Day 14 - Long Trail

 

We woke up to a dry morning with threat of thunderstorms all day long.  We are a quick breakfast and left with Dave, Simba, and Bernard to head up and over Camel's Hump.  It was only 1.9 miles to the summit from our campsite, but it was by no means easy!  The caretaker from the shelter passed us a little way in, making the boulder hop look easy.  We all reached the bad weather bypass about the same time.  NoKey, Simba, and I opted for that trail while Bernard and Dave went for the regular summit.  It was thundering the entire time and we were socked in by fog.  The bad weather bypass, however, was by no means any easier or safer.  We had to butt-slide down moss covered rocks and through mud, and even across exposed rock face.  When we came back around to the regular Long Trail we took a short break with Dave.  This was when we realized NoKey lost his pack cover, which is a pretty important piece of gear in the Vermont rain!

 This trail wasn't any easier! 

This trail wasn't any easier! 

 

We hiked for about another hour across exposed rock and through bogs and mud and swamp.  We thankfully only had to climb down one ladder on this downhill!  We passed the Bamforth shelter and then the trail finally chilled out a little.  We had a view down to the Winooski River and across to Stimpson Mountain.  We made it down to the parking lot and got some of the best trail magic I can imagine.  We met Rich while he was riding his bike.  We threw up our thumbs to hitchhike and asked if he was going to Waterbury, which got a laugh.  He came back by a few minutes later and asked why we were going.  We explained NoKey's pack cover situation and he said he would come back in about half an hour with his car and take us to get a new one.  He took us to CC Outdoors where we get a new cover, to the store for a soda, and back to the Long Trail!  We couldn't have met a better person; he helped us out tremendously!

 Looking back at the Hump

Looking back at the Hump

 

From here, we began walking the new portion of the LT, across the Winooski and up a road before heading up Stimpson Mountain.  The climb was long and we were very tired, but eventually we made it to the junction of the trail and Buchanan Shelter.  Unfortunately for us the shelter was 0.3 miles DOWNHILL from the trail.  It was a steep, eroded, muddy mess but the shelter itself is amazing. We are camping with two other LT thru hikers and a couple from Norwich doing a section hike.  Thankfully the weather is looking good for Mansfield tomorrow, the highest peak in Vermont.

 Hanging at the fancy new trailhead! 

Hanging at the fancy new trailhead!