XCFeedsExploring the north

FasterSkier FasterSkierSeptember 12, 2010

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Since at least some time last summer, we’ve been talking about running on the northern part of the Long Trail for a workout. Sure, the Stowe area is nice, but there are all these great mountains up near the border that we have never even explored! For some reason, it had never happened.

Well, now it has! Lauren and I did an OD on the Long Trail going over Jay Peak today. It would have been fun to do in a big group, but 60% of the team is gone, and the boys wanted to go mountain biking, so it was just the two of us. No matter, we had a lot of fun! While it wasn’t as sunny as yesterday, it was pretty much a perfect fall day, and it didn’t start raining until this afternoon, so we really lucked out. I loved the views and the golden color of the grass covering the alpine ski trails.

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On the way down the other side of Jay Peak, our run got kind of strange. The Long Trail enters the woods for a while, then meets back up with the ski trails briefly. At this weird intersection, we got really confused. The next section (which we later identified) really wasn’t blazed at all, so we weren’t sure where to go. We even went further down the ski trails for a little while, but decided this was a bad idea. Eventually, we just tried the unblazed trail, and found a lone blaze in the woods a bit. Then we started encountering strange signs warning us about how easy it was to get lost. The first one listed the number of people who had gotten lost on two different days. The second one was a real winner:

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It’s not just photo quality: 95% of the writing on this sign had washed off. We pieced together the following: “This is the trail where if people get lost they spend the night outside. Is it worth it?”

We were a little bit scared. The blazes were few and far between. What on earth was going on? Were we in a horror film? If we continued down the trail, would we be taken by strange creatures or angry mountain men with guns who were sick of yuppy hikers crossing their land?

On the way back (we had to do an out-and-back because we took only one car), we came across a sign that we hadn’t noticed on the way down, which clarified the situation. The signs were meant for skiers and snowboarders. Yes, that made more sense: if you got lost, you’d be stuck outside all night in the cold, and there wasn’t much of a way to get back up the mountain….

Clarity is good.

Anyway, Lauren and I were both completely exhausted, so we ended up going really slowly the whole time. But despite our fatigue, we had a great time and really loved the trail section. Jay is a very cool mountain. We can’t wait to go back with the rest of the team in one of our volume weeks!

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