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Longstride: Trail Journals

Hiking and Backpacking Trail Journals by John “Longstride” Bafford

A feed by John “Longstride” Bafford

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Paperwork, Fires, and Transportation

Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-19 03:59, modified at 04:14

In the last couple of weeks, I haven’t made significant progress on my hike planning, but, with just over two months to go, there are a few bits of news to report.

read more (706 words)


The Planning Proceeds

Permalink - Posted on 2018-01-02 01:15, modified at 01:41

The new year has arrived, and soon with it will be the Pacific Crest Trail. In just 79 days, I’ll be taking my first steps on my second major long-distance trail. Over the last few weeks, my pre-hike preparation has slowly proceeded.

read more (749 words)


The New Gear Starts Off Small

Permalink - Posted on 2017-12-06 02:21

With my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike less than four months away, I spent a fair amount of Thanksgiving weekend researching new gear. Over the weekend, the first piece of new gear arrived: a dozen tent stakes.

read more (644 words)


Selecting a Start Date

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-27 00:54

Picking a start date for the Pacific Crest Trail is not a simple matter.

In contrast to my Appalachian Trail thru-hike, where I arbitrarily picked a start date of six weeks after I decided to hike the trail, picking a start date for the Pacific Crest Trail actually required a fair bit of deliberation.

read more (895 words)


Why the Pacific Crest Trail?

Permalink - Posted on 2017-10-30 01:14, modified at 01:23

“The Mountains Are Calling, And I Must Go.”

John Muir may have first said those words, but they ring no less true to me. And next year, I’ll see up-close the mountains that spawned that famous quote, as I embark on my second epic-length hike: a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.

read more (668 words)


Long Trail Resupply Notes

Permalink - Posted on 2017-10-25 01:39, modified at 02:38

Every long-distance hike requires stopping for resupply. I thought it might be helpful for future hikers if I wrote-up the resupply logistics from my northbound Long Trail thru-hike earlier this year. I stopped five times for resupply. Read on for all the details.

read more (1370 words)


The Hardest Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2017-09-09 23:11

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?

read more (884 words)


An Uneventful Trip Home

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-12 03:30, modified on 2017-08-26 01:35

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.

read more (768 words)


Journey's End Camp

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-10 23:29, modified on 2017-09-02 02:37

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.

read more (1012 words, 2 photos)


Line Post 592: Northern Terminus of the Long Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-10 20:20, modified on 2017-12-27 02:39

Two hikes down, many more to go. At 4:12 pm, after 25 days of hiking from 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.

read more (66 words, 1 photo)


Jay Camp

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-10 00:30, modified on 2017-08-27 00:40

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.

read more (1112 words, 2 photos)


Tillotson Camp

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-09 01:04, modified on 2017-12-24 22:07

The rain continued most of the night, and there was some rumbling of thunder, as well. There was so much rain that one of the tents belonging to the Farm and Wilderness group flooded, and they had to evacuate into the shelter's loft. (I've never seen a sleeping bag that wet before. They're going to be mighty uncomfortable with the extra weight on today's hike, and with however they're going to sleep tonight.)

read more (942 words, 2 photos)


Corliss Camp

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-08 01:41, modified on 2017-08-27 00:29

I think I've said it before, but, Bed & Breakfasts usually make terrific breakfasts. Today's at Nye's Green Valley Farm was blueberry pancakes, eggs, and sausage. The blueberries were fresh-picked from their farm that morning, and everything was delicious.

read more (880 words, 2 photos)


VT 15 / Johnson / Nye’s Green Valley Farm

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-07 02:16, modified on 2017-08-27 00:22

The wind that started yesterday around bedtime only got stronger and louder throughout the night, constantly howling. The clothes that I had hung up to dry were only wetter by morning, and I was surprised they even stayed attached to the clothes line.

read more (636 words, 2 photos)


Sterling Pond Shelter

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-05 21:13, modified on 2017-09-02 02:35

My plan to get moving early was thwarted by really nothing other than a general laziness (and dislike of the weather, which was a light rain this morning). While I woke up around 6:45, it took me almost two hours to leave Taft Lodge.

read more (756 words, 1 photo)


Taft Lodge

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-04 20:52, modified on 2017-12-24 21:24

I did not sleep well at all last night; I'm thinking it might be the caffeinated drink flavoring I've been using with dinner. The somewhat cloudy morning and potentially dreary afternoon wether forecast also didn't help. But whatever the reason, I started off somewhat low energy. This is a terrible way to start a steep climb up Vermont's tallest mountain, but, there was nowhere to go but up.

read more (1171 words, 3 photos)


Taylor Lodge

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-04 01:34, modified on 2017-12-24 21:18

Bed and Breakfasts usually have pretty good breakfasts, and The Old Stagecoach Inn was no exception. My only regret is that I did not take full advantage of the all-you-can-eat aspect of breakfast and order more food, but I did have a nice plate of apple pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon. The B&B's owner, John, was able to give me a ride back to the trailhead, but not until 10 am, so I had a relatively lazy morning before then.

read more (1018 words, 2 photos)


US 2 / Waterbury / The Old Stagecoach Inn

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-03 03:13, modified on 2017-12-24 21:12

With another beautiful day in the works, I left camp around 8:15 to start what would become one of the most strenuous days of hiking I've ever done. (And, in retrospect, I wish I'd had gotten up earlier.)

read more (1145 words, 4 photos)


Montclair Glen Lodge

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-01 19:58, modified on 2017-10-20 01:09

I woke up in the middle of the night to find that the pain in my ankle had migrated to my stomach. After a restless while, I fell back asleep. In the morning, the stomach pain was gone, and my ankle felt way better than it had any right to be, given yesterday's sprain.

read more (1176 words, 3 photos)


Birch Glen Camp

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-31 22:11, modified on 2017-08-26 03:05

I awoke with a start, shortly before sunrise. I was about to roll over and go back to sleep — it was way too early to get up on a short day into town, but in 2200 miles on the Appalachian Trail, I had never seen the sunrise, and today would remedy that.

read more (1427 words, 2 photos)