Friday September 25, 27.1mi/43.6km

Emily Proctor Shelter (141.9/3445ft) to Cowles Cove Shelter (169.0/2516ft) (VT)

I was awake at 6am and hiking at 6:30. A mile later, I got to watch the sun rise.

Most of the morning was up on a ridge with short stunted trees.

An hour later I found a viewpoint, I could see down into the fog covered valley below.

I stopped for 2nd breakfast at a shelter, and refilled my water, it’s surprisingly dry out here.

Next up was Mt Grant, a 3600ft mountain that is on Vermont’s Presidential traverse, and a mossy summit as well.

I came to Sunset Ledge, and saw heaps of dayhikers.

A quick mile later, and I was at the highway at Lincoln Gap.

On the climb out of the gap/pass, I saw a few very random things. The Gandalf rocks (“you shall not pass”):

And a presumably misplaced bouquet of flowers.

I stopped for lunch at the Battell shelter, it even had a picnic table. I’m a sucker for a nice table!

I hiked on another mile, and summited Mt Abraham. It’s one of Vermonts 4000-footers, and it was steep.

The requisite benchmark photo.

The next summit on the ridge was “little Abe”, ha!

The view from nearby Lincoln peak was much better.
Looking south:

Looking north:

The Sugarbush ski resort is below the ridge on this part of the trail.

The summit of another 4000 footer, Mt Ellen, was unremarkable.

I followed a ski trail for a little while, it was nice.

And then I exited the Green Mountain NF, and entered Mad River Glen ski resort.

The view from the top of the single chair lift was nice.

There was a nice building at the top, “Starks nest”. Hikers are allowed to sleep here, but I think it’s primary purpose is for skiiers.

A mile later, I passed by a random gnome.

The descent of the ridge was steep. So many ladder rungs!

At one point there was a fork, a choice to make. Standard route, or cave route?

No thanks, too tight for me.

I arrived at the next road, Appalachian Gap just before 5pm. It was full of people.

It was funny to see this sign, only 109mi to Canada.

The trail climbed insanely steeply for a half mile, gaining 500ft.

I had a view a mile later, looking north to camel’s hump.

I hiked on, I came to a junction at 7pm. 2.9mi to go!

I arrived at the Cowles Cove Shelter at 8pm, and very tired. The shelter was empty, so I setup camp in there to save time in the morning. Hopefully there’s not too many mice…

Thursday September 24, 16.6mi/26.7km

Brandon Gap/Hwy 17 (125.3/2175ft) to Emily Proctor Shelter (141.9/3445ft) (VT)

I drove the final 2 hours, crossing into Vermont after an hour.

I did some quick food shopping, and arrived at the trailhead at 10am. I was already packed, so off I went!

I immediately entered the Battell wilderness. I love getting photos of these signs, and it shows that the congress occasionally does the right thing. 🙂

After a mile, I had climbed 500 feet, and was on top of the cliffs on Mt Horrid. It was a splendid view.

The trail weaved around ridgetops all afternoon, and it was a nice mossy & bouldery forest.

There was a random trail sign, not at a Junction. Onward to Middlebury gap!

The descent towards the Gap was gentle, but also a massive rock slab.

I passed by Middlebury college’s Snow Bowl, and I checked out the ski infrastructure.

There were some expansive views from the ski trail cuts, and it looked like a storm cloud was moving in.

Yup, definitely moving in.

I descended to Middlebury Gap, and re-entered the woods after crossing the deserted road.

I immediately entered a new wilderness! Mmmm… breadloaf.

I climbed up out of the Gap/Pass, and I was getting hungry so I stopped for a snack at an empty shelter.

I ate a ton of goldfish, gummy bears, and animal crackers. It was an accidental theme! I moved on, hiking to the next shelter to get water. Most water sources have dried up in this parched September. I talked to some ladies at the shelter, filled up with beaver water from the pond, and hiked on into the setting sun.

