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Up early as I have a big day in the final chapter of my journey.  Tough climbing right at the start of the day up Jay Peak.  I was fortunate to find a maintenance worker who let me in to the ski lodge at the summit of Jay to make a call to Bill to arrange to be picked up at the end of the trail this evening.  If I didn’t reach him, Plan B was to hike/hitch to Newport and catch the bus tomorrow morning.

I hung out on Jay Peak enjoying both the view south of where I had hiked as well as the view north into Canada.  It is amazing how flat the terrain becomes a few miles into Canada.  Quite a contrast with the view south.  They turned on the chair lift and the tourists are coming so I need to get on my way.  I hiked over Doll Peak and North Jay Peak and then had lunch at the clearing where the Shooting Star Shelter used to be.

Mark Washburn at Journey's End

At Journey's End

In the afternoon, an ironman who had passed me climbing Jay mentioned that he had been to the terminus at the Canadian border and left a surprise there for me.  I climbed over Burnt Mountain and Carleton Mountain in the afternoon before reaching the Canadian border about 4:30 pm.  The temperature was very hot and there was no water since the Jay Ski Lodge so I was extremely thirsty.   To bad there is not a river separating the US and Canada at this location.

US Canada Border Marker

US Canada Border Marker

There is a sign and a granite marker (line post 592) and a nice east-to-west view of the border.  I found a power bar that the iron man had left for me on the granite marker that was a nice surprise.

Northern Terminus of the Long Trail

Northern Terminus of the Long Trail

There is another 1.3 miles on Journey’s End trail to reach the parking lot where I am meeting Bill.  I reached the parking lot after 6:00 pm and was excited to see Bill and really excited that he had a two-liter bottle of lemon seltzer water and ice cubes waiting for me.  I am now at the end of a wonderful journey and hope that I can get back out in the woods very soon.

Hiked 12.9 miles today.

Up early and climbed the fire tower to watch the sunrise, which was really beautiful.

Sunrise atop Belvidere Mountain

Sunrise atop Belvidere Mountain

I was on the trail by 7:30 am.  I reached Tillotson Camp at 9:15 am and a really strange unstable guy was camped right in the middle of the trail.  The temperature was again really hot and it was difficult to stay cool.  Went over Haystack Mountain which was tough and had lunch at Hazen’s Notch Road Crossing.  Stopped at Hazen’s Notch Camp for water and then pushed on for Jay Camp.  The hiking over Bruce Peak, Buchanan Mountain, Domey’s Dome and Gilpin Mountain was all ridge travel, which provided a cooler more comfortable hiking environment.  This was by far the best part of a very tough day.

Jay Camp - hiker from Newton, MA

Jay Camp - shared with hiker from Newton, MA

I arrived at Jay Camp at about 8:30 pm and a hiker who is a TV producer from Newton, Massachusetts was the only person here.  He gave me some double stuff Oreo’s that really hit he spot.  I am really tired and looking forward with much anticipation to finishing my journey tomorrow.

Hiked 14.3 miles today.

Up early and on the trail at 8:45 am.  Another scorcher today and tough initial hiking over Butternut Mountain at the start of the day.  Climbing over Bowen Mountain next was much easier.  Went to Ritterbush Pond for a swim and ended up staying for three hours.  There was a trampoline on a raft that you could swim to in the middle of the pond.  I suntanned and talked with Bob Northrop’s son and grandson when they showed up on the raft.

Sunset atop Belvidere Mountain

Sunset atop Belvidere Mountain

After a really late lunch at 4:00 pm, I pushed on to make the summit of Belvidere Mountain.  Pretty tough climb up Belvidere especially as it was getting dark.  I camped at the summit next to the fire tower.  This is an awesome spot to spend the night.  There are great views from the fire tower.  I watched the moonrise and a lightening shower way off in the distance.

Hiked 12.2 miles today.

Unbelievably hot morning and took my time getting going.  Walked past the Ithiel Falls Camp Meeting Ground, which was quite the major religious camp.  Made it to Round Top Shelter for lunch.  This is a very modern shelter with a skylight.  Took a mid-day nap to escape the heat.  Pushed on in the afternoon and hiked over Laraway Mountain, which was a fairly easy climb and had a great lookout with a bit of a breeze.

