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  2. My Long Trail thru-hike is just under two weeks away, yay! I’m starting to pack in earnest and it feels like the perfect time to share my gear list and gear reviews. So, here goes! The Big Three: Shelter My shelter is the Nemo Hornet Elite 2P Ultralight Backpacking Tent. It was more than I planned to spend ($499.95), but I saved 25% during REI’s Annual Anniversary Sale. The Hornet Elite weighs in at 33.6 oz, ... The post My Long Trail Gear Review appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  3. Today
  4. I have decided to pursue a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail! Why? It is close to home and my gear bag is already packed for this adventure. I feel that I can safely take on this trail within Covid-19 regulations, and I am ready to live out my dream of becoming a full time hiker. July 4th, 2020 … the day my husband and I were supposed to fly to Maine to begin our Sobo hike of the Appalachian Trail. ... The post Colorado Trail: It’s Go Time appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  5. Some stories about me and Legs' favorite pieces of gear on our lists and our Lighter Pack base weight breakdown! The post Our Colorado Trail Gear Lists: The Comforts and Details appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  6. until
    Region: Adirondacks Type: Chapter Outings Activity: Hiking,Swimming Posted by: Albany Chapter Trip rating: C Leader:Kathleen Rzant Contact Phone: 15183122199 Contact Email: rzantshep@gmail.com If you'd like to join me in my perennial hunt for decent swimming spots, this may be an outing for you. The trailhead is about a 1.5 hour drive from the Capital Region. We will hike for about a mile. Jockeybush Lake is reported to be beautiful. We can meet there if you'd like to check it out as well. Email me for specifics.
  7. Scout and Frodo, who have given shelter to hundreds of PCT thru-hikers on their way to the Southern Terminus in California, will resume hosting in 2021. The couple—Barney and Mann—said earlier this year that 2020 would be their last year of hosting. In March, because of COVID-19, they closed their home to hikers. Now they say it’s too soon to end their long ride. “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 was not our LAST year of hosting, ... The post Scout and Frodo Will Host PCT Hikers in San Diego in Spring 2021 appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  8. Yesterday
  9. ADK

    Hike (Sunday)- Northampton Park

    until
    Region: Genesee Valley Region Type: Chapter Outings Activity: Hiking Posted by: Genesee Valley Chapter Trip rating: C Leader: Jeff P Contact Email: sheltowe2_99@yahoo.com Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/19Id-ImHoFKc_IxlhVqCMLg6DrfoxPRqQ/view?usp=sharing While some restrictions have been lifted, in order to maximize the safety and well-being of all hikers during the COVID-19 Pandemic, ADK has put in place some Guidelines which you must agree to and follow if you participate in ADK Sunday hikes. 1. You must bring a mask and wear it anytime you are within six feet of anyone who does not live in your household. Please also bring hand sanitizer. 2. If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, you will not attend any ADK Sunday hike: Do you currently have any symptoms of a respiratory infection (including cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, or loss of taste/smell)? Have you had any of the above symptoms in the past 14 days? Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days? Have you had contact with any confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case within the last 14 days? Are you feeling ill today? 3. Groups can not be more than 25 people. 4. You will not share gear, food, water or anything else. 5. Youunderstand that you will encounter people in the parks and on the trails who are not wearing masks and it will be up to you to maintain social distance. You must read and sign the “club’s release of liability form”. You may sign it and bring it to the hike OR email the signed form (scanned or digital) back to the hike leader. The link for the “club’s release of liability form” is at the bottom of this description or can be foundon the right-hand side of the Hiking page on the ADK website or at this link. If you plan to attend please forward your emergency number to the hike leader at: sheltowe2_99@yahoo.com NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED TO HIKE WITHOUT A MASK AND A SIGNED LIABILITY RELEASE FORM Description: We will hike in Northampton Park, which will be a fairly flat 5-6 mile hike., meet in the Ski Lodge parking lot off of Hubbell Road (park away from the lodge). Additional information: The Sunday Hikes are offered as a benefit to current and potential new membersof ADK. All our hikes have a steady pace, so are not "nature strolls" but they are also not "endurance tests", although we do at times hike at a brisk pace. Equally important, is the proper footwear, gear and clothing for changing conditions. Our hikes our planned by our leaders to last three hours, but many times unexpected delays can occur, so If you are pressed for time, this hike may not be a good fit. .We're always looking for new places to go and additionalleaders. Minors are welcome when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If not, the responsible adult must have the signed release which is available on our website. Dogs are not allowed on this hike.
  10. Last week
  11. Headed down to the 156 acre Papscanee Island Nature Preserve along the east banks of the Hudson River on another hot, sultry summer day. I was quite shocked to be the only car there when I arrived on a holiday weekend afternoon. Parked at the Preserve's southern access just beyond the Railroad crossing on Staats Island Road. From the kiosk at the start of the trail it was immediately apparent that recent trail maintenance had taken place. Took the trail to a split, where the blue trail breaks off to the left and shortly down to the Hudson River. Looking north, upstream towards the Port of Albany with a barge making its way down the river. Tiger Lilies near the trail. From a clearing off the unofficial trail I enjoyed an up close and personal view of the enormous barge. Very impressive. Wild berries along the water's edge. Followed an unofficial trail off the blue trail which closely follows along the Hudson. The unofficial trail pops out once again into a clearing atop cement barriers. A lone kayaker making their way upstream. Back in the woods on the unofficial trail I saw something a few yards away hidden by thick weeds. I decided to give it a closer look and it turned out to be a pair of old, rotting speed boats. Judging by the condition of the boats, they must have been here for quite some time. Especially in the summer, they can be hard to see. Back on the main trail network, I completed a loop around the blue trail and part of the white trail before returning to the car. The official trails are very nice to walk on right now following the recent maintenance. Hiked about 2 miles total on a hot summer afternoon and didn't see another person. Happy 4th!View the full article
  12. The energy companies behind a natural gas pipeline that would have run under the Appalachian Trail in Virginia have dropped their efforts to build the 600-mile pipeline. The decision by Dominion Energy and Duke Energy was announced Sunday, July 5, weeks after the US Supreme Court allowed the pipeline to proceed after lengthy court battles. The companies said their decision was based on rising costs and legal uncertainties surrounding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that would run from northern West Virginia to southeastern North Carolina. ... The post Energy Companies End Battle to Build Pipeline Under the Appalachian Trail in Virginia appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  13. By bicycle. Ok, it has nothing to do with hiking but it seems my interests lately lean more toward pedal power than hiking– please forgive me. I’ve been vacationing at my brother-in-law’s on Lake Clear this week and out pounding the bicycle just about every day. On 7/1 I left the house early under cloudy and threatening skies and rode 31 miles to the bottom of the Veterans Memorial Highway where I took a short break before heading up the hill. Another short break chatting with the ticket booth operator and then on with the up. I ran into the cloud ceiling at 3000’ and then light drizzle at 4000’. 5.5 miles into the climb at a “blistering” 5.1 mph average I was passed by another cyclist about 20 years younger who was making the climb look easy. I’ll forgive him eventually. We exchanged greetings and encouraged one another and he was gone. Came close to taking another break with two miles to go but ended up staying on the gas all the way to the end. Counting off the distance to go in 0.1 mile increments helped. No view at the top of the highway and with the stairs closed off, no way to get to the summit. Really wanted to carry my bike to the top for a pic with the summit sign. Maybe some other time. The bad weather did lead to one unexpected benefit – no tourists. On the entire ride up the mountain I saw three other bicycles, two cars and two motorcycles. I had the pleasure of passing one of those cars on the way down. My new brakes pads got a workout at first on the wet road but once out of the wet I just sat straight up on the bike and used my chest as a wind brake for the rest of the ride down. The gps showed around 35 mph most of the time. Once at the bottom it took five miles or so of pedaling before my legs loosened up again and by the time I got back to the house I was spent. The ride was 78.6 miles in total with 6,834 of up and took me a little over five and a half hours. Check that off the bucket list. View the full article
  14. Day one: Met Shannon at the trailhead parking on Haskell Rd. As we were getting ready another vehicle pulled in with six other hikers. The weather for the next few days was not favorable, after that the forecast is too far to predict. All geared up, we set out along the NPT towards Spruce Lake. Today would be about ten miles. The trail here is quite familiar to me yet I always seem to rediscover its less obvious features which were lost in my memory. Small drainages, large rocks, obscure side paths, etc... A lot of past memories come back vividly, of meeting people on the trail and other experiences from past adventures. So far the weather was perfect. Not too hot, nor rainy. We played leap frog with the other group a couple times. Seemed like more, but it was really one group and a solo thru- hiker. Some of them were going all the way to Placid for their 30th anniversary, the others were hiking with them to Wakely. I offered some hints as to nice places along the way and mentioned the flooded section just north of the Carry lean-to.We made decent time and arrived at Spruce Lake #2 by early afternoon. There were two guys who had hiked in for the day and were just leaving. The lean-to was mostly clean. Some plastic spice jars on the floor had been chewed on, and a few cans of chef boyardee on the shelf. I ate my first late lunch, set up camp and gathered firewood. Our packs were a tad heavy carrying six days worth of food. Since we were coming back this way in two days, we would secure a bear caninister with our food off trail for the second half of our trip. Made a small fire to dispel the bugs. On it we poured the oregano and garlic powder from the containers to get rid of them.Amde a nice smelling campfire. We were both in bed before the sun went down. Day two: Since we had been expecting rain, and didn't get any I figured