The Long Trail Day 24by cyberhiker01 on 06/25/14
Last night, the rain returned with a vengeance. Woke up in camp with 8 miles to get to the resupply location. Between us and the resupply was the tallest mountain in VT, Mount Mansfield, with its rugged Nebraska notch. Since we were low on food we had no other option but to forge ahead in the rain. The trail was a literal river: sometimes shin and knee deep. The trail was also very rocky, and laden with many roots, which made the trek very slow. With everything wet, the danger of falls is more likely-- we have to take more precautions. We took the "bad weather" route around the Needle's Eye because thatsection was deemed unsafe and dangerous for pets. However, the bad weather route was no picnic, either. It was mostly made of slab (rock) but with all the rain it was like climbing a waterfall! Today was the kind of day when you had to put your head down and keep going. On top of the mountain is alpine terrain, and the rain and wind were blowing hard, making it very cold. This was especially true because I was sopping wet, having fallen into one of the waterfalls. Once we reached the top, I had hopes that our troubles were over, since we were only 1.7 miles from the road. That, however, is when things got interesting. The descent was incredibly slick--it was a true team effort. Tennille identified the problems, and I had to figure out how to get us down. In many places, I had to down climb 15-20 feet, drop my pack, climb back up, and figure out how to get Tennille safely down. Luckily, both of us made it down with no injuries. The climb today was miserable because of the weather-- if it had been sunny, it would have been a joy, much like the Camel's Hump. When we reached the road, everything we owned was wet to the core. Neil VanDyke head of Search and Rescue for Vermont, picked us up, took us to the post office, to the outfitter, and, as it turns out, he and his wife own a hotel. Knowing Tennille was spent for the day and I was cold and wet, we decided to stay the night in Stowe. I cannot thank Neil and his wife enough for their kindness and generosity. We are eternally grateful for their assistance. If you are ever in Stowe, please look them up, tell them we said, hello, and pay a visit to their hotel.