[at-l] About 12 years and two Days After

Art Cloutman Art at crystalacresnh.com
Mon Sep 27 08:39:24 CDT 2010

Spent Saturday night at the Goddard Shelter on Glastenbury Mountain.
I got up at 3:15 am on Saturday to drive 3 hours and 15 minutes to 
meet my friend Emily for a 20 mile hike on the AT/LT.  We were to 
meet at the trail head parking lot on Rt 9 just east of Bennington, 
VT.  Emily works and lives in NY north of NYC on the banks of the 
Hudson river.  She has her own business doing restorations of older 
buildings.  Right now she is building authentic wooden windows for an 
older home to replace those that have been damaged over the years. 
She also manages some estates to make sure the property is ready for 
the owners when they choose to visit.

I arrived at the parking lot about 6:45 AM 15 minutes before our 
planned meeting time.  I have never hiked with Emily.  I know her 
through her mother who is a longtime friend of my wife.  I wasn't sue 
if Emily knew exactly where the parking lot was located or how prompt 
she would be and I certainly did not want to be late.  We had 
exchanged cell phone numbers just in case but of course there turns 
out to me no reception in that parking lot just north of those 
extreemly steep stairs which bring the AT down to route 9.  But I had 
nothing to fear, Emily showed up exactly at 7:00 AM as planned.  Her 
dog Roux, a herder, turned out to be an excellent hiker.  We gave 
each other hugs then put on our packs and headed up the trail.  There 
were three food bags hanging fron the middle of the bridge that 
crosses the river.  on the other side were 3 south bounders just 
waking up from their nights sleep.  We did not talk so I did not get 
trail names or other particulars but they did appear to be thru 
hikers - somehow you can tell.

We chose to walk through Split Rock and then stopped at the Melville 
Nauheim Shelter.  There was a pair of clean socks and a shirt on the 
table in the shelter.  We had no idea who they might belong to so we 
left them.  We got more water at the brook in Hell Hollow then 
stopped at the first look out for another break and a mid morning 
snack. When we started to leave the outlook we noticed 5 backpacks 
just off the trail but no people nearby.  I speculated that some 
folks dropped their packs to make better time hiking up the trail. 
If they were trying to get to Glastenbury mountain they were grossly 
underestimating the effort it would take to make the round trip. 
Continuing along the ridge brought some nice views and a steady 
climb.  At the second outlook we stopped for lunch.  While we were 
there 5 college age young people approached from the north who turned 
out to be the owners of the packs we saw a few miles back.  They had 
indeeed tried to reach the fire tower on Glastenbury but decided it 
was going to take too long.  They were very nice folks and interested 
in my thru hike from 6 years back.  After they moved on a pair of 
backpackers arrived just as we were preparing to move on.  They 
decided it was a great place for lunch.  I suspected they would catch 
up with us because I don't move very fast anymore. And I was correct. 
They passed us 4 hours later about 1.5 hours before we reached the 
Goddard Shelter.

At the shelter we met many weekend backpackers.  There were two 
couple hiking together with two golden retrievers.  Very well behaved 
dogs who enjoyed playing with Roux.  One of the ladies in the group 
had spend considerable time on the Long Trail.  It sounded like she 
had completed at least one thru hike.  The other lady had never 
backpacked or hiked before in her life.  She claimed to be loving it. 
There were several other folks out for the weekend.  There was a man 
from North Conway New Hampshire section hiking the AT.  He started 
this section at PeeksKill, NY and was hoping to make it to Grafton 
Notch before winter made it too difficult to continue.  I think has a 
great chance of completing his hike for the year.

Emily set up her tent for Roux and herself, I choose to sleep in the 
shelter.  It got very dark by 8 PM but then started to lighten as the 
nearly full moon came up.  It was like a very gradual dawn because it 
just got brighter all night until sunrise when the moon was still 
visible.  I have been to Goddard shelter many times over the years 
and every time I have considered returning on the West Ridge trail to 
make it a loop but until this trip I have always backed down because 
I was concerned that it may not be as well maintained ast the aT/LT. 
But my fears were unfounded.  It is an excellent trail much more 
gradual in its descent toward rt 9 but very dry and with only a 
couple of views.  We did not see another soul until the last two 
miles of our hike were we met a father and son on the top of Bald 
Mountain.  On the way down Bear Wallow trail we met 6 more folks 
heading up to the summit on day hikes and one hiker that passed us 
after spending the night at Goddard Shelter.  About have way to Bald 
Mountain I began getting a cramp in the calf of my left leg.  It 
continued to get worse as the hike continued.  When we reached the 
parking lot I found it very difficult to get into my truck.  I 
stopped twice on the three hour trip home for food and to stretch. 
Got home about 9:45 PM last night and took a shower.  I noticed my 
left calf was almost twice as large as my right.  Major swelling. 

This morning my leg is much better but still a little swollen.  It 
was a great hike.  Haven't been out on a hike that long or that 
difficult since my thru hike in 2004.

Life is Good!!!
Art Cloutman

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