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  1. Both Pachaug and Tippecansett are real words. In southeastern New England, there’s a lot of words like this. It reminds me of a time in Providence when some obvious tourists asked me the names of the rivers. “The Mohassuck and the Woonasquatucket”, I said, to which they replied, “Oh, come on!”. This was one of those days where you are shiny with sweat, and only the continued motion of your body provides enough airflow to keep cool. Stopping for a pee or a drink gets uncomfortably hot. I think it hit about 90 degrees. And there were bugs. The trail starts just past Beach Pond in Arcadia Park in RI. At one point you could swim in the pond, but it’s since been closed due to high bacteria counts. As the RI side of the pond is in an undeveloped state park, and the CT side of the pond is lined with cottages, we’re looking at you, Connecticut. As in, stop pooping in the pond. This area of RI is rocky and ledgy, with lots of little ups and downs, and steep, however short, cliffs. I’d been to this trail before in a normal year, and the “hemlock groves” were true to form – mucky, mosquito-infested swamps. Since we’ve had two weeks of no rain and 80+ degree weather, it was tolerable. You can find this and many other trails in Ken Weber’s excellent book, Walks and Rambles in RI. I recommend doing the path in reverse, so that right before you back to the car, you can make use of some nice rocky areas where you can jump in the water. There’s no swimming, so do it at your own risk. Moving through the woods and steadily away from the sound of cars and weekend motorcylists on RI-165, the trail goes up and over some moderately steep ledges, although being RI, nothing is more than 50 or 100 feet at a time. The path then hugs the eastern side of Beach Pond. If you follow the path in the book, bear left and take the blue trail. The heat, angle of sun, bugs, and dry forest instantly brought back memories of hiking through Norcal in 2018. Good times. I even sang a little for the full experience. Eventually you cross into CT. Sign in please. The trail meanders a bit but eventually you reach the boat ramp and parking area for the pond on the CT side. This took FAR longer than I had planned, either I’m REALLY slow and out of shape (I am), or the mileage is off (probably), or I fell victim to what I call Hiker Time Dilation Syndrome. We normally have so much input and unnecessary noise coming at us that our brains are in constant alert mode. The act of simply walking through woods for 15 minutes can seem to take forever, because “nothing is happening”. And that’s exactly the point. Now you start to get into the shit. In a good way. Lots of ledges separated by hemlock groves. As I mentioned above, in a normal summer these are impassable, mosquito-filled swamps. Perhaps an over-exaggeration, but in the Northeast, hemlock = bad. However today, despite the humidity, it’s been so hot and dry that things were more civil. After what the book claims is “5 miles” the trail intersects a trashed out ATV/mud-truck road. The scource of RI woodlands, these muddy tracks, often lined with beer cans, crisscross the management areas. The trail hooks left and goes ever on, but the path back to the car is to follow the road. It seems even ATV guys don’t want to get wet. Watch for a fork after a short bit – your feet will keep you going straight for another half mile until you hit a dead end, in the middle of nowhere, on private property. The proper road moves along now heading generally south, past a few side trails and interesting things to explore. unlabelled but unforgotten cemetery Around the time you start to hear the road, the path becomes less muddy and less beat. At a sign, hook right and you’re back on the track you started on. The paths criss-cross a few other ones, some herd paths to the water, but navigate by eye and ear and you will either come out to an old picnic area on the road about 100 yds from the parking area, or you’ll hit the parking area. Across from the proper Beach Pond parking lot there’s a “boating and hiking” parking lot, with the obligatory “No Swimming” sign. I waded down the boat ramp and the water was warm and shallow – not super refreshing like jumping off rocks, but at least a good place to wash up before heading home. The post Pachaug and Tippecansett appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  2. Enough people have asked me about my Long Trail gear list so I thought I would post it. It’s similar, almost identical, to my PCT Gear List, with my Borah Gear tarp replacing my trusty Big Agness FlyCreek. I hiked in September, so I had to be prepared for chilly weather, which was in abundance, and also rain, which was also in abundance. I think a for a summer-only hike you might get away with a lighter bag, but you probably want to keep the down jacket. And bring bug dope, plenty of it. Summary Backpack: Osprey Exos58. Way too big, but I owned it, and it’s got 3000+ miles on it, and I love it. Tent: Borah Gear 7×9 silpoly tarp, that I used exactly once. Every other night was spent in a shelter, or indoors. Ti stakes. Quilt: Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20. 3000 miles on it now, and I still love it. Sleeping pad: Thermarest Neoair Xlite. I struggle with these – one popped 1/2 way through my PCT hike, and this one developed a hole some time near the end or just after my LT hike. In a recent backyard campout I discovered it wouldnt hold air for more than a few hours. Still, when it works, it’s an awesome pad. Shoes: Altra Lone Peak 4s. Dope. Trekking Poles: Cascade Mountain Tech carbon fiber poles. See how to jazz them up with Leki tips here. Cooking: MSR pocket rocket and titanium pot. Water: Sawyer Squeeze, 1.5L bottle and 2 1L platypus bladders. Resources Long Trail Map – having a paper map to spread out on picnic tables, make notes on, and share with other hikers beats the phone-maps by a mile. Long Trail Guide – again, having an actual paper book to make notes in, highlight things, circle things with a pen, etc. gives you something to look back on. Inn at the Long Trail – stay here! Nye’s Green Valley Farm – in Johnston – stay here, nice people Things to do Stop in Bennington for pancakes Take the bus into Rutland and get coffee Eat thimbleberries Stay in Stark’s Nest Stop on Jay Peak and get out of the weather Hitch to St. Albans and take the train home The post Long Trail Gear List and Resources appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  3. Refurb Since these days it’s alternately snow, mud, or COVID19 season, I’m using the downtime to clean and sort gear, make a note of what needs replacing, and doing some refurbishing and maintence. I have a great pair of trekking poles, their one downside is the cheap steel in the tips wears out after several hundred miles. On the PCT I went through a pair by the Sierra (mile 900), and got a new set of lower sections (free) at around Burney (mile 1400). I think is partially due to the dry, abrasive conditions of the first 700 miles of the trip, and then not helped by the rocky, icy conditions for the next 200. Either way, I hate the idea of disposable gear. Old and blownout tipMy poles can only be fixed up by replacing the entire lower section, at a modest cost. But