June 16, 2007
Long Trail: Smugglers' Notch to Route 15
This rather long hike was advertised as "call leader for starting time," but only Michael C and one lady from Burlington called, and only Michael showed up. Michael not having a car made it difficult to spot a car for the end of the hike, but my wife saved the day by agreeing to pick us up. I had estimated eight hours for the hike, and it took us over nine, so it was good that she brought some books to read while waiting for us.
The weather was lovely - warm enough for shorts but cool enough that our clothes weren't soaked with sweat. The small flying creatures liked it, too. The forecast included isolated afternoon thunderstorms, but they did not occur in our neighborhood. The trail was in good shape, with only a few muddy spots and small step-over trees obstructing the route. Some of the steep rocky segments made us watch our steps and our hand holds. An extensive set of puncheon just north of Sterling Pond Shelter looks like it will need attention soon; one piece was already broken. The new outhouse at the Shelter completes the renovation that started with our Section's construction of the new shelter two years ago.
We met several people at the Smugglers' Notch parking lot, some looking for a short hike and some looking for peregrine falcons. We met a few people along the Sterling Pond Trail, but no one at the Pond itself. After passing the Pond, we saw very few people indeed, especially for such a lovely weekend day: one family heading towards Watson Camp and one hiker (with dog) when we stopped for lunch at Whiteface Shelter.
When we reached the car, it was almost time for supper - much too late to pick up our car at the Notch, return home, and then prepare a meal. So we had supper at the Plumb and Main in Johnson. When we finally reached Montpelier, the streets were wet from recent rain, and more thunderstorms came during the night.