Tuesday August 23, 2016 Most Recent Posts:
Winhall Brook Campground No Idea Where We’re Headed – Two Hikes in Vermont
South Londonderry, Vermont Grandma Miller’s and the Answer – South Londonderry VT
This will be my 4th state for hiking the Appalachian Trail. I don’t get a very early start and when I arrive, there are a lot of cars in the parking lot of this AT crossing of Route 11. This seems surprising until I investigate and find out that this is the trail head for the Vermont Bromley Trail which shares the AT or vice versa going north for 6 miles round trip.
I also learn that the AT and the Vermont Long Trail are the same trail for 100 miles through Southern Vermont. The Long Trail runs the length of Vermont and is the oldest long distance trail in the country constructed from 1910 to 1930. You can see the AT/LT coming in on this map from the bottom left and going out on the top right. But this is not the trail I’m going to hike. I hope to have fewer folks on the trail by crossing over Route 11 and heading south. I’m going off the map on that little piece of AT/LT at the bottom left of the map.
Right now no one else from the parking area is going this way although I do get passed by a few south bound back packers during the day. I have no plans for how far I’ll go. For sure to Spruce Peak and likely beyond though with a late start it won’t be as far as I usually like.
I’ve read many books on through hikes of the AT by the through hikers and they all talk about the difficulty of rocky Pennsylvania and Vermont. This section starts out very nice and up hill.
But very shortly it becomes narrow, over grown, rocky and wet.
There are some obstacles in the way as well.
The trail has some rocky stream crossings and a few nice bridges.
I have always found the tree roots on trails to be more difficult for me than the rocks.
The trail is quite varied.
About a mile into the hike, I’m going along at an easy pace when the toe of my boot gets hooked on something. As I try to take my next step, my foot won’t come along and I am thrown off the trail face first. Other than breaking my ankle, this is the worst fall I’ve ever had on a trail and it actually stuns me and knocks some of my breath away. I fall hard.
I take this picture right after I roll over and get myself to a sitting postion. I determine that thankfully this is not my 3rd ankle break in 15 years. I take the picture to remember where in the hike this happened and to make sure my amazing Canon which was over my shoulder on the arm that hit the ground was not broken.
After a few minutes to get my act together, I stand up, try out both feet and walk slowly on. My nose hurts so I take a picture to see in the LCD screen what I’ve done. Other than scraped hands and shins, I seem amazingly to be OK considering what a hard fall it was. I feel like I’d been thrown on the ground by a giant with some pretty serious strength.
When I look at the picture on the screen, it looks like I’m going to have a swollen and perhaps bruised bridge of my nose.
I guess it was a root like these, which are all over the trail, that tripped me up. I’m now paying astute attention to both the roots and the rocks as I hike on.
At points the trail seems very overgrown. If it wasn’t the AT, I’d wonder whether I should continue.
To give some perspective to the mushrooms on the trail, this one probably would not be noticed if its color didn’t stick out so dramatically.
This one is trying to blend into the base of the tree with its colors but its size is hard to miss. This has become part of this good sized tree.
I took a picture of my hand on this giant platter sized mushroom for perspective. The mushroom dwarfed my hand but the picture didn’t turn out as well as this one so you’ll have to try to imagine me holding on to the left outer edge of the mustroom.
I reach the Spruce Peak cut off and head over to see whether I can climb up to it.
Sure enough. It’s the perfect place for a snack.
Beautiful view of the Green Mountains.
The path up and down is steep, twisting rocky and hard to follow. Doesn’t look like it gets used much. I think through hikers aren’t looking for anything more difficult than the AT itself and this one is a ‘climb with your hands’ hike at points.
Coming back down is even more difficult since I have to try to find the path I took over to the ascent.
Do you see the path out from here? I didn’t either at first.
But I do manage to get back on the AT where the trail turns into a rock face. Sure am glad I don’t have a 25 pound or heavier pack on my back.
At this point I’ve gone a little over 3 miles and think it might be best to turn around and head back. My hip is starting to bother me so there may be more to this fall than I thought.
I always see things on the way back that I didn’t see going in the other direction.
When I’m finished, I’ve gone 7 miles. Other than my firm encounter with the ground this has been a great day on the trail. I would for sure do this or any other stretch of the AT again.
Turns out there is more collateral damage from my fall than just my nose which actually never turns in to these kinds of bruises. I put an ice pack on it when I get back which may be why.
But when I go to bed, I find much worse on my right shin, arm and hip.
I’m really surprised at the severity of these bruises particularly at my forearm all the way up to my fingers and just above my elbow.
The worst one is probably the one on my hip which is literally black and about 4” in diamater. No photo of that one. I’m amazed that I don’t have any trouble sitting.
It may take a while, but they will all heal. Thankfully the body is another one of the amazing parts of nature.