Time is growing closer and yet it seems so far away. Today, I drove over 3 hours to the Journeys End Trail in North Troy Vermont. This is the approach trail for the Northern Terminus of the Long Trail. I wanted to check out the road conditions for when my ride meets me up there. But I also couldn't not hike something so, I had planned on going to the shelter. I put my pack, now full with a weeks worth of provisions and gear, in the car and I was off. Straight up 91 and past my first college.
It's a very short trip up to the Journeys end shelter, .8 miles. The road eventually goes down to a trail and in places there is water running on it now. There's the stereotypical mud of the long trail here too. The black flies are out but if you keep moving and use a little Ben's 30%, they do no bother you. Isis and I crossed one stream with a high water rope across it. Didn't need it today but I was happy to see the water flowing. The leaves are slick on the trail as I climb with Isis. Our first stop is to check out the water supply for the shelter and it is flowing really well. For those that start at this end, you will have plenty to fill up at the start. For me, it won't matter too much for my exit.
The shelter is relatively new looking. Small but enough room for a night. Four walls and a door are always a welcome site. If no one else shows up, I will sleep in here for my last night in June. If other hikers are on trail, I will use my tent. Since I have the dog, this is only fair for the other hikers who may not like dogs or are allergic. I checked around and there are places to put a tent. There's also a fire pit too. As I was walking around, checking things out, I thought about the boundary. It's only .5 up the trail. It's barely 10:30 at this point. I can't really turn around and go back to the car. I was going to save the boundary for when I officially end, thinking that it would preserve the feelings and emotions. But then I realized that after walking the last 64.5 miles, NOTHING will stop those emotions. So, we walked up to the boundary.
The trail to the boundary is easy and a gradual climb with switchbacks. There's mud and leaves to deal with as well as some water. The trillium are out and lining the trail. I have missed spring! I walked out to the clearing and onto some rocks before looking down at the boundary marker. I had some fun walking from the US to Canada, took some pictures, and admired the view. Looking around, I spotted a white blaze. At first I was not going to set foot on the trail but, I had too. Four steps in put me at the Northern Terminus. It felt really good to be on trail.
The walk back to the car was easy and probably under an hour. At least from the cabin to the car it was 20 minutes. I carried a full pack today and while it was harder on the up trails, I eventually felt like I was just carrying a pack. The downs seem to fly by and I felt balanced with he weight. While I can't say I am looking forward to seeing the end again, I am looking forward to being on trail and waking these last miles. I hopped onto 93 South and drove through the Whites on the way home. Things are getting busy there again as the trails melt, with cars already parking on the highway through Franconia Notch. I believe that the Whites are becoming too over populated and too busy. I stopped for coffee at my usual spot at Exit 28, which was why I got on 93 in the first place. A regular thing when I hike and much looked forward too. Otherwise, I might not have gotten it until I was almost home, had I stuck with 91.
All the supplies have been bought and packed. Except for my home made jerky that I will make the week before. I've cut as much weight as I can. What remains now is the mental prep. I'm not pulling any big mile hikes to lead up to this final section. I think given what I've experienced in the past year, being rested and relaxed is more important. My medication has finally started to really maintain my symptoms so, I'm in a great spot. I just have one more doctors appointment the Tuesday before I leave to make sure I am all set and I know that I won't have any issues. I've been watching the weather too and it looks good so far. A little rain of course but it appears to be on the right days of the trip. I'll have two more hikes before I go, as of right now I can say that they'll be smaller peaks for short miles to not stress out my system. I can feel trail life creeping back again... I am so excited to take a walk.