I arrived at the next shelter only 45 minutes later, and I found a spot to camp nearby. The group of 4 guys already in the shelter were strange. They saw me coming, turned off their headlamps, and pretended they were sleeping. I wasn’t going to ask to join them in the shelter anyway, but it seemed rude. Oh well, I had a nice dinner of bacon mac and cheese and went to bed early.

Tuesday September 8, 0.9mi/1.4km

Sunrise Shelter (124.4/2546ft) to Brandon Gap/Hwy 17 (125.3/2175ft) (VT)

Jeff and I were awake at 7am, and we were packed up and walking at 7:45.

It was only a mile from the shelter to the road, so it didn’t take long.

We got to the road shortly after 8am, and walked to the trailhead parking lot to hitch a ride.

We got a ride after only 30 minutes of trying, not bad for 2 males, and in a pandemic year. We got back to Jeff’s car, and spent the rest of the day doing fun Vermont Touristy things – Ben and Jerry’s, Smugglers Distillery, Cabot Cheese, and driving thru the mountains. I’ll be back to Vermont to finish the last 145 miles of trail, hopefully soon!

Sunday September 6, 5.0mi/8.0km

US Highway 4 Trailhead (104.5/1886ft) to Gifford Rolston Shelter (109.5/2175ft) (VT)

I left the Adirondacks at 7am and drove the 2 hours over to Vermont.

I met my brother, Jeff, in Rutland VT. We will be hiking the Long Trail together, heading north for 170 miles to the Canadian border. After a resupply shopping trip at Price Chopper, we drove the 2.5 hours north to the Northern terminus, dropped off a car, and drove the 2.5 hours back to the trailhead near Rutland. By this time, it was almost 8pm and dark, and we packed up by headlamp in the parking lot.

All packed up!

Saying goodbye to the car. Be back in 10 days!

We started hiking in more layers, it was cold.

After a mile, we hit the famous Maine Junction. From here, the Appalachian Trail continues to Maine, while the Long Trail travels thru Vermont to the Canadian Border.

There was a shelter near here, but we continued on another 4 miles in the dark.

After a couple hours, I heard a lot of noises coming from a tree above the trail. A porcupine!

We got to the next shelter just after midnight, and setup our tents. It was easy to fall asleep after a long day of driving!

Saturday September 5, 18.9mi/30.4km

Ouluska Lean-to (120.9/1940ft) to Lake Placid Train Depot (139.8/1760ft) (NY)

We packed up and hit the trail at 7:30am, aiming to finish the trail by late afternoon.

After a mile, we passed by a “Hermitage”, where this guy had lived for his whole life.

A couple hours into the morning, I saw this sign at a trail junction. It’s very befitting of this trail that there are two different distances listed for “Long Lake Trailhead” on the same post.

We crossed a branch of the Cold River on what appeared to be an old road bridge. I wonder how many years ago this was drivable?

The large Brook under the bridge.

We stopped for a break at Duck hole Lean-to, which appeared to be brand new. It still had the fresh wood smell!

A couple hours of hiking later, and we stopped for lunch at the final Lean-to on the trail, Moose Pond. We didn’t see any moose (meese?) but did see some good artwork.

The rest of the hike out was flat and easy, though the trail was muddy. Occasionally there was a small waterfall to distract from the green tunnel.

Looks like a bear was using this tree!

We went chasing waterfalls.

Michele providing the entertainment, those tree burls are huge. “I like big burls and I cannot lie…”

We hiked out of the woods at 5:30pm, and into the trailhead parking area.

After enjoying a nice cold beer by the river, I hiked the last 2miles, which is a roadwalk.

I walked into town of Lake Placid, and I knew I was close when I saw the train tracks.

The Train Depot is the northern terminus of the trail.

Michele had driven into town and picked up food, and what a great way to celebrate finishing the trail, pizza and ice cream! We had a couple hours drive back to my car in Northville, back at the Southern terminus.

