Back on the Trail at Route 9


Carl and Cara ready to hit the trail again!

Jonathan drove Carl and I back to Route 9 in Bennington on Sunday, July 21. This would be the start of our third day on the Long Trail. I had new boots and we were ready to resume our LT hike north. Here we had to start our 1.6 mile upward hike, through Split Rock and to snack at Melville shelter. Our plan was to hike half way to Goddard shelter and to primitive camp around Porcupine Lookout.


Split Rock, this meant we were closer to Melville shelter!

Our packs were fully loded with three days of food. This was the heaviest hiking day since we started. I told Carl we needed to eat a lot of food to reduce our pack weights! He agreed!

It is a very steady steep climb up from Route 9. We were very slow pushing our heavy packs up hill and were looking for Split Rock. Once here the slope would level off and we could began to look for Melville shelter for a snack.

We were glad we weren’t staying here for the night. It looked like it had been heavily used over the weekend. Sadly, there was lots of garbage and it smelled funny. People need to pack-out what they pack in.


Short rest and snack at Melville Shelter.

Water was not very abundant hiking through this section. Because we were tenting and I wasn’t sure about water sources near our tent site. We filtered water from Hell Hollow Brook. The water was very orange and turned a light yellow after being filtered. Carl said he wasn’t going to drink it. I said we had plenty in you water bladders for drinking and that we would use this water for cooking.


Crossing the Hell Hollow Brook bridge and feeling the presence of the Three Musketeers.

What was special about Hell Hollow Brook was that once we crossed the bridge, we stepped on the original Long Trail that followed Hell Hollow Brook in the 20’s. Carl and I were now physically walking in the footsteps of the Three Musketeers! We paused for a moment and were able to hear and visualizing the three women happily wondering amongst us. What a wonderful feeling knowing our Grandmother/Great Grandmother had passed through here.

It was about 4:30 and Carl was wondering how much further until we should look for a place to pitch our tent. I said that primitive camping was only allowed at or above Porcupine Lookout and that Once we got there we would look for a nice off trail site.


Carl enjoying dinner by the fire at Porcupine Lookout.

We made it to Porcupine Lookouts around 6:30 knew we wanted to camp here! There was a fire ring, logs to sit on and a beautiful view. This would be the perfect dinner spot!

Around the bend up the trail a short bit, we wondered in to the woods and found a nice open leaf covered spot and pitched our tent. We grabbed our kitchen/stove and food and headed to the camp ring to cook dinner and relax.


The perfect leaf covered spot at Porcupine Lookout to pitch our tent.

Carl collected dead wood to start a fire. The bugs were back and the fire would keep them away. Our dinner was mashed potatoes, green beans and chicken. This is Carl’s favorite camp meal!

After watching the moon rise and relaxing, we went back to our tent site to bear hang our food and go to sleep.

I have learned that am not good at bear hanging food. To bear hang your food bag you need to find a limb that will allow the food to hang at least four feet or more from the tree base at about eight feet high. You throw a 30 foot line weighted with a small bag over the branch, let the line drop to you and attach your food bag to the line. Then hoist it up and tie the line back to the tree.

My problem this night, the throw over bag got caught in an upper branch and the line would not drop out of the tree. My little monkey Carl climbed way up the tree and unsnarled the rope and bag. He was then able to get the line pushed out to the outer part of the branch and back down to me so we could hang our food. He saved our food from the bears and coons!!

Enjoy our short video as we start from Route 9 and cross Hell Hollow Brook:

2 Responses to Back on the Trail at Route 9

  1. RatiganKnits July 27, 2013 at 2:08 am #

    Sounds like a good time! Bear hanging your food-clever!

    • Cara July 29, 2013 at 12:23 am #

      Bear hanging food is more for the racoons, mice and chipmunks. Here in Vermont, we really don’t have hungry bears wandering in the shelter areas looking for food. Vermont bears are more afraid of people. Presently, Carl and I are hiking with the bubble of AT hikers who are hiking through Vermont right now — most have had close-up encounters with hungry bears in the south. They take hanging food seriously. It’s safe to keep all food up high and away from sleeping humans. Plus when I’m camping primitively off trail I really don’t want to be surprised by critters trying to enter my tent!

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