LT Day 3. Woke up to 44 degrees, the birds chirping and blue skies. There was a thermometer on the outside of the cabin. We slept in the cabin since no other hikers showed up. I stood up off the bunk and could feel every muscle was still sore in my legs. My calves were a knot of sore muscle and my quads burned they were still so sore. My knee felt ok walking around on the flat surfaces. I didn’t take any alleve cause I didn’t want to mask the pain if it came back. I made my breakfast of instant coffee, chocolate carnation breakfast, a cliff bar and peanut butter. We packed up and headed out in the now 50 degree weather.
We had 1.5 miles to the next dirt road and I was cautiously optimistic. Muscle soreness is one thing, knees another. We hadn’t even gone 1/2 mile and the knee pain came right back to where it was yesterday. On completely
flat parts it was tolerable but the forest is hardly flat. 1 mile in of the 1.5 and I knew I was done. We were disappointed but we just have to say oh well. We made it to the dirt road and started to walk the 5 miles to the main rd. From there it was about another 15 miles to my car. I had made a sign as a joke that said N Troy for the town so I taped that to my backpack. We walked about a mile and I’d stick my thumb out whenever a car came. I did again as an old truck with wooden sides and pulling a trailer behind it. The two guys pulled over. Like 2 rural characters from a movie they told us to hop in back with the tires so we did. Down the road we bounced along with the tires. The glass partitioned opened and we were offered a home grown smoke. It would have helped my leg pain but we declined. It was a nice gesture. We had been passed by expensive cars and trucks and the people that stopped to help had the most bear up one. Perfect example of not judging by looks. They dropped us off at the main rd, refused the gas money I offered and wished us luck. We hiked 2 miles on the main rd and had no luck hitching. At 1 mile we came upon the Cajun snack bar so we sat and waited for 15 min till they opened to get a burger. 1stbin line! We wanted a good meal if we had to hike the 15 or so miles left. After eating a great burger down the road we went thumbs out even to the motorcycles just for fun. 1 mile later a truck pulled over. Chris and his family had just finished mountain biking and we’re heading our way. He moved the bikes over and we hopped in the back if the truck with our gear. We heard his daughter laughing. All the cows in the field next to us were running over to where we were as if they wanted a ride too. Hilarious. Chris asked where we were headed so I said anywhere closer to north troy than here. He also asked if we started at journeys end. We said yes so he said he would drive us right to our car since he lived only 5 miles away. What luck. Our possible 25+ mile hike back turned into 3.5 and only a few hours. We got to my car, they refused gas money and we headed back to Killington where Moving Ons car was. Tonight we are at the Inn at Long Trail. Ironically so is “Twisted” an AT hiker that Moving On had hiked with in TN last year. He couldnt believe it. What are the chances!
Tomorrow we figure out what to do next.
LT Day 2 well I slept like a log for almost 9 hours. Woke up to seeing my breath, clear skies and about 38 degrees. I heated up a coffee/chocolate carnation breakfast drink and ate a few power bars with peanut butter and hershey’s chocolate spread and an alleve. All of the muscles in my legs, my triceps, shoulders and upper back muscles were sore and stiff from yesterday. My knee hurt a little when while moving around while eating and cleaning up. The plan was a shelter 6.5 miles out, see how I felt then maybe the next shelter another 5 miles after that. Same plan as the 4 kids had. They finished packing up and their packs were huge. One had an external frame that was loaded and looked 4′ tall. They had a huge pot and other things I wouldn’t even bring car camping. I couldn’t imagine carrying it. I loaded up my pack and Moving On and I headed out.
Well not half mile later and I was walking the pace of an old man. On the flat parts, which were few, my knee was manageable. Anything other than flat I was in pain. I tried to keep a normal gait as best I could but to no avail. Soon I was taking breaks every 30 minutes or so to take off my pack and squat to stretch my knee. We had 4 rolling peaks after a climb up from a road but it didn’t matter even little climbs sucked. I leaned on my poles hard on any steps going up and down. We left the shelter at 830 and didn’t get to the next one till 2. I’ve never hiked so slow,can’t imagine how long it would have taken if I had a huge climb. The 4 kids had already stopped here hours earlier and went on according to the log book. We snacked,took more alleve and decided I need to rest the day here and see how I feel in the morning. If the pain is bad again we have decisions to make b4 the next road.
Day 1 Long Trail Woke up early and made a carnation instant breakfast and instant coffee. It was a nice cool clear morning. We were hiking by 730 and made it to the beginning of the trail soon after. We took photos at the US Canada border and looked at the straight line of clear cut trees separating the countries. We hiked a while and then the ups and downs started. Seemed like mostly steep ups. Soon we were hot and chugging water. I went thru well over 3 litres for the day. We ate lunch in a rock in the middle of nowhere and another break at the 1st shelter. Soon we saw Jay Peak ski mtn in the distance. The lodge looked damn high up. Sure enough we were rock, root and mud stepping up a very steep incline. It was slow going and soon my knee hurt as I tweaked it sideways. It was an exhausting climb. We got a slight reprieve on a small section of ski trail then hit the top of the mtn. The view was awesome. By this time i was in a lot of pain. We looked around for a few minutes, took pics and I bent my knee to try to stretch out the ligaments. We had a little over 2 miles to go to the shelter and most was downhill steep trail or rock/root obstacles. It was a lot like the Whites and western Maine on the AT. Some places Moving On threw her poles down the hill so she could get hand holds on the roots rocks or trees. I was soon doing the same. My knee was killing me so our pace slowed to 1 mph or less. I had to keep stopping to stretch my knee. Every downstep i woukd put as much weight on my poles as i could. At 6 we finally made the shelter and I set up the tent as it rained. Cooked food and talked a little with 4 college section hikers. 12.3 miles in 11 hours minus breaks. A very slow hike for us. I took some alleve and hit the bed. I fell asleep in minutes listening to the rain.
