Long Trail: 8/6 Gifford Woods State Park 7.6 Miles

I Left the shelter around 6:15 this morning heading into damp fog. The first hill kicked the crap out of me. I had a hard time finding my mojo. Said my goodbyes to BASA and Achilles. They will be splitting off AT/LT and heading towards New Hampshire later today. There is no doubt they will see the summit of Katahdin and I wish them well. Two exceptional men that represent Thru-hikers very well, unlike the majority of northbounders that I have encountered.

Made it to Cooper Lodge (4.3 miles) a little after 10 am. Kept a very leisurely pace this morning knowing that I was meeting Chris at noon. Decided to climb to the peak on the slim chance that I would get a view up top. No views, the summit was completely enshrouded in clouds. Headed back down to wait for Chris at the shelter.

At the shelter I met the most LT thru-hikers I have encountered in my journey. Molly and The Invincibles are all headed north and Nate is headed south. The Invincibles are a husband and wife hiking with their two kids. The kids seem to be enjoying their time on the trail. The youngest wast running all around the shelter and having a great time! I was interviewed by a southbounder about my perception of the AT hikers that are heading north. He too is a veteran AT hiker that thinks they are a bunch of jerks. He has been telling his girlfriend this, but she thinks that he if full of crap. He fired up his camera and asked me what I thought of the hikers I met. Being way to honest, I replied that I thought they were mostly a bunch of self-centered entitled jerks that didn’t have a lot of respect for others on the trail. I remember on my AT hike in 1998 thinking that it was awesome that people were doing the long trail. I can tell you from my experience that many of the thru hikers on the Appalachian Trail would actually have a tough time trying to knock out the Long Trail in three weeks. This hike is tough!

Chris arrived at the shelter around noon. I think he ran the 4+ miles up to the shelter. What a freak!  We hiked back up to the summit. The trail to the summit is straight up and my legs were tired, but I manged to make it to the summit again! We were treated to nice views at the summit.  We took a side trip down to see the gondola and people watch for a few minutes and then headed down to the lodge. A short snack of cheese, pepperoni, and Gatorade compliments of Chris and we headed for Churchill Scott Shelter our intended destination for the night. Arriving at 3pm we decided to walk the remaining 2 miles to the road and head into Killington, VT. There was no way that we could just sit at that shelter until bedtime without going stir-crazy.

On the walk we decided to try and get a campsite at Gifford Woods State Park, but not before we made a beer run. We luckily were able to get a site on a weekend and for $20.00 we couldn’t go wrong. Set up camp, dodged a rain shower and then headed for the showers. A cold beer in a nice hot shower I might add. We headed out afterwards on a little drive to collect firewood on some back roads.

Spent the rest of the evening sipping cold beer and relaxing by the fire.

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