of trail. Argh.

View from Whiteface. Then it was an arduous hike down the other side.

View from Whiteface. Then it was an arduous hike down the other side.

The trail crossed over several ski areas.

The trail crossed over several ski areas.

View of Mt. Mansfield, which I'd climb the next day.

View of Mt. Mansfield, which I’d climb the next day.

Coming to the summit of Mt. Mansfield after a steep hike from Smuggler's Notch.

Coming to the summit of Mt. Mansfield after a steep hike from Smuggler’s Notch.

At the top.

Mt. Mansfield summit.

Caretaker at the summit. He hiked the AT in 2011 also and we think we may have met at a break. Trail name: Turtle.

Caretaker at the summit. He hiked the AT in 2011 also and we think we may have met at a break. Trail name: Turtle.

This is a two-mile ridge walk to a summit house and tram line. It was a weekend and there were many tourists here (even though I managed to get a picture without any in it.)

This is a two-mile ridge walk to a summit house and tramway. It was a weekend and there were many tourists here (even though I managed to get a picture without any of them in it.) Camel’s Hump is in the distance.

The climb down the “Forehead” was very steep and tricky, involving several ladders and a slabby rock climb section. If the weather had been bad, it would have been interesting. I was thrilled to done with that part.

Puffer Shelter, one of the old ones.

Taking a break at Puffer Shelter, one of the old ones.

View from Puffer, looking back toward Mansfield.

View from Puffer, looking back towards Mansfield.

Another view toward Mansfield from an uplifted rock formation.

Another view toward Mansfield from an uplifted rock formation.

After seven days on the trail, Jan hiked in five miles to meet me (and hiked the same five miles out again). I took a night off the trail at her house, resupplied and resumed hiking the next day, ready to take on Camel's Hump.

After a week on the trail, I needed to resupply. Jan hiked in five miles from Rt. 2 to meet me and took me to her house for a night off the trail. I bought more food, enjoyed a wonderful dinner which she made, washed my clothes, showered and repacked for the next section, which started with Camel’s Hump.

The road walk on the LT to Camel's Hump trail head.

The Duxbury road walk on the LT to Camel’s Hump trailhead.

Old barn along the Duxbury Road.

Old barn along the Duxbury Road.

The seven-mile ascent up the Bamforth Ridge to the summit of Camel's Hump is long but beautiful.

The seven-mile ascent up Bamforth Ridge to the summit of Camel’s Hump is long but beautiful.

My tent site near the Bamforth Lodge, three miles up the ridge.

My tent site near the Bamforth Lodge, three miles up the ridge.

Summit of Camel's Hump.

Summit of Camel’s Hump.

Another hiker and the caretaker (right), also an AT (and PCT) thru-hiker. Trail name: Samwise.

Another hiker and the caretaker (right), also an AT (and PCT) thru-hiker. Trail name: Samwise.

Summit views.

Summit view.

Coming down the south side of Camel's Hump. Reminded me of Katahdin, very steep and rocky.

Coming down the south side of Camel’s Hump. Reminded me of Katahdin, very steep and rocky.

Camel's Hump in my rear view.

Camel’s Hump in my rear view.

Steep, rocky down climbs...

Steep, rocky down climbs…

...and more...

…and more…

...and it just keeps going. Slow and tedious.

…and it just keeps going, slow and tedious.

But charming Montclair Glen Shelter was a nice place to take a break.

But charming Montclair Glen Shelter was a nice place to take a break.

Burnt Rock Mtn.

Hiking over Burnt Rock Mtn.

I am Amazon Shadow Woman. Burnt Rock.

I am Amazon Shadow Woman. Burnt Rock.

Having our moment. The owl at Huntington Gap.

Having our moment. The owl at Huntington Gap. This was really cool…

Beautiful evening at Birch Glen Lodge. View from my tent site.

Beautiful evening at Birch Glen Lodge. View from my tent site.

Mad River Ski Area.

Mad River Glen.

Mad River.

Ski it if you can.

Doesn't look too scary...

Doesn’t look too scary…

But this sign warns otherwise.

But this sign warns otherwise. Those N’s mean business.

View from Mt. Abraham.

View from Mt. Abraham.

Met Lisa and John and their dog, Clark at Skyline Lodge. We all got there at the same time and then it started to rain hard.

Met Lisa and John and their dog, Clark, at Skyline Lodge. We all got there at the same time and then it started to rain hard. This is one of the nicest shelters on the trail. Well-built and sturdy.

This was Lisa's first camping trip and she was having a great time. Skyline Pond.

This was Lisa’s first camping trip and she was having a great time. Skyline Pond.

About to hike out together. Great company.

About to hike out together. Great company.

Just to remind  you where we are...

Just to remind you where we are…

The trail becomes a little kinder... beautiful morning.

The trail becomes a little kinder… beautiful morning.

The Inn at Long Trail is a favorite hiker stopover for Long Trail and Appalachian Trail hikers. These trails merge about a mile north of the Inn and are the same for the next 104 miles south to the MA border.

The Inn at Long Trail is a favorite hiker stopover for Long Trail and Appalachian Trail hikers. These trails merge about a mile north of the Inn and are the same for the next 104 miles south to the MA border.

The night I arrived, the Inn was full, but they allow free camping across the road in this grassy area. My view of the Inn from my tent site. I got a room the next night. I spent the day resupplying in Rutland (down the road - a bus stops in front of the Inn), doing laundry and relaxing.

