LT 2015 Day 1: Journey’s End to Tillotson Camp

Note: This is written as if I wrote it all the day of the hike.  It was actually compiled from my memories and notes that I took on my phone as I hiked and written much later.

Planned Schedule:
5am – Wake up
5:30am – Head out
5:45am – Northmost Point of the LT
6:10am – Sunrise
8:30am (4.9[3.75]) – Shooting Star Shelter
11am (9.2[6.75]) – Laura Woodward Shelter
Jay Peak (lunch?)
12:45pm (12.3[9]) – Jay Camp (.2 off trail) (Probably skip and have lunch at the Atlas Shelter)
4:15pm (18[13.25]) – Hazen’s Notch (.1 off trail)
7:30pm – Sunset
8pm (23.8[18.75]) – Stop at Tillotson Camp (sleeps 8)
9pm – Sleep

I got up early than I had planned, at 4:39am, partly because I was excited and partly because I was so bored the night before I had gone to bed really early.  That excitement drove me relentlessly early in the day such that I made it to Shooting Star Shelter by 7am, way faster than planned.  That was probably too intense in hindsight but managed to impress Waffles who I met just making breakfast at the shelter.  He had been out for 30 days and was trying to get back to civilization in time to make a flight the next day.  I couldn’t help him and hadn’t really seen anyone, so I hope he made it in time.
Mountain slope, anyone?
On the way up the far side from the shelter I met Footsie and Johnny Appleseed.  They had a dog with them that they were trying to break into trail life.  It was a rescue dog and a little jumpy.  After that, I saw several other Northbounders but didn’t stop to chat.  I powered up the side of Jay with the last of my day 1 energy, but it was steep going.  At the top, everything was covered in mist with no visibility.  I had secretly hoped that something was open or I could at least explore a building but everything looked pretty closed up.  There were several hikers who had camped right at the top on the rocks in the middle of the trail.
Sad little Atlas Peak Shelter
Going down the far side of Jay my legs started to hurt. I stopped for lunch at Atlas Peak Shelter to recoup a bit.  That’s a decrepit old pseudo-shelter next to Rt 242.  At the road, I told some French Canadian girls in high school that the trail wasn’t that bad up to the top of Jay.  It’s always hard for me to judge when asked how hard a trail is.  Everything is so relative….but they were young and the trail wasn’t that long even if it was steep.
Sometimes the funniest little things amuse me while hiking.
Here I love this leaf that made it look like my pole was sprouting.
Cute rock climb
After taking a break at Hazen’s Notch, I started climbing Haystack.  The last mountain is always the one that kills you and this was no exception.  It seemed to go on forever and I was totally out of gas.  I slowed to a crawl but made it over.  Approaching Tillotson, I met Marty 9 Lives who was an older hiker.  I think he was going to tent, but I was a bit worried because it was pretty late to be heading out of a shelter area.
Tillotson was a strange shelter with the window shutters that swung out.  It looked like an uninviting box .  Lone Wolf wandered into the shelter when I was getting ready to sleep around 8.  We had a good talk about IT band problems which we both suffered from.
View from Tillotson

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