we were ahead of the curve already for the trip. No complaints here. Sicne we had gone to bed early, arising with the sun still allowed for a lot of sleep. We didn't need to rush either as today was only another ten miles or so. Nearby we hid our bear canister and continued North on the NPT. At Sampson Bog we passe by the hikers from the previous day. We chatted a bit and crossed the waterfall without the bridge with ease. Not long later we stopped for a snack and they caught up with us. One of the older women mentioned she was worried about the flooded section and had considered turning back. We hiked with them a short while as I re-assured her it was not as bad as she thought. Just not fun. I said I would have felt extremely guilty had she turned around. A few others had mentioned to Shannon the concern from this woman as well. Again we found ourselves ahead of the group. Took a long lunch break at South Lake. A southbound hiker was swimming near the bridge just up the trail. The bridge here is beginning to show some wear. Still structurally sound, but will need some maintenance in the near future. This would not be a fun crossing without a bridge. As we passed by the side trail to West Lake Shannon marvelled at the sign. I had forgotten about it. We signed in at the register near the old ranger station and french louies fireplace. The reroute trail from many years ago had been quite a mess. Due to all the dry weather it was quite easy. Passing by Mud Lake I remembered last year's shorelinme search for the old campsite to no avail. A few blowdowns in the area are tough to duck under. Found an almost brand new hat on one of them. I picked it up figuring it was part of the groups ahead of us. We caught up with them at the bridge over Mud Creek. They said the hat was not their's but maybe the southbound hiker. We said we were heading to Cedar #3 lean-to, they said they were considering either #1 or #2. I told them #2 (Beaver Pond) was the nicer option. When we arrived at the fisherman's lean-to we found it surprisingly empty. It was early still though. We set up camp and I read the log book. A few entries mentioned how nice the privy was; Shannon disagreed vehemently. As it was early we put togther day packs and hiked back up the trail to the NPT and then took a bearing to French Louie's cave. It had been a few years and I have never come at it from this angle. A few herd paths going in the approximnate direction made travel a wee bit easier. As we began the up hill portion something didn't feel right even though I was now looking at my compass more diligently. We paused and I realized we were on the wrong upslop of the rise. I must have gone right past it and was now going up the wrong side of the hill. Fortunately we weren't lost, just not where we wanted to be. This side of the hill had quite a few large boulders which makes following the cvontour around difficult. A few steep sections to drop through. Both fun and annoying at the same time. As we came around the correct side, the sky changed and a few drops of rain began. We cozied up near a gaint rock which provided enough shelter for Shannon to put on her pack cover. Not wanted to fuss around in the rain looking for the cave, I took a bearing back to our starting point. The rain was just a few drops and the terrain was looking more familiar. I said, let's just bend around a little farther to look. We did this twice and sure enough there was the cave. I pinned a waypoint on my phone to share with Andy as I never had the exact coordinates. Shannon took some photos. A shot a bearing back and followed it more closely this time ignoring the herd paths. Hit the NPT six feet from where we started. Trust the compass. Back at camp I took a swim as I was a bit dirty after two days of hiking including the short bushwhack. The water felt great. Made a nice dinner of tortelinni with pesto sauce. I put in some of my lunch pepperoni. Will have to have this one again. Aside from the small sprinkle atop cobble hill (the real one) we have had perfect weather. Shannon climbed into bed early. I ribbed her a bit for it, and 5 minutes later also climbed into my bag. Day 3. Was a little cooler last night. No complaints. After breakfast we decided to finish the french Louie loop instead of back tracking. This would make today significantly longer by almost 60%. With very light packs we figured it was not a problem. We set out and had a couple miles of nice hiking. Soon the rains came. Not just a little rain, but buckets. Last time I saw rain like this was when Andy and I had camped near Wakely. I had to hike without my glasses as the water was too much. The rain stopped abrubtly and the sun came out. A little bird chirped moments before hinting at he possibility. I was not looking forward to crossinbg the funhouse bridge with the rain like that. The middle section is at a 45 degree angle and with rain probably not very safe. With the sun, it had dried mostly when we got to it. We got to hike almost dry to the Pillsbury lean-to where we had lunch. The sun was out drying off our packs. Noisey Ridge across the lake started to live up to its name. Clouds were low over the ridge and the sound of rain pouring over the forest could be heard rumbling. We were finished with lunch so we headed back to the trail hoping the westerly winds would push the system past us. It didn't and minutes after getting back on the trail the thunderous rains we heard over Noisey Ridge were soon upon us. Shannon's pace quickened. She later joked she was "trying to outrun it". Again my glasses were off. Due to Shannon's pace we arrived at Sampson Lake in about an hour. The rains subsided for the most part which meant I could now wear my glasses again. With two miles left to the next junction and half our daily miles behind us we were making decent time. As we hiked towards the NPT my mind wandered to whether Dan would be waiting for us, or we would arrive before him. He was hiking with Kristi the last few days in the Pharaoh Lakes region and planned to meet us at Spruce #1. A short break at the junction, then back on the trail we hiked the previous day. Momemts later two thru hikers came by. For the rains we just experienced they were in good spirits. We chatted a bit about their next few miles and inquired as to their planned destination. They said the tent site at Mud Lake. I told them I did not think that site exists having looked for it many times. Not to mention with these storms searching for a not so obvious tent site would certainly sour their trip. I gave them information about the lean-tos and sites a mile before it and recommended a couple. They had spent the night at Fall Stream and I suppose were looking to avoid lean-to areas, I hope they heeded my advice. Over the years the trail maintainers for this section of the NPT have put in a lot of time construction bog bridges over the wettest sections. The logs wwere slippery due to the rain, the rocks were not much better. Shannon had already slipped on the logs and I on the rocks rolling my ankle. Hoping to not have it too sore in the morning. Just after Spruce #3 we gathered up our bear canister and carried it to Spruce #2 to pack them for the last eight tenths of a mile. Shannon also took a couple of the chef boyardees to have for dinner. As we approached Spruce #1 I saw a man heading towards the lean-to with an armful of wood. I called out, "hey Dan-O". He had arrived at the lean-to about an hour before. He was surprised we weren't there yet, but figured I said I would be there. Since Shannon and I were crashing in the lean-to, Dan set up his tent nearby. Not long after the rains came again. Another torrential downpour. All the wood in the area had been soaked so Dan was waiting for me to do the fire. I was not feeling like it, so he used the torch to get it all going. Took a bit of time but soon he had enough to cook his dinner. Using the fire, he dried out some wood and stashed it under the lean-to. Not being very hungry I had a small cup of soup. 3 days in and I had already skipped two dinner entrees. We stayed up later than usual, might have even made it to 9pm. It rained all night long. Day 4. Up with the sun, well daylight. Sun was not shining. Everything was wet even the air. Dan had stashed a bit of dry wood but I wanted to test myself. I gathered wood from the soaking wet forest. I found a dead birch tree which I stripped off some bark, and a downed spruce from which I gathered some fine twigs. I made a base with some dry punky wood froma stump and built the fire. With enough small stuff to dry the bigger stuff I got the fire going using a single match. Is always good to practice for when I really need it. With the fire now going strong I heated some water for coffee. Dan and Shannon were now up. It wasn't raining but the air was still wet. Then it started raining again. Then it stopped. Then more rain. Basically this was the entire day on and off rain. Dan went fishing while Shannon and I rested after yesterday's long day. During one of the breaks in the rain I hiked back to Spruce #2 to check out a side trail and pick up the last can of chef boyardee. Dan returned with a single fish which did not survive being hooked otherwise he would have releaased it. He had the fish as a snack, I made myself some stroganoff and we went to bed. Day 5. Dan wanted to check out a trout pond a copuple miles away and I wanted to check out a section of the outlet river from a failed bushwhack attempt years ago. I found a 1903 map which showed a trail to my desired location. I had no delusions this trail would still exist at all. Looking at the map we determined there was not way for us to bushwhack together and then break off, so we split up. Dan went to the trout pond and Shanon joined me on my off trail adventure. We paddled the glassy surface of the lake to the far corner where the old map showed the trail. Shannon tried taking photos of the newts in the water. With the canoe stowed on the far shore, we donned our day packs. Even though it was not raining we put on rain pants due to the wet underbrush. The old trail followed a generally straight bearing up to the shoulder of Spruce Lake Mtn. I was slightly concerned about our path as the map showed it running right through a marshy area. With the compass calibrated to the correct bearing we headed off into the brush. I was careful to follow the bearing after the ordeal the other day. A lot of false drainages heading in almost the right direction could easily get me off track here. First up and over a small rise and then the marshy area. I was expecting it to be alot larger. A large step over the creek running through it and we were back in a mossy spruce forest. Another climb ot the shoulder and shot another bearing which would eventually bring us to the river. The side of the mtn was quite rocky and travel was not that easy on the downslope. We did cross a very nice drainage with good water. As we continued down the river would be joining us. I could hear some rapids just off our bearing. Evetually I broke off the bearing and headed striaght to the water. We were well east of our desired spot on the river but the sound of the rapids was like s siren call to me. We had some lunch on the rocks and then headed downstream. A stillwater section came into view but the edge of the river was brushy. We ducked back into the woods to go around the obstacle and were soon on the other side of the stillwater. It was too small to be our target. I said I wanted to head downstream for another 20 minutes. Back in the woods and through some dense spruce for a short while and then back into hardwoods and witchopple. Then the true stillwater target appeared. Looked just as I though from scouting