David Logan Shelter to The Inn at the Long Trail
October 12, 2007
LT Miles – 12.7
Total LT Miles – 168.5
Extra Miles – 1
early morning at David Logan Shelter
The piped spring at the shelter tastes delicious.
I fill my water, pack my bag, and swiftly hit the trail in anticipation of tonight’s destination.
It’s another wet day – wet socks, wet shoes, wet leaves.
I won’t see anybody in the woods today.
The wind blows all day long with a passing weather front, causing it to rain leaves.
Tucker Johnson Graffiti
This is a momentous day in my backpacking experience. All of the trail south of Maine Junction coincides with the Appalachian Trail – territory I’ve covered on past trips.
So as of today I’ve officially hiked the entire Long Trail. I’m sad for the discovery of new places to end, but excited to soon revisit the old haunts, recalling moments that are five years’ history. The AT is always like home.
In all my excitement, I take a wrong turn.
I wanted to take the shortcut to the Inn at the Long Trail, which would mean following the Appalachian Trail “north” for a short distance… but I automatically go south, following the official Long Trail. I’ve gone almost a mile before I realize my mistake, making it illogical to backtrack.
I have to walk a mile along US 4 because of my error. I’m going to the Inn at The Long Trail, and Sherburne Pass.
I check in, drop my pack in my room, briefly clean myself up, and go back to the lobby to catch a bus to Rutland. Studying the schedule, it looks as though I won’t have sufficient time to resupply in town and catch the last bus back up to the inn, so it looks as though I’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Then it occurs to me that if I hitchhike down now, then I won’t have to wait for the next departure – creating plenty of time in town – so that’s what I do.
It’s not long before a man who appears to be in his mid-thirties stops and gives me a lift “down the hill,” some ten miles. Rutland is the second-largest city in Vermont, behind Burlington. I buy the usual few days worth of food, and inhale about four hot dogs at a convenience store before walking to the bus station.
The bus pulls up, and the driver says he’s coming back after a 30 minute loop around local stops in town – before going up to the pass. For lack of anything better to do, I opt to ride along. We circle around Rutland, and as the lone passenger I stare out the window on this Friday evening, watching pedestrians in the outside world through rattling windows. The radio plays above the humming engine (Including this song). After coming out of the woods, it’s an encapsulated view of the world I’ve left behind these past weeks. It’s a traveler’s moment of complete, passive satisfaction.
The bus carries me up to the inn, where I bathe for the second time of this trip. I repackage my food before going downstairs to McGrath’s Irish Pub. Having dry feet is a luxury in itself.
Live Irish music for the evening is provided by Donal O’Shaughnessy.
I proceed to have an excellent Shepherd’s Pie, one Guinness, two Long Trail Ales, and a traditional Black & Tan. Burp. I also phone an old Appalachian Trail friend, primarily to brag about how I’m at the inn… and to relate events of my hike thus far, breaking my don’t-communicate-with-people-on-the-phone-or-computer rule of this trip. Oh well.
Raucous Irish spirits continue into the night.