see my previous comment about disposable gear. There’s an incredible environmental cost to making carbon fiber poles, adding the plastic bits, putting them in a box, putting that box on a ship, sailing across the Pacific Ocean, putting them on a truck, and delivering them to my house. This is the part you DON’T pay when you pick up a set of poles for 40 bucks. On the theory that all trekking pole tips are the same (spoiler: they aren’t, but I don’t know if it matters), I picked up a pair of Leki replacement tips. Leki is the premium brand, the Porsche of trekking poles. I’ve had amazing results from my older aluminim Super Makalus. Case in point with Leki – when I needed a replacement part after years of use, I called them – and not only did I immediately get connected to a human being, but she knew the part number and size off the top of her head. But – I own these carbon poles already, so I wasn’t about to replace them. The sweet part of the Leki tips is that they’re harder steel, and concave, so as they wear they retain their “bite”. I had heard you could replace glued-on tips, so I figured I’d try it. Boil them You have to heat the tips for a solid 5-10 minutes in boiling water to loosen the old glue. Get a pair of pliers and grab them by the end (don’t crush the pole itself, it’s only carbon fiber), and twist off. Be patient, and keep boiling if it won’t come off. Be careful. With some convincing, the tips will come off the poles. Once you get the tips off the pole, clean it up gently with some high grit (220 or higher) sandpaper. Try to get the pole smooth – not sanded smooth, but no-more-glue-smooth. Replace I discovered that not all poles are created equal, and not all tips will fit all poles – exactly. The replacement tips don’t come up as high on the poles as the old ones. This means that more torque will be applied to the lower portion of the pole – a potential source of failure. The tips are about 3/4″ short. Slide the new tips onto the old, cleaned-up pole ends until they stick, and then give them a few hard taps on the ground. I haven’t done any formal testing, but they seem stuck on pretty solidly now. Result Behold, my cheap CF poles, tricked out with premium tips! Thoughts Years ago, nobody had trekking poles, we all just had sticks. Then, in the 90s, they became the next big thing. Nowadays the ultralight crowd is getting away from poles, or at least two poles, using single pole tarp setups. Some also claim that going without poles is more “natural”. I’m a walking stick fan in general, but poles are more resilient, easier to travel with and more functional. Maneuvering around on slopes, taking shock off your knees, and holding up your tent are just a few uses. Plus, they look badass. If your poles are old, do yourself a favor and get new tips, it’s amazing the difference they can make. The post Off-season chores: refurbishing trekking poles appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  4. PCT Tribute To celebrate the two year anniversary of starting up the PCT I decided to camp out in the backyard. I pitched the tarp that I acquired for the Long Trail hike but pretty much everything else was the old gear including the shoes. Also making an appearance was my Smart Water bottle, the Revelation, the Sawyer filter, and my trusty Exos. I even filtered water out of the spring that feeds the pond with the Sawyer for old times sake. It only tasted slightly goaty. I’m still mastering the tarp. It’s a bit tricky because you have to pitch the whole thing at once so that each part keeps the other in tension. I’m sure experienced backpackers and tarp guys could probably get it up quicker and with a tighter pitch. It will have to do. There’s a chance of rain tonight, so we will see what this thing is made of. There’s a decent chance it will fly away in the wind. Am I a chicken because I brought my house keys in case I need to run inside during the night? I have a good idea of the animals that live out here, deer, fox, rabbits,turkeys, possum, coyotes, cats, pretty much everything except black bear although there are some of those around a few miles to the north. I’m interested to see if I actually see anything in the field in the early morning or overnight or if my smell will keep them away. Not the usual gross hiker smell of mud but the sad, soapy, clean smell of a town dweller. It all came back. Bittersweet, all my tricks and rituals came right back. The shoes go on the left side with the headlamp in them, while the water goes on the right side. Pack by the feet and the clothes into the stuff sack for the pillow. It’s tempting to say it’s like I never left but that’s of course a lie. I have told myself for the past 7 years that I would do this so I am pretty excited that I finally did it. There is something about being outside, unless it’s below zero or you are soaked to the skin, that is always better than being inside. I want to think that I will sleep very well tonight, but I suspect I will be up frequently. It will take the body more than a few hours to get used to laying on the ground. But maybe I can make this into a regular thing. Survived As usual, I slept through until the soul’s midnight at 3am. I’ve done some reading on how in pre-industrial times people would wake up in the middle of the night, even do some light activities, then go back to the “second sleep”. Something about circadian rhythms, artificial light, all that. It had also begun to rain, a steady light drizzle, with only a bit of wind. Stayed totally dry under the tarp, so that’s a plus. A lot of air found its way OUT of my air mattress, so that was a minus. But, given the relative luxury of being 100 yds from home, I had brought out my trusty ridgerest and was double-stacked on sleeping pads. Anyone else remember when Ridgerest was the brand? I ultimately slept through to 8am, waking up with my hat pulled over my eyes, and drool on my stuff-sack-turned-pillow – just like old times. The post PCT Tribute campout appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  5. To me, long distance hiking is a solo endeavor, a chance to get in touch with myself, and enjoy the solitude and wonder of nature as an active spectator. There are many who enjoy travelling in a Trail Family; some hikers hike all day with others, while others (like me) tend to congregate around the same sites at the same pace as others. I believe in nature this parallels the Bachelor Herd, or what I also term a Confederacy – people you see over and over, but where each maintains a degree of independence. That said, as much as hiking is to me a solitary adventure, I do enjoy running into people along the way. The contrast of their solo experience with mine draws everything into focus. The Gam I came across this passage in Moby Dick the other day, and thought of what, in my mind, strongly parallels the experience when two long-distance hikers meet, typically when going in opposite directions. “If two strangers crossing the Pine Barrens in New York State, or the equally desolate Salisbury Plain in England; if casually encountering each other in such inhospitable wilds, these twain, for the life of them, cannot well avoid a mutual salutation; and stopping for a moment to interchange the news; and, perhaps, sitting down for a while and