Jonesville/Duxbury Rd(187)-Sterling Pond Shelter(213.3)
Aug 12th

Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook’s Long Trail Hiker app. He has apps for many trails including the PCT, CDT, and AT.

I slept hard at Shiver and BAM’s after staying up til midnight doing blog stuff and then booking a bus and flights for after the hike. I’m very happy to have it all done, but it was definitely a drain and I got less than 6hrs of sleep. The dates are set and I will go to Boston for a couple nights after I finish the Long Trail. From there, I will fly to Chicago as I owe my twin sister some child care for all she’s done to help with the blog and just regular life maintenance. I’ll be there a couple weeks until September when I fly home to Portland, OR, whew! It feels real now that tickets are bought that I only have a few days of hiking left! As for today, Shivers and BAM got me back on trail by 6:45 and even did some of a road walk with me before saying goodbye. THANKS again Shivers and BAM for being awesome hosts!

I had two goals for today. There is a lot of rain in the forecast for tonight and through tomorrow that could bring 1-3″ of rain in a 24hr period. The imminent rain lit a fire under me and I was motivated to HIKE while I still could on dry trail. Knowing that rain was on the way, the main goal was to get over Mt Mansfield( Vermont’s highest peak) before the rain. The second goal was to do bigger miles today to hike as many as I could on dry trail before it all becomes mud.

What I soon noticed was that I was climbing uphill almost all morning. At least the temps were great in the 70s with little humidity and nice breezes. With a full pack of four days of food, I was definitely feeling that uncomfortable burn in my legs. Not enjoyable, but early on I just told myself to accept that feeling for most of the day. Not much else I could do about it with all the uphill. The trail wasn’t too rough and there was enough good trail that I was able to stretch my legs in parts.

I saw few others the first half of the day and spent most of the day in the zone with my music. I was determined to get over Mansfield as soon as I could and I knew it was 20mi into the day, so I found a rhythm and kept it going with motivating music most of the day. I ate lunch near a water source and a woman doing a section southbound talked with me as I ate. That was the longest conversation I had today and it was enjoyable. Most others were southbounders or sectioners who I briefly said hi to as we crossed paths. I enjoyed having the day to myself and was on a mission to kick some trail ass!

I liked going up Mansfield as it has a nice exposed ridge walk. There was some scrambling at first.

The stretch before the summit is called the Forehead and it was nice to walk along. The first photo is looking back on where I came.

When I got near the summit, I saw a parking lot! Again, not as remote as I thought I was. It was discouraging to see cars and a visitors center when I had come 20mi on tough terrain to get there.

It was really gusty up top as I got up there by 4:15pm as the clouds were gathering. I got quick photos and exchanged cameras with others trying not to get blown over. I’m not super happy with the photos, as the wind was a factor and I wanted down quickly.

I was worried about rain and storms, so I booked it down after going over Mansfield.

By the time I got halfway down, I realized that I had time to hike on to the next shelter by 7pm. It was going to be a push, but good motivation. Right on cue, the sprinkles of rain started around the predicted 6pm. That got me to really kick it into gear the final three miles.

I arrived at the shelter , which was near a pond) just a few minutes after 7pmto see a full shelter and one admitted to being a loud snorer, so I set up my tent in a space nearby. The weather now says 50% chance with no storms overnight, so I prefer my tent.

I’m really happy with the mileage I pulled out today! It was 26.3mi with about 8,000ft of uphill and about 5,000ft of downhill. I don’t think I’ve done this much elevation change in one day all summer. I like days like these when I can push and see want I’m capable of. I don’t plan to do this all leg and will surely hike more relaxed tomorrow. I need to average 22mi/day to finish on my projected day. The added mileage today allows for more relaxed days with rain and mud expected over next few days. I’m definitely a tired camper and nodding off as I write tonight, so excuse the disjointed brevity. It was another day I’m quite proud of. I’m going to sleep well and it’s definitely a vitamin-I night for my legs, whew! Only three days of hiking left!

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