The Long Trail is the hardest trail I’ve hiked.
I expected the Long Trail’s southern portion — the 105 miles concurrent with the Appalachian Trail, which I hiked last year — to be hard, only because I was out of trail shape. By the time I got to the north (which I heard was “more rugged”), I’d be back in hiking shape, and the trail would be fine. After all, I’d survived the Whites, so how hard could it possibly be?
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I had an alarm set for 6 am, which would give me enough time to get up, get packed, and continue just under a mile down the Journey’s End Trail to get picked up by a shuttle service and taken to Burlington. However, shortly before my alarm went off, I was awoken by the sound of rain. Fortunately, the rain didn’t last very long, and it had long since stopped by 6:45, when I began the last bit of hiking of my Long Trail thru-hike.
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I did not manage to wake up early or get myself moving very quickly, and despite my desire to add a two-mile round-trip to Big Jay to the day's hike, did not actually leave Jay Camp until after 8 am. My bonus miles for the day would ultimately be limited to completing the Jay Loop Trail, a roughly three-quarter mile loop trail formed by the two entrances to Jay Camp and the Long Trail. I passed by Moe and Mugs as I closed the loop on the Long Trail.
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Two hikes down, many more to go. At 4:12 pm, on the 25th day since I left Williamstown, Massachusetts, I reached Line Post 592, on the border between the United States and Canada, completing my thru-hike of Vermont's Long Trail.
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A couple of light sprinkles of rain started off the morning, delaying my departure from Tillotson Camp slightly, but happily, that was the extent of the rain for the day. One by one, those of us at the shelter all set off for Jay Camp, located near the foot of Jay Mountain, for our penultimate day of hiking on the Long Trail. Before leaving, I noticed that, from the shelter, we could clearly see the fire tower atop Belvidere Mountain, a few miles distant.
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