So, Northville-Placid trail complete! Tomorrow I will drive to Vermont and hike for 10 days on the Long Trail, to finish what I started last year.

Friday September 4, 23.2mi/37.3km

Blue Ridge (97.7/3020ft) to Ouluska Lean-to (120.9/1940ft) (NY)

I had an early start from the ridge, departing at 6:30am in the dawn light.

The trail descended the ridge quickly, dropping all the way back to 2000ft elevation. The meadows were wet and full of nice boardwalks.

I crossed highway 28N and did a quick 15 minute roadwalk up a residential street. It was still early and the neighborhood was quiet. I turned off the road and into the woods again.

The trail cruised on flat terrain along Long Lake for three hours, but seldom coming down to the lakeshore.

When it did go to the shore, the views were great!

I passed this curiousity along the way, it’s a small structure over a spring. I’m not sure why the spring needed protection, but the water was cold and delicious.

After some more smooth trail…

..I emerged onto the lakeshore for the final time.

I had lunch at the Plumley Point Lean-to, taking in the sounds and sights of Long Lake a final time.

After lunch, I left the lakeshore and turned inland. First, I crossed Moose Creek on a fun swingbridge.

And a short while later, the massive Cold River on another swingbridge.

It’s a big river.

The next section of trail was on an old overgrown road, and had all sorts of interesting plants.

I followed the Cold River upstream for 5 miles, occasionally getting a glimpse of it up close.

This was Miller’s Falls, a popular camping and swimming area.

I arrived to Ouluska Lean-to at 5pm, and met my Friend Michele! After enjoying a nice happy hour, we setup our tents and had dinner.

She had brought a ton of food, and I had some extra too, and it was a feast for our last night in the woods. It was almost 9pm when I went to bed, tomorrow is the last day of this trail!

Thursday September 3, 26.9mi/43.3km

Cedar River Lean-to (70.8/2120ft) to Blue Ridge (97.7/3020ft) (NY)

I woke at 6am, packed up quietly, and said goodbye to the one guy who was awake. It was just getting light out at 6:30am, but at least the trail was nice and smooth, nothing to trip over.

And then a half mile later, it was flooded. Stupid beavers.

I waded maybe 200m through mucky water.

I emerged on the other side and hiked an hour with soggy feet. By the time I got to the road, they were mostly dry.

I walked into the Wakely Dam campground at 8am, and it was strange seeing so many signs of civilization.

I met my friend Justin and his daughter, and we had a nice chat over 2nd breakfast.

We walked over to the actual dam to check it out.

After eating and catching up with them for almost two hours, I continued on, hoping to make miles. I passed by Wakely pond, and turned off the road onto trail again.

The trail followed an old road and was nice and smooth again.

The forest was damp and also full of mushrooms, I felt like I was in a video game.

I stopped at Stephens pond for lunch, and it was a nice breezy spot.

Some loons swam up and surprised me!

I hiked onward, and was soon at Lake Durant and its campground.

I didn’t see any food or showers, so I crossed the highway and hiked north. The next section of trail had tons of these puncheon boardwalks.

I came to Tirrell pond, and hiked along it for over a mile. It was so quiet, no wind or loons.

I chatted with a group of caretakers at the Tirrell lean-to, and they told me about this bridge. Yup, seems a little sketchy.

I saw this sign, I can’t believe the Blue Mt Lake Post Office gets it own sign!

I crossed the Salmon River on a road bridge, and briefly chatted with another thru hiker!

The Fonz was fun to talk to, he had hiked parts of many other long distance trails too. I continued on, hiking into darkness on my way up to Blue Ridge, the highest point on the NPT.

By 9pm it was very dark, and I had arrived at the top of the 3000ft ridge.

I setup camp, ate a quick dinner, and fell asleep.