Long Trail Rock Cave

Long Trail Rock Cave

Cruised into Corliss Camp as darkness was approaching at about 8:30 pm.  The Northrops were there as well as 2 south bounders.  Had a long chat with Bob Northrop about everything.  He is a very interesting man.  Active with the GMC, retired teacher, President of and electric co-op and originally from Belmont Massachusetts.  Saw a porcupine today on Laraway Mountain.  Unbelievably, my first interesting wildlife sighting.

Hiked 11.7 miles today.

Bill and I went for bagels and then he dropped me off at Smugglers Notch at 7:30 am.  Extremely hot and humid day for hiking.  Really enjoyed walking past Sterling Pond and then over Madonna Mountain which is where the Smugglers Notch Ski area is located.  Ate lunch at Beaver Meadow Lodge.  In the afternoon, pushed on over Whiteface Mountain, which was a fairly tough climb.  Spent quite a bit of time walking on logging roads on the descent into Johnson.

Arrived at the Long Trail Tavern at about 7:00 pm and met two hikers, one a prison guard from New Jersey and the other a veterinarian from Canada.  Then had dinner after putting up my tent along with the other hikers beside the river behind the tavern.  The Long Trail Tavern provides great hospitality for hikers and provides one with good exposure to the local flavor in rural Northern Vermont.

Hiked 13.9 miles today.

Did not sleep well last night in the crowded Taylor Lodge, much snoring and also some critters crawling around near my head.  I was more or less in a “dungeon” on the floor under a high bunk.

Up at 5:10 am and on the trail by 6:30 am.  Bob Northrop stayed at Taylor last night and I met him this morning.  He is an 84-year-old guy who is hiking the LT to raise $84,000 to help protect the trail.  He has been interviewed by several TV and radio stations and has quite a following throughout Vermont.

84 years young Bob Northrup and grandson

84 years young.....Bob Northrop and grandson

I ran into Dave from Virginia at Butler Lodge about 9:00 am on my climb up Mansfield.  There was some very tough, frightening sections on the way up to the forehead.  In one place, if you slip…you are toast.  The walk across the ridge was very pleasant as it was a beautiful day.  The chin, which is the highest point in Vermont, was very crowded and at one point I counted over 60 people and I was the only thru-hiker.

Atop Mount Mansfield

Atop Mount Mansfield at the chin looking south

John Dillon of Vermont Public Radio, who was waiting at the chin for Bob Northrop, interviewed me about thru-hiking the Long Trail.  The story runs on VPR next Monday.  After lunch, I began the extremely tough descent down Mansfield.  I arrived at Smugglers Notch at 3:30 pm.  A guy who just finished hiking on Mansfield gave me a ride down the Mountain Road into the center of Stowe.  I called Bill and left a message on his machine to come pick me up.  I had an awesome chocolate malt and bought alcohol for my stove.  Bill picked me up and we went to do laundry, for a swim in a really cold stream and to Shaws Supermarket.  Had steak for dinner at Bill’s house and watched the Red Sox game.

Hiked 8.5 miles today.

Another fine day and I was up and out of the shelter at 8:00 am.  It was really humid right out of the gate, especially at the lower elevations below 1000 feet.  Had lunch at the Buchanan  Shelter Trail junction and then began the long descent up Bolton Mountain.  The trail seemed to go on forever and I was getting very low on water.  Not much of interest on top of Bolton, hiked down to Puffer Shelter for a brief rest.  The spring at Puffer was dry and I am getting concerned about carrying enough water to stay hydrated.

Hiked on past a beaver pond and arrived at Taylor Lodge at about 7:30 pm.  Really long walk down to the spring to get water, but as I was most thirsty that first drink tasted great.  There was quite a crowd at the shelter including a guy who started at Springer Mountain in Georgia and is doing the entire AT and LT.  I am really excited to climb Mount Mansfield in the morning.

Hiked 13.2 miles today.

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