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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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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 2017-08-11 15:43

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.

read more (68 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 2017-09-02 02:36

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 2017-08-27 00:15

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 2017-08-27 00:08

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 (1019 words, 2 photos)


US 2 / Waterbury / The Old Stagecoach Inn

Permalink - Posted on 2017-08-03 03:13, modified on 2017-08-04 20:46

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 2017-08-26 03:11

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)


Glen Ellen Lodge

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-31 01:56, modified on 2017-08-01 19:25

It was a little bit cold in the morning, but the sun was shining, and a clear blue sky was overhead. This had the makings of another excellent day of hiking. My original plan for the day was to make it to the Battell Shelter, the next shelter north on the trail, but the unexpected distance covered yesterday opened up other possibilities: one of the three shelters only a few miles from Appalachian Gap, VT 17, the road to Waitsfield, my next resupply stop.

read more (1201 words, 2 photos)


Cooley Glen Shelter

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-30 00:52, modified on 2017-08-26 02:57

With great, dry weather, sun, and clear, blue skies, I took off from camp early, a little after 7, and continued my quest for great views of something other than the trees surrounding me. Unfortunately, my quest would be continue to be thwarted until late in what would become an unexpectedly long day.

read more (1700 words, 4 photos)


Sucker Brook Shelter

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-29 01:07, modified on 2017-08-26 02:52

After it briefly poured sometime overnight, the sun was out in the morning, and the weather forecast appeared to be correct, at least so far: no rain today.

read more (867 words, 2 photos)


David Logan Shelter

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-28 01:18, modified on 2017-08-26 02:49

I had anticipated waking up around 7, in order to get to Inn at Long Trail's breakfast, starting at 7:30, but I wound up sleeping in a bit longer; the overcast skies and wet ground seemed to confirm the weather forecast of rain for the day.

read more (1025 words, 1 photo)


US 4 / Rutland / Inn at Long Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 02:06, modified on 2017-08-26 02:44

I slept in this morning, not getting out of bed until almost 8:45; after over a week of getting up before 7 am every day, it was nice to sleep in for once.

read more (473 words, 1 photo)


US 4 / Inn at Long Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 02:27, modified on 2017-08-26 02:40

About five minutes after I got into my sleeping bag last night was when the pain hit. My feet had lied to me: they weren't actually ready for 19 miles of hiking. For the next two or three hours, they demanded constant attention, and I cycled between lying there restlessly and massaging each foot in turn. Eventually, the pain subsided, and I was able to get some sleep, though the wooden bunk I was sleeping on in Cooper Lodge felt hard as rock, and I couldn't really get in a comfortable position. (That there was no guard to prevent you from rolling off the edge did little to help my sleep, and I would occasionally wake up and wonder if it was safe to roll over because I couldn't actually remember which way I was facing.)

read more (893 words, 1 photo)