We got an early ride from a friend and, on the way, marked the beginning of our journey with a box of oh-so-nutritious powdered doughnuts. After she drove off, we took a picture, hoisted our bags on our backs and started walking up the trail...or at least what looked like the trail. Challenge number 1: don't get lost before actually starting the hike. After wandering aimlessly in the woods looking for a white blaze (small white stripe on trees marking the path) we stumbled back onto the road and walked a little further south before finding the official Long Trail sign. Ok, got that part down. We were immediately immersed into the next challenge: make it up this huge mountain before it kills you. We were hiking up Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain in Vermont at 4393 feet above sea level. To be fair, the Long Trail is hard and it knows it. Here's what the Green Mountain Club, the creator and maintainer of the trail, has to say about it, "By design, no effort has been made to provide artificial surfacing, switchbacks, and other amenities found on highly engineered trails...the Long Trail is steep, boggy, and rugged. Hikers should plan accordingly." They're honest and for 100 years they've been true to their word. The trail is better for it. So up we went.
[continued on next post]