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Daily Log-2004

Stories by The Dog Team and written by Silly and Crafty Dogs

Please note that Daily Log entries are based on a race day, from 4:15 am to 4:15 am.

Day 0

Yesterday was the first day since he began training for this year's Long Trail Challenge that Cave Dog felt that the miles rolled off of his feet.  He did twenty easy breezy miles, but post jog was felled by piercing stomach cramps.  Cave Dog believes the source of the cramps was a can of "vintage tuna" he had eaten previous to the day's run. With a day off  today and the dumping of all suspicious cans of tuna, Cave Dog thinks he will be up and ready to go tomorrow. 

Cave Dog spent the weekend with Sugar Dog in New York attending a wedding of one of her friends.  They had a great time and Cave Dog was able to find plane tickets for Sugar Dog to join The Dog Team for the challenge.  She will be out for the weekend to help base camp and give Cave Dog a needed  boost to the psyche.  Let's hope she can find a way to bake some cookies. 

The Dog Team is beginning to arrive in Vermont to clear skies, warm temperatures, and just perfect conditions.   The Kennel is barking full of Dog Team members.  Chilly, Burns, and Hamz Dogs have flown in from SoCal and were joined by Rad, Rus, and Good Dogs the Oregon contingent.  Rounding out the pack are Ski and Snow Dogs and of course, Cave Dog.  On the way to The Shack, The Kennel blew its back left inside tire.  The spare is on and after some assessment it seems the other tires are in bad shape as well.  So tomorrow they will head back to Burlington trying to find a brave soul to repair the old tire and/or replace any worn tires.   Tonight however, they are enjoying the hospitality of  Solstice Dog's friend, Craig Reynolds, in Charlotte.  And we are going to let sleeping dogs lie.

Today The Kennel's back four tires have been replaced and she is ready to roll.  Thank Rad Dog for an early birthday present to Cave Dog. The local NBC affiliate in Burlington, Channel 5, interviewed Cave Dog and Chilly Dog this morning.  They took some footage of The Dog Team, and expressed real excitement about the challenge and appreciation for what The Dog Team is doing.  

The Dog Team made it to The Shack this afternoon and had their logistical meetings.  Everyone is psyched up and ready to go, there is an electric feel in the air. Cave Dog left base camp around 6:45 pm, on schedule, with Rus and Rad Dogs.  They are making their way to the trail head to rest and prepare for the 4:15 am start time.  As they hiked it stopped raining but the wet on the vegetation clung to them as they made their way along the trail.  Rad Dog and Rus Dog spied a fox en route to Journey's End.  Cave Dog slept fitfully from 8:35 pm until 3:00 am.  Though he tossed and turned Cave Dog got far more sleep than before any other previous challenge.  They awoke at 3:00 am and then breakfasted on scrambled eggs and oranges.

In the words of Alpine Summit Dog and Dr. Seuss, "GO DOGS GO!"

***Important note:  For all those monitoring The Dog Team's communication, the broadcast channel is now changed.  You can now hear The Dog Team at channel 2 code 0.  This change will now be reflected on the web site Times page as well.  *** 

Weather:   Tuesday 6-22-04 Rainy all day.  The forecast is predicting clearer skies tomorrow.  The paws are crossed.

Day 1
Cave Dog started on time at 4:15 am.  He is in good spirits and making good time despite the thick fog cover early in the morning.   The fog was so dense it was difficult for Cave Dog to even see his feet.  From the previous day's rain the vegetation was still wet, soaking Cave Dogs legs and feet creating a blister friendly environment, though due to a slathering of Vaseline no blisters.  The first back country support at Doll Peak went smoothly, in part, thanks to Lucky Dog and Hamz Dog who also hiked through the pea soup fog.  At Jay Peak, a huge gust of wind blew Cave Dog's jacket right off his back.  Lest you think the jacket forever lost, it blew right into Cave Dog's path and he picked it up and put it back on.  