resting in concert : then, how much more natural that upon the illimitable Pine Barrens and Salisbury Plains of the sea, two whaling-vessels descrying each other at the ends of the earth off lone Fanning ‘s Island, or the far away King’s Mills; how much more natural, I say, that under such circumstances these ships should not only interchange hails, but come into still closer, more friendly and sociable contact. And especially would this seem to be a matter of course, in the case of vessels owned in one seaport, and whose captains, officers, and not a few of the men are personally known to each other; and consequently, have all sorts of dear domestic things to talk about. For the long absent ship, the outward-bounder, perhaps, has letters on board; at any rate, she will be sure to let her have some papers of a date a year or two later than the last one on her blurred and thumb-worn files. And in return for that courtesy, the outward-bound ship would receive the latest whaling intelligence from the cruising-ground to which she may be destined, a thing of the utmost importance to her. And in degree, all this will hold true concerning whaling-vessels crossing each other’s track on the cruising-ground itself, even though they are equally long absent from home. For one of them may have received a transfer of letters from some third, and now far remote vessel; and some of those letters may be for the people of the ship she now meets. Besides, they would exchange the whaling news, and have an agreeable chat. For not only would they meet with all the sympathies of sailors, but likewise with all the peculiar congenialities arising from a common pursuit and mutually shared privations and perils.” This struck me most recently on my Long Trail thruhike. Most of the trip, probably over 95% of it, was spent hiking alone. The farther north I got, the more empty the trail became. It was good, then, to run into southbounders, in general a curious breed, but also to swap news of trail, water sources, dangers (such as nests of bees near the trail), and general information about upcoming views, campsites, and animal sightings. Just north of Bromley Mountain, I ran into Badger, who runs The Trek online magazine, where I sometimes write. Completely random, neither of us had planned or knew the other was on trail, and in fact had never met in person. But like in Melville’s epic, despite how big the world is, sometimes you run into people you know, and sit down and have a gam. It was also nice just to talk to someone else so deeply involved in the same pursuit. Demographics don’t matter I remember fondly the day out of Johnson, when I got to Codding Hollow. I ran into Zoey, a SOBO hiker. It was good to meet a new friendly face, and to stop and enjoy the temporary halt in the rain, and catch up on news about sightings of moose and eagles and discuss the bees which had taken up residence along the trail. It was also nice to have a conversation where you didn’t have to do all the work talking to yourself. Doing a long-distance hike requires such a singular focus that it burns away a lot of the traditional differences. In the case of Zoey, if we had met on the street, or at work, or at a party, there’d be no connection. I was just some old guy with a beard, she was a merry youngblood – nothing in common. But when you’re deeply involved 24×7 in a pursuit that taxes you to close to physical limits, forces you to keep an eye on your environment, and surrounds you with the need to simply survive by your wits and the gear on your back, you don’t have time to care about demographics. All that matters is the craft. HYOH Even after many nights around the dinner circle, there’s often no expectation of anything other than genuine good will. Since you’re responsible for your self and your own success, there aren’t many social obligations that evolve. You can hike with someone for 100’s of miles, and when your paths diverge it’s ok to be disappointed or sad, but there’s no expectation of sticking together. Nobody owes anyone anything, and nobody feels guilty when it happens. If you hike faster than someone else, that’s not a thing you can change, it simply IS – and the phrase Hike Your Own Hike never rings more true. As I mentioned in my post listing music and movies about hiking, Jeremiah Johnson is a favorite. Here two men, who have lived through many perils and triumphs, saved one another’s lives, and travelled together for a long time finally part ways. This is a lot like when two hikers meet and then part, or when your hiking group breaks up. No tears, no needless travel for the sake of companionship, just two people whose time has come to part.  It’s true on trail and it’s true in life. Hike Your Own Hike. The post On crowds, companionship, and solitude appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  6. Halfmile used to maintain free maps, compiled from public sources and updated by hikers, for hikers. There’s a decent amount of work needed to keep these current. For a number of reasons, they’re no longer being updated. The new NatGeo maps are nicer, waterproof, and their purchase helps fund the PCT. Something you should do anyway. If you want to buy maps, please consider clicking here, as AWS gives me a few pennies to cover the cost of my site. PCT Map bundle, the PCT wall-sized map for the folks at home, and some stick/nonstick tags for marking your progress. If you want to roll the dice with old maps, I’ve archived them here as zip files. WARNING: THESE ARE OLD. I MAKE NO WARRANTY AS TO THEIR SUITABILITY FOR YOUR PURPOSE. I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE THESE DOWN AT ANY TIME. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. DONT GET LOST OR DIE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. California Oregon Washington The post Unofficial archive of Halfmile 2018 PCT maps appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  7. (with apologies to Melville) I recently picked up Moby Dick again and was immediately struck by the opening lines. With some modifications, here they are: Call me Smokebeard. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me in town, I thought I would hike about a little and see the green part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get on trail as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the wild. