Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day 28: Journeys End

Dscn7242October 1: I had already finished thru-hiking the Long Trail, but I still had 0.8 miles to hike to actually reach the trailhead and get off the trail. My shortest day yet! If you don’t count that zero day in Rutland. =) With less than a mile to hike, I wasn’t in any particular rush, but for all I knew, Amanda might already be at the trailhead waiting for me so I didn’t have any reason to linger late either. Ultimately, I wound up leaving at around 8:00 in the morning, and was at the trailhead at Journeys End Road about 20 minutes later.

Amanda, however, was nowhere to be seen. No big deal, though. I did need to pick up my maildrop in the town of North Troy, which included my laptop and a couple of bags of powdered milk, so I started following the dirt road east.

North Troy was about four miles away, mostly following old gravel roads that didn’t appear to get much action. The closer I got to the city, though, the more houses showed up and the more well-traveled the gravel roads looked. I had told Amanda that if I made it out before she could pick me up, I’d walk out to North Troy to pick up my mail drop and meet her there at the post office or the small market in town. I figured when she did get into town, she’d start in North Troy then drive west until finding me walking along the road or she reached the trailhead—whichever came first. We weren’t sure how suitable the gravel road would be for a rental car ahead of time, so it seemed like a good way to handle things.

The walk was largely uneventful. As I got closer to North Troy, a couple of border patrol vehicles passed by. The walking was easy—wide, flat roads to follow. Not even muddy ones. Nope, they were good, solid gravel roads.

I reached town and quickly found the post office where I picked up my maildrop. And now… I had nothing to do but wait for Amanda. I didn’t see anywhere that was particularly convenient to wait, I just sat down by the post office and started reading my Kindle.

A couple of hours went by and I lost the shade I was sitting in, but I started wondering what happened to Amanda. Did her flight not get in? I wandered over to the small grocery store in town and bought a cold drink and asked if there was somewhere in town where I could make a phone call. The woman at the desk said the last pay phone had been removed years before, but asked if it was a local call. I said that no, it wasn’t, but that I did have a phone card I could use and she let me use the phone at the store.

I got Amanda’s voicemail. I left a message saying that I was in North Troy at the market and hoped she’d get there soon. I was still left in the dark about where she was or how much longer I’d have to wait, though.

I didn’t have to wait long, though. Not ten minutes later, Amanda pulled up in a small minivan. I didn’t recognize her at first because I was expecting the usual small rental car, but she drove up in a minivan instead! It was time to get off the trail for good!

Dscn7243Amanda hadn’t followed the script we put together when I last talked with her—head to North Troy, and if it I wasn’t there, follow the road as far as she could to the Journeys End trailhead where I would come out. She went straight to the trailhead thinking she’d beat me there, and the trailhead did have a register that people could sign, but it was one of the registers that had space for your name, city, # of days out, etc. It wasn’t a register where you could ponder the meaning of life—it was just to track how many hikers used the trail or to help narrow down where someone might be if a search and rescue needed to happen. I didn’t bother to sign that register—I would sign them whenever I went into the woods. It didn’t seem necessary once I was already safely out of them.

Amanda, though, looked at this register and didn’t see my name, so she assumed I hadn’t gotten out yet and therefore just waited for me at the trailhead. It wasn’t until I called and left her that voicemail in North Troy that she realized I had already slipped past. I so should have signed that register! But Amanda was supposed to start looking for me in North Troy. We had no idea that there would be a register there ahead of time! What if it wasn’t there? How would she have known if I passed by or not?

Anyhow, it all ended well and we drove to Burlington where Amanda had gotten us a hotel. On the way, I asked her if there was any interesting news that happened while I was out in the woods and she told me that the government was closed down.

“Say what?” I had absolutely no idea.

“There’s a government shutdown.”

Hmm… isn’t that interesting! The whole government can close down and I’m completely oblivious! =)

I cleaned up and showered, putting on the clean clothes Amanda had brought with her, then we went into downtown Burlington to take a look around. I’d never been to Burlington before and I gotta say that I absolutely love the place! The closed down an entire big street to vehicles so it’s only open to pedestrian traffic now. A city after my own heart. =)

Later in the evening, we met with a couple of letterboxers for dinner: Lou and Cindy--the same Cindy from Stowe who asked me if I was missing anything.

"You have my buff!" The long lost buff had been found! But she had forgotten to bring it from home, so I didn't actually get it back (yet!), but at least I finally knew what happened to it. =)

The next morning, October 2nd, we went to the airport and I flew home. That was non-eventful, though, so I’m not going to write another blog entry about that. Just know that this blog has finally come to an end. At least for this hiking season. I’m sure there will be more adventures next year, though! =)
And, as you could probably already guess, I took about 3,000 photos along the Long Trail—and exactly 1,055 of them I uploaded to Walking 4 Fun for anyone who’d like to try a virtual walk of the Long Trail. Far more photos there than I used in this blog! =)

The Journeys End Shelter had this card. Being so close to the
border, it’s an area that the border patrol monitors.

A sign at the Journeys End trailhead. The Long Trail is
now 1.3 miles behind me, and North Troy is just 3.9 miles away!

Even the road walk into North Troy had blue blazes along the route.


What a great photo to mark the end of my Long Trail hike,
don’t you think? =) The name of the gravel road I walked
on was called Journeys End Rd, and this sign marked
the turn onto it.


Entering the bustling city of North Troy.

Mural in Burlington.


Anonymous said...

Yes!!! The buff lives on!!!


Anonymous said...

Ryan, I love reading your blogs! You are a funny one! The pictures are fabulous! Thanks for sharing this with the world! Hey, you need to write a book, oh wait.....you did! God bless! Love, sharp sting ; )