We get up at 7 and start packing. Dave is packing soon after. I offer Sherman some food. No. He’s eating some snacks during the day and one big meal at night. I’m a bit concerned. He’s not.
We head up Jay Mountain. It’s a ski resort. So large swaths are clear of trees. Amazing views.

 


This is a 3000ft elevation climb. And of course it is very steep. Very slow going. As we get half way up the LT touches a ski trail. I didn’t notice that on the map and miss a trail turn and we walk up the ski slope. Straight up the mountain for about 1200 ft elevation. Damn! That was hard! My thighs complain and I walk on my toes. Then the calves complain and I go back to my heels. We stop every 20-30 min to let some glucose make its way back to those muscles. We make it to the place where the LT comes back our way and crosses the ski trail. We walk to Jay Peak where the ski cable cars come and go.
This is the spine of The Green Mountains. Where we’re headed…


More Green Spine
There’s a young woman thru-hiker sitting in a white plastic chair reading. She offers me the chair her feet are in and we talk for 15ish minutes. We bye. Sherman and I go in the building to fill our empty liter bottle and head to the actual peak. It’s a very rock trail. 360degree view. I call Kazdyn. We talk. Footfalls are the priority, so the conversation is punctuated by silences while I choose where to put a foot. Coming out of the rocks we’re back on a nice smooth tread. Now we go down, down, down, down… as steep as coming up. What feels like a third of the way down the trail becomes rather sandy with tree roots and rocks puncturing the surface. After an hour we get to Jay Camp, wheee we were going to stay last night. It’s a quarter mile off the trail. I start there and then think, “Why do you want to hike an extra half mile?” It’s going to be a long day already. We turn around and continue on the LT.
This section from Jay Camp to Hazen’s Notch Camp is also an ass kicker. Getting ready for this hike I kept being asked a question. “Should you be doing some stair training?” I didn’t listen to the internal wisdom speaking. I shoulda said “Fuck Yeah”!! Well, we’re getting our stair training now. Up and down rock after rock and tree root stairs. There are not muscles that get strengthened by doing 5-10 mile hikes. There is no gym or stairway that can duplicates this. Imagine going up or down stairs for a mile and each step is a different height (up to 30″) and a different angle. Yep. Welcome to the LT!

Another small water source with early fall colored maple leaves
We take a break every 30 min to rest and hydrate for 10ish min. If he’s really hot I wait til he’s not panting anymore. At each stop Sherman goes off the trail and digs through the leaf cover to the moist humus.


Or a cool rock in the afternoon breeze

Here he claims this wet 12 inch spongy moss. He’s in heaven. I’m learning that he frequently knows the good spots. The power spots!
The last two miles I’m overheating and getting pissed off at the spider strands that wrap themselves around my head. These are not webs, they’re the first single strand the spider gets between to spots to start the actual web. For some reason that’s what the mind has grasped onto. Not exhaustion or sore legs. Spider strands. I get my hiking towel out to wipe off the strands and discover it’s also cooling off me off. This moist towel is now my best friend. Hanging around the neck and when needed over the head to sweep the sticky stands. The wet is so delicious.

Love this colony
We just about stumble into Hazen Gap Camp at dusk. There are two women in the 6 person Camp. I get greeted with “I’m allergic to dogs.” I’m too tired to deal. Ok. I’ll pitch the tent.
A nice spot is next to the Camp and fire ring. On a small cliff with nice view of the nearby hills sky. Sherman eats a big dinner. After the tent is setup and I’ve gone to the stream for water and to wash off and rinse my clothes I sit down to heat up my dinner. When it’s hot I’m too tires to eat much. So it becomes breakfast.
As soon as I lay down I’m out. Sherman has been napping for over an hour while I bathe and eat.