At the Rt. 58 meeting, 10:16 am, all was well.   After Rt. 58 near the Northern Terminus, Cave Dog had his first wildlife sighting.  It was a toad; one of many toads. He also saw groups of pheasants (probably not pheasants but Ruffed Grouse/Pa'tridges) with their young, approximately six different groupings.  He saw bunches of snakes and newts.  And it would appear that the butterflies were out in full force, especially the yellow swallowtails.  

The sun burned through the fog at 10:30 am.  So by 11:00 am when Cave Dog reached Haystack Mountain, in his words, "I got my first view of beautiful Vermont..."  Rus and Snow Dogs were successful in their back country support at Tillotson Camp, meeting up with Cave Dog at 11:56 am.  Paraphrased from the Cave Dog, "It started to heat up in the afternoon before Rt. 118.  There was a big section of blow down so it was open to the sun.  The sun was beating down on me and I was feeling the drag of being overheated.  Otherwise, the rest of the day has been going really well and the miles have rolled off the feet."  At Rt. 118 Cave Dog met up with The Kennel.  Due to the fear of blisters Lucky Dog had the unenviable task of rubbing Cave Dog's dogs with Vaseline.  As Lucky Dog said, "I'm the luckiest man in the world."   Is that Lucky or Unlucky Dog?  

At some point during the morning Cave Dog's watch band broke, providing The Dog Team with a minor crisis.  Cave Dog's watch was specifically selected for features that could provide him with critical information.  They replaced this watch with an older, but similar, watch that had a low battery.  Lucky Dog was sent on the task of finding a new battery.   The Dog Team also had to contend with the fridge and the generator in The Kennel that didn't seem to want to work, but Chilly Dog's magic touch seems to cure all that ails The Kennel.

Cave Dog was in good spirits and at 8:21 pm had completed his hike along roads.  Dacks Dog and Rad Dog were in place for their meeting on Morse Mountain at 11:27 pm.  Ski Dog is keeping Cave Dog company for the first portion of the night hike. They reached Madonna Peak at 12:04 am on Thursday, June 24th, 2004. 

Cave Dog came into base camp at Rt 108 at 2:04 am and took a bit of a longer break.  He ate, brushed his teeth and checked his feet.  Thankfully the day was dry and his feet look good.   Dacks Dog is now with Cave Dog for the next segment of the night hike.

There has been a lot of interest from on-lookers and great support by folks around the trail.  After Cave Dog left for the night hike, The Dog Team ran out of water.  Chilly Dog knocked on the door of a nearby residence and the woman who answered knew who they were from the newscast.  She was very supportive and helped out The Dog Team with water.  There were a group of folks who decided to cheer for Teddy as he came into Rt 108 at 2:04 am.  It was great for the morale of the entire Dog Team, spirits are definitely high.  Thanks to all of you Dogs-At-Heart.

Weather:   Early AM - Foggy.  Morning - Sunny with patchy clouds, a bit chilly.  Afternoon - Sunny and warm.  Absolutely gorgeous weather.  Evening - Clear and cool, amazing stars. 
Day 2
Last night was difficult for Cave Dog.  Not only was he exhausted but he had to contend with some of the most difficult trail of the challenge.  At some point during the night he sighted a bear. At Mt. Mansfield he tried to nap for 45 minutes but was unable to sleep.   Lucky Dog and Hamz Dog did the early morning support hike to Nebraska Notch Trail Junction.  When they started it was very dark, and completely silent.   It got progressively lighter as they continued along the trail; the sunlight came across the mountains and lit up the trees.  Cave Dog was in low spirits at this point wanting real food and wishing he slept.  But nothing can bolster a spirit like the beautiful sunrise Cave Dog saw on Mt. Mansfield.   

At Bolton Notch road Cave Dogs spirit's were up.  It would appear that Cave Dog's mental state is directly influenced by the rise of the sun.  

