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Maine Junction

  • Start: Inn at the Long Trail
  • End: David Logan Shelter
  • Approx Miles: 13

After another delicious breakfast at the Inn, I begrudgingly set out somewhat later than I would have liked. It’s hard to leave the Inn and get back into the “trail mindset” after the cozy laziness of yesterday. It’s chilly and misty today, and I’m cold in just my t-shirt and shorts1. I feel groggy and out of it.

After a short hike I arrive at Maine Junction, where the AT and LT diverge, the LT continuing north to the Canadian border and the AT turning east towards New Hampshire and finally Maine. A significant turning point in the trail. I’m sad to part ways with the ATers (Randy, Rock ‘N Roll) but excited and nervous for the challenge ahead. Here I find the crew from the Inn last night (Stiltz, Mooch, Parfait, Keith, etc.).

Maine junction, where the AT and LT part.

As we hike I get to know everyone a bit. Mooch is a stringy, high-energy 18 year old. He just graduated from high school and works for an event rental company in New Jersey where he grew up. Doesn’t really know if he’s going to go to college or what yet, so he’s just hiking and traveling while he figures it out. In some ways he’s a typical 18-year old—kind of all over the place, talks too much, etc. But he’s also pretty self-aware for his age. He’ll say things like “I know I talk a lot so if you’re ever sick of it just tell me to shut up.” Or after making an immature joke: “I know that’s only funny to me because I’m 18, but I’m 18 so it’s hilarious.” He also refuses to own a cellphone! Pretty remarkable, but also the kind of thing I’d expect from a teenager who chooses to hike the LT. Instead of FarOut he’s got paper maps and a Garmin GPS device.

Stiltz is an occupational therapist who’s been working a “traveling nurse”-type job for the last few year. They place her for a few months in different New England towns, and then she often has month or two off between gigs, which lets her hike a lot. She actually lived in Stowe for a few months, so she has friends in some of the trail towns and has climbed many of the trail’s peaks already. She recently completed the New England 672! She’s in the process of moving back to “Pennsyl-tucky”, as she puts it, where she’s from. She’s hiking with her friendly beagle mix Ella, who she’s totally obsessed with. Ella’s funny, she doesn’t really bark, but is constantly making these cute whining noises whenever she’s excited or nervous. She’s also apparently half mountain goat, bounding up rocks and obstacles more adeptly than any of us humans.

We all set out hiking together and a marching order quickly emerges. Mooch, being young and spry, leads the way. Stiltz and I follow a ways behind him, with Parfait and Keith behind us. Parfait has really been suffering from some foot and knee pain that’s slowing her down.

Mooch leading the way.
Ella goes loaf mode.

It turns out to be a pretty crappy hiking day. Rain starts mid-day and does not let up. Just mud and rain and wet. I had intended to go 18 miles today to skip over David Logan Shelter (where there have been reports of a strange man threatening campers with an axe), but when I arrive there with everyone else I’m just too wet and cold and low energy to go on. We figure with four of us plus a dog, we can take the axe-man if he shows up. The shelter is cozy, with a cute wire fence enclosing its open side.

Eventually a hiker in a poncho approaches the shelter. “Do you have an axe?” we call out in jest. His name is Jesse, he’s a big, tall guy with a booming voice to match and long brown hair. Very friendly. It’s nice hanging out in the shelter with everyone and griping about the cold and the wet.

We all go to sleep early hoping for better weather tomorrow.

PSA posted inside David Logan Shelter.

  1. Here I’m following the hiker wisdom of “start cold”. You warm up dramatically just due to metabolism after you’ve been hiking for an hour or so, so if you’re comfortable when you set out, you’ll shortly be too hot. Many days I foolishly set out without taking off my warmer layers, only to find myself sweating like crazy and having to shed them. ↩︎

  2. Climbing all 67 peaks over 4000 feet in New England. ↩︎