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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-08-2009
    Location
    Burlington, Vermont
    Age
    37
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    2

    Default Howdy from Houser

    Hello hikers!

    This is my inaugural post! First of all, let me say thank you. Thank you to all that have spent so much time posting journals, commenting on forums, even making websites & podcasts. I was completely taken aback when I realized how much support there is for hiking & the Long Trail. I'm looking forward to getting to chat with many of you, and perhaps meet some of you at some point. I've already spent days reading through trail journals and forums, checking out the Long Trail podcast, etc.; there's more information than I could possibly sift through, so forgive me if I post things that make it seem like I haven't done any research & don't know how to use Google. I do, but it's much more enjoyable for me to learn things through people's responses & chatting than through Google & libraries.

    Anyway, that said, I have practically no experience, and would love tips of all kinds from the pros. ;-) I'm a complete greenhorn, but very excited to get to experience for the first time what so many of you all have done.

    I have been doing my reading, but there's so much to learn! Done several day hikes: Mt. Hunger, Camels Hump, Mt. Philo, Bald Mt., some trails near Waterbury Reservoir, and I'm now planning my first weekend overnight! The plan is to leave from where the LT crosses Bolton Notch Rd (between Duck Brook & Buchanan Shelters), & hiking to Puffer Shelter for night #1. Day #2 will be from Puffer to Taft Lodge (I'd really rather not pay to stay in lodges, but don't know of alternatives). Day #3 would be Taft to Whiteface shelter, & Day #4 would be to a pickup in Lamoille.

    I don't work Fridays or weekends, so I'm planning overnights about every weekend from now until end of August. My goal is to End-to-End the Long Trail next July/August (2010); this summer is for testing gear & learning about hiking. I have started my trailjournal at http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=9301 and welcome all tips, comments, suggestions, and advice!

    One question I do have that I haven't seen yet (probably because it's so obvious), but I hear some people mention the trowel they bring, and others don't mention one. I assume you don't have to bring one and can dig with your hands / makeshift trowel from a fallen stick. Would this common sense assumption be correct or am I already on the path to certain failure? ...or do those people somehow manage to only use privies?

  2. #2
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-22-2002
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
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    59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houser View Post
    One question I do have that I haven't seen yet (probably because it's so obvious), but I hear some people mention the trowel they bring, and others don't mention one.
    Hey, Houser,

    Welcome to WB.

    I use a snow stake as a trowel. It's much lighter, stronger, and does double duty as a backup tent/tarp stake in case I lose one.

    Hint: use sandpaper to smooth the edges before you dig with it.

    Have a great hike.

    --Ken
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-08-2009
    Location
    Burlington, Vermont
    Age
    37
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    2

    Default

    Hey again hikers!
    So, I completed my 4 day mini-hike, got some great feels for equipment. I thought I could skimp on camp shoes... but decided that's a luxury I'd rather not give up as the trails indeed are quite muddy. Gonna switch to a gas stove instead of my Esbit tabs; again, for the luxury of a fast boil time (I also found my Esbit had trouble bringing more than 2 1/2 cups of water at a time to a full boil). I also may switch to boots instead of trail runners after spraining my ankle the 2nd day of hiking (before going up Mt. Mansfield).

    Gear aside, the hike did spur some questions. First and foremost... the Long Trail on the southern side of Mt. Mansfield (between Butler & the Forhead), is just over a 1,000 ft acsent in 0.8 miles, so pretty steep, lots of scrambling & ladders. In fact (much to the amusement of my hiking companion), there was one ledge in particular that almost scared me to the point of paralysis. Kind of a "holy *, if my hand/foot slips I'm dead." moment. Anyway, just as we neared the top of the acent, we met another hiker going South WITH A DOG! For those who have (or who have seen) dogs go from the Forehead to Butler... how is this possible for the dog!? Sometimes I can see how a dog would go around a ladder, but in these areas, short of carrying the dog down, I don't see how it's possible. And for some of the ledges... just WOW? Seems to me the dog would look at a ledge and then look back with that same look I gave my hiking compainion, "You want me to go where!?"

    Second, on our last night out we slept in a shelter with a SOBO E2E hiker, and the next morning asked if we could pack out any trash for him (since we were getting picked up by car in just 7 miles). He declined, and it made me question my offer. Is it generally okay to offer to pack out trash for other hikers? I assumed it would be a generous offer, but then thought it might be misinterpreted as offensive. Thoughts?

    In conclusion, best part of the hike: waking up to an incredibly bright sun just over the horizon, no clouds, making breakfast, packing up camp, and taking a picture before departing, only to glance at the time stamp and realize it's 4:50am.

  4. #4
    Geezer
    Join Date
    11-22-2003
    Location
    Portsmouth, NH
    Age
    74
    Posts
    2,964

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Houser View Post
    Hey again hikers!
    So, I completed my 4 day mini-hike, got some great feels for equipment. I thought I could skimp on camp shoes... but decided that's a luxury I'd rather not give up as the trails indeed are quite muddy. Gonna switch to a gas stove instead of my Esbit tabs; again, for the luxury of a fast boil time (I also found my Esbit had trouble bringing more than 2 1/2 cups of water at a time to a full boil). I also may switch to boots instead of trail runners after spraining my ankle the 2nd day of hiking (before going up Mt. Mansfield).

