After my failure to complete the Long Trail the previous two years, I just had a small section left to finish the trail end to end. This was good because I had a fairly new baby and so didn’t want to leave my partner alone for more than a long weekend. My sister was thru-hiking the Long Trail so I told her I’d join her for the section that I still had left.
Just to make things interesting, I decided to go up before I met my sister and leave a bottle of beer to celebrate at the top of Stark’s Nest. That way when we got there on the second night of our hike, I could celebrate on the mountain rather than celebrating at my car before I drove home.
Because I didn’t want to be late to meet my sister and I only had a short hike, I ran up to Stark’s Nest in less than an hour which was a decent pace given the elevation gain. My legs were so fresh and it was such a nice day that I barely remember the climb.
At the top, I made my way into the Stark’s Nest hut, which is a ski hut at the top of the Mad River Glen. It was pretty busy in the middle of the day and there were 5-6 people in the hut. Hunter was one of the more talkative of the hikers I met there and I was feeling talkative so I struck up a conversation with him. He was a counselor from Manchester and we chatted for a while. I eventually mentioned that I was hiding a beer at the summit to have when I finished my hike. He was super jealous of that beer and ruminated about having a cold beer.
For some reason (to have more beer) I had actually brought a few beers up along with the celebration beer. So I gave him one and it was still ice cold. I’ve never had some one be more grateful for a beer. I hid the other two in the forest near the hut. I literally ran the downhill, I did more than 2 miles in about a half an hour with a lot of elevation loss.
From there, I drove to Otter Creek Brewing to meet my sister. That night was a bit crazy and involved technically breaking some laws with regards to proper disposal of refrigerator units. But hanging out with my sister is always a good time.