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Album: journal:day11

David Logan to Sucker Brook Shelter
8 Oct 2005
Day 2
12.9 LT miles, 135.2 cumulative miles

As if yesterday wasn't excruciating enough we repeated it today. That is except for Karen getting lost. I kept my eye on here.

We began the day a little after 11. It was a relaxing morning after the previous gruelling night but way too late a start. The mileage was the same but almost twice as much vertical. Of course it was still raiing. Today was cold unlike yesterday so we put on our rain jackets. At least the trail was fairly easy to the Sunrise Shelter where we had lunch and took a rest break.

Our overlong rest break has us descending into Brandon Gap where VT 73 crosses a little after 17:00. We raced downhill in excellent time but still had to go over four mountains on the other side before taking refuge in Sucker Brook Shelter. Mt. Horrid was the first mountain waiting for us and it has a reputation of being steep and being an example of the difficult terrain north of here.

Personally I didn't find Mt. Horrid to be much of a challenge, but my sister doesn't agree. We are still carrying a lot of food weight so our packs are heavier than optimal. Several hundred feet of rock staircase took us to the Great Cliffs overlook trail which we didn't take due to the low visibility. Above the cliff trail were more stone steps but we managed to summit and start down the other side before I turned on my headlamp. I have a picture of Karen standing on the summit rock surrounded by trees and showing her "bag hands". Because it is cold and rainy she has chemical hand warmers in her mittens and ziplock bags over the outside. I call them ghetto fabulous.

Onward! On the ridge we were beaten by wind driven rain and possibly a bit of snow that drove through the trees. Fortunately Cape Lookoff Mountain was only a half-mile distant and a couple hundred feet of up. We crossed its summit without any fanfare. Gillespie Peak and Romance Mountain's eastern summit were a death march through buffeting winds, mud bogs, cold rain, and narrow convoluted trail strewn with roots and rocks.

Staying on the trail was difficult. Not only was it dark but we were in the clouds. Visibility was low. Our pace was a crawl and hours passed. With her bag hands Karen was limited in being able to eat so I had to take the wrappers off of her Snickers. I'll always remember seeing her headlamp light pitch downward when she dropped that candy bar onto the wet ground and she stooped over to pick it up and continue eating without being able to really wipe it off. Now she undestands distance backpacking.

At almost 11 o'clock we were discussing whether it was possible to have accidentally passed the shelter. We didn't think so. I was also feeding her another semi-frozen snickers so she wouldn't drop it. It was hard so she was biting down and I was twinting it back and forth. What a scene. We couldn't help laughing like a couple mental patients.

Then a miracle happened. We started walking or staggering rather and within a minute there was a sign for the shelter. In another major letdown there were already three sleepers inside so in an effort to not disturb we went to bed without eating or changing all of our clothes. It was a miserable night of tossing in a cold, wet sleeping bag, but at least we were prone and out of the rain.

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