Friday, November 19, 2010

My 2011 Hiking and Backpacking Plans

2011 looks like its going to be an active year. My goal is to traverse 400 miles for the year. I intend on starting in January by snowshoeing quite a bit in the Division 5 (Killington, in which I am a member of)) section of the Long Trail to build stamina and endurance for the upcoming summer. A three day trip covering 25 miles and 7100 feet of elevation gain is also planned for the winter. In the spring, I will dedicate my time, with the GMC, preparing the trail for the summer rush by clearing out waterways, repairing and building new puncheons, clearing felled trees that block the trail and any work that needs to be done on the shelters/privies. In June, my hiking partner Jim and I plan to backpack the Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In September, I am doing a solo thru-hike of the Long Trail in its entirety. Then come autumn when once again I will help the GMC prepare for winter. Any free time will be spent day hiking with my family, friends and my hiking group. Yup, I think the 400 miles is a reasonable goal.

The Presidential Traverse

The Long Trail
GMC Logo

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Killington Peak via the Bucklin Trail

October 3, 2010
This hike was a scheduled hike from my day hiking group. My wife, Jen, friend, Jim and I spent the day hiking to the summit of Killington Peak via the Bucklin Trail which is a side trail of the Long Trail system. The weather was cool and sunny. The trail starts out as a nice gradual inline, a fairly easy to moderate hike, following the pristine Brewers Brook. A perfect warm up. At about 2 miles in, the trail steeply and aggressively ascends towards the peak for a little over a mile intersecting with the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail. This then brought us to Cooper Lodge; a trail shelter that is no longer maintained due to winter vandalism from out of state skiers. The Green Mountain Club is considering tearing it down. From the shelter was Killington Spur; a difficult 0.2 mile stairway of rock scrambling to reach the peak of Vt's second highest mountain. Unfortunately when we got on top the summit was crowded with "leaf peepers" who took the ski gondola up. It was nerve racking to see little kids running around while their parents were more interested in getting photos. This is no place for anyone to fall off from. Overall, it was a great hike covering 7.2 miles round trip with a 2,500 foot elevation gain.
Jen, Jim and Jobiwan

Brewers Brook

Cooper Lodge

From Cooper Lodge

Killington Spur

Jim  and Jobiwan on top of Killington

Jim coming down the spur

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blue Ridge Mountain, Mendon, Vermont

November 14,2010
My friends (Jim, Jeff, & Five More Minutes) and I that are part of a hiking group decided at the spur of the moment to take a hike to the summit of Blue Ridge Mountain in central Vermont via the Canty Trail. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, especially for Vt in November. It was sunny, temps in the mid 50's with a gentle breeze. The trail starts off easy but in a wet land eventually steeply ascending alongside a cascading mountain brook. The brook eventually leads to a wonderful waterfall. Past the brook the trail enters the evergreens and the temps dropped about 10 degrees. We reached the peak and enjoyed the views while having a lunch. We did do some trail maintenance as well, clearing out a few trees that were blocking the trail. Round trip was 5.2 miles with 1700 feet of elevation gain.

The waterfalls.

L-R. Pico Mountain, Killington Peak, Mendon Mountain, Little Killington
L-R. Jobiwan, Five More Minutes,Jeff, Jim 
 Jobiwan, Jeff & Jim
 Five More Minutes

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Sullen Days of November

For me, November is one of the worst hiking months of the year. The weather isn't always the greatest. The flora and fauna are diminishing until the spring. The human population in the woods is higher due to the hunters. I personally do not hunt but I do respect the hunters. Hunting season for some is only time they get out in the woods. If I were a hunter, I would probably get pissed off if I made it to my "spot" in a stealthy manner, sitting for three hours waiting for my trophy buck and some hiker tromped through leaving no chance for that kill. I am fortunate to live close enough to Pine Hill which is a great walk but with recent rainfalls it is a wet walk. Ah, November....
From Tim's Vista in Pine Hill Park, Rutland, Vermont. Blue Ridge Mountain in the foreground



Monday, November 8, 2010

Three Days of Bliss

Hiked the Killington section (division 5) of the Long Trail southbound from October 9 to October 11, 2010.

October 9 2010:

Started this hike at Rt. 4 in Sherburne. The weather was sunny,windy and chilly (40's). The trail was mostly dry with a few wet areas. Two hikers from MA were doing the same section. We "leap frogged" the entire weekend.

9:15am: mile 0. Entered trail. Great trail conditions.

10:00am: mile 1.9. Churchill Scott Shelter

11:20am: mile 3.8. Jungle Junction, Sherburne Pass Trail.

11:45am: mile 4.6. I had some lunch. One of the items was Jack Links jerky. A day hiker passed and asked if I was messing with Sasquach so I told her I was baiting him.

2:15pm: mile 6.3. Killington Peak,Cooper Lodge. Camp for night one. The weather was clear windy and cold (30's) Camped with 2 guys from MA who stayed in the shelter. I stayed in my tent. 2 guys from NJ were hiking northbound and stayed at the tent site as well.

9:00pm: Bed

October 10, 2010:

6:00am: Woke up, stretched, ate breakfast, packed up, got water.The weather was clear, no wind but cold (26).

8:00am: Departed camp. The first 2 miles, in my opinion, were the hardest trail conditions of the entire hike. Through the hemlocks on a ledge. The trail was nothing but rocks and roots steeply descending which is hard to walk on.

11:40am: mile 10.6. Gov Clement Shelter. Lunch

3:30pm: mile 16.4. Clarendon Shelter. Camp for night one. The weather was clear, no wind and mild(50ish) When I arrived, I was greeted by an older man named 'Shovel'. He was hiking the Appalachian Trail southbound and headed for Virginia. He was stuck at Clarendon Shelter for a few days waiting for a food drop. He had forgotten that the post office would be closed on Columbus Day. The two guys from MA stayed at the shelter as well. We all pitched in a little and it was enough to feed Shovel.

9:30pm: bed

October 11.2010:

5:45am: Woke up, stretched, ate breakfast, packed up, got water.The weather was clear no wind and cool (46)

8:35am: Departed camp. Hiked less than a mile and rolled my ankle. It wasn't sprained but it hurt like hell. I contemplated getting picked up at Rt 103 in Clarendon. By the time I got to the road the endorphins finally kicked in and my foot was numb. So I hiked the last 6 miles on a bum foot.

11:40am: mile 20.1. Minerva Hinchey Shelter

1:35pm: mile 23.7. Rt.140 in Wallingford. Hike completed.

Overall this was a great hike. It was challenging at times. I have learned from this experience that long distance hiking is 20% physical and 80% psychological. Not once during this hike did I second guess myself. I never once thought to myself " What did I get myself into?" or " I wish the end was here". It couldn't have been done without a good pair of hiking shoes and plenty of sock changes.

I'm looking forward to the next section hike.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Maintenance

November 7, 2010
Yesterday my friend Jim and I helped out the Killington Section of the Green Mountain Club (we are both members) clean up and prepare for winter a part of the Long Trail. We started on Cold River Rd and hiked southbound to rt 103 for a total of 3.9 miles cutting away felled trees that blocked the trail and clearing out the waterways. We made reports for future work to be done in the spring like puncheons that are in dire need of repair and replacement and some shelter repairs. This was probably my last hike of the season.

Felled tree before



The trail after