Test Hike: Sugarloaf Mountain
Wednesday, July 5, 2017 10:30 pm

Yesterday, I revisited Sugarloaf Mountain, the nearest actual mountain to my house. I was there last year for the second test hike for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike, so it seemed an excellent place to visit for a test hike for my upcoming Long Trail thru-hike. So, for the first time since September, I loaded my pack with all my gear and started hiking.

The hike, a 9.1 mile loop touching most of the mountain’s trails, with 2500 ft of elevation gain, was a bit shorter than I had wanted, since I had a Fourth of July party to attend in the afternoon. That said, on account of it being the first hike in which I carried a fully-loaded pack since the penultimate day of my AT thru-hike, I was reminded just how out of trail-shape I am now.

Once I got back to my car and got my pack off my back, an old familiar “friend” arrived: the “hiker hobble”. With everything sore — especially my legs — I almost felt like I was back on the AT. Fortunately, I didn’t wobble around for too long, and by the time I got home for a shower, all that was left was a low-grade soreness, which I still feel today.

Thanks to some equipment changes (which I’ll write about soon), my pack was lighter, and quite noticeably more compact. While I “only” carried two days worth of food (I’ll need four to reach my first scheduled resupply), I also had my (heavy) camera, so my pack weight was probably relatively close to what it’ll be on the first day of my hike.

Even after adding the rest of the food I’ll need for the first leg of my hike, my pack still had less in it than most days when I was on the Appalachian Trail, so I’m feeling relatively happy about the equipment changes.

I’m hoping to get another test hike in this coming weekend. Since the first day of hiking on the Long Trail should be about 13.5 miles, with about 4100 ft of elevation gain, it’ll be a fairly strenuous start, and it would be nice to do something fairly comparable before heading up to Vermont. Though, time is quickly running out, since I get on a bus to head north only a week and a half from now.