the aerial photos. We spotted an old coffee pot in the woods but no discernible place to camp. The large marshy section between the forest and the river's edge was not to bad to walk through so we opted for that. There were peninsulas of forest poking into the marsh. I kept setting my target to each of these. None proved to have a good view. I saw an eagle fly from one of the trees. Eventually on the last one, I could see the edge of the river as it made a northerly bend. It had only taken 5 minutes to cross the last marshy section so I told Shannon I just needed to get to that spot. So we trudged off through the marsh to the river's edge. Finally, I had made ot to the spot I had seen on the map and in the aerial photos. There was a great view looking down river with one of the Twin Mountains in the background. We took some photos and then with the time check we needed to start heading back. I had wanted to explore more here but it will have to wait for another time. We headed back through the marsh. Following our tracks wasn't so bad but when we went around the peninsulas the grasses were tall and moving through them just sapped our energy. we could hardly wait to get back into the forest without the drag of the grasses and bushes. I reversed my bearing knwoing we would be taking a slightly different route back due me turning off the bearing to the sound of the river earlier. While following this bearing travel was easy. At times it felt like a trail but likely just wishful thinking. Regardless, the direction of travel had us moving through easy terrain even as we gained elevation up to the shoulder of the mountain. This route had us slightly more west and we passed by a nice cliff face. At the shoulder I adjusted the bearing to match the change in the "trail" as we did on our way to the river. As we approached the swampy section it looked much larger than it did the other way. Looking at the map, the trail was supposed to go right through the center. I wondered if earlier we had just hit a small arm of it and got lucky. Steppoing into the spongy mass the grasses here exacerbated our weariness. I knew we were just a tad west from where we crossed before so I headed to that edge of the swamp. Ducking intot he woods for abut and then out to he small section of swmp. We did not see the exact spot we crossed earlier but it must have been close. Up and obver the hill and back to Spruce Lake was all that was left. Not wanting to walk right past the lake on the side of a ridge, I cheated a bit to the east. At one point Shannon realized she lost the rain cover to her pack. We headed back up the hill for a few hundred yards looking for it. She could not recall the last time it was on her pack. We felt bad leaving it in the woods. Soon the lake was in view and because I had cheated east we were east of our target. Shannon waited here while I followed the shoreline to the canoe and paddled to where she awaited. The winds had picked up a bit so the lake was not glass like earlier but still an easy paddle back to camp. It was now dinner time. Shannon got the fire going while I cleaned myself up at the water. I commented how refreshing it was so Shannon also decided to go. We were just finishing eating when Dan arrived. We figured he would be back after us as he was planning on fishing the pond. He caught a few fish and prepared then for his dinner. We shared the details of our adventures with each other and by the time we went to bed it was close to ten. What a great day. Day 6 was just packing up and heading back. We hiked with Dan for about 2 miles until the junction to his trailhead and we continued on to ours for another 7 miles. At the cars we cleaned up and heasded home. When I stopped for gas I texted Justin the photo of the stillwater to see if he could the location. I should not have been surprised he got it on the first try. Maybe he and I will head back there and do some more exploring. View the full article
  15. Day one: Met Shannon at the trailhead parking on Haskell Rd. As we were getting ready another vehicle pulled in with six other hikers. The weather for the next few days was not favorable, after that the forecast is too far to predict. All geared up, we set out along the NPT towards Spruce Lake. Today would be about ten miles. The trail here is quite familiar to me yet I always seem to rediscover its less obvious features which were lost in my memory. Small drainages, large rocks, obscure side paths, etc... A lot of past memories come back vividly, of meeting people on the trail and other experiences from past adventures. So far the weather was perfect. Not too hot, nor rainy. We played leap frog with the other group a couple times. Seemed like more, but it was really one group and a solo thru- hiker. Some of them were going all the way to Placid for their 30th anniversary, the others were hiking with them to Wakely. I offered some hints as to nice places along the way and mentioned the flooded section just north of the Carry lean-to.We made decent time and arrived at Spruce Lake #2 by early afternoon. There were two guys who had hiked in for the day and were just leaving. The lean-to was mostly clean. Some plastic spice jars on the floor had been chewed on, and a few cans of chef boyardee on the shelf. I ate my first late lunch, set up camp and gathered firewood. Our packs were a tad heavy carrying six days worth of food. Since we were coming back this way in two days, we would secure a bear caninister with our food off trail for the second half of our trip. Made a small fire to dispel the bugs. On it we poured the oregano and garlic powder from the containers to get rid of them.Amde a nice smelling campfire. We were both in bed before the sun went down. Day two: Since we had been expecting rain, and didn't get any I figured we were ahead of the curve already for the trip. No complaints here. Sicne we had gone to bed early, arising with the sun still allowed for a lot of sleep. We didn't need to rush either as today was only another ten miles or so. Nearby we hid our bear canister and continued North on the NPT. At Sampson Bog we passe by the hikers from the previous day. We chatted a bit and crossed the waterfall without the bridge with ease. Not long later we stopped for a snack and they caught up with us. One of the older women mentioned she was worried about the flooded section and had considered turning back. We hiked with them a short while as I re-assured her it was not as bad as she thought. Just not fun. I said I would have felt extremely guilty had she turned around. A few others had mentioned to Shannon the concern from this woman as well. Again we found ourselves ahead of the group. Took a long lunch break at South Lake. A southbound hiker was swimming near the bridge just up the trail. The bridge here is beginning to show some wear. Still structurally sound, but will need some maintenance in the near future. This would not be a fun crossing without a bridge. As we passed by the side trail to West Lake Shannon marvelled at the sign. I had forgotten about it. We signed in at the register near the old ranger station and french louies fireplace. The reroute trail from many years ago had been quite a mess. Due to all the dry weather it was quite easy. Passing by Mud Lake I remembered last year's shorelinme search for the old campsite to no avail. A few blowdowns in the area are tough to duck under. Found an almost brand new hat on one of them. I picked it up figuring it was part of the groups ahead of us. We caught up with them at the bridge over Mud Creek. They said the hat was not their's but maybe the southbound hiker. We said we were heading to Cedar #3 lean-to, they said they were considering either #1 or #2. I told them #2 (Beaver Pond) was the nicer option. When we arrived at the fisherman's lean-to we found it surprisingly empty. It was early still though. We set up camp and I read the log book. A few entries mentioned how nice the privy was; Shannon disagreed vehemently. As it was early we put togther day packs and hiked back up the trail to the NPT and then took a bearing to French Louie's cave. It had been a few years and I have never come at it from this angle. A few herd paths going in the approximnate direction made travel a wee bit easier. As we began the up hill portion something didn't feel right even though I was now looking at my compass more diligently. We paused and I realized we were on the wrong upslop of the rise. I must have gone right past it and was now going up the wrong side of the hill. Fortunately we weren't lost, just not where we wanted to be. This side of the hill had quite a few large boulders which makes following the cvontour around difficult. A few steep sections to drop through. Both fun and annoying at the same time. As we came around the correct side, the sky changed and a few drops of rain began. We cozied up near a gaint rock which provided enough shelter for Shannon to put on her pack cover. Not wanted to fuss around in the rain looking for the cave, I took a bearing back to our starting point. The rain was just a few drops and the terrain was looking more familiar. I said, let's just bend around a little farther to look. We did this twice and sure enough there was the cave. I pinned a waypoint on my phone to share with Andy as I never had the exact coordinates. Shannon took some photos. A shot a bearing back and followed it more closely this time ignoring the herd paths. Hit the NPT six feet from where we started. Trust the compass. Back at camp I took a swim as I was a bit dirty after two days of hiking including the short bushwhack. The water felt great. Made a nice dinner of tortelinni with pesto sauce. I put in some of my lunch pepperoni. Will have to have this one again. Aside from the small sprinkle atop cobble hill (the real one) we have had perfect weather. Shannon climbed into bed early. I ribbed her a bit for it, and 5 minutes later also climbed into my bag. Day 3. Was a little cooler last night. No complaints. After breakfast we decided to finish the french Louie loop instead of back tracking. This would make today significantly longer by almost 60%. With very light packs we figured it was not a problem. We set out and had a couple miles of nice hiking. Soon the rains came. Not just a little rain, but buckets. Last time I saw rain like this was when Andy and I had camped near Wakely. I had to hike without my glasses as the water was too much. The rain stopped abrubtly and the sun came out. A little bird chirped moments before hinting at he possibility. I was not looking forward to crossinbg the funhouse bridge with the rain like that. The middle section is at a 45 degree angle and with rain probably not very safe. With the sun, it had dried mostly when we got to it. We got to hike almost dry to the Pillsbury lean-to where we had lunch. The sun was out drying off our packs. Noisey Ridge across the lake started to live up to its name. Clouds were low over the ridge and the sound of rain pouring over the forest could be heard rumbling. We were finished with lunch so we headed back to the trail hoping the westerly winds would push the system past us. It didn't and minutes after getting back on the trail the thunderous rains we heard over Noisey Ridge were soon upon us. Shannon's pace quickened. She later joked she was "trying to outrun it". Again my glasses were off. Due to Shannon's pace we arrived at Sampson Lake in about an hour. The rains subsided for the most part which meant I could now wear my glasses again. With two miles left to the next junction and half our daily miles behind us we were making decent time. As we hiked towards the NPT my mind wandered to whether Dan would be waiting for us, or we would arrive