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. This is part 3.
August 21, Day 6: Long Trail Inn
Long ass day up and over Killington. Never hiking it again. Ever. Never ever.
But passed the 100 mile mark in 6 days, so not too bad!
Felt really slow, but made it. The .2 off the trail to the top was a killer as well! Not sure that was worth it, but it was. Benny took a quick nap at the top. He’s such a little trooper. Love him so much. Met another AT Thru-hiker at the top, he was slackpacking for the day, so going south, but said the miles I was making made it seem like I was an AT hiker so that’s cool.
Hoping I can maybe shave off another day, since I’m already a day ahead of schedule.
Coming down Killington was the longest downhill ever. It took literal ages. Never hiking it again. Well maybe if Dan really wanted to I might, but the short trail.
Met Dan in the parking lot, Benny was super excited to see him. I was pretty excited too.
He said I smelled. I said that was true.
Searched around for a bit to see if we could find a Sawyer filter. No luck on the filter, but did grab an extra pair of shorts at Dicks.Got a medium and didn’t try them on like Dan said I should. I was dirty and didn’t want to get the shorts dirty. They’re a bit big.
Should have tried them on. Damn it.
Had dinner at the Long Trail Inn. A bacon cheeseburger. It was mildly disappointing. No fries, not greasy enough, not big enough, not enough bacon. But it was a burger!
Debated about hiking to the shelter or staying for the night. The room that allowed dogs was available. It was expensive and I should have really been trying to save money.
It was worth it.
Benny immediately fell asleep on the couch. So he needed a bit of a rest which was good.
Dan stayed for a bit. I showered. He showered. We drank beer. Did some adult things, like taxes. It was a good time. I did miss him. Excited to keep hiking, but excited to be back with him too.
August 22, Day 7: Sunrise Shelter
Breakfast at the Inn was pretty great. Raining at the moment, but not terrible. Saving a bacon slice and sausage for Benny.
Massive breakfast, so big I couldn’t finish it. So full. Might die. Or take a massive poo later. Did save the leftovers for Benny though.
Weirdly full. Which means I won’t have to stop for lunch later?
Feel as though I may need to lie down for a bit. Root through the hiker box maybe then pack up. Gotta poo too, terrible music in here. Better music coming in from the kitchen.
Had absolutely no desire to hike today, took me all morning to get to the first LT shelter than half the afternoon to get to the next one. Pushed on to the Sunrise shelter hoping there would be an awesome view because of the name, but there was none.
Missing Dan. Lonely in the shelter. No one here.
Missing Dan a lot.
Very glad Benny is here. Makes things a little less lonely.
Saw 2 people on the trail today. One was an AT thru-hiker, the other was a SoBo LT hiker. Haven’t seen anyone all afternoon.
Made 6.2 miles happen in 2.5 hours though, so really cruising through those miles.
Rainy and gross most of the day. Boots are soaked, my feet have been wet all day. Have a weird butt rash, weird hip rashes, my toenail is biting into one of my toes, My ankles hurt, shoulders and back are stiff. I fell a few times, covered in mud. Lonely, cold, dirty, sweaty, in pain.
Why do we do this?
Day 8, August 23: Emily Proctor Shelter
Today was an incredibly long slow day. Really cold, well cold waking up. Slow to get going, just really didn’t feel like hiking all day.
Laid out in the sun a bit at the snow bowl. Ran into a bunch of SoBo hikers. Where’s all the NoBo’s at? Alone again at the shelter. So gladBenny is with me. Makes it a bit less lonely. Did see some pretty cool cliffs today right at the start, then some cool ridgeline hiking. But it all felt quite slow.
A brief moment of painless feet and body. Was awesome. But by the end of the day, small hills were killing me.
There’s so much mud that my calves are getting rubbed raw from the constant grinding. Benny’s still being an epic trooper though.
Two more long days then a short day than probably a brutally long day up and over Mansfield but Dan has that day off, so yay!
Thinking I’ll be finished on the 31st of August, which is 2 days faster than I thought.
Super tired today though, no fun. A bit low on food too. I should know better than to eat everything in the first 2 days after a resupply. But so good, and it lightens the pack. I’ll survive, plus the good oatmeal tomorrow for breakfast!
Listened to “The Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” I was under the impression that it was a long book. It was not. It was weird though. The guy was obsessed with the idea of quality and what that meant to his life. I might have to download another one tonight, pretty good cell service at the shelter, or maybe just listen to more music on repeat.
It’s weird how much I really love Dan. Didn’t think it was possible for me, but maybe I’m not as broken as I thought. I’d love to be able to do something like this with him someday, like the road trip we’re taking in October! Or maybe do the John Muir Trail someday. Doing this alone is cool, but doing it with someone you love would be a lot cooler.