Old Job South Loop and the AT
October 14-15, 2004
|Stepping Stones along the AT
|The view from Mt. Baker overlooks the
patchwork landscape of Vermont
|Lost Pond Shelter where we stayed the night
|We were on the AT for about 5 miles
|The trail returns to following Lake Brook
On Thursday Mindi and I drove into the Green Mountains in Vermont leaving the small town
of Danby on Forest Road 10 and climbing up through golden forests. We reached the
trailhead for the Old Job South Trail and there was only one other car parked there. We
packed up our gear and headed up the trail which follows Lake Brook up to Griffith Lake.
It was 3.5 miles up to the lake and we made good time because the grade wasn't too
steep. We took a quick break at the lake, filtered some water, then turned west to meet
I expected the AT to be a wider, more traveled trail. Well, in spots it was hardly a path
at all and it nearly disappeared many times. We entered the Big Branch Wilderness here
and made our way through the colorful woods. At one point we heard a couple of coyotes
and the sound was somewhat eerie. We then climbed the flanks of Mt. Baker. The last
few hundred yards to the summit is not really a trail, rather you are hiking straight up rock
slabs. The view from the top overlooking the patchwork landscape of Vermont was
amazing... Farmer's fields of green interspersed with autumn-hued woods punctuated with
a house here and there.
After descending from Mt. Baker it began to rain, but not too hard. Unfortunately it was
at this time that Mindi realized she'd lost her pack cover along the trail. I had a garbage
bag for my pack cover which I used for a little bit then gave to Mindi to use before her
pack soaked through. We were both happy to find the Lost Pond Shelter just as the light
of day was starting to wane.
This was my first stay in a shelter and it was great! Mindi joked and said it was like a
Motel 6 for backpackers. It was indeed quite nice to have a dry spot to cook and hang out
and sleep as well as an outhouse nearby. It was also fun to read the shelter journal and we
hoped to see someone's name that we would recognize... but we didn't. Some of the
entries were quite humorous though. One warned us of a man-eating mouse in the shelter.
We should have heeded the warning.
It rained off and on all through the night but we were quite warm and snug in our shelter.
That is, until in the middle of the night Mindi woke me up saying in a fearful voice that
there was something crunching in the leaves outside. I heard the noise, sure enough, but I
looked and there right by Mindi's head was the garbage bag. I deduced that it was
probably just the man-eating mouse running across it so we tried to fall back asleep. We
were awakened a couple more times by the mouse trying to knock over my stove and
getting into other mischief.
In the morning I filtered water from the brook nearby, made breakfast for the two of us,
then we packed up and headed out. The woods were quite wet and we slip-slided on the
leaves and slick rocks. But the rain had let up so we were happy.
We made it out to the trailhead by 11:00 am or so, much quicker than we expected because
I was walking a little slow due to a couple of blisters. We threw our stuff in the car and
headed back down into civilization. In Bennington we celebrated Mindi's first real BP trip
with a pizza and a couple of diet cokes. She, her father, and her brother had once done a
spontaneous BP trip upon finding a car-campground full, but this was her first planned trip
carrying real gear.
We deemed it a successful trip, despite the rain and blisters. We only saw one other
backpacker and two dayhikers in the 11 miles we hiked. And, most importantly, the photos
turned out great :)
|The AT crosses the Old Job Trail