before him. He was hiking with Kristi the last few days in the Pharaoh Lakes region and planned to meet us at Spruce #1. A short break at the junction, then back on the trail we hiked the previous day. Momemts later two thru hikers came by. For the rains we just experienced they were in good spirits. We chatted a bit about their next few miles and inquired as to their planned destination. They said the tent site at Mud Lake. I told them I did not think that site exists having looked for it many times. Not to mention with these storms searching for a not so obvious tent site would certainly sour their trip. I gave them information about the lean-tos and sites a mile before it and recommended a couple. They had spent the night at Fall Stream and I suppose were looking to avoid lean-to areas, I hope they heeded my advice. Over the years the trail maintainers for this section of the NPT have put in a lot of time construction bog bridges over the wettest sections. The logs wwere slippery due to the rain, the rocks were not much better. Shannon had already slipped on the logs and I on the rocks rolling my ankle. Hoping to not have it too sore in the morning. Just after Spruce #3 we gathered up our bear canister and carried it to Spruce #2 to pack them for the last eight tenths of a mile. Shannon also took a couple of the chef boyardees to have for dinner. As we approached Spruce #1 I saw a man heading towards the lean-to with an armful of wood. I called out, "hey Dan-O". He had arrived at the lean-to about an hour before. He was surprised we weren't there yet, but figured I said I would be there. Since Shannon and I were crashing in the lean-to, Dan set up his tent nearby. Not long after the rains came again. Another torrential downpour. All the wood in the area had been soaked so Dan was waiting for me to do the fire. I was not feeling like it, so he used the torch to get it all going. Took a bit of time but soon he had enough to cook his dinner. Using the fire, he dried out some wood and stashed it under the lean-to. Not being very hungry I had a small cup of soup. 3 days in and I had already skipped two dinner entrees. We stayed up later than usual, might have even made it to 9pm. It rained all night long. Day 4. Up with the sun, well daylight. Sun was not shining. Everything was wet even the air. Dan had stashed a bit of dry wood but I wanted to test myself. I gathered wood from the soaking wet forest. I found a dead birch tree which I stripped off some bark, and a downed spruce from which I gathered some fine twigs. I made a base with some dry punky wood froma stump and built the fire. With enough small stuff to dry the bigger stuff I got the fire going using a single match. Is always good to practice for when I really need it. With the fire now going strong I heated some water for coffee. Dan and Shannon were now up. It wasn't raining but the air was still wet. Then it started raining again. Then it stopped. Then more rain. Basically this was the entire day on and off rain. Dan went fishing while Shannon and I rested after yesterday's long day. During one of the breaks in the rain I hiked back to Spruce #2 to check out a side trail and pick up the last can of chef boyardee. Dan returned with a single fish which did not survive being hooked otherwise he would have releaased it. He had the fish as a snack, I made myself some stroganoff and we went to bed. Day 5. Dan wanted to check out a trout pond a copuple miles away and I wanted to check out a section of the outlet river from a failed bushwhack attempt years ago. I found a 1903 map which showed a trail to my desired location. I had no delusions this trail would still exist at all. Looking at the map we determined there was not way for us to bushwhack together and then break off, so we split up. Dan went to the trout pond and Shanon joined me on my off trail adventure. We paddled the glassy surface of the lake to the far corner where the old map showed the trail. Shannon tried taking photos of the newts in the water. With the canoe stowed on the far shore, we donned our day packs. Even though it was not raining we put on rain pants due to the wet underbrush. The old trail followed a generally straight bearing up to the shoulder of Spruce Lake Mtn. I was slightly concerned about our path as the map showed it running right through a marshy area. With the compass calibrated to the correct bearing we headed off into the brush. I was careful to follow the bearing after the ordeal the other day. A lot of false drainages heading in almost the right direction could easily get me off track here. First up and over a small rise and then the marshy area. I was expecting it to be alot larger. A large step over the creek running through it and we were back in a mossy spruce forest. Another climb ot the shoulder and shot another bearing which would eventually bring us to the river. The side of the mtn was quite rocky and travel was not that easy on the downslope. We did cross a very nice drainage with good water. As we continued down the river would be joining us. I could hear some rapids just off our bearing. Evetually I broke off the bearing and headed striaght to the water. We were well east of our desired spot on the river but the sound of the rapids was like s siren call to me. We had some lunch on the rocks and then headed downstream. A stillwater section came into view but the edge of the river was brushy. We ducked back into the woods to go around the obstacle and were soon on the other side of the stillwater. It was too small to be our target. I said I wanted to head downstream for another 20 minutes. Back in the woods and through some dense spruce for a short while and then back into hardwoods and witchopple. Then the true stillwater target appeared. Looked just as I though from scouting the aerial photos. We spotted an old coffee pot in the woods but no discernible place to camp. The large marshy section between the forest and the river's edge was not to bad to walk through so we opted for that. There were peninsulas of forest poking into the marsh. I kept setting my target to each of these. None proved to have a good view. I saw an eagle fly from one of the trees. Eventually on the last one, I could see the edge of the river as it made a northerly bend. It had only taken 5 minutes to cross the last marshy section so I told Shannon I just needed to get to that spot. So we trudged off through the marsh to the river's edge. Finally, I had made ot to the spot I had seen on the map and in the aerial photos. There was a great view looking down river with one of the Twin Mountains in the background. We took some photos and then with the time check we needed to start heading back. I had wanted to explore more here but it will have to wait for another time. We headed back through the marsh. Following our tracks wasn't so bad but when we went around the peninsulas the grasses were tall and moving through them just sapped our energy. we could hardly wait to get back into the forest without the drag of the grasses and bushes. I reversed my bearing knwoing we would be taking a slightly different route back due me turning off the bearing to the sound of the river earlier. While following this bearing travel was easy. At times it felt like a trail but likely just wishful thinking. Regardless, the direction of travel had us moving through easy terrain even as we gained elevation up to the shoulder of the mountain. This route had us slightly more west and we passed by a nice cliff face. At the shoulder I adjusted the bearing to match the change in the "trail" as we did on our way to the river. As we approached the swampy section it looked much larger than it did the other way. Looking at the map, the trail was supposed to go right through the center. I wondered if earlier we had just hit a small arm of it and got lucky. Steppoing into the spongy mass the grasses here exacerbated our weariness. I knew we were just a tad west from where we crossed before so I headed to that edge of the swamp. Ducking intot he woods for abut and then out to he small section of swmp. We did not see the exact spot we crossed earlier but it must have been close. Up and obver the hill and back to Spruce Lake was all that was left. Not wanting to walk right past the lake on the side of a ridge, I cheated a bit to the east. At one point Shannon realized she lost the rain cover to her pack. We headed back up the hill for a few hundred yards looking for it. She could not recall the last time it was on her pack. We felt bad leaving it in the woods. Soon the lake was in view and because I had cheated east we were east of our target. Shannon waited here while I followed the shoreline to the canoe and paddled to where she awaited. The winds had picked up a bit so the lake was not glass like earlier but still an easy paddle back to camp. It was now dinner time. Shannon got the fire going while I cleaned myself up at the water. I commented how refreshing it was so Shannon also decided to go. We were just finishing eating when Dan arrived. We figured he would be back after us as he was planning on fishing the pond. He caught a few fish and prepared then for his dinner. We shared the details of our adventures with each other and by the time we went to bed it was close to ten. What a great day. Day 6 was just packing up and heading back. We hiked with Dan for about 2 miles until the junction to his trailhead and we continued on to ours for another 7 miles. At the cars we cleaned up and heasded home. When I stopped for gas I texted Justin the photo of the stillwater to see if he could the location. I should not have been surprised he got it on the first try. Maybe he and I will head back there and do some more exploring. View the full article
  16. A foiled attempt to climb Mount Baker has us instead exploring the remote wilderness of Vancouver Island. And there is much to discover... View the full article
  17. Lightweight hiking hoodies just might be one of my favorite pieces of gear. Rather than constantly slathering on sunscreen and still getting sunburned, I can now protect my arms, neck, and ears from the sun’s harmful rays without doing a thing. Moisture wicking and breathable, the Arc’teryx Remige hoody is ideal for hiking adventures under the intense sun and varied weather conditions typical in the mountains. Arc’teryx Remige At-a-Glance Weight: Women’s 4.6 oz, Men’s 5.6 oz UPF Rating: 50 Fabric: Thalden Polyester MSRP: $89 Intended Use This lightweight hoody is best used for hiking and trekking adventures in the mountain west. ... The post Gear Review: Arc’teryx Remige Hoody appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  18. Incredibly Lucky We feel incredibly lucky to be able to piece together any kind of long distance hiking this season. In all probability, we will NOT be able to thru-hike the entirety of the Continental Divide Trail in one season. We are going to hike as much of it as we can. The advent of COVID-19 has lifted logistics to an “art form”. All our previous planning has been tossed out the window. As a result, ... The post Making it Work appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  19. The following is a guest post courtesy of Marie Draws. Marie is a PCT thru-hiker and artist who is using her skills to tell the stories of backpackers from diverse backgrounds and communities. After George Floyd’s violent death, I wanted to use my skills to help the Black Lives Matter movement. Fellow hiker Stark Naked reached out to tell me about their experiences of racism on the PCT and I thought a lot more people needed to hear their story. ... The post This Artist’s Illustrations Highlight Challenges Faced by BIPOC Thru-Hikers appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  20. It’s no secret that the trail is my teacher. I learn countless truths about myself, life, and the human condition as I traverse her many miles of lessons. The trail is my church and my therapist, my mentor and my friend. We have a routine. I hike locally every morning and on the weekends, I ask her my meta-questions on the AT during 20 to 30 mile days. While this all started in prep for my Long Trail thru-hike, ... The post When The Trail Says: Slow Down appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  21. The Appalachian Trail footbridge at Harpers Ferry reopened on Friday, July 3, according to MetroNews of West Virginia and multiple internet reports. The footbridge across the Potomac River, linking West Virginia and Maryland, had been closed since it was damaged in a train derailment on Dec. 21. The Federal Railroad Administration determined in a report released in June that an engineer error caused the CSX train to derail, with two freight cars toppling onto the footbridge and into the river, ... The post Appalachian Trail Footbridge Reopens at Harpers Ferry appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  22. A vain attempt at a "nice weather" fall hike in the Adirondacks. View the full article
