Time for another Long Trail section hike! I picked up Shepherd from where he was hiking farther south on the Long Trail and then we met Switchfoot at Journey’s End, near the Canadian border. I had heard varying things about the condition of Journey’s End Road, but we actually were able to drive all the way to the end of it. The last quarter mile was starting to get muddy and have potholes so we backtracked a little bit to park since it would be raining when we finished.
For now it was just cloudy and we headed up the Journey’s End Trail to meet the Northern Terminus of the Long Trail at Line Post 592 of the US/Canada border. After the obligatory photos, we headed south. The trail was pretty muddy due to all the recent rain and we started up some mountains immediately. This whole section would prove to be way more rugged than the section I did last weekend.
We went over Carleton Mountain at 2670′ and then descended into North Jay Pass. Next, we went up and over Burnt Mountain at 2608′ and Doll Peak at 3409′. Any viewpoints were either overgrown or in a cloud when we got there.
We stopped at Laura Woodward shelter for dinner, but since we had plenty of daylight left and the shelter already had some other section hikers in it, we decided to keep going. From there, we climbed over Jay Peak at 3858′. It was very windy so the clouds had been moving out while we ate dinner and we had some nice views from the top of the ski area.
We made it down into Jay Camp just before dark and I set up in the shelter for the night. Usually I don’t like fully enclosed shelters. They always seem so dark and dank, and I want the mice to be able to get out more easily and not be trapped inside with me. But of course the mice can get in and out whenever they please. The shelter wasn’t too bad. 13 miles for the first day.
It was cloudy again in the morning and we finished our descent into Jay Pass before starting to climb. First up was Gilpin Mountain at 2940′, then Domey’s Dome at 2880′. (Someone got very lazy with the naming of places.) It started sprinkling right before I got to Chet’s Lookout so I quickly ate lunch and kept going. The trees kept most of the rain off of me.
Next we went over Buchanan Mountain at 2940′ before skirting around Sugarloaf Mountain on our way down to Hazen’s Notch. Then it was a long climb up Haystack Mountain at 3223′, where I quickly ran up the summit spur trail to no view, and a shorter climb over Tillotson Peak at 3040′. It started raining more heavily right as I got to Tillotson Camp after 11.7 miles and set up in the enclosed shelter with the other section hikers.
I woke up at 4am to torrential downpour on the metal roof of the shelter, but the rain had stopped by the time it was actually morning. We had a view of blue skies in one direction, but the view of the fire tower we were headed towards in the other direction showed it was surrounded by dark clouds.
We got hiking and it started raining shortly after. When I was almost to the summit spur trail, it started snowing! In the middle of June! By the time I got to the top of Belvidere Mountain at 3360′, all of the precipitation had stopped, although it was very windy and cold. I went up the fire tower and could see some landscape through the quickly moving clouds.
From there, we had a long descent to Eden Crossing, and of course it started raining again on the way. We only had 5.5 miles total for the day so we were out in time for a late, hot lunch.
It was wet and muddy, but I love the Long Trail!