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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.

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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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