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the wilderness with me. The post Call me Smokebeard appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  8. The peppy, up-tempo highlight reel from my Long Trail 2019 trip. The post Long Trail Highlight Reel Videos appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  9. If you want to skip to the end, I did hike the whole Long Trail. Day 18 – Corliss Camp – 233 Rain started 5 min after I left the trailhead and even said out loud, in spite of the grim and lowering clouds, “I’ve got a good feeling about today.” (Squint and you can see the rain pouring down – look to the right side against the dark green hemlocks). It was another head-down, watch-where-you-step, slippery moning. By midday I reached a neat little place called Coddling Hollow. There I met Zoey, a SOBO hiker, also taking a break. We talked trail stuff; the roadwalk at I-89, the bees near Hazen’s Notch, and what animals we’d each seen ( not many ). Then there was this, right out of a scene in the Hobbit as they cross through the Misty Mountains. Met Lisa and Craig here at Corliss, two more SOBOs, who were debating pushing on towards Johnson. In the end they did, partially because they felt the need to make miles, and partially because they were freezing and wet – the best fix for which is to keep hiking. I cooked and drank hot chocolate, then ate more chocolate, and then had dinner. In this northern section, I’ve finally gotten my Hiker Legs; I’m no longer tired at the end of the day provided I can eat – the limit is hours of daylight. Along with that comes Hiker Hunger. Bob and Louann limped in later. Just as we were all sorted and it was dark, a bunch of people rolled in. They proceeded to make a fire somehow, stomp around up in the loft above our heads, and blast us in the face with their headlamps until almost 10. I found myself thinking unkind thoughts about them. Kind of a sad day, now that I can clearly envision the complete map and schedule for the rest of the trip. Its like all the PCT emotions compressed into 3 weeks. I’m tired, and excited to finish, but I don’t want it to end. It’s both a Long Trail, and a short one – by the time you get into it, you’re done. Day 19 – Tillotson Camp – 248 Cruised mostly down, even over Butternut Mountain, and through Devil’s Gulch, a mostly over-hyped 1/4 mile section of boulders. Everything here is SO green – I guess hence the name “Vermont”. Rain and drizzle ended around 11 at Eden Crossing. At the road I waited for the rain to clear and had lunch, before heading up Belvidere Mountain. Finally saw some actual foliage, and had a good look north at Jay Peak, which was of course socked in with fog and clouds. My feet are prunes at this point from the constant mud. And everything stinks of mud. The camp itself is pretty beat. Although it does sleep 8, technically, and had a nice little table inside. I got a crummy fire going, trying to dry socks. I read over my book and maps and took mental stock of my condition, food supply (especially snacks), and general mood. I thought of doing 15 tomorrow to make last day 9 – but that would be the last 2-3 miles up and over Jay Peak, probably in the rain. Also at Tillotson Camp was a cool southbound kid named Loverboy, so named because on the AT he once flirted his way into a free pizza. Very easy going and mellow, without being over the top and obnoxious. Day 20 – Laura Woodward Shelter – 263 Amazingly, rain only started at Hazen’s Notch, about 5 miles into the morning. I didn’t bother going to the actual camp, since I ran into Early Bird, a SOBO lady hiker, who told me that there was plenty of water short of the shelter. We discussed the bees, and she reported getting stung once. Nobody could describe the bees, or the exact location of the nest, only that it was about a mile after the Hazen’s Notch camp. The rain started in earnest, and I went slowly and carefully – and saw no stinging insects of any kind, presumably because they had the sense to get out of the rain. I got to Jay Camp after crossing Jay Pass in a downpour by about 2:30. Suzie, a NOBO hiker I had been chasing in the registers, was there, resting and debating the push over the top. I immediately stripped off my wet clothes, and stood around in my down jacket and shorts, letting my feet freeze while drying out. I also fortifyied myself with more chocolate and Fritos, and handed off my bag of sesame sticks to Suzie, who was starving. By 4 I realized I was running out of time, so I put my wet socks back on (yuck) and trudged back out into the rain under the umbrella. This time I actually put raingear on. Jay was legit; about 800 feet per mile. Three miles and 2 hours later, complete with a very windy and cold summit, I got to my last shelter of the trail, the Laura Woodward shelter, a classic 3-sider. Two SOBO hikers awaited me there, and despite them having their stuff everywhere, they gladly made space for me. After all, in the rain, the shelter is only full once the last hiker is inside. Suzie rolled in 20 min later, despite her claiming to be “slow”. Since it was my birthday, I broke out a few refreshments for the group. Well, the chocolate was for me, but the bourbon got passed around a bit. From here the plan was to do the roughly 9 miles to the end by 1 or 2pm, then a roughly 4 mile roadwalk back to VT 105, the only road around. There I could hitch west to St. Albans, where there was access on Rt 7 to Burlington, where there were buses and trains. Or take the ‘Vermonter’ Amtrak train directly from St. Albans if I got there in time. Day 21 – Journey’s End – 273 Rained most of the night, but the sweetest sound in the world is rain hitting the roof of a shelter that you’re inside. However, since it was in the 40s and raining all night, nothing really dried. I got going really late, chatting with Suzie and the SOBOs. Like my last day on the PCT, I celebrated it by starting the day heating some water and making a starbucks+cocoa mocha to power me through the morning. I also didn’t want it to be over. It was more grindy, bad trail from there most of the way to the road, complete with steep, muddy sections and big puddles. I completely wiped put 3 times, once down on my face. At Shooting Star shelter, halfway to the road, I stopped for a snack. Got to 105, had lunch and dried the socks, at least a little bit. And then, around 1:30pm, I finished! 3 weeks and 273 miles later, I had hiked the entire Long Trail end to end. Hello Canada. I may or may not have crossed the border while hanging out at the end. A half mile down a side trail is the famous Journey’s End camp, where I read a lot of graffiti, and added my own. From there it was about a 3 mile roadwalk. I heard the sounds of (and then met) some day hikers, but this time it was welcoming instead of intrusive. Almost no traffic, but one guy driving down the dirt road the other way stopped, stared at me and asked, “Hey man, want a beer?” “You know, I DO want a beer.” So in the late afternoon sun, down the country road I walked, looking at farms and vacation homes, drinking a Trail Magic beer and eating from the omnipresent apple trees which seem to line all back roads up here. Not a bad three weeks, I thought. Hitching While still on the dirt road near Rt 105, someone stopped, hitched me down to 105, then back up 105 to the height of land where the trail crosses at 2.6 miles, just so I’d be in a better place to hitch. So nice! She was a former graphic designer who decided to make changes in her life, so she moved to Vermont and started a career working with mentally handicapped adults. Then 20 min later a guy hitched me to Jonesford, all the while complaining about how his landlord wouldn’t fix his steps (I was riding in back with the lumber) and rhapsodizing about the size of his mothers marijuana plants. He was formerly a chef, now a house painter, with 4 kids and 2 dogs. He couldn’t imagine hiking all that way without getting high. He let me off near the gas station so I could get as good hitch. 