Long Trail - Day 17

Lacking water, I climbed up and over Jay Peak on a dry breakfast, and found the next spring at Laura Woodward Shelter. The trail approaching Shooting Star Shelter featured the most rugged single descent of the journey. It seemed to drop 2,000 continuous feet. During a rest and a hot lunch at the shelter I met a southbound day hiker, then a pair of high school young men briefly stopping there. They seemed to observe my weary determination. Near Route 105 a well-conditioned, gritty man with close-cropped white hair and a 55-pound pack congratulated me in advance. The final section of the trail rolled through endless hills of dense foliage almost like a bad joke, reminding me of all the obstacles I encountered in the northern section. Reaching the border at 4:40 p.m., I nearly overlooked the monument located behind a rock.

The Journey's End trail became tame and flat, offering all kinds of camping opportunities. So I realized that the Long Trail had been placed in the most dramatic landscape, featuring lots of ups and downs on purpose. Reaching Journey's End Camp, I celebrated with a pair of section hikers for five minutes. By foot and by hitching, I reached the Buon Amici Motel in time to meet and dine with another pair of hikers, James and Melissa, who got me to Massachusetts the next day.
The Long Trail end-to-end hike averaged 16.5 miles per day for 17 days. A modest pace on rugged terrain.