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The Long Trail Division Five: Vt. 140 to US 4

Day Nine Continued... 8/15/15: Vt. 140 to Minerva Hinchey Shelter.

After leaving our trail friends, we were on to Bear Mountain and then Minerva Hinchey shelter for the night. Bear Mountain, just about did me in and put me over the edge as it was steep. But even before that I had to navigate some pretty tough surroundings with a water crossing that was confusing. There were also people... Novice hikers who really didn't know what they were doing and looked at me like I was crazy as I told them to turn back. So, back to Bear Mountain. This peak was full of switchbacks and it was marked as if they were junctions. It was very confusing and of course very hot! I don't think the trail actually went up and over but skirted around the summit. 1.7 miles we hiked and then we had the .9 down to Minerva for the night. This was a long .9 as all I wanted to do was get off my feet. There was also thunder rolling around. I had to get to some kind of cover soon. I was determined to get there. 

Of course, when we got there, who was there but... Beast. And he was smoking cigarette in the shelter too. Bleck! Looks like I'll have to tent it tonight and the gear will be wet again. I was running low on water so after I quickly set up the tent, I went to the spring which was barely flowing. I stopped into the shelter briefly to sign the log book but explained that I would not be staying since the smoking really bothered me (truth, it makes me sick). He seemed offended. I didn't care. Just as I got back to the tent, it started pouring. Looks like tuna for dinner and I'll have to figure out meals for the remainder. Seems like I shorted myself a little and may have to stretch it out. I also dressed my feet. First I cleaned them up and then I popped the blisters. So much fun! I accidentally stabbed my sleeping pad so out came the duct tape. Isis went to bed early too as she was very tired and probably a little stressed. I ended up taping my feet up and we'll see how they do tomorrow. It's still very muggy and I barely slept in my sleeping bag but more use it as a blanket over both of us. Tomorrow, we have 9.5 miles which is not as bad as we have been doing.

Day Ten: 8/16/15: Minerva Hinchey to Gov. Clement Shelter.

Last night was a rough night with the rain and the thunder/lightening as well as everything else that went wrong. I was hot too which made it sticky sleeping and the smell was starting to get to me. Mostly bad hiker smell as I have not showered in ten days. Woke up early and decided to also duct tape my feet. Packed up my wet gear and started to head out. I didn't even bother going by the shelter. I just wanted to hit the trail again. It was pretty dismal with no sun to speak of. The tape only feet actually helped and popping the blisters was for the best too. It was 2.7 miles to the crossing at 103. It was relatively flat which probably helped me out a lot. But it was slick from the rain and on a few down sections, I fell. I sort of set into a rhythm and enjoyed the quiet morning. Not a soul around, just me and Isis for a change. Nothing much really mattered today. Not miles, not time, not anyone or any thing. As we climbed, I saw a plastic chair at an out look. Naturally, I stopped. I viewed a beautiful undercast that had overtaken Clarendon Gorge. I was in awe once more and gained some much needed perspective. Climbing down to 103 was slick and slow. It was already humid out too.

We then found ourselves at the trail head for 103. There was another water cache there and I quickly traded out my water. Better to have clean water than dirty. The Russians also pulled up from another off trail excursion. They seem to be spending more time off than on trail lately. So, I got myself together and got moving. I just didn't feel like hiking with anyone today. As we crossed the busy road, the sun came out and hit me hard. It was another warm day. Through the field we walked and then scrambled up Carendon Gorge. Wow! That was a ton of energy I just put out there. Clarendon out look was pretty as it over looked the town. I was more interested in the mile I had to lunch at Clarendon Shelter. Everyone was clearing out once we got there so, we took some quiet time and rested. The shelter itself was nice. Right by a stream and had some grassy areas too. Lunch was of course... Tuna.

Then it was the long climb up Beacon Hill which it turns out is just a cell tower. A good walk over a ridge and then a series of road walks. I would basically get to a road and then climb, ridge walk, down, road walk, and start all over again. After this series, it was  3 miles to Gov. Clement shelter. It was a nice walk there and we crossed paths with a few NoBo's at the 500 mile mark for Katahdin (The Dirty Peanut Crew). At the shelter, I was joined by 4B, Jonny Appleseed, and Beast... Surprisingly, it was an OK night. As we all sat and talked, Nobo's would breeze in and keep going. Some were doing big 30 mile days. I get it. At this point, it's 500 miles (now less) to Katahdin and they want to get there. The push for them is on. Me, I want to enjoy everything and savor the trip. I want to see it all. Hike your own hike is so big for me now.

Tomorrow, we go up and down Killington. The approach does not look too bad from this side. It's also going to be another 12.2 mile day.

Day Eleven: 8/17/15: Gov. Clement Shelter to the Former Tucker Johnson Shelter.

Today was a hard fought day. High mileage on tired feet and paws and a 4K for us to climb. I'm starting get those pangs for home too. Funny because I spend so much time running away from it. After breakfast and packing up, we head out. From the shelter, the trail goes up the back of Killington. A road walk first and then we head into the woods. It's humid again too and I'm already swimming in my dirty cloths. Although, I do know that it will be cooler up top. Isis and I climb the steep an narrow trail, I loose track of where I am at and at one point think I am ahead when I have 1.6 to go. Out of discouragement, I seem to start rearranging m plans. It's an automatic thing with me. I slow down. There's no need to do this, I have plenty of time. I huff and I puff up the mountain and we meet up with 4B at the Cooper Lodge which has seen better days. I head up the ski platforms and save my self the scramble. At this point, to go easy on my feet was the plan. At the top, I get my picture snapped by some day hikers who are full of questions. Small world, they are from Temple NH which is right next door to me.

The view as always is beautiful for my second visit to Killington and now Isis has climbed all the Vermont 4k's. We don't stay too long on the summit because we need to keep going. I had dropped my pack at Cooper Lodge so it was time to get back down there. We head out over the ridge to Pico and then split at Jungle Junction. I did note the temp change on the ridge and loved it. We perked up and continued. There were a few day hikers out and one SoBo but other than that, we ran into no one and our group was scattered as some were going to town. It was kind of eerie how the trails start to get quiet really quickly. As we reached Mendon Lookout, we begin to descend to the Churchill Scott shelter. It's a hard down this late in the day. We stop here and figure out that Tucker Johnson Shelter has burned down but they still allow tenting. So, my plan remains the same. It was only another 4 miles as we cut across another ridge that ran parallel to the road and then met a busy US 4.

Division Five Completed!

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