15 min after I got out of the Jonesford gas station/deli/bookstore/parcel shipping store, a woman offered to drive me to Enosburg, the next town to the west. She was a middle school math teacher, who confessed her job was getting harder and harder. In the past few years, kids have really become hard to teach. She blamed parents always being on their phones. Then the waiting began. I focused all my hitching powers and biggest non-creepy smile, but despite there being tons of traffic at a prime 3-way intersection, including a grocery store entrance, all I got were dirty looks for half an hour. It was now after 5, and the sun sets early here. I was getting ready to tarp behind the grocery store when a car stopped. Over the next half hour or so as we drove to St. Albans, my ride alternately raved about E.coli, crop rotation, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders, farm subsidies, the book he wrote but it angered too many people so it wasn’t selling, swigged from his after-work beer, explained how Massachusetts was great because of the time when he was homeless and “got in a fight with a washing machine”, the cops brought him to the ER for stitches and didn’t confiscate his weed, and then rambled on about the business he was starting. He brought me right into St. Albans, and showed me the train station, although not before offering to fight “some rednecks” who had honked at him at a red light. Here I felt like he was at the point where he was going to offer to go out drinking, or to offer me a place to sleep on his couch. I made my excuses and left. I debated sleeping by the train tracks, but his admonitions about “crackheads in St. Albans”, and seeing some less-than-savory people hanging around the tracks, AND the presence of a hotel a block away sealed the deal; I was hiker trash no more. The Amtrak Vermonter train runs from St. Albans all the way to D.C., if you have the patience. The nice agent in the office told me to buy my ticket online since it was cheaper. Then he went back to reading his paper. Hey Amtrak, this is why people mock you. Also your $3.50 cups of crappy Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in the ‘cafe car’. Seriously? Once on the train, I talked to the only other passenger, who happens to live and work near some of my family in Massachusetts, and actually knows my uncle. Small world! The train was very nice; pretty much like flying but with a lot of leg room, Wifi, and your own wall outlet. And it was only $64. Plus you could get up and walk around at any time, and the bathrooms were not tiny torture chambers. In 50 minutes down the Winooski river, I was already back to Camels Hump. Slightly depressing that it took me 9 days to walk that far. But they were nine beautiful days (except for some rain). The scenery is gorgeous, the farms and small communities less so; lots of wasted effort, false starts, and sunk capital doing nothing but rust. Or maybe that’s just the sample I’m seeing, after all, who wants to live next to the train tracks? Just as I was getting really bummed out about it all after seeing a lot full of generators being reclaimed by weeds, the train crept through the town of Randolph, where a woman with two grade school age kids were watching the train go by. Seeing how excited the kids were watching the trail gave me an unexpected burst of hope. By 4pm I had rolled into Hartford where my ride awaited. Homeword bound! My Long Trail summary 273 miles “End to End” 4 “4000 footers” – Mt. Abraham, Mt. Ellen, Camels Hump, and Mt. Mansfield. 21 days 13 miles per day average across the whole hike 4 resupplies – Manchester at mile 55, Rutland at mile 104, Waitsfield at mile 163, and Johnson at mile 222. 3 ‘nero’ days where I only did a few getting into town 2 town overnights – the famous Inn at the Long Trail, and the Green Valley B&B Longest day – roughly 25 miles including side trails 4.1 miles of side trail to reach the southern terminus 1.3 miles of trail, then 2.2 miles of roadwalk once you reach the northern end The post LT21 – Journey’s End – 273 appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  10. Sep 18 – Day 12 Into and out of Waitsfield. A guy hitched me back after a 2 minute wait – and he wasn’t even going up to the Gap! This shelter has a great privy, very airy. Did the few miles up pretty quickly. I thought I’d have the shelter to myself for a bit, but Kendall, a section hiker, was in a nearby tent platform. Still, it was almost like having it to myself. Day 13 – Bamforth Ridge – 11 Camel’s Hump was epic, let me just start by saying that. The day started on an ominous note, with a warning sign in the shelter telling me the next 5 miles could take 5 hours. Up and up I went, across ladders (well, one), and down ropes (two). After 5 miles and 3.5 hours I got to the next shelter. While its slow, the average is 4-5 hours, so I guess I still got it. After needed rest and some caffeine, I started up the real Shit. After hiking with and talking to some day hikers for a bit, I COMPLETELY BURNED THEM UP TO THE TOP. It was so awesome, not only vintage Smokebeard but vintage 90s All Downhill From Here. Camel’s Hump was worth the 2 hour summit session, although I think I got sunburned. 80+ mile views. Not 100% clear skies, but close enough. Heading down at 2:30, I grabbed some water at a stream, did some cool rock scrambling and made it to Bamforth Ridge Shelter by about 4:45. This shelter has a bear problem, so you need to cook and eat a ways away to keep the food smells out. They also provide bear boxes. Very handy. Shortly after, 2 solo hikers rolled in, ruining my chance at having the shelter to myself. But they’re nice enough people. By 7:40 it was almost totally dark and we were in our bags. And then some dick stomped in at 9pm. Day 14 – Puffer Shelter – 16 Long easy downhill to the road this morning, followed by a 3 mile walk along the river. It was a beautiful, cool morning, coming high from the clear air down into the fog through some awesome maple old growth forest. Some of the roadwalk was very reminiscent of the Castella roadwalk at PCT 1500. Beat old houses, remnants of things past when the road WAS the highway. The trail routes through some farmland, where I saw some sad turkeys, and got my feet soaked by long grass. Then there was a cool footbridge. After the highway was a six mile grind up through old growth beach and oak. Hot. My feet were so wet I felt a blister forming so I switched to my Injinjis. I had briefly thought about doing a 19 to the next lodge, but the final 2 miles up Bolton Mountain changed my mind. Met some great people here at Puffer Shelter, 2 women and an awesome dog, and a couple who are also heading North. The late arrival guy also showed up here, but neither I nor anyone else made him super welcome, so he muttered about tenting and left. Tomorrow, 5.1 miles to the 200 mark! Day 15 – Taft Lodge – 205 Up and on trail by 7. Two steep hours down to the next shelter, where the water also sucked. Very glad I didnt go for it the previous night. Somewhere near Twin Brook Tenting area, I crossed 200 miles. Hooray. In typical Yankee fashion, there was no sign. Did a few miles of flat, then the big climb up Mansfield, which was packed with over 700 people. On the earlier part, The Forehead, it was wooden ladders and hand-over-hand. At one point I had to help a guy lower his big black lab down a ladder. Not the best dog terrain. With 2 hours on the summit, and a side trip to the Adam’s Apple, I got to the lodge at just before 4. After a while, 2 SOBOs rolled in, 1 an old grizzled triplecrowner, the other this young hippie chick who shared my fondness of the Adirondacks. Then the caretaker from Mansfield showed up, then 2 more NOBOs, and then 2 overnighters. Before everyone got there I took advantage of decent water and washed up a bit. With the arrival of everyone I ate dinner and started winding it down. There have been no classic dinner circles on this trail. Everyone seems to do their own thing. Once again, sunset = sleep. Day 16 – Bear Hollow Shelter – 218 First time alone at a shelter tonight! Meanwhile, sunrise at Taft lodge halfway down Mansfield. I only did 13 miles today. I cannot recall needing a zero day this badly in recent memory. I am dog tired today. First it was the 2 mile, nearly 2000 foot descent into the Notch, then the corresponding nearly 2000 foot climb out. Views are worth it. I got some trail magic today too. Two people who volunteer at this historic camp in the Notch took my picture and gave me Pop Tarts. 