Day 16 – Brandon Gap

October 11, 2007
Sucker Brook Shelter to David Logan Shelter
LT Miles – 12.6
Total LT Miles – 155.8
Extra Miles – 0

Sucker Brook roars with last night’s rain. It poured. All else is silent and muted.

I put on my wet socks and shoes, and head south to discover what the day has in store for me. The air is chill.

Early mist enshrouds the upper elevations as I pass Romance Mountain. It then dissipates as I proceed toward Gillespie Peak, Cape Lookoff Mountain, and Mount Horrid.

I’m introspective for these miles, and haven’t seen another human being in nearly 24 hours. The shelter register speaks of numerous moose encounters through here. I have no such luck, but there’s plenty of moose droppings.

The south side of Mount Horrid is a sheer rock face at Great Cliffs, overlooking Brandon Gap and Vermont Route 73.

After some time watching the clouds above and the cars below, an older couple shows up on a day hike. They speak very little English, and I take my leave.

On the way down, I pass five more day hikers climbing the mountain to see the Great Cliffs.

Brandon Gap, Vermont Route 17

The trail south of Brandon Gap is blanketed in leaves. A gradual ascent on an old woods road crosses many streams and trickles on the way to Sunset Shelter.

It begins to rain as I have lunch at Sunrise Shelter. Light, inconsistent showers mark the rest of the day on a surprisingly flat stretch of trail for the better part of seven miles.

I meet a northbound backpacker, and his buddy close behind. His name is Ben, and they appear to be younger than me. He’s soft spoken and good natured, and we have the obligatory chat about local conditions. They intend to go all the way to Journey’s End.

Even though they’re likely well-informed, I cannot help but warn about the rough terrain and winter conditions they’ll be facing to the north. I wish them well… the final northbound end-to-enders that I’ll encounter.

David Logan Shelter is a welcome sight, and serves as home sweet home for the evening. There’s nobody here, and I’m glad to revel in the solitude.

Tomorrow I’ll be in town. I’ve found that my most enjoyable shelter stays tend to be on the nights before a resupply. I have several hours to relax before sunset – to listen to the rain, and consume two meals – chicken-flavored rice, then mac n’ cheese. There’s ample reading material too – an ATC newsletter, a GMC newsletter, and some magazine called ODE “for intelligent optimists.”

As I write this now, in a brightly-lit-clean-heated room at a computer, and look at that picture of a dingy-old musty-wet-dark-mouse-infested place in the woods, it’s a wonder how I can look at that and have such fond memories of an enjoyable evening there.

But I loved it. It was great. That’s the magic of the trail.

The wind picks up, and rain pours through the night.

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