I journaled meticulously during my 52 days on the trail - sometimes to log boring details and other times to record my story. What you are reading is my word-for-word account, logged directly from the two notebooks I filled during my time paddling the NFCT. Some days are short, others are lavish and detailed. There are mistakes, it may not always make sense, but it is certainly a true account of the experience. Enjoy!
I woke up at 5:20 for a 7:10 launch. I felt much better than the previous day. I drank lots of water, had breakfast, crushed a GU, and hauled the boat back to the water’s edge.
This morning the water looked like glass, YES!!! I paddled out into the gorgeous morning light.
I made it out around the head in good time, there I found a mother and son duo who were paddling close to shore. I asked them to snap a few pictures of me and spoke with them briefly, before turning my attention to the large crossing ahead of me.
I thought it was calm enough to take a large slant across in an attempt to make progress across and forward, but it quickly got rough. 3-foot waves built up down the center channel. Luckily, the wind was westerly so the waves helped me across. I surfed, splashed, and balanced through the heavy repeating waves in a direct course to the next shore.
This was an exciting ride and really got my blood pumping. Two separate passenger ferries crossed with me, moving much faster. When I got to the opposing shore, I immediately headed north. The winds had the whole fetch of the open channel and were blasting me from the side. I rode up and down, having a blast and laughing all the while. Many waves were large enough to smack me in the face as they tumbled over the deck of my boat! The water is insanely warm, 72° is what the forecast stated. Once I made it through the gut of the two islands, the waves subsided and I paddled calm water up the eastern shore of the Hero Islands.
Only a couple times, when the land became narrow, or I entered a bay, did the winds pick up again. Each time I would throw on the skirt for the wettening chop. I was paddling hard! 16+ miles before noon! Open water is what I am used to. It was nice to make unobstructed mileage across the map.
I stopped for lunch and a bathroom break along a random shore before Kings Bay.
After 22+ miles I made it to the top of the North Hero Island where North Hero State Park resides. I landed on the eastern side and walked around - the place was deserted! The whole area was kind of falling apart. The majority of the shoreline was a protected Spiny Softshell Turtle nesting ground, which was likely the most interesting part of the park.
I found better camping ground on the western shore off of an old concrete boat dock. I went back to my boat and paddled my gear around. I pulled the boat up and then proceeded to set up camp on the high ground next to a picnic table.
Shortly after camp was established, another paddler showed up, he docked his boat near mine and came over to introduce himself. His name was Ernie (Ernest) and he was out on a six-day stint, paddling the Lake Champlain Trail. He was an older, retired man who lived in northern New Jersey. We chatted for about 15 minutes before he commenced setting up his own camp. I had landed at 2 pm so I had a full afternoon to burn. I wanted to push it further, but no campsites existed in short enough distance ahead, plus I was pooped from my efforts. I kept busy catching up on journaling.
Rosser came through around 4 PM. I was wondering if she would make it with conditions worsening throughout the day.
The afternoon flew by. Ernest shared a homemade cookie and his Lake Champlain Trail guide with me which I found very interesting. It was similar to what I imagine MITA members receive. I learned that North Hero State Park was part of a reduce expenses effort on expensive parks for Vermont, which explained why it was unmanaged and a little run down. I cooked dinner (West African peanut soup) chatted with the others, and then hit bed by sunset. Great day - good miles. Didn’t see a turtle.