Day 0 Long Trail. Left my sister s in CT about 9 am and we headed out. After a quick stop at the grocery store for new sunscreen, bug spray and more food I didn’t need we were off. Sat in traffic in Springfield for 45 min because 3 lane car crash. I don’t miss that from when I lived in CT. A stop in Killington to leave a car and we were off. We finally made it to the parking lot about 6pm. Long day. We finally found the approach trail and hiked .8 miles to Journeys End camp. Sadly my legs felt it already and I was working up a sweat. I miss my hiker fitness from last year. And yes, those that saw my food bags last year, I have about 10 day’s worth now. The shelter is a really nice enclosed camp. An interesting comparison from shelters on the AT/LT and the NFCT – every shelter on the NFCT was devoid of any mouse evidence. Here there are droppings tho the shelter is clean. It’s 830 past hiker midnight so sleep it is.
Tomorrow we head to VT to hike the remaining miles of the Long trail. Last year we did a good chunk of it while on the AT. We planned to do it this year it’s just earlier than expected since our NFCT paddle didn’t quite work out. Will post pics when can. Enjoy the warm outdoors, winter will be here too soon.
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Day 7 Upper Saranac lake to Saranac Lake town. Well so much for an uneventful last day. We are relaxing in the Adirondack Motel after eating pizza. We woke up at 550am to rain, wind and near 50 degrees. We could see our breath. We didn’t hear thunder so we packed up quick and headed out. The waves were steady up to a foot with a few coming over the bow but it wasn’t bad. We made it to the 1+ mile portage cool but not bad. The portage warmed us up. We hit middle Saranac lake and all hell broke loose after rounding a corner. Normally early morning is best for big lakes buy not today. The waves were the biggest I’ve ever dealt with. Most were 2+ foot rollers and whitecaps. They splashed right over the bow and occasionally from the side hitting me just below the chest. We had spray skirts on but after a while it didn’t matter. I could feel the water hitting my butt as it sloshed around. We stayed near the shore line for safety. Unfortunately we had to look at my NFCT map so we tried to near shore really quick. Not quick enough. Within a minute my kayak was slammed into the shoreline sideways against the small rocks. Cheryls kayak slammed against mine, water flying up between them into my body and waves going into her. We figured which way to go quickly and I pushed her boat off mine and she paddled out. It literally took all my strength and 2 minutes to push off the rocks against the incoming waves. After a long paddle against the rain wind and waves we made to to the upper locks where the lock master let us through. In the shelter of this narrow we pumped out out boats of the inches deep water. Quickly we paddled out and again hot the same conditions. We had picked out a lean-to to have lunch and by the time we made it the 2.5 miles there we where shivering and cold all over close enough to being hypothermic. We boiled coffee and water in our Jet boil stoves as we ach wrapped in our emergency blankets and got in our sleeping bags. After 30+ minutes and two cups of hot liquids we were finally just getting warm. Once we felt ok we headed out for the last 8+ miles. It had taken over 5 hours to go the 10 miles, too slow to feel confident to make the lady 8 miles to town before dark. We decided to stop at a state boat launch and wheel our kayaks 5 miles on the main road. We got to the launch and started shivering right away. Our upper body felt spent. We decided to call the local outfitter, St. Regis Outfitters just to see if they shuttled kayakers. They did and headed right over. We are glad we called cause even the road portage would have been hard. We paid the outfitter for the shuttle, they stored our kayaks and even brought us to the hotel. I’m so glad one of my Facebook friend told me of the outfitter. She said they were awesome and they are. We ordered a meat lovers pizza and thought of how 6 hours earlier we were frozen and how spent our arms shoulders and hands felt. Then the discussion turned to hiking…..
Day 6. Changes. Rest day tenting. It poured and thundered on and off all night. Woke up to cold air, sprinkles and high winds like the night before.
I had been awake on and off all night thinking. Something was bothering me inside that I couldn’t put my finger on. Then it dawned on me about 4 am. I like kayaking a lot. I love hiking. When I’m in the woods I find it mystical and magical. I look at the roots, rocks, trees and see a cacophony of wonder and beauty. Trees growing on the side and tops of boulders. Mushrooms growing on the side of rocks. Old foundations and gravestones far away from towns. My feet feeling each step in the forest. While kayaking I see the shoreline, trees, rocks, fish and an occasional beaver den etc. I see objects as I paddle by, I don’t feel like I am one with my surroundings. I don’t feel that sense of amazement, wonder and inner peace while in the woods. I played in the woods a lot growing up. Hiking the Appalachian Trail reminded me of my youth and playing in the woods. It helped me find an inner peace I used to feel and put many things in life in perspective. Unfortunately we can’t change the past so we could do things better. I told Moving On about how I was feeling about this trip and she actually understands what I’m saying. Our thru paddle is now a section paddle. So with that folks, tomorrow we head into Saranac NY and cheryls uncle will pick us up. Out hiking gear is at his house. The woods are calling and we are answering. My feet will feel the earth beneath them, I will stand on top of a mountain with my arms raised again. Posts from the LT will follow hopefully this summer. We have 1 more day of paddling to get to Saranac Lake. Hope the day is clear and warm. The NFCT is very hard in sections, easy in others and beautiful too. Every night after 16+ or so miles and only breaking for lunch we would be beat and stiff. Over time I’m sure we’d be ok but I know there are sections where my abilities would be lacking. In due time we will do more sections but till then time to climb.