Long Trail: A New Approach – Day 2

Day 2 – Tuesday 7/12/2022

Goddard Shelter (24.1) to Peru Peak Shelter (64.5)

40.4 miles / 8,153 ft gain / 8,605 ft loss

2.7 mph

Start: 4:51am

Finish: 7:50pm

Elapsed: 14h 59m

It was nice to start the day only needing my headlamp for about half an hour before clicking it off. The sky was getting light already as I passed by the old fire tower atop Glastenbury Mountain. I hadn’t hiked this southern portion of the Appalachian Trail (which shares the LT for the first 105 miles) since my northbound record hike in 2020, and it was neat to retrace my steps and recognize bits and pieces of the trail throughout the day. I got to see parts of the trail in the daylight that I had only experienced in the darkness prior, like the ascent up Stratton Mountain. I found myself remembering really specific things, like “oh there’s where I stopped to pee that one time!” and “ah this is where I spilled my guts to my pacer about all my worries and insecurities!”

Potential severe storms had been forecasted for that afternoon, so prior to the hike I made a list of all of the shelters I’d pass by on the trail that day and how far apart they were from each other, just in case I needed somewhere to take cover. I heard the first rumblings of a storm a little before 2:30pm. I had just passed the side trail to Spruce Peak Shelter, but there was still a little bit of time (about an hour) before the storm would roll in according to my weather app, and I had over four miles to the next shelter. My heart started pounding and probably the hair on my arms started to go straight up but I decided to just go for it and RUN!

I tore down from Spruce Peak, dashed across Vermont 11/30, and hustled up Bromley Mountain. Now, I realize going UP a mountain when a storm is coming is probably not the wisest thing, but the shelter was well before the peak and I really thought I could make it. The sky rapidly got really dark, lightning flashed, and almost instantaneously a big clap of thunder boomed right over me. I may have screamed. It began to rain, but then nearly as soon as it had started it stopped. The sky lightened up very quickly. Was it already over? I relaxed my stride, laughed, and continued on my merry way.

Then a few minutes later, I heard some more rumblings of thunder and it was definitely getting closer and not farther away. I must have gotten a mini-prelude of what was to come with that first little storm, so I started dashing uphill again and thankfully saw the turnoff for Bromley Shelter. I took the side trail in, passed the privy and bear box, and there it was! There was just one other hiker there, he waved but didn’t say anything as he had his earbuds in and was engaged with his phone. Probably two minutes later the heavens opened up and rain just started dumping from the sky. Like heavy, thick sheets of rain. Wow, I was sure glad I had hustled to get there. I can deal with rain, but getting all my stuff wet (I had a trash bag lining the inside of my pack, but still) and likely getting blisters on my feet would have been miserable!

I laid out my foam pad, took my shoes off, put my poncho over my legs as a blanket, ate a snack, signed the shelter log, and just enjoyed watching and listening to the rain, very happy to be warm and dry. I was also very pleased with the progress I’d already made that day, partly thanks to running the last four miles. I only had 8.1 miles left to my destination for the day, Peru Peak Shelter, and it was only 4:00pm!

Around 4:30pm, after the rain had died down, I packed up my things, laced up my shoes, waved goodbye to my earbudded friend, and kept moving along. The final bit to the top of Bromley Mountain is a meadow ski slope. I turned around and gasped at the pretty view to the south, framed with wildflowers.

The gorgeous view facing south from Bromley Mountain – I didn’t realize the photo I took was so blurry, too bad!

After the last few bumps over Styles Peak and Peru Peak, I was rewarded with the final descent of the day to Peru Peak Shelter. I peeked in and saw at least eight hikers packed in a row like sardines. That just didn’t seem fun at all! A family pointed me in the direction of an available tent site, where I set up camp. I took my time eating dinner (tuna wrapped in a tortilla plus a bag of Swedish fish.. a very fishy meal!), cleaning up, filling up my water bottle at the stream, brushing my teeth, then jamming my food bag/toiletries into the already very packed metal bear box. I felt relaxed and happy that the day had gone “swimmingly”.

The next day my plan was to cover the next 40 miles to US-4, where I’d made a reservation at Inn at Long Trail on my phone from the trail (I waited to reserve a spot until I was sure I’d make it!), plus I had my first resupply box waiting for me that I’d dropped off a couple weeks prior. According to their website, the pub would close at 8pm and I was feeling very motivated to get a hot meal (particularly they have an excellent BBQ pulled pork sandwich), a hot shower, and a comfortable bed to sleep in. I definitely had to get there before 8pm! So I set my alarm early, 3am, and got right to sleep.

💫

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more daily recaps of the rest of my Long Trail journey right here on Mercury on the Run.

To celebrate completing my thru-hike and Long Trail Day coming up on September 10th, I’d like to give back to this trail I love so much by fundraising $2,720 for Green Mountain Club, the maintainers of the Long Trail – that’s $10 for every mile of the trail! As of this morning, with your support I have fundraised $768- that’s like starting from the southern terminus (mile 0) and getting all the way past Little Rock Pond Shelter (mile 74.2)! Can you donate to support me in my goal? Let’s get to Canada together. :)


I’m also working on a special Long Trail-themed project for new and continuing Buy Me a Coffee monthly members. I’m so thankful for your support and love getting to share my journey with this little community. Support me as a monthly member and not only will you get two beautiful Mercury on the Run stickers and a handwritten thanks from me, you’ll receive a one-of-a-kind memento from my time here in VT.


Another great way to support is by sharing this with someone that might enjoy it too, and if you haven’t already, subscribe to my weekly newsletter. ‘Til next time! ~Mercury

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Who is Mercury?

Liz Derstine, trail name “Mercury”, is a distance runner, endurance hiker, writer, and musician residing in Boston, MA. She holds the fastest known times for a woman on the Appalachian Trail (supported, northbound), Long Trail (self-supported), and Pinhoti Trail (self-supported).

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