Breaking News: The Long Trail is Great
So, the long trail got not good, but great. Once you get out of Johnson, VT, and walk up the logging road for a few miles, then a snowmobile trail, then bang a right onto the trail, you start to climb Whiteface Mountain. This is the climb, in my opinion, where the Long Trail changes. You get to the top of Whiteface and take the short spur trail to the vista and you can oversee Madonna peak, a bit of Mansfield.
The climb down Whiteface was steep, but you have some views that more then make up for for it. Then you start the climb up Madonna (Smugglers’ Notch). The top of Madonna has a ski patrol warming hut, along with 360-degree views of what you just hiked, and what you will be hiking.
The climb down Madonna brings you to Sterling Pond, a mountain pond that is clean enough to swim in. I camped on top of a ski lift. Heather even hiked up at night to have dinner with me and bring me Oreos. I got the chance to see both a sunrise and a sunset here.
After seeing the sunrise (5:20ish), I decided to hike out early because I wanted to get to Puffer Shelter that day. As I was hiking out I was startled by a big creature moving around in the brush. It was a moose (first time seeing a moose while I was hiking), that started the day on a pretty epic note. I knew it was going to be a long day, but was a little unsure how incredible the day was going to be. I had great weather going across Mansfield, and the hike itself had a bit of everything: uphills, bouldering, ridge walking, and ladders.
Ended the day at Puffer Shelter, which is a must stay on the Long Trail. Check out Instagram (AlanJGoodwin) for some pictures.
I’m a few days behind on blogging, but stay tuned for Camel’s Hump, Burnt Rock, and some gap-to-gap hiking.
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