At 12:40 pm Cave Dog started hiking along Duxbury Road.  He was feeling pretty good even though he was on a road and not on trail.  Channel 5 filmed him as he completed Duxbury Road at 1:47 pm and filmed him after the Duxbury Road path.  Cave Dog has been grazing throughout the day on pancakes, scrambled eggs, ravioli, and steamed Chinese buns (courtesy of Silly and Crafty Dogs' mother.) 

Cave Dog reached Camel's Hump at 4:44 pm and Montclair Glen Lodge at 5:35 pm.

At 7:45 pm Cave Dog was at Cowles Cove Shelter.  He was upbeat and feeling pretty good.  Cave Dog was planning to sleep at the Rt. 17, Appalachian support stop.  Cave Dog reached Rt. 17, Appalachian Gap at 9:55.  Lucky Dog gave him a foot and leg massage to calm him down.  Night Dog and Mad Dog connected with Cave Dog at 8:30 pm by hiking in to him from Rt. 17.  Cave Dog's original plan was to sleep for 1.5 hours, however at 10:20 he wasn't sleeping and decided to proceed with Night Dog and Mad Dog as his support people.  Three crews had already left and for future provisioning.  Good and Solstice Dog are at Mt. Ellen, Hamz Dog and Dacks Dog at Mt. Cleveland, and Lucky and Hunting Dog are at Bread Loaf Mountain.  The teams brought their camping gear and to spend the night out on the trail. 

The following dog bites are from Mad Dog who was with Cave Dog on the night hike starting 6/24/04:

- Mad Dog and Night Dog were on the trail with Cave Dog from App-gap (Rt. 17/Appalachian Gap) to Lincoln Gap. Time was approximately 10:30am – 6:10 am.

- Soon after leaving the kennel, Cave Dog was in bad shape - falling asleep on the trail, unable to maintain his footing, and wishing he
had been able to sleep in the Kennel.

- Cave Dog’s numerous attempts to combat the body’s call for sleep was to punch into the air, yelp, and shake his head…he struggled
quite a bit like this until we hit Mt Ellen. Night Dog and Mad Dog, maintained a steady but balanced supply of silence, words of support,
and clapping to keep him going.

- For a someone so sleep deprived, it was amazing to Mad Dog how strong his lower body was, and how it was on auto-pilot (i.e.,
conditioned) to lift the leg back and up at the beginning of a step (thus avoiding hooking things such as rock lips).

- For the most part, we kept Cave Dog sandwiched in between us on the trail. Night and Mad Dogs would alternate the lead and the sweep

- On the way to Mt Ellen, he was soooo tired that every 15 - 30 mins he would collapse to the ground silently, and sit with his head
between his legs, moaning, and rocking back forth – he was a hurting puppy.  Quietly Night Dog and Mad Dog would do the same, drop to the
ground, and headlamps would go out. Silence, no one spoke. Minutes later Cave Dog would quietly rise, light on, and hit the trail.
Instantly, Night and Mad did the same. Cave Dog was clearly frustrated. This pattern of dropping, quiet, and back to hitting the
trail occurred at least a half dozen times.

- Cave Dog expressed on several occasions how appreciative he was of our support and company on the night leg. And how dangerous it would
be for him, if he didn’t have us.

- Along the way, Cave Dog enjoyed dog treats of gourmet Italian ham packed in for him by Mad Dog, and fresh picked strawberries sent in
from Mrs. Mad Dog (aka Dictionary Dog).

- The three dogs rested for about two hours at Mt Ellen then hit the trail with the company of rain and fog. The fog stayed with us in the
higher elevations and made footing a real task, still the group maintained a good pace. Cave Dog was clearly recharged from his rest.

- Navigation around the ski areas was sometimes tricky – finding where the trail picked up on the other side of ski crossing was a
little time consuming. Cave Dog used the time to rest his paws, while Night and Mad dog would scout for the connection points.