  23. A quick local hike in the scenic Gatineau Hills north of Ottawa. View the full article
  24. This is one of 4 blog articles on the Long Trail in addition posts on Instagram and Strava. I’m currently writing. See links below. Long Trail Announcement – Part I Long Trail FKT Recap – Part II Long Trail Food & Sleep Strategy – Part III (not yet available) Long Trail Gear List & Review – Part IV (not yet available) The Long Trail The original American Long Trail. The Long Trail traverses the state of Vermont and runs from the northern to the southern border. The trail is an FKT (Fastest Known Time) classic, boasting five new records since 2018. Designed without switchbacks, the Long Trail is known for relentless ups and downs, rocks, roots, and mud. The trail is 273 miles long with 65,000ft of elevation gain and is the most challenging terrain I’ve ever encountered over a prolonged distance, and I’ve run both the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail. Why did I want to do the Long Trail? The FKT is a true classic. I wanted this one. And since I love lists, I’m going to write one. I had multiple sources of motivation to push me through the rocks, mud, sleep deprivation and everything you experience out there: Unfinished business: Few people know I attempted the record in 2015 and ended up with a watermelon sized knee after 90 miles and called it quits. Goodbye, Boston: With Katie and I moving to Seattle this summer, this is my final goodbye to New England, where I’ve lived for the last 10 years. Got to go out with a bang! Black Lives Matter: I’m also hoping this run and my platform will contribute towards positive change and equality in our country for black and brown lives. Racism and social inequality are not confined to our cities. Competitive Trail Record: Few FKTs have the depth of competition that the Long Trail has. I was following in the footsteps of some legendary athletes, literally. The trail name of Jeff Garmine, who set the Unsupported Record last year, is Legend. Unsupported: I <3 fastpacking. With ultramarathons cancelled, this is the year to continue to refine my fastpacking skills. I love the challenge of carrying everything I need – sleeping gear, food, water, clothing – all in my bag. You can read about my pre-trip thoughts in my first blog article in the series! Let’s do this. I’m about to go off on a lengthy day-by-day recount of an epic five day adventure. It’s over 7,000 words, so turn on some jazz music and grab a cup of coffee. Taken from day 2, I hit a nice rainstormGoals As a running coach, I always encourage my athletes to have A, B, and C goals. No goal is more important than the other. The joy is in the experience and if I can hit one or two of my goals with a smile on my face, I am a happy boy. A Goal: Beat the supported record set by Jonathan Basham of 4 days, 12 hours and 46 minutes. B Goal: Beat the unsupported record set by Jeff Garmire of 5 days, 23 hours and 46 minutes. C Goal: Avoid long term injury. The gear and food I brought on the Long Trail, totally 27 pounds.Day One 54 miles (41 miles + 13 miles), Northern Terminus to Laraway Lookout to ~Bear Hollow Shelter. Links to Strava, GPS not 100% accurate. I start my Long Trail FKT at 6:30 am in the morning, unsupported, southbound. Katie and I hike to the northern terminus, which is a slightly uphill 1.5 mile hike. Katie kindly carries the bag to the start and remarks that the bag is outrageously heavy, giving me a lot of confidence pre-trail. I’m carrying 26 pounds, 18 pounds of food (40,000 calories) and 8 pounds of gear. Additionally, I am starting with 2 pounds of water, so I guess I really have 28 pounds. My goal for the day? Cruise, hit 50-60 miles. I breeze through the first 9 miles in at Jay Peak. My pack isn’t that bad! My watch tells me I’m averaging about 400ft of elevation gain per mile. Woof, that’s a lot. But I’m averaging a little over a 3 mph pace. I’ll need 3.2 mph to beat Jonathan Basham and 2.7 to beat Jeff Garmire, so I’m optimistic. Bits and pieces of my memory from my 2015 attempt come back to me. I remember I had accidentally gone up the ski slope in 2015 and made sure to follow the wooded trail. I run into my first hiker, Hero, shortly after Jay Peak. He’s wearing pajama pants and seems to be thoroughly enjoying his thru hike. With a rainstorm coming tomorrow, we debate how bad the weather is going to be. He insists that I take his number in case I need a resupply (I didn’t tell him I was attempting an FKT), and I carry on. Hero has been on trail since mid-May, which is a little concerning because I was under the impression that the Long Trail was actively discouraging hikers through May. I see about 6-7 thru hikers on day 1, the majority of which have been on trail in a similar time frame. I try to tackle my least favorite food I packed, banana chips. High in fat and seemingly less processed than other foods I brought, it seems like a good place to start. I immediately remember which these were my least favorite on the AT. The banana chips are dense, and I need to suck down water to keep my mouth from feeling like a desert. I also indulge in some power chia balls purchased from the Food Co-op. The sun begins to fall in the sky, and I begin to ponder my sleep strategy. I have two different options: Sleep 4 hours from 11-3. Minimize camp set up and take down. Sleep 2 hours from 9-11 and 2 hours from 2:30-4:30. Maximize physical and mental rest and break up the night. Heather Anderson, a legend in the FKT community, had been texting me for the few days before the trip. I am more familiar with and inclined towards option one, but she adamantly defended ‘dirt naps’ (30-45 minute power naps). I decide I’m going to risk it. Either way, I’m going to have sleep deprivation, and Heather’s recommendation is backed by the opinion of most multi-day adventure racers. I summit Laraway Mountain and witness a BEAUTIFUL sunset. Holy crap. That’s nice. I set up my shelter with a lot of vigor and crash around 9PM. Referencing my Green Mountain Club Long Trail map, it appears I’ve covered approximately 40 miles. I’m a little discouraged, because it’s well short of my 60 mile per day goal. At least I know I hit a ton of elevation today, and I have a TON of gas left in the tank. The views from atop Jay Peak, mile 9.At 11PM, I awake with clarity. Pack up my crap and hit the trail. The pink dusk is now a deep black. It’s go time. My feet churn downhill, I feel fresh. The trail continues to be technical and I’m excited to hit the flat section around Vt. Route 15. Hopefully, the flat will allow me to cover good miles, but I’m not there yet. My gaze is locked on the trail. In a meditative-like state, all I’m processing is the incoming terrain – the rocks, roots, branches, trail markers, trees and mud. My feet follow instinctively. The trail pops out at Vt. Route 15. This is one of two road sections on the trail. My pace differential is shocking. My movement isn’t restricted by a trail. But, running on road accentuates just how heavy my pack is. I have a hard time running on the flat sections without exhausting myself. The Long Trail weaves through a few roads before beginning a long, slow climb that culminates on Whiteface Mountain. In 2015, I camped on top of Whiteface, but had a mildly traumatic experience going up the steep climb to the peak. I remember I felt more like a free-soloing rock climber than a hiker. At 2:15AM, well before the peak, I find a decent enough spot to pitch my bivvy and nearby water next to the Bear Hollow Shelter. I don’t want to mess with Whiteface at night again. Plus, the pitter patter of rain starts to fall as I wolf down my last few bites of food and close my eyes. I have a feeling that tomorrow will be a long day. A beautiful sunset atop Laraway Mountain at the end of day 1.Day Two 45 miles (39miles + 6 miles), ~Bear Hollow Shelter to Bamforth Ridge to ~Montclair Glen Shelther. Ten hours into day two and I’ve done 24 miles, a 2.4 mph pace. Things are not going well. First, my throat starts hurting. My metabolism had a hard time keeping up with the food I was cramming into it on Day 1. On Day 2, I feel a pain in the back of my throat; kind of like strep throat. Do I have COVID? I recently tested negative and the symptoms didn’t quite line up. Hopefully I will be fine, but eating some foods is becoming painful. More importantly, the rainstorm hit. The trail has turned wet, which is when the Long Trail gets real nasty. Since the morning, the rain has varied from a faint drizzle to a windy downpour. Every rock and root is now a liability due to wetness. I slip and slide a few times on steep rocks, thankful to not have any major falls. My feet are wet. Many sections of now feature mud. I take a wrong turn and lose 20 minutes. Ugh. My gear and body are both protected from the rain by my Mountain Laurel Design Poncho Tarp. It’s done it’s job, but I have a hard time accessing food and water with the draped poncho covering me. I need to hit at least 50 miles if I want to challenge Basham’s record. At this point, I try not to focus on the details and my slowed pace. All I can do is put my time and energy into worrying about what I control, covering as much ground as possible. If I don’t beat Basham’s record, so what? Who cares? My heart sinks at this thought. Then, I think back to a few hours ago when I was bombing down Mt. Mansfield; steep rocks and thick rains didn’t stop me from rock hopping down a technical shoot. I remember laughing at all the challenges that this day has presented. Despite everything going on, I’M DOING IT. The beauty of an FKT attempt is in the journey itself, not in the finish or the time. It is now the afternoon, and the rain is clearing up. I’m begin to feel like my old self again. The wetness is taking a toll on my feet, they ache and I sense a blister forming, but I can’t worry about that now. I recently crossed Bolton Mountain am now descending down the other side. The trail will have 11 miles of general downhill followed by a three mile road section. I hit it hard. Feeling refreshed, I run and I run and I run. I channel my inner Forest Gump. This section of the Long Trail has very few rocks, and the downs aren’t that steep, allowing for very efficient running. The next few hours are a whirlwind, I cover 15 miles in 3 hours. That feels gooooooood. Just before 9PM, I set up camp with about 180 miles to go. My feet are ghastly white and I can tell I’m getting blisters on the arch of my foot. I put on Aquaphor Lip Repair. I’m currently a quarter way through the biggest single climb of the Long Trail, Camel’s Hump. I know I’m going to hit Camel’s Hump at night. But is the 3rd highest peak in Vermont at night a good idea? I set my alarm for 11AM and shut my eyes. Vermont, aka Vermud.The next thing I hear is Katie’s voice to wake me up. That’s weird… I open my eyes. I’d been dreaming, I think. I look at my watch. 