4 days from the end and the spirit of Trail Magic still lives. Elephant’s head. Sterling Pond. Then it was Madonna Peak and then Whiteface, both of whom in the words of a southbound the other day, “are no joke”. And she was not kidding, they where ridiculous. These are legit mountains with little more than a goat path leading up and over. Snokebeard Special at Madonna Peak warming hut. The secret is to put the Fritos IN the sandwich. I think after Smugglers Notch the Green Mountain Club stops any pretense of this being a casual hiking trail. They even dispense with unnecessary walls. One thing that really struck me today was how nice people are out here. This morning at breakfast I mentioned that I did not want to hike today, that the thought of going down and back up the Notch mshe me despair. Everyone was super supportive and encouraging. The caretaker, Pterodactyl, mentioned that when he got this far north on his LT thruhike, he took a day off, because, “I was fucking tired.” And this from a youngblood. Ran into 2 pairs of SOBOs today, both of whom were chatty about things to come, curious about water, and had good things to share. I had a 5 minute discussion with 1 of them about shoes (we had the same ones). Tomorrow is a 4 mile downhill to the road, then coffee, then cookies, then pizza, then my B&B, which means a shower and laundry. It will be day 10 since both. It been touching 80 the past two days. Every part of me is sticky and smells. Day 17 – Johnson – 222 For every vertical, muddy, 80 degree day, Trail Jesus gives you a few miles of this. About 4 miles of woods road to VT 15, some fumbling around direction-wise, a trip to a supposedly iconic hardware store where they take your picture (they didn’t), and a 10 minute hitch later, I’m in Johnson. Johnson is beat, especially on Mondays. The 1 pizza place is closed. The cafe-with-porch folded 6 months ago. The public library is closed on Mondays. The only thing open for food is a glorified gas station. But they have free WiFi and a killer uplink. It’s a funny mix of newish soulless buildings (Dollar General), a bunch of dilapidated old houses carved into apartments, State-funded art studios, and something called Northern Vermont University. Definitely a Northeast Kingdom vibe, the Jefferson of Vermont. In a massive display of creative irony, some guy had Trump stickers covering rust spots on his truck bumpers, and these: Shower and lunch and icecream and tea, and I feel 100x better. Tomorrow I’ll be hiking in rain all day, same on Thursday. And then after that, it gets even better; I still have no concrete plans on how to get home! The post LT17 – Johnson – 222 appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  11. Random videos from my Long Trail trip. The post Long Trail videos, part 1 appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  12. The first 150 miles are just training for the last 120. Or, as 3 high-octane SOBO hikers told me atop Stark’s Nest, “you’re getting into The Shit”. Part of me thinks, “bring it on”, while the other part starts the perpetual chess-game calculations of miles per hour, miles per day, and food carrying capacity. It’s hard not to get stuck in a loop. The key is to avoid the HCF instruction. I usually overplan. I’ve realized that hiking with a deadline sucks. While its amusing to consider coming back to work late, it’s not really me to do so. Day 8 – David Logan Shelter – 13 Fuelled by real Vermont pancakes from the Inn, and a double-shower. clean body, I started walking and was on trail by 9:30. A few years ago they moved the LT down off the actual pass, I believe to keep it away from the ski area. As a result, Maine Junction, the famous split where the Appalachian Trail peels off to the east towards Katahdin is also new. Very low key. I had hoped for more of a sign. The stretch of trail north of the Inn is bad. Not just because it’s in a Wilderness area, but it’s just plain bad trail. I’ve mentioned this to GMC people I’ve met along the way, and it’s known to suck. As soon as I started to mention it, they immediately said, “Lye Brook Wilderness is bad”. So it wasn’t just me being a baby. And it was gloomy and rained most of the day, for added suck. I got to hike a bit with Whistler, a kid from Boston, and ended up camping with him along with Mage and Captain. Knees are hurting. The David Logan shelter is the jankiest on the trail; dark, cramped, wet. The water was decent though, the one perk of the rain. Day 9 – Sucker Brook Shelter – 13 Left early, ahead of everyone. I realized I’d probably never see them again. Mage is s too slow, Whistler pacing himself too much, and Captain sort of hopping around, meeting up with friends etc. At this point, 8 days later, the particulars of this day are fading. It was nothing special. The sucker is the person who thought there was a brook. Day 10 – Cooley Glen Shelter – 17 I hadn’t seen people in a while and briefly fantasized about a solo night in the shelter. My second choice was with people, and a fire. Turns out 2nd choice wasn’t so bad. I had a nice fire with GPS and Right On, 2 sisters from Ohio. Stomping on dead pine branches for the fire, I did something to my foot, something that still hurts. And is getting worse. Day 11 – Stark’s Nest – 13 A few miles down to Lincoln Gap, a road so windy and steep that its closed in winter. Then a few steep miles up to a shelter. Awesome water source, rigged up practically like a faucet. Did Abraham and Ellen, crushed the Women of UVM Hiking Club on the climb. Camped with 3 SOBOs in the Nest. They had a lot of miles under their feet, but northern VT defeated them (no pun intended). They told stories of running so far behind schedule that they had to bail for more food. Three quick miles the next morning and I was at Appalachian Gap, a scenic viewpoint in the middle of nowhere. This was about a 30 min hitch. Three Mountain Coffee had that, and more. I hit the PO and mailed home some stuff, a shirt that I wasn’t wearing. Even a cotton/poly blend is too much cotton in New England. It was like wearing a dishrag that never quite dries between uses. You know that smell. Plus, half wet, it just doesnt work. 4 more days of food into the pack, and it was back out to “App Gap”, a 2 minute hitch