Benny quickly learning to hike on the Vermont Long Trail.
hiking, travel

Long Trail Journal 1

Back in August 2018 I decided to go hike the Long Trail with my dog Benny. The trail starts at the very bottom of Vermont and winds its way up to the very top meeting with Canada. After hiking 270 miles with everything on your back, staying in one of the 25 shelters each night and summiting more than 20 peaks, Benny and I finished the trail in 16 days. Here I’m going to share my journal thoughts from each night.

I’ll be sharing these journal entries every Wednesday and Thursday until December 20th when I run out of entries.

Enjoy!

Benny the best hiking dog poses for his first photo on the Vermont Long Trail.
First on trail photo!

August 16, Day 1: Congdon Shelter

Today was the day. Finished packing, holy hell with all of Benny’s food my pack is super fucking heavy. And no tent, can’t imagine it working if I had packed a tent. Hopefully, I can stay in shelters the whole time.

Had coffee and pancakes at Four Aces, then drove down to Williamstown, MA. Thanks to Dan for breakfast and driving my car back! Miss you already!

Started out super hot, super slow. Dang approach trails suck. Added some additional miles there. I thought it was going to be an easy 10 miles, ended up being a 13/14ish miles instead. Benny was an absolute champ, got him to eat dinner with a lot of peanut butter. The jar may end up being all his.

Wicked foot problems, probably should have gone up a half-size on shoes. If I get service tomorrow I may call home and ask about that. Need to get that drop box sorted out too. Hips and shoulders are killing, might be super stiff in the morning. Good thing there’s vitamin I!

Also saw a deer today, like five feet from the trail, a little spike horn. Benny saw him too, didn’t even bark. Such a good pupper.

Welcome to the Vermont Long Trail sign, 270 miles of hiking until Canada.
Welcome sign to the Vermont Long Trail, 270 miles to go!

Met some AT Thru hikers, miss those days but I am so glad to be back for a little bit.

It’s hard to explain to people who have never done it why it’s such a life-changing thing. How magical it is to just walk and not worry about anything else in life. Or having experience that no one can take from you, like seeing that deer so close. Used to want to keep these little moments to myself, but now I kind of want to be able to share them with Dan too.

Hiked faster than I thought, but going to keep estimates at 2 miles an hour. That way If I’m faster, I’ll feel better!

Ate a bunch of food today, hopefully, the pack will feel a bit lighter tomorrow. Might have packed too much food for Benny, but better safe and heavy than sorry and light. I don’t want the little pup-pup to get hungry.

He was called very symmetrical today, all the hikers seem to love him so far.

I also met another LT hiker in the parking lot before Dan left. He was from Isreal, seems like we may have similar paces as we both ended up at the same shelter tonight.

Pretty sure someone saw me poopin in the woods today too, so that’s nice.

Taking photos on the Vermont Long Trail can be hard when there's no one else around for miles, good thing Benny is such a good hiking dog.
First on trail selfie!

August 17, Day 2: Kid Gore Shelter

Funny how even the grossest sourest berry on the trail can taste better than the ripest, sweetest berry from the store.

Slept in a bit today, like 7:30ish. Made coffee then fixed the band-aids and headed off. Downhill to start, then basically uphill for the rest of the day. Horrible, so frekkin slow. It took me like 4 whole hours to go8 miles. Then pushed for a bit more and ended up doing close to 19ish miles.

Everything hurts and it’s awesome. Poured all day today, still raining.

Benny was great. Every time I stop he comes running back, all concerned wondering why I stopped. He also almost caught a mouse today, such a good little hiker dog.

Ran into the guy from Isreal at the shelter. Supposed to rain all day tomorrow too. So much fun.

First pond on the Vermont Long Trail, lots of hiking miles to go.
First pond on the trail, few more hours after this I was at the shelter.

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