Wednesday September 2, 18.8mi/30.3km

Spruce Lake Lean-to #1 (52.0/2390ft) to Cedar River Lean-to (70.8/2120ft) (NY)

It had rained hard most of the night,and I was glad to have stayed in the Lean-to. I started off the morning with dry skies and wet trails.

There was a random benchmark in the middle of the trail.

As I passed by a small unnamed pond, it began to rain again.

The rain fell for the rest of the morning, making everything look so green.

There were dozens of ponds, lakes and streams today. The bridge over West Canada creek was on of the larger structures.

I passed by South Lake, and the beach looked so nice. I wished it was a sunny day.

The bridge over South Lake’s outlet was even bigger.

I stopped for lunch at Cedar River lean-to #3, which was totally not worth it. I wanted a dry place to stop and eat, but it was almost a half mile off the trail.

There were some funny old beer cans inside, including Genesee and Utica Club.

I ate lunch in the Lean-to while enjoying the sounds of the loons on the lake.

I walked by dozens of these very bright purple flowers today, not sure what they are.

I crossed the Cedar River on a long wooden bridge. The river is dammed up, so there is a lake on either side.

I’m not sure what this underground room was, the door opened right onto the trail.

The old cedar River dam, now mostly disassembled.

Only 4.7 more miles to go to a dry Lean-to!

This section of trail was especially verdant with all the ferns.

I came to this junction and turned off to my Lean-to for the night, Cedar River.

There were already two guys camped in it, but they were very friendly and moved to one side. We made dinner and watched another raincloud move in, drenching the fields around us. I fell asleep to the sound of steady rain on the roof of the lean-to.

Tuesday September 1, 18.5mi/29.8km

West Branch Sacandaga River (33.5/1290ft) to Spruce Lake Lean-to #1 (52.0/2390ft) (NY)

I heard Mark and Jim starting to pack up, but I also heard the sound of light rain beginning to fall. Ugh. I stayed in my tent until 6:30am, then packed up. We hit the trail at 8am, and it had stopped raining but everything was wet. Including slippery bridges!

We hiked in the soggy forest all morning, stopping only once for a break at Hamilton Lake Lean-to. Of course Hamilton songs ensued!

The trail passed by Priest’s Vly, a kind of pond/meadow feature.

We arrived at the Highway 8 trailhead just before 11am. The next 3 miles were a roadwalk, so I kept going while Mark& Jim drove to town to buy me some snacks. Awesome friends! I headed toward Piseco, a tiny hamlet with a Post Office and not much else.

Halfway thru the roadwalk, I passed a nice little picnic table spot just for hikers! I kept going, it was raining.

The post office was tiny.

After an hour of roadwalking, my friends picked me up and we went to lunch at a diner in the nearby town of Speculator.

We all ordered the same thing, buffalo chicken sandwich, fries, and beer. The blueberry pie for dessert was pretty spectacular. They dropped me off back at the same spot, we said our goodbyes, and I hiked on into the rain.

The trailhead register.

The trail was an old road, so it was flat and wide for a couple of miles.

Apparently this section is also a Nordic ski trail. Coincidentally, we had discussed coming back and thru hiking this in winter.

After an hour, the trail started to climb and get rougher.

The rain had slowed to a mist, but the trees were all dripping, and I had plenty of signs of a wet forest. A massive fungi:

And a red eft:

A few miles before camp, I saw this creature, and it ran up a tree. I have no idea what it was.

The damp forest continued, with ferns everywhere and the occasional stream ford.

I arrived at my intended Lean-to at 6pm, and I was the only one there.

I dropped my pack inside, and walked down to the nearby lake. Spruce Lake looks huge.

It even had a canoe! And this one looked much more seaworthy than the previous canoes.

I don’t usually camp inside Lean-tos, but it was raining and I had it to myself. I made dinner, had a delicious IPA, and read my book. By 9pm I was falling asleep as the light rain continued falling.