courtesy of a guy not even headed that way! As Scout said, “on Trail, the default setting is ‘nice’ “. The post LT12 – Irasville – 163 appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  13. Day 1 – Congdon Shelter We arrived at the road crossing in Williamstown and I was hiking by 9:30.The weather was good despite a chance of rain from the hurricane offshore. The combination of excitement and fresh legs pushed me quickly up the first big hill and along the Trail. It was only a short day because I had lost half the morning just getting there so I got to the Condon shelter at about 5 p.m. and that was it. Distressingly, the area around the shelter was full of tents and the shelter was also full. This did not bode well for the rest of the trip I thought. My whole plan for coming in mid-September centered around the premise that the shelters would be empty. I got to pitch my tarp for the first time in real usage.Not a great pitch as you can see, but it worked in no wind.Due to bear problems, canisters or bear hangs are required in the Green Mountain National Forest. Many of the shelters have lockers that you can store your good in; this was not one. I spent a good 20 minutes to find the right tree. By 7:30pm it was dark and I was out like a light.Day 2 – Kid Gore Shelter – 19 Because I went to bed so early, I got up early. In fact I got up at 4:30. Misreading my watch, I decided to get up and pack up despite the darkness. I assume that the sun would pop up over a hill any moment. That was when I realized that I could not find my food bag in the dark. I sat in the dark watching the sky slowly get later until it was light enough to get my bag. I think I understand the concept of “forest bathing” a little more. It was neat to see the sky gradually lighten and hear the birds start to wake up.Glastonbury Mtn had a bear history, its disappointing when humans and wildlife overlap destructively. Plus, the weather was turning, and it didnt make sense to be on a mountaintop in a rainstorm. I did that in 99, and it was so bad the entire structure shook. Another hiker, Snacks, pointed out that if we did four more miles that day we’d be four more miles closer to Manchester and it would be a better use of time that town day. So we started the grind. The next 4 “downhill” miles were rough, especially when racing the dark. Thankfully there was both shelter space AND bear boxes, so all I had to do was roll out my bag. I had eaten dinner (cold-soaked couscous, beans, veggies and pea protein) atop Glastonbury, so I had little to do but enjoy the evening and talk to people. The sunrise view in the morning from the front porch was pretty awesome.Day 3 – Stratton pond shelter – 16 I managed a full hour lunch, and a bit of a wash and laundry under the bridge. Perfect water. Then these two showed up and we boogied up the mountain.I hiked on and off with Bluebird and Tiger Tail, all day.The Stratton fire tower was pretty cool, and freezing cold.At the Shelter, we talked with Katie the Caretaker(ess?) She has the dubious distinction of being the person who composts the waste from the privy. Yes, poop.Snacks sand Sassafras (the hammockers) rolled in later. I started on the same day as them and we had been leapfrogging.The shelter was huge, sleeping 16. In the loft was a family of 4, including 2 little girls in the 7-9 year range, thruhiking the Long Trail! Each night they would do schoolwork, and things like “if I need 3/4 cup water per person and there are four people, how many cups do I need?” As usual, Bluebird lit a fire and we all got warm before bed. All night people snored and grunted and made people noises, so it was nice to get up and rolling early.Day 4 – Bromley Shelter – 13 By lunchtime or so, I ended up at the highway to Manchester. There, while trying to hitch, I met Zach the owner of The Trek, where I sometimes write.(Excuse the sign growing out of my shoulder, the person who took the picture was a crabby southbound AT hiker not at all focused on taking my picture.)Manchester was kind of touristy and blown out, but it had a great sandwich shop. It also had a local donut place where the guy clearly wanted me to go away. Like, sorry that I want to pay you for a donut, buddy. The Post Office also sucked. It was 3/4 mike off the main road in an industrial park. Weak. But I got a hitch in 3 minutes and was back to the trail by quarter of 5. I found Snacks and Sassafras already there setting up camp. As a bonus Sassafras had packed out some ginger cider which he shared with me. They discovered that they had forgotten their fuel canister at the last shelter. They were going to have to go back into Manchester the next morning and try to buy fuel. Bummer.Day 5 – Little Rock Pond – 18 Rained most of the day, and I got no views from the summit. I’m glad I didn’t push-up to Camp up there because the warming hut was packed full. I sweated into my rain gear all day, completely soaking my clothes. I did both Peru and styles Peaks in the fog and rain. At the bottom I caught up with 2 guys just out for a few days. The had a bottle (plastic, of course) of whiskey but I declined, as it was only 11:30. By about 2 the rain stopped completely and the weather became awesome. The trails very manageable and flat in the were a lot of bog bridges and obvious improvements. The area started to get more tame, with woods roads and side trails and a few stone walls.That night I camped at Little Rock Pond. It was one of the new palatial shelters complete with a loft and a porch. Ther were 2 older guys there when I arrived. Just before nightfall, the Loud People, as I call them, arrived. I think they have just finished the AT, but they seem perpetually late and disheveled and disorganized. They also speak loudly aand blast everyone in the face with their headlamps. I had had enough of them at Kid Gore. So entitled and annoying.Day 6 – Killington – 24 I decided to push for 19 miles, wi an option for 25. Midday I had calle ahead and reserved a room at the Inn. My original plan was to pick up mail an move on, being cheap and self-denying, however I really needed a shower and felt I deserved it. I skipped the cultish Yellow Deli, as it was donation based. I’d been screwed before where you end up working all morning. The stretch was fast, with a lot of easy hiking through tame woods, old roads, along farms and abandoned orchards. The shelter at mile 19 predictably sucked, so I ate dinner and pushed on. Pus. The loud people were going to be there.1000 feet up it got cold, dark and windy. I was still in just a shirt, the exetrion keeping me warm. I could see the steam wafting off my head, blowing into the light of my lamp.At 9:30pm, 15 hours and 25 miles after I started, i hit the summit and looked down on Rutland. I camped in the old stone shelter with 2 guys, Captain and Mantis.Day 7 – the Inn at the Long Trail – 104Slow start, because I knew I o nm lt had a few miles to the road. Slept all night, a first. Thst night Rutland hit 41, so we speculated that it hit freezing. I hit the privy, and was off. I was at the road by 11, wher a quick change if shirt and liberal use of wet wipes made me presentable.At Ruff Life Coffee, I ate one of the best veggie sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. And coffee. And a cookie. A $2 bus later