The night I arrived, the Inn was full, but they allow free camping across the road in this grassy area. View of the Inn from my tent site. I got a room the next night. I spent the day doing laundry and resting. I resupplied in Rutland which is nine miles down the road. A shuttle bus stops in front of the Inn. This was my only full day off.

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And then it was onward and up to Killington Peak.

Go that-a-way.

Go that-a-way.

I met Andrew, an AT southbounder near the Inn. We hiked together for a couple of days. On the Clarendon Bridge.

I met Andrew (trail name, Fives), an AT southbounder, near the Inn. We hiked together for a couple of days. On the Clarendon Bridge.

Clarendon Gap.

Clarendon Gap.

It's not all rocks and steepness.

It’s not all rocks and steepness.

Fall is coming.

Fall is coming.

"Welcome to the magical stone village of rock castles and fairy houses."

“Welcome to the magical stone village of rock castles and fairy houses.”

There are many beautiful ponds along the way.

There are many beautiful ponds along the way.

The AT and LT are the same trail in this area. Mileage for the AT, shown here.

The AT and LT are the same trail in this area. Mileage is for for the AT.

Fives leading the way.

Fives leading the way. Near Griffith Lake.

Bromley ski area.

Bromley ski area.

Bromley.

Bromley.

Fives and I met up with Potter - a recent high school graduate who's delaying starting college by hiking the AT.

Fives and I met up with Potter on this morning and we all hiked for the day to Manchester Center, a short hitch from the bottom of this mountain. They were taking a day off and I continued on after resupplying. Potter is a recent high school graduate who’s delaying college by hiking the AT. The trail is his lecture hall…

Potter checking out the warming hut.

Potter checking out the warming hut.

View from Bromley.

View from the Bromley slopes.

Stratton Pond. I had been hiking hard in the rain for two hours trying to get to the shelter before dark. By the time I got water and hiked up to the shelter it was dark and everyone in the shelter was appeared to be asleep.

Stratton Pond. I had been hiking hard in the rain for two hours trying to get to the shelter before dark. By the time I got water and hiked up to the shelter it was dark and everyone in the shelter appeared to be asleep. It was the 2nd time I stayed in a shelter (I stayed in Skyline with John and Lisa earlier). The rest of the nights I slept in my tent.

Fire tower on Stratton Mtn. This was the last big mountain on my hike..

Fire tower on Stratton Mtn. This was the last big mountain on my hike.

Caretaker's hut on Stratton. I met the husband-wife team a few miles down the trail as they were clearing brush.

Caretaker’s hut on Stratton. I met the husband-wife team a few miles down the trail as they were clearing brush.

Very cool spider web.

Very cool spider web.

Trail Magic! No one was around but the note said, "You know what to do!" The cooler was full of sodas, muffins and brownies. Awesome!

Trail Magic! No one was around but the note said, “You know what to do!” The cooler was full of sodas, cookies, muffins and brownies. Awesome!

There are many trees along the trail bent in this fashion. Supposedly, Native Americans would bend the saplings along their routes in order to mark their paths. The trees grow into these odd shapes.

There are many trees along the trail bent in this fashion. Supposedly, Native Americans twisted saplings along their routes in order to mark their paths. The trees have grown into these odd shapes. (I don’t know if that’s the case for this tree, but it is for others, especially along the AT.)

And then, one evening, I came to the end of the Long Trail.

And then, one evening, I came to the end of the Long Trail and stepped into Massachusetts.

At the Massachusetts border.

At the Massachusetts border.

Last morning before hiking out.

Last morning before hiking out.

Three more miles along the Pine Cobble Trail (a feeder trail to the LT), and down the the road.

Two more miles along the Pine Cobble Trail (a feeder trail to the LT), and down to the the road.

I went to Williamstown, MA where I stayed in a motel and figured out my plans for getting back to Boston. This was a fantastic trek, challenging in every way. Everything worked our extremely well and other than a bunch of blisters, I stayed healthy and strong (and got stronger!). And yes, I’d do it again. But not anytime soon.  :)

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12 responses to “Backpacking the Long Trail: In Photos

  1. TonyJ2 October 3, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Your pictures tell a great story. That there are these long trails in the first place is a credit to groups like the Green Mountain Club.

  2. Mom October 1, 2013 at 2:55 am

    In general, I don’t care much for spiders, but the pic of the “very cool spider web” was one of my favorites. Dad said it is his second favorite after the cute owl. The “cute” is from me, not him.

  3. Dad September 20, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Hey Robo,
    All the pics were great but if I had to pick a favorite (besides the ones you’re in<:-) it would be the owl.
    Love,
    Dad

  4. Judy (in KY) September 17, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Wow is right!!! What an exquisite adventure!! Robyn, thanks so much for sharing it. :)

  5. Robyn September 17, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Thank you! I love sharing this experience with you. I miss it already.

  6. Karen September 17, 2013 at 3:07 am

    sharing Dan’s post … “Wow Robyn — just WOW”! As always, we love reading about your adventures and the pics are truly awesome!

  7. Uncle Dan September 17, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Wow………………….

  8. brickthomas September 17, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Great post! Loved seeing the pics and hearing ‘trail names’ used again. Thanks for sharing.

    • Robyn September 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Yes, it was fun using our trail names again. I noticed that people on the LT were not as into trail names as hikers on the AT. It was great to get on the AT section and hear so many fun names.

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