Last trail training before Long Trail

This morning i was able to complete a 8km hike on Mt Chagnon, QC. (about 25 km north of the Vermont border) The hike is considered moderate. The trail is part of the “Sentiers de l’Estrie” (Eastern Townships Trails) which are in fact connected to the Long Trail at the border, and go all the way past the city of Sherbrooke.

I wanted to make this as close to the real hike as possible, but did not fully load my backpack. A few weeks just before departure, i am pulling back the throttle on the training regimen so i do not injure myself just before starting.

“Sentier de l’Estrie” trail

Why, oh why ??

The first 20 minutes of every hike i do, my body is just kind of waking up and protesting, and my mind always wonders: who’s stupid idea was that ??? But shortly after, the endorphins kick in and off i go. Now the trail this morning was very wet, and i was walking in fog which is my favorite weather. The trail’s elevation gain was not too bad, but still, it took me 2 hours to reach the summit. On the menu: roots, rocks and mud.

Excellent training for Vermont’s trails…

Summits on the air

At the summit, i was getting very tired due to the usual chronic pain setting in (see bio). I was very glad to have brought my hammock. No need for the tarp as the fog was lifting, so i put up my 20 meter wire that is my antenna. I quickly setup for a quick amateur radio session of SOTA (Summits on the air) and was able to contact Mike from NY State, and Andy who was on a summit himself in the Shenandoahs. Now how cool is THAT !!! We were conversing in Morse code, as my small radio transceiver cannot provide voice communications.

Summits on the air

Lessons learned

It took me about 1h40 to walk back to the trailhead. I found the descent rather difficult, as every root and rock was wet. It also made me realize how much i had climbed. I will need KT tape… The 4 hours it took to complete the hike enable me to reflect on my upcoming hike and after much thoughts, here it goes:

– Even though i had big plans and hopes, i realize i will likely hike about 5 miles a day. I have to keep in mind my medical condition and not overdo it. Hopping from shelter to shelter is a good objective at the start, and i will have to see this as a camping trip as much as a hike.

– I have to keep in mind that in the likely event that i do not complete the trail in one go, each mile i walk is a blessing.

– I might have to go to town more often than i thought. I cannot afford to have too much weight at once in my backpack.

– With a medical condition comes grief. Not about people, but about things we used to do. Grief consume a lot of energy, and the goal of this expedition is to learn how to deal with the things i cannot do anymore and instead look at the things i can still do. It is often easier said than done, and is a recurring process.

So there we go, i can’t wait to start the real thing. The new revised tactical plan is now to try to be 3 weeks on the trail, and/or hike until US2. If we do more, great, if we do less, great also.

Please feel free to comment, especially if you have to hike with a disability or challenge, i’d like to hear from you.

Cheers and 73, from Sly the Navigator

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Comments 2

  • Ed : May 10th


    I enjoyed you post and wish you the best in your hike. This is the first time I heard there was an amateur radio group related to golfers and peak baggers – cool.

    Your closing, ‘Cheers and 73’ brought back memories from my distant childhood when I would sit with my father in his ‘ham shack’ while we talked with others around the world. I have not heard that expression in over 50 years. Thank you for bringing back some long list memories!

    Cheers and 73’s,


    • Sly the Navigator : May 10th

      Hi Ed, i am glad that this brought back fond memories for you. After retiring, i completed my amateur radio license since i was already making HF comms on the aircraft as a Nav. I discovered Summits on the air and i was hooked. My first summits were easy hikes and/or car accessible since my health condition was not yet stabilized. SOTA is great as we are hikers AND radio enthusiasts !! I am not sure if you have your own license, otherwise the ARRL provides courses trough your local amateur radio club. Here is the link to SOTA, it’s all about mountains, enthusiasts and tallying points from chasing and activating summits.

      It’s too bad that i don’t have the stamina for a heavier pack, but i wish i could activate summits along the LT…

      Thanks again for reaching out, and happy trails.



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