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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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US 4 / Rutland / Inn at Long Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 02:06, modified at 02:13

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 (471 words, 1 photo)


US 4 / Inn at Long Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 02:27, modified at 23:57

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 (816 words, 1 photo)


Cooper Lodge

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-25 01:05, modified on 2017-07-26 20:45

I woke up in the morning to discover that the rain spared us overnight. Checking the weather forecast again, I noted that it should be raining fairly certain, so I tried to get moving as quickly as possible: it would be best to be able to get hiking before it started raining, and any amount of hiking I could do before the rain started would be that much less hiking through mud.

read more (1057 words, 2 photos)


Greenwall Shelter

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-24 00:56, modified on 2017-07-25 22:33

I got started today a little after 7, in fairly nice weather, and began what turned out to be the easiest day of hiking on the Long Trail so far, with no major climbs and a lot of relatively flat or downhill sections.

read more (860 words, 5 photos)


Peru Peak Shelter

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-22 23:49, modified on 2017-07-24 00:55

After a pancake breakfast at Green Mountain House, Supe and I got a ride back to the trailhead, and the trail began its ascent of Bromley Mountain. Wanting not to further injure my foot, I maintained a slow, but steady, pace throughout the day.

read more (669 words, 3 photos)


VT 11/30 / Manchester Center / Green Mountain House

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-22 02:01, modified on 2017-07-24 00:29

Several years ago, my family went on a cruise to Alaska. One of the things I was looking forward to was being able to see the stars: I reasoned that since the ship would be a good distance offshore, light pollution would be minimal, and the stars would be out in all their brilliant majesty, with a full field of view from the horizon to the zenith, unobscured by trees, land, or buildings. Naturally, it was cloudy every night, so I saw nothing.

read more (1455 words, 2 photos)


William B. Douglas Shelter

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-21 01:00, modified at 20:53

After a restful sleep, I left camp just before 7 am, and began the climb up Stratton Mountain. As I remembered, it was a long and, in parts, steep climb. While the cool morning air was still somewhat humid, the trail itself was noticeably drier than it had been on previous days.

read more (960 words, 3 photos)


Stratton-Arlington Road Campsite

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-20 01:09, modified at 01:25

7/19 Stratton-Arlington Rd

read more (831 words, 2 photos)


Goddard Shelter

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-19 00:58, modified on 2017-07-20 00:09

Shortly after hiker midnight (9 pm) last night, some heavy rain, and thunder and lightning finally rolled in, and it was quite the show. The storm must have been quite close, since many of the thunderclaps managed to noticeably shake the shelter. So, it was a very interesting first night out on the Long Trail. (I imagine the hikers who tented had an even more interesting night than I did.)

read more (858 words)


Congdon Shelter

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-18 00:15, modified on 2017-07-19 23:45

Today started off with a pancake and bacon breakfast at Moonlight Diner and Grill, before starting off on a walk to the trailhead. As luck would have it, before I got too far, a car pulled over and asked if I wanted a ride. As it turned out, it was the same person as gave me a ride last night, Sonora.

read more (1269 words, 5 photos)


Journey's Start

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-17 14:40, modified at 14:56

After three miles and change on the Pine Cobble and Appalachian Trails, I've made it to Vermont, and the start of the Long Trail!

read more (24 words, 1 photo)


Williamstown, MA / Willows Motel

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-17 03:08, modified at 04:52

After a bit of last-minute running around my home, my friends Andrew and Monica picked me up and gave me a ride to the Silver Spring Greyhound Station. Although I left my house a bit later than I intended, I still got there with plenty of time to spare before the bus started boarding — rather, I got there before the bus did! Today's destination is Williamstown, MA. The town, close to the Vermont border, is the nearest town to the Pine Cobble Trail, which I'm using as an approach trail to the Long Trail tomorrow.

read more (1006 words, 1 photo)


It's Time To Go...

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-16 14:58, modified at 19:24

Thanks go to Andrew and Monica, who gave me a ride to the bus station. Right now, I'm on my way up to Vermont.

read more (34 words)


Indiedotes Podcast (Episode 2)

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-11 15:26, modified at 15:29

I was interviewed by Suzan Bond for the Indiedotes podcast. We talked about my Appalachian Trail thru-hike in the context of lessons that can be applied to goal and career management. This was the first podcast I’ve ever been on, and it was fun talking with Suzan. Check it out!

read more (56 words)


Long Trail Gear Changes

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-10 02:45, modified at 02:59

Since the gear I took with me on my Appalachian Trail thru-hike last year worked out quite well, I’m using most of the same equipment on this year’s Long Trail thru-hike. There are, however, a few changes I’m making to my gear selection to make it a little more lightweight. Combined, my gear changes reduce my base pack weight by around two pounds and free up quite a fair bit of space, so it’s not nearly overflowing when filled with food.

read more (686 words)


Gear on the Long Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-10 02:44, modified at 02:54

Since no thru-hike is complete without a gear list, what follows is the list of gear I’m taking with me on my Long Trail thru-hike. Most of this gear I took with me on my Appalachian Trail thru-hike last year, though a few pieces are new. I’ve also written on the details of what gear changed, and why.

read more (402 words)


Test Hike: Sugarloaf Mountain

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-06 02:30, modified at 04:36

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.

read more (394 words)


Planning for the Long Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-02 17:39

While I knew since last September that I was going to be thru-hiking the Long Trail this summer, I didn’t actually begin looking into Long Trail logistics until January, when I ordered copies of the Long Trail End-To-Enders guide and a topographical trail map from the Green Mountain Club, the stewards and maintainers of the Long Trail (and also the Appalachian Trail in Vermont). In comparison to my six-week lead time for the Appalachian Trail, I’ll have been “planning” for my Long Trail hike for either six or ten months, depending on how you want to count.

read more (639 words)


Why the Long Trail?

Permalink - Posted on 2017-06-25 17:28, modified on 2017-06-26 01:36

Vermont is a beautiful place. During my time in Vermont on my Appalachian Trail thru-hike last year, nearly every scenic outlook in Vermont was simply gorgeous. Vermont rivaled New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and large parts of Maine, for being the most picturesque portion of the Appalachian Trail.

And, in just a few weeks, I’m returning to Vermont to begin my next adventure: a thru-hike of Vermont’s Long Trail.

read more (853 words)


Shenandoah: Frazier Discovery Trail

Permalink - Posted on 2017-06-25 02:40, modified on 2017-07-06 03:11

My second hike on Friday was the Frazier Discovery Trail, a 1.4 mile loop in the southern district of Shenandoah National Park. The trail, starting from the Loft Mountain Wayside at milepost 80 on Skyline Drive, forms a loop with a short section of the Appalachian Trail as it climbs and descends from Skyline Drive to, and from, the ridge between Big Flat Mountain (home of the Loft Mountain Campground) and County Line Mountain.

read more (329 words, 5 photos)