    Gear aside, the hike did spur some questions. First and foremost... the Long Trail on the southern side of Mt. Mansfield (between Butler & the Forhead), is just over a 1,000 ft acsent in 0.8 miles, so pretty steep, lots of scrambling & ladders. In fact (much to the amusement of my hiking companion), there was one ledge in particular that almost scared me to the point of paralysis. Kind of a "holy *, if my hand/foot slips I'm dead." moment. Anyway, just as we neared the top of the acent, we met another hiker going South WITH A DOG! For those who have (or who have seen) dogs go from the Forehead to Butler... how is this possible for the dog!? Sometimes I can see how a dog would go around a ladder, but in these areas, short of carrying the dog down, I don't see how it's possible. And for some of the ledges... just WOW? Seems to me the dog would look at a ledge and then look back with that same look I gave my hiking compainion, "You want me to go where!?"

    Second, on our last night out we slept in a shelter with a SOBO E2E hiker, and the next morning asked if we could pack out any trash for him (since we were getting picked up by car in just 7 miles). He declined, and it made me question my offer. Is it generally okay to offer to pack out trash for other hikers? I assumed it would be a generous offer, but then thought it might be misinterpreted as offensive. Thoughts?

    In conclusion, best part of the hike: waking up to an incredibly bright sun just over the horizon, no clouds, making breakfast, packing up camp, and taking a picture before departing, only to glance at the time stamp and realize it's 4:50am.
    I carry camp shoes also. I use Crocs now, as they are good for camp, town, and stream crossings.

    I have had people offer to take trash at trailheads and always accept. I wouldn't question yourself if I were you. You made an offer to help someone out, purely out of the goodness of your heart. The fact that the offer was declined doesn't change the generousity of your offer.

    Don't know how they do it with dogs. One time I was going up the Flume Slide Trail and it started to rain halfway up. Thought I was going to die. I would have turned back but it is recommended not to go down that trail even when it is dry. About 2/3 of the way up, a couple passed me going down. The woman had a baby in a front carrier. I was so amazed I didn't even say a word.

    I've used Esbits. They are okay for a cup or so of water, but you're right. 2 1/2 cups is a lot to ask of them. I use alcohol now, or sometimes a Jetboil.
    Frosty

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Houser View Post
    Hey again hikers!
    So, I completed my 4 day mini-hike, got some great feels for equipment. I thought I could skimp on camp shoes... but decided that's a luxury I'd rather not give up as the trails indeed are quite muddy. Gonna switch to a gas stove instead of my Esbit tabs; again, for the luxury of a fast boil time (I also found my Esbit had trouble bringing more than 2 1/2 cups of water at a time to a full boil). I also may switch to boots instead of trail runners after spraining my ankle the 2nd day of hiking (before going up Mt. Mansfield).

    Gear aside, the hike did spur some questions. First and foremost... the Long Trail on the southern side of Mt. Mansfield (between Butler & the Forhead), is just over a 1,000 ft acsent in 0.8 miles, so pretty steep, lots of scrambling & ladders. In fact (much to the amusement of my hiking companion), there was one ledge in particular that almost scared me to the point of paralysis. Kind of a "holy *, if my hand/foot slips I'm dead." moment. Anyway, just as we neared the top of the acent, we met another hiker going South WITH A DOG! For those who have (or who have seen) dogs go from the Forehead to Butler... how is this possible for the dog!? Sometimes I can see how a dog would go around a ladder, but in these areas, short of carrying the dog down, I don't see how it's possible. And for some of the ledges... just WOW? Seems to me the dog would look at a ledge and then look back with that same look I gave my hiking compainion, "You want me to go where!?"

    Second, on our last night out we slept in a shelter with a SOBO E2E hiker, and the next morning asked if we could pack out any trash for him (since we were getting picked up by car in just 7 miles). He declined, and it made me question my offer. Is it generally okay to offer to pack out trash for other hikers? I assumed it would be a generous offer, but then thought it might be misinterpreted as offensive. Thoughts?

    In conclusion, best part of the hike: waking up to an incredibly bright sun just over the horizon, no clouds, making breakfast, packing up camp, and taking a picture before departing, only to glance at the time stamp and realize it's 4:50am.
    i know exactly where you mean. i love that spot. every time i look out at the view and take a deep a breath and jump!

    glad it went well!

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-12-2003
    Location
    Warwick, NY - 3 miles from Wildcat Shelter on AT
    Age
    69
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    352
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    Last year I led my group down the Mansfield Forehead southbound on the LT. I don't know if this is the ladder you mentioned about a dog and how he does it but you can check out my photos starting with D-22 and you will see a dog going in the other direction (in D-26) (northbound) circumventing the ladder that we are struggling with on the descent. It is interesting to see the facial expressions of our group with these ladders and the way you relate your partner's impression of these ladders. Enjoy the photos. Link.
    Aaron

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