11:20PM. Why would I be hearing Katie’s voice? I start to connect the dots – I had set my alarm to AM instead of PM! Idiot. And somehow, Katie appeared in my dreams to make sure I didn’t sleep through the night. Thank you, Katie! Camel’s Hump is anything but boring. The wind is howling and temperatures are in the mid-forties, I estimate. The trail traverses a lot exposed rock, and I’m not even close to the top. My adrenaline is pumping. The trail continues to climb, and I eagerly pursue it. Thoughts of pace and FKTs leave my mind, right now there is only me and the mountain. I enter the alpine zone and am blasted by winds. Wearing only a t-shirt, I should be freezing. The constant movement buffers me against the whipping cold gusts of air. I’m now fully exposed on top of 4,000ft mountain and it is 1AM. How many people have experienced Camel’s Hump in such conditions without another soul for miles? I feel a rush and yell into the night in joy. Descending off the windy peak, the trail is still very technical and a little wet. I get out my water bottle, a plastic Dasani bottle fitted with a screw-on Sawyer Micro Squeeze filter. The filter allows me to refill water directly from streams and drink straight from the bottle through the filter. During the Appalachian Trail, I carried two Sawyer filters in each of my front chest pockets. This time, I thought it was only necessary to carry one. Boy, was I wrong. I squeeze the Dasani bottle and put it to my lips. The water doesn’t rush into my mouth, rather, it is forced out of the threading where the Sawyer filter is screwed onto the bottle. What the heck? That hasn’t happened before. I examine the filter and notice a small plastic O-ring is suspiciously missing. The O-ring is attached to the base of the filter and creates a seal around the top of the water bottle. The O-ring is necessary to prevent air/water escaping from the water bottle when you squeeze it. The increased air pressure forces the unfiltered water through the 0.1 micron filter and out the other side, allowing you to drink clean water by simply squeezing the water bottle. I find out what happens when the O-ring is gone: the only way to get your filter to work is by strongly sucking on the filter. I try this for a minute and get less than a mouthful of water. Imagine a baby futilely trying to suck on a bottle filled with only air. That is how I feel. Well, this isn’t good. After two and a half hours, I am well passed Camel’s Hump. BUt I’ve only covered 6 miles. Damn, that is slow. Time for camp. After attempting to find or McGyver some kind of replacement O-ring with the gear in my bag, I give up. At around 3AM, I shut my eyes with uncertainties swirling around my head. Beyond this new water struggle, I haven’t even covered 100 miles in the first 2 days. A photo of my foot with a large blister on my foot, taken 2 days after finishing.Day Three 50 miles (42 miles + 8 miles), ~Montclair Glen Shelter to ~Middlebury Gap to ~Mt. Horrid Time to for the real deal. The goals of day one and two were to cruise. If I can play my cards right, I might just finish in two and half more days. I hit trail at 5:15 AM. The trail is taking a toll on my body. My feet now have two large blisters on each arch, my throat hurts more and my shoulders and back are sore from the pack. I have to stick it out. My day begins by going over Mt. Ethan Allen. I still have 170 miles to go, and the next 70 are supposed to be the nastiest. If I can get through today, I am golden (or less screwed) . Movement is slow going. I think I’m a 28 year old living in a 50 year olds body. The rocks, roots and climbs are relentless. I’m so tired of jumping from rock to rock on technical downhill sections. I bump into a hiker named Kaleidoscope near Cowles’ Cover Shelter. She has been pulling 20 mile days herself and is over halfway done with her northbound hike. We commiserate over the rainstorm we endured the day before. We laugh about how ridiculous, yet enjoyable, this whole experience is. As I depart, I wonder how much different life would be if I didn’t feel this desire to push the extreme limits of the human body. Food is harder to eat, particularly nuts. An intense burning sensation stings the back of my throat whenever I try to eat them. This is particularly sad, because I love nuts. So much. The water situation isn’t helping either. I’ve been hiking the whole day lifting and sucking on my water bottle to try to get whatever water I can. Dehydration leads to a whole bunch of issues, so I do my best. I’d walk for a minute with my bottle in my mouth only to get a mouthful of water. It’s not looking pretty. A few hours into the day, I get a thought. I had tried using my gear to create a makeshift O-ring that would create suction in my bottle. However, I hadn’t tried using anything that the trail could provide. I give a leaf a suspicious glance, pick it off the tree, poke a whole in the middle and place it in between the filter and water bottle as I screw on the top. I give the bottle a squeeze, and to my utter delight, water doesn’t escape out the threading. The water is being forced through the filter again! Shocked, I squeeze the bottle again. It works. I try drinking, and aside from a small weird minty flavor from the leaf, the filter works just fine. After a few uses, I realize that the leaves are only good for one use, meaning I’d have to replace the old leaf each time I took off the top. My throat continues to be a problem. Even though I’ve solved my water filtration issue, the constant sucking leaves my throat even more sore than before. This is the underrated part of the FKT where your problem solving skills and knowledge are more important than your physical fitness and ability to crank out miles. Unfortunately, I make two more mistakes with water. Mt Ellen to Mt Abraham is particularly dry stretch of trail. If only I had known. I’ve been enjoying a lighter pack and got in the routine of refilling water only when I was completely out. As I ascended Mt Ellen, I began to notice the dry ground and lack of any recent water sources. Two hours later, I come across my first water source. I have to hike 400 feet off trail to a very nice mountain stream and guzzled down an entire bottle after I applied a new leaf. At least I learned not to skimp on water, right? Wrong. I bumped into two European hikers after Mt. Cleveland, about 11 miles after my first water mishap. “Is there any water up ahead?” I ask. I was out of water again. “Uh, no. You don’t have any water?” they reply. Here we go again. “Well, if you want some of my water, we are about to get off trail. You can have it.” Upon rewriting this experience, it feels like I’m reenacting The Devil Went Down to Georgia by Primus, where the devil offers me a sip of water in exchange for my soul. There are three types of FKT styles, supported, self-supported and unsupported. Going after the unsupported FKT, I cannot use any other resource other than what the trail provides. Taking water from a fellow hiker is against the rules and demotes my record attempt to a self-supported FKT. In this moment, I don’t realize the implications of my actions. I am dehydrated, sleep deprived and a little bit desperate, so it is no surprise that I accept their kind gesture. Bummer, but c’est la vie! Even though I’m in the more technical section, the terrain seems noticeably friendlier than the prior two days. I can feel myself making significant progress, no matter how slow my pace has become. Towards the end of the day, I realize I’ve way overpacked food. My throat hasn’t helped either. I dump some in a garbage can. After 42 miles that day, I cuddle up just past Middlebury Gap. I find a stagnant ‘stream’ to wash my aching body and overstressed skin. I try to eat all the food my body will allow, I’m pretty sure I’ve started to hit a significant caloric deficit. Notice anything small and green hanging off my waterbottle? #waterfilterAt 11:54PM, I start my third night run. I do a quick battery check. With 1-2 more nights remaining, my headlamp reads two-thirds charged, my iPhone was just recharged and my Anker battery pack has a half charge remaining. That should be enough to get me through 2-3 more nights. I begin with a 2 mile, 1,000ft climb up Mt. Worth. Life isn’t too bad. I really have come to enjoy climbing when it is dark out. My mind is clear and there is nothing to do but move forward. My second climb of the night goes over Mt. Horrid. I chuckle to myself as I bound through the dark Vermont Forest. Mt. Horrid turns out to be pretty pleasant, aside from a cold breeze whipping through the trees. Suddenly, the light on my headlamp dims. That’s odd. I look at my battery, somehow the went from two of three bars to one flashing bar in two hours. This means that my battery has is almost dead. I trek on for a few minutes until I find a flat spot to set up camp and pass out. With 125 miles to go, I’m beginning to count down the time. A photo from Burtn Rock Mountain, looking back at Camels Hump State Park.Day Four 57 miles (46 miles + 11 miles), ~Mt. Horrid to White Rocks to ~Baker Peak When I did the Appalachian Trail in 2017, it took me a few days to really have any fun. On day one, I experienced multiple ankle twists. On day two, severe chaffing. At the beginning, I was obsessed with timing, pace and progress. Finally, I hit a rhythm and started to relax. This is the reason I like multi-day FKTs. You can chill out. As I put on my Pa’lante Pack and laced up my Columbia Montrail Trans Alp FKTs, I felt a sense of gratitude and appreciation that didn’t exist in the first 3 days. I’m 28 years old, going on a reckless adventure on the oldest Long Path in the United States. Despite being self-reliant on trail, (well, almost), I still needed Katie’s loving help and support to get to the start line. Each day, I cherish her response to the multiple daily voice memos that I sent. Despite not being by my side, she is with me. I look through the overwhelming number of texts and messages from friends, family and strangers on my phone. I feel so lucky, so blessed, so privileged. Up until this point, a 13.5oz bag of rocks has stayed stashed away at the bottom of my bag. Before my journey, we wrote the names of eight individuals who had been murdered due to police or civilian brutalities. I stop to take a photo of the rocks laid out on the trail. By the end of my journey, I will have crossed only one non-white face out of hundreds of day hikers and backpackers. The hiking community is overwhelming white. FKTs and the outdoor community at large are often regarded as disproportionally white. Hell, I’m in Vermont, one of the whitest states in the US. Racism in this country is systemic, I cannot kid myself into thinking that our outdoor spaces are somehow immune. I have a responsibility to take the movement that is happening in our biggest cities and bring it to our trailheads. The Long Trail is a place for me to express myself. The Long Trail allows me to test my limits, to live in awe of the natural world, to laugh, to cry, to heal. I reflect on how at home I feel. Not once have I felt anxious or unsafe due to the color my skin. I don’t worry about if I fit in or why no one else looks at me. With all these thoughts on my mind, what can I do for myself, but also what can I do to make our outdoor spaces