Long Trail - Day 1

My 18-year-old Scouting friend Andrew and I waited out a rainshower, then started up the Pine Cobble Trail in Williamstown, Mass. at 10 a.m. After a rocky hill, the forest along the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail was lovely and gently graded, but had a certain sameness about it. As we approached a massive boulder, a young woman with a fairly heavy pack and bug-bites on her legs came toward us. After swapping trail information, we started off on our fresh legs. She lingered, watching us go. Further along we saw our first beaver dams. After dining at Congdon Shelter with several AT hikers, we pushed on until dark, then tarped for the night.

Dining at a picnic table beside Congdon Shelter, a southbound hiker confessed to us that he hadn’t been prepared for long-distance hiking. He said he had thought he was ready, but he found he wasn’t and took some time off near Killington. His buddies called out to him that that they planned a long-distance “death march” for the next day.
My pack weighed 16 pounds, including a base weight of 8 pounds plus 7 pounds of food and 1 pound of water. I later reduced my food ration by about 1 pound. Although Andrew’s pack weighed 35 pounds, we each had a footprint of about 175 pounds.