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Day 2: Approximately 15 miles from The Hemlocks Shelter to the Tom Leonard Shelter

 

Sleeping in the shelter at The Hemlocks last night was actually pretty awesome.

This morning, all I had to do before leaving camp was pack up a few things like my sleeping bag and my food and I was ready to go.

Of course, I had to have my coffee first, but no waiting for my tent to dry off from the morning dew, or packing it away slightly damp. Heck, just not having to pack up my tent at all saved a lot of time and made the morning that much more relaxing.

Plus, it meant we got a slightly earlier start on the trail.

Today was a long day filled with a few grumpy spells (mostly me), but also a bunch of really cool moments too.

For starters, The Hemlocks Shelter is located just over the peak of Mount Everett, heading northbound. So basically, we slept almost near the peak of the mountain.

That meant that this morning, we were mostly descending, which is way easier than jumping right into an incline.

While that’s already pretty awesome, starting the morning higher up on the mountain also meant that we started the day off with some really cool views of the the valley.  Clouds rising from the forest made the experience even more spectacular, as did the scent of pine trees – my favorite!

The descent down Mt. Everett was pretty steep, which was a lot of fun. There were a few parts where I was like “wait a minute, the trail goes where?”, because the white blazes literally ran straight down the side of the cliff.

I had to laugh just a few minutes ago when I looked up this portion of the trail on AllTrails.com and read the following:

[This trail] is only recommended for very experienced adventurers…

I was all like “I’ll take that and raise you a 40 pound backpack.”

Of course, as much as I feel all bad ass, there are people out there who are putting me to shame.

They’re like: “So, how many miles did you do today?” (Common trail question by the way.)

Me and my dad: “Oh you know, somewhere around 15″…feeling all proud.

And then they’re like:

“Oh yeah? Cool. I did 32. But, I got a late start”

On the initial descent, we saw some cool looking lichen gardens growing on the side of the mountain. It was kind of everywhere; on the ground, the trees and all over the boulders.

Once we reached the bottom of the mountain, the terrain changed from a pretty strenuous scramble through a shaded forest to a few miles of low lying ground, including a long stretch of beautiful farm and marshlands (which were actually pretty dry).

After descending Mount Everett, we crossed a small back road where we made about a mile detour to unsuccessfully search for water. There was a sign directing us to a spring, but unfortunately the spring was dry.

I still had about 2 liters of water left, but my dad was (I think) completely out and we still needed water for the rest of the day, as well as for cooking our dehydrated meals at camp for dinner. We were relying on finding a natural water source to replenish our supply and so far we were striking out.

Undeterred, we re-entered the woods and got back on the trail.

Those are the trail blazes…

That is ridiculously steep!  Thankfully, there are lots of trees to hold on to!

 

Continue reading about this section hike in the next post: Easy Street

(This is a continuation post. To start at the beginning of this section hike, visit Sages Ravine Northbound)