accessible for all? In the moment, not much. I hope that our fundraiser for Outdoor Afro is going well and by using my voice and social media, at least a few individuals will look at this topic differently, become an ally or take action. I reflect on the name written on each stone: Trayvon Martin – Florida Ahmaud Arbery – Georgia George Floyd – Minneapolis Tamir Rice – Ohio Eric Garner – New York Freddie Gray – Maryland Manuel Ellis – Tacoma Breonna Taylor – Kentucky I passionately write my reflections into my phone while hiking, with some back and forth with Katie. I’m so thankful to have Katie. I need a thought partner that I can talk over such complicated subjects with in a safe space. For anyone reading, that was really my first step into having an active opinion on Black Lives Matter. My stomach grows queasy when I hit the post button on Instagram, worried about my social responsibility and how people might react. I put my phone away and focus back on the trail in front of me. All the sudden I realize that it is 6:40PM sand I only have 85 miles left to go. I only have 85 miles left to go?! Since leaving the northern section, the trail feels like buffed out West Coast Trail. The Long Trail has now joined with the Appalachian Trail. I’m on familiar territory. I can’t believe the difference. It is like night and day. There are still a lot of rocks, but I’m making great time. The elevation feels like nothing. Could I possibly finish before nightfall tomorrow? I’d be two hours behind Basham’s record, but I’d be done and proud. Plus, I’m not sure if my headlamp and flashlight will last two more overnights. I start doing the math. Day falls as I start my climb up White Rocks Mountain. I’m less than 79 miles away. I need to recharge my flashlight, but if I can get a full charge I probably have 6 hours of light left. My phone has about 75%. Should I try to push on through the night? As I climb White Rocks, the decision is made for me. I’m desperately cold. A cold front came in, and the low temps will probably drain my battery and night miles are slow going anyway. I realize just how sleep deprived I feel. I’m having a hard time deciding, but sleeping now and following my original strategy is the only thing that makes sense. I camp at the first flat spot, which happens to be a windy ridge. Terrible call. I immediately curl up in my sleeping quilt. I don’t feel like much of anything except sleeping. It takes me a few minutes of rolling around in my quilt to finally take my socks off of my swollen feet. Woof, the blisters look real bad now. All they have to do is last one more day… A photo of 8 rocks of black individuals who were murdered by police/civilian brutality. I carried the rocks for my entire journey.My throat is now undeniably painful. I don’t want to eat anything even though I know it will help. I have Fritos, trail mix, oreos, plantain chips, 2 snickers, a salami stick and lots of nuts. The only thing that my throat agrees to are Fritos. To make them go down easier, I pour some filtered water into the bag. I funnel a ziplock bag of cold, mushy, salty and delicious Fritos to the face. I realize I haven’t had this much calories at one time in days. Perhaps the Fritos will be the only food that goes down easy. With this in the back of my mind, I decide to leave about two handfuls of Fritos in case I get desperate tomorrow. I plug my Petzl Nao headlamp into my battery pack. I cross my fingers that it will have a full charge after my nap. With coldness trying to permeate my quilt, I try to catch a little sleep. I awake in a daze. I only slept an hour because I’m cold. My body is slow to move. Exhaustion and cold feed my weariness. I linger for 10 minutes before putting on my socks under my quilt. As I look under the quilt, a bright light shines back at me. The light is coming from my headlamp. My headlamp is on. Oh god, no. I quickly turn it off. I must have turned it on accidentally as I awoke. The battery pack is dead, but the headlamp reads only one of three bars is charged. That must be a mistake, the actual charge must be closer to 50%. It just must be closer to 1/3 than 2/3. I wrestle on my shoes, careful not to pop my blisters, pack up my gear and leave. As the wind howls, I meander up the trail. My body shivers uncontrollably, trying to heat up. Boy, a hot shower sounds nice right now. The raw skin on my shoulders and lower back stings as it comes back into contact with the backpack. Here we go. Back in my familiar state of being, hiking, my body comes around to the idea of moving. I begin to experience a little more comfort as I start descending the other side of White Rocks Mountain. My thoughts wander to little electronic gadget shooting a beam of light from my head. How much charge will my headlamp really have? Only time will tell. It has to at least last through tonight. I carry onward. My headlamp goes into low power mode. Oh crap is my first thought. I’m three hours into my night hike/run. I have at least 65 miles to go. My second thought it to turn off my headlamp and navigate by iPhone battery light. The iPhone is considerably less powerful, but I’m going up a steep climb so I don’t need to move fast. I go through my options to finish. The smartest move would seem to be sleep. Then, I’ll be ready to hit the final miles hard. My biggest problem will be managing battery life thru inevitable night hiking tomorrow. At 2:30 AM, I find the next spot to turn off and set up camp. My watch alarm is set to 4:10AM. Me nomming on some oreos. Keep reading for DIY cooking tips and on trail smoothies.Day Five 68 miles (52 miles + 7 miles + 9 miles), ~Baker Peak to Maple Hill to Sucker Pond. Recorded half of my runs due to low watch battery. Today is the day. Finish or die. Sixty eight miles to go, leave it all out there. I start the day strong. In about 2.5 hours, I’ve covered eight miles. My mind goes through all the hypothetical situations: Average 3.5 mph, finish at midnight Average 3 mph, finish at 3AM Average 2.5 mph, finish at 7am, just under 5 days total Average 2 mph, curl up into a ball and cry At this point, I’m at least 5 hours behind Basham’s record at 3.5 mph, and about 23.5 hours ahead of Garmire’s record at 2.5 mph. I am motivated by a thought. Am I really going to finish in over 5 days? The thought seems tragic. If I don’t go sub-5, put my name up there with the likes of Romeo and Gatsby. The fire has been lit. To make this happen, I’m going to need all the energy I can get. My water bottle + filter + leaf system is somewhat successful. I can tell I’m still dehydrated. I take in as much water as efficiently as my janky system will allow. My real issue is nutrition. Not only am I running off 15 hours of sleep in the last four days, but I haven’t been eating. My highs stop being as high and my lows start to feel lower. There has to be a conscious effort to eat. Additionally, my body is starting to fail me. My blisters hurt more with each step. The blister has expanded to cover both the arch and the inside of my foot. Every time I take a bad step, I feel the fluid shooting into the outside edges of the blister. The fluid is separating layers of skin to create more blister. I feel my lower back. There is an inch long, circular gash caused by pack rubbing. To alleviate the pain, I tighten my backpack straps. The straps dig into my already raw shoulders, and the tightness has even caused chaffing on my ribs. My trail name should be Frankenstein, not Stringbean. A close up photo of my face. I look real bad.Despite all these setbacks, I am cruising. My back is the lightest it has ever weighed. The terrain is so much nicer. When I did the Appalachian Trail, I thought Vermont was one of the more challenging sections. Now it felt like a cakewalk. The majority of the mud has dried, there are few rocks and roots on the trail and the gains aren’t as extreme. At about 53 miles out, my energy starts to plummet. I can tell I am hurting. My system needs food. Luckily, I saved those Fritos! To no ones surprise, they sucked on day two. I had a hard time stomaching them, all the yummy fat and salty flavors were suddenly gone. What was left was cold, mushy, bland and terrible Fritos. My body needs more firepower. Lightbulb! The Oreos were saved for this moment, but they don’t have to be eaten alone. I’ve been unable to eat my nuts, but maybe I can have a life hack. Using my entire bag of Oreos (~1,500 calories), a half bag of almonds (~1,000 calories) and filtered water, I make a smoothie. Maybe you’d call it sludge. Either way, it was absolutely out of this world. My throat only has minor stinging. Sitting by a nice stream, I scarfed down the whole meal in 10 minutes flat. That is the real FKT! Back on trail, the food doesn’t sit well at first. I’m still lethargic. Expecting a full energy recovery, I wait for the breakthrough. It never really comes. Leading up to Stratton Mountain, the last true mountain of trail, there is a long section of flat section. I run as much of it as I can. According to my watch, I’m moving at around a 4 mph pace. Booyah. Caution to the wind, I try to hold this pace until the big incline of Stratton. Finally, I hit Stratton Pond and the 1,700ft climb begins. My legs burn and my heart rate skyrockets. The trail isn’t technical, but it is more challenging than any climb so far. I’m exhausted. Speeding through the last section took it’s toll. Halfway up, I decide I’m terribly sleep deprived. My energy levels are much too low. I just ate 2,5000 calories. If I was calorie deprived, I would have bounced back after my oreo smoothie. I look at my watch and notice the battery is at 5%. With only 41 miles to go, I’d covered the last 27 miles in 8.5 hours. A 30 minute nap and I’ll be ready to crush the rest of the trail! After a brief snooze, my alarm goes off. I never actually went to sleep. I try to feel confident about my decision, however I get the feeling like it was a giant waste of time. As I trudge up Stratton Mountain, my heart rate still spikes and my legs are weak. My mood shifts towards increasingly irritable. I start to blame myself for the impending headlamp battery issue, for not being faster, for even attempting the Long Trail in the first place. Summiting Stratton Mountain doesn’t do anything to cheer me up. In fact, it only accentuates the significant pain in my feet from my blisters. Actually, I realize only one of my blisters hurts. Searching for any excuse to stop, I take off my shoes. The blister on my right foot popped naturally. It looks and feels great. With only 40 miles to go, I’m not longer worried about a foot infection from a popped blister. Well, if my right foot feels great with a popped blister, why don’t I speed up the process on my left foot? Pinching my nails together, I pierce the skin. Yellow fluid oozes out. Ew. A post trail photo of Columbia Trans Alp FKTs. They are in good shape!Excitedly, I put my shoe back on. Finally, I can run without foot pain. Immediately upon putting on my shoe, I realize I am mistaken. The left foot is now 3x more sore than it was before. Running is quite painful, and I’m near the top of a 1,700ft descent. Sometimes, you’re not as clever as you think you are. Nevertheless, after about 3 miles of painful running, the pain subsides. My next problem quickly arises. I’m having a hard time running for more than 30 seconds downhill. I get short of breath. This becomes particularly problematic when I am going uphill. If I try to transition to an uphill climb shortly after running, it feels like I have been punched in the chest. My legs lose all strength and I struggle to stand. After a few seconds rest, my strength returns and I can hike again. After a little trial and error, I realize I am pretty much relegated to power