and I was at the famous Inn at the Long Trail. There I got my packages and took 2 showers, and grabed dinner. And a rootbeer float. The post LT7 – Inn at The Long Trail – 104 appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  14. To celebrate the beginning of Summer, and to take advantage of the long days, I drove up to Massachusetts to knock off a long-held goal of mine, a traverse, and back, of the Blue Hills park. Map is here. The Blue Hills are a 7000 acre preserve just outside Boston, in fact, for much of the walking you can hear highways, and sometimes see the city. Depending on the site or map you look at, it’s either a 7.6 mile or 9 mile traverse. Since the path splits halfway through and I took both halves, plus did a little exploring at the western end, I’m calling this a 17 mile day. Highlights of the walk include multiple short but pretty steep rocky scrambles, high red pine forest, oak scrub, shady valleys, a stone observation tower with views of Boston, and a trip to an abandoned section of Interstate 95 that was built, but never connected to anything. It was great to get back in the swing of things, but I learned three important things, which will come into play on my Long Trail attempt later this year: I’m old I’m slow I’m fat That said, I did pass more people than passed me, so it wasn’t too bad. The other thing I learned was that bugs and humidity are terrible. I got so spoiled on the PCT by the lack of humidity that I had kind of forgotten what a hot summer day in New England, only a handful of miles from the ocean, is like. And I don’t like it. Out west the trick is to cover up from the sun and thin air, while letting your clothes wick sweat and cool you. In the East the trick is to expose as much skin as possible while protecting oneself from the bugs. Another lesson learned is that zero-drop shoes (Altra Lone Peaks) require some training – not breaking in the shoe, per se, but breaking in your calves. It wasn’t too bad at the time, but boy am I paying for it today. Another thing I noticed on the way is how diverse the group of people were. On the PCT last summer, it was a pretty unidimensional, monochromatic group – lots of young white kids. Thirty minutes from Boston is a very different experience – all ages, all races. Another thing I realized is that nobody, especially the females, looked starving. By Washington most hikers were short on body fat reserves and we all had a bit of a feral look to us. The Trip The trip starts at the east end, where there is parking. Passing through some beautiful lily-covered frog ponds, the trail gradually winds into the woods. The sounds of roads are ever-present for a while. Soon the climbing begins – nothing terribly high in terms of elevation, but steep enough to warrant stone steps. Despite starting at 10:30, I was soon sweating in my Ex Officio bug shirt and pants. I stewed in these full-length clothes all day, hiding from the sun and the bugs. Two or so miles in you’re on a hilltop with breeze and views, up in the red pines, walking along an old rusty chainlink fence. On the other side of the fence are solar panels and birdhouses placed oddly about. I suspect this is one of those “hush” sites; missle or other coastal defense. About 4 miles in the trail goes through this grove of massive hemlocks, before gradually descending another mile or so through some swamps and coming out at the main Ranger station (where there is water). I took a break here at mile 6, 1/3 of the way done and already pretty tired. By now it was close to 1pm and the heat was cranking up. I had a bit of a hiker trash yardsale on a picnic table, drink about a liter and a half of water with my lunch, and refilled my bottles. The 2nd third of the E2E2E is the hard part – easily 2/3 of the work. From the Ranger station you go up and down over 2 significant climbs. Not long, but at around 1000’/mile incline, which is White Mountains territory. You’ll be in 4WD mode trying to find handholds on the rock slabs, and heading downhill is worse – 1 slip and you’re 50 or 100 feet down a very pointy cliff face. As a bonus, the rock is warm to the touch on your hands, and radiating heat into your face while you’re climbing. The big reward of this section is the old observation tower, with its thick stones, perpetual cool shade, and view of Boston. There’s a weather observatory up here just a few 100 yards away, and then the descent off Great Blue Hill begins. Down, down, down to the highway, taking care to watch your step lest you “bust ass” down the hill. And remember, what goes down, must come back up – all this potential energy wasted. Eventually at the road I found a few sympathetic drivers who stopped traffic for me to continue the next mile or so to the very end. Hooray. Just past the end of the Skyline Trail, next to the roar of I-95, a herd path leads a little bit farther to some abandoned paved roads. This was supposed to be Interstate 95 and some associated on-ramps, but for some reason, it was never connected. Perhaps left as an emergency runway? Or just nobody wanted to pay to remove it. Only the coolest hikers can rock chest hair.Turning around is like hiking a whole other trail. Not only is every hill climb and descent backwards, but the trees and shadows are backwards too. The walk back to the road was enjoyable and shady, and then the gruelling climb up the hill began. It was a fun and tiring scramble. Mid-afternoon now, the crowds started to thin as I made my way back down. The Skyline Trail splits at the tower, and forms a small loop, so I chose the opposite way back, to get the full experience. After a VERY steep descent, the trail smoothed out nicely. Combined with the lower sun angle and deeper shade in the valleys, it’s a very enjoyable walk. In the mile or so back to the Ranger station, there are two seasonable water sources – IF YOU HAVE A FILTER. I didn’t see many animals all day, since I was out in the peak heat of the day. There are deer and turkeys, along with plenty of birds and rodents. Supposedly there are also rattlesnakes. Once back at the Ranger station, it was time for more water, Clif bars, and electrolytes. A few texts home to say I was still alive, and I left for the final 5-6 miles back. While easier, there were still some hard sections in there, this time going up instead of down. Hard to tell from the picture, but this is mostly vertical.Finally back to the car at around 7:30, where I grabbed a coffee and drove home. I’ve been coming up to the Blue Hills for over 20 years now, done the End2End twice, been there once with literally 1 other person in subzero (not sub-freezing) temperatures, and gotten turned around and forced to hike back in the dark, but this was my first End2End2End. Next up – other side trails in the Preserve – there’s an old CCC camp worth exploring, a Nature/Wildlife center, and numerous other trails and loops to explore. The pics [See image gallery at edthesmokebeard.com] The post Blue Hills End2End2End appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
  15. Warning: theme music. Moving my highlight reel to the blog instead of sending everyone to Youtube. Enjoy! The post PCT Highlight Reel appeared first on Smokebeard Hikes. View the full article
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