hiking. If I do anything to elevate my heart rate, the energy gets zapped out of me. I retreat into the pain cave of my mind. The deep, dark place that only I know exists. The place that allows me to ignore the extreme discomfort and fatigue. My body takes over, almost on autopilot. The miles continue to tick off, the hours continue to move ahead. I’m now less than 20 miles away. I need one last spurt of mental energy devise a game plan for the night ahead. I text back and forth with Katie. She has received multiple text messages from me, each more dire than the next. We agree it would be best for me to sleep at 9PM and try to regain whatever energy I can. I’d then have a mad dash to the finish using primarily my iPhone battery. If that died, I’d camp. Dawn is at 4:30AM, leaving me with 2 hours of sunlight before the 6:29AM five day cutoff. I find an appropriate spot to camp with 16 miles to go. As I set up my bivy, I can’t think but how dumb this plan is. I’m 16 miles away, going at an all out effort, and am trying to sleep? In college, I would run that distance in less than 2 hours. However, with my decision to stop is reaffirmed when I try use my headlamp. The battery must have gone from low power to no power since I last used it, because it won’t turn on. All I have left is 34% iPhone battery. This will be fun. I wake up ready to ROCK. If only I had a guy with a boombox playing Rage Against the Machine running beside me. I start cruising through forest. Despite my weak light source, I become wreckless. This is my one shot. Gloves are off. I notice my battery jumps from 34% to 24% between turning it on/off. Damn you Apple. Oh well, I’m in the zone. I’m more alert and energized than I have been in days. Energy is pumping through my veins. I’m not longer having issues running. I find myself even being able to comfortably run on some uphill sections. The battery drops to 15%. I’m now dropping 500 feet to cross Vt. Route 9. The trail transforms into its only rocky, technical self, the one I cursed for 170 miles. On the other side of Route 9, I climb an identically technical 500 foot rock staircase. Battery is at 10%. I start running any uphill section that I can handle. I don’t care if I’m breathing heavily. The trail is fairly runnable, and nothing is going to stop me from missing the 5 day cut off. My battery dips to 5%, then 4%, then 3%,. I stop looking at my phone and focus on running what I have left. I’m definitely not going to finish before dawn. All the sudden, it happens. My iPhone flashlight shuts off. I realize I’m going to have to camp right at this spot. Luckily, it seemed fairly flat. I double check my phone only to realize that there is still 2% left! My spirits jump and I’m back to the races. My iPhone shuts off a second time. Looking at my phone again, it still have 1% remaining. I’m going to squeeze every last drop of energy out of this thing. I connect the dots that iPhone probably has a battery-saving feature to shut off the flashlight if battery is low. Finally, the phone dies for real. The only problem is I’m smack dab in the middle of a long stretch of two-by-fours elevated above Sucker Pond. It’s pitch dark. I can’t camp here. I estimate I have about 100 feet of plank walkways ahead and behind me. Unable to see the ground, I need some kind of light to guide me. My GoPro has 5% battery, so I hit record. The LED screen offers a dim light. I bend over, the GoPro inches off the ground. The light allows me to baby-step forward. After a few minutes, I find myself on solid ground. The GoPro dies, but I can at least camp here. With only 2% battery on my COROS watch, my last remaining electronically charged item, I set my alarm for 4AM. When the light comes, I need to be ready to go. To my surprise, the trail has faint enough light to navigate at 4:15 AM. I have 8.5 miles to go. Can I run 8.5 miles in 2 hours and 14 minutes? In any other circumstance, I’d laugh at that challenge. I try to channel my old cross country days. For the first time in this entire adventure, this felt like a true race; physical capabilities put to the test against a clock. Every so often I check my watch. The first 4.5 miles has about 1,000ft of elevation gain. There aren’t any physical landmarks for me to use, so I don’t know my true distances. At about two miles in, it looks like I am averaging 5 mph. At 4 miles in, my pace looks closer to 4 mph. Am I going to be just short? This fuels me to run up the last significant uphill. The time is counting down and the finish doesn’t seem any closer. The clock hits 6AM, then 6:10AM, then 6:20AM. With 9 minutes to go I holler in desperation, hoping that Katie will hear me from the southern terminus. I don’t hear any response. All I can do is keep running, my breathing is quite heavy. I yell again. This time, I hear a response. I cross the southern terminus of the Long Trail at 6:23 AM, six minutes under five days. Katie is waiting for me, and I give her the biggest hug I can muster. She is also joined by a handful of wonderful friends, Josh and Cooper Katzman, Evren and Tara Gundez, Jen Watt and Eli Burakian. My heart is overcome with joy that these people would be here for me. The mad dash to the finish is capped off by the company and laughter of good friends. I am beyond words. The trail is humbling, inspiring, and grueling. Anyone who’s hiked or run the 273 mile Long Trail knows it is a unique beast. Its endless rocks, roots, exposed peaks and steep climbs make it unlike anything I’ve ever run/power hiked/frolicked thru. In my final 48 hours, I faced sleep deprivation. I had to overcome constant self-doubt, a slowed pace, and a dead headlamp and phone, but the burn to finish in under 5 days was relentless. Going into the final night, I had one option: run as far as physically possible. Over the next 30 minutes, I drink a water, kombucha, hot chai tea, and Heady Topper. We relish the moment. My favorite comment a few hours later was from Evren, ‘Right now, you look terrible. But when you finished, you looked HORRIFIC.’ At the finish, everyone wanted to get a look at the eight 13.5oz stones carrying the name of an individual who had died due to police/civilian brutality. I had accomplished my goal of carrying them from start to finish. We took a photo with them. Jen and Katie suggested that we leave them at the Southern Terminus as a tribute. And so, we nicely arranged the rocks before hiking the last 4 miles through Massachusetts back to our cars. Three days later, Katie and I started our cross country drive/move to Seattle. Goodbye, New England. Me hugging Katie at the southern terminus of the Long Trail. We did it!Is this still not enough? Congratulations on reading my Long Trail FKT recap. I hope you enjoyed reading about my journey. Joe ‘Stringbean’ McConaughy is an ultramarathon runner for Columbia and a fastpacking/running coach. You can follow along with his adventures on Instragram, Facebook and Strava. Listen to a podcast on Joe stork on the Fastest Known Times Podcast Read an article on Joe by The Trek Read an article on Joe by Runner’s World Leave comments/thoughts/musings below. Ill happily answer any questions! The post Long Trail FKT Recap appeared first on TheStringbean. View the full article
  25. Make the most of the long days with hand-picked discounts on a solo tent, summer sandals, and more. It's the summer of exploring your own backyard: With international travel out and many states around the US continuing to discourage visitors, it's a good time to get out, get some sun, and safely get to know your local woods, mountains, and rivers. Upgrade your experience with these five gear picks, all available at a discount right now at REI's 4th of July Sale. View the full article
  26. Trek

    The Noom Me

    A Little History Since I started blogging for the Trek in 2016, I’ve taken five long section hikes losing an average of 25 pounds each hike. One might think I was down to about 100 pounds at this point, except I managed to regain the weight I lost in about the time it took to walk it off. The Spring of 2019 was particularly bad because I had rotator cuff surgery and my recovery prevented me from working out until well into June. ... The post The Noom Me appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  27. This stove won't let a little weather ruin your dinner. Integrated stove systems make cooking after a long day’s hike a breeze, and the WindBurner can handle a full-on gale thanks to its bomber wind screen and radiant burner. It performs admirably in high winds and sideways rain, and a pressure regulator keeps it going full blast on cold nights and at high altitude. This beast can boil a full liter of water in just 4 minutes, making it one of the most-efficient canister stoves out there. Get it now for 25 percent off at Backcountry. View the full article
  28. Was looking for something new and a little different while in the Lake George area and remembered reading a trip report on this small peak which sits just north of Prospect Mountain and the right beside the Northway. Thought it looked interesting enough to give it a shot so drove to the parking area on Big Hollow Road just east of I-87 to get started, elevation approximately 620 feet. Immediately after leaving the car I headed west under the set of culverts running beneath the interstate. Big Hollow Road is a very, rough old road that climbs very steeply west up away from the interstate. Off to the left of the road is Big Hollow Brook, which offers up several pretty cascades as it makes its way down the hollow. The small falls and cascades are easily reached down lower in the hollow, but the walls above the brook grow increasingly steep and difficult to traverse the higher you get. The ascent up Big Hollow Road is rocked filled and steadily steep, but never too difficult. The high humidity did make the climb seem much tougher, however. Just above 1300 feet I left the road, heading northeast, then crossed under power lines and re-entered a conifer forest. Found a small old woods road that climbed for a bit before eventually picking up a foot trail of sorts, marked with white blazes. They headed towards the unnamed summit so I simply followed them up. Near the summit, the woods transitioned to mostly hardwoods and sedge grass. From a clearing just below the summit, a southern exposure provides up close and personal views of Prospect Mountain and Black Spruce Mountain. The radio towers between the two peaks can be easily picked out as well. Dark storm clouds were rolling in all around us, quickly surrounding Prospect's summit area. A framed look down towards Million Dollar Beach and Lake George Village. This is certainly a view that would be much better with the leaves off the trees. The summit ridge was very pleasant and made for a nice stroll through meadow like conditions. I searched around and found the nondescript 1650 foot high spot that was less than a football field away from the ledge views. Instead of turning back, I decided to follow the white marked trail east, where it dropped down the nose of the ridge. A short distance down the white markers disappeared, but the remaining herd path was very easy to follow. With strengthening winds and claps of thunder all around, I made a hasty retreat down this trail. The trail basically vanishes at the bottom, but I was within eye sight of Big Hollow Road again, so I popped back out onto the road and made it back to the car in no time at all. Hiked about 3.3 miles RT, with 1100 feet of ascent. View the full article
  29. Snowed out in October? My first explorations of the Jay Range are thwarted by some unexpectedly heavy October white precip.... View the full article
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