- Once daylight arrived, the dog group made good time and was able to trot out a large part of the trail descent from Abraham to

Thanks Mad Dog for all your support and the great stories.  Woof! Woof! AAA-OOOOOOOO!

Thanks to Don Dresser of the USPS who hiked with Cave Dog yesterday while on his lunch break.  The Dog Team was cheered by the idea of your sign posted in the post office.

The Dog Team has been working very hard this year to have no missed support stops, which was the main reason for last year's demise.  They have been hyper vigilant and extremely well organized, "we're battin' a thousand," said Chilly Dog.  They all know it is imperative to, "Keep our Doggy Safe and Sound. "

Weather:  AM - Sunny and clear.  Beautiful blue sky.   Afternoon- Clear sky.  Evening- Still clear though the forecast looks unfavorable.
Day 3
Friday 6-25-2004
Mt. Ellen = 1:39 am
Lincoln Gap Rd. = 6:07 am

This morning Cave Dog was hiking alone and having a rough time.  At some point in the morning he was joined by Ski Dog.

Adog, Gold Dog and Rock Dog arrived this morning from Lake Placid to add more bark and bite to The Dog Team. 
At the Rt. 73 meeting Cave Dog's condition was very strong.  He has his appetite back especially for tortilla espanola and hamburger gravy with mashed potatoes.  He has a few blisters and hot spots on his feet but overall they look good for having traveled 143.5 miles in 2 days 12 hours. 
As of 7:35 pm Solstice Dog was hiking with Cave Dog to Wetmore Gap to meet Geek Dog for support.  Dacks and Hamz Dogs are already on the move to Rolston Rest Shelter.  They are bringing Night Dog with them so he can travel the dark night with Cave Dog.  Cave Dog plans to attempt a dog nap at the Rt. 4 stop.   He will then continue on to meet Rad Dog and Rus Dog at Bucklin Trail Junction. 

The Dog Team has been extremely busy all day.  Since they have been either hiking or resting they haven't had a chance to share their stories with base camp.  The dog tales will come in when there is more time to recall and reflect. 

Thanks again to all the well-wishers and supporters who have come to the road support stops to see Cave Dog.  The Dog Team is overwhelmed with gratitude.  If any of you reading this are going to a support location give Cave Dog a big, "GO DOG GO!" from Silly and Crafty Dogs.

Wetmore Gap = 6:24 pm
Rolston Rest Shelter = 9:42 pm   Hamz Dog saw fresh bear tracks on his way in to Rolston Rest Shelter.

This was Dacks Dogs last hike on the Long Trail Challenge.  Thanks Dacks you have been an indispensable dog on the team.  You will be missed.  Woof! Woof! AAA-OOOOOOO!

At 11:32pm, Cave Dog made it into the Rt. 4 stop.  Sugar Dog was waiting for him with a big hug.  He was able to sleep for the planned 1.5 hours and awoke ready to go.  While Teddy slept,  8 of the dogs were also sleeping being guarded by the ever vigilant watch dog, Chilly. 

Cave Dog left Rt. 4 with Trail Dog and Night Dog. 

Weather:  AM - Bright and sunny.  Between 4 am and 6 am light rain.  Afternoon - Intermittent clouds and sun.  Showers from 3- 5 pm.  Evening - Clear and pleasant.
Day 4
At 4:00am there was a down pour of rain for one hour.  At 5:24 am Cave Dog and Trail Dog arrived at Upper Cold River Road, 30 minutes earlier than expected and surprised the dogs in The Kennel.  At this point, Good Dog took Night Dog to the car and Yankee Dog took over.  Trail, Yankee, and Cave Dogs came into Rt. 103 at 7:16 am to join Chilly, Sugar, Burns, Lucky, Good, Snow, Ski, and Burns Dogs.  They were then joined by Rad and Rus and then Solstice and Hunting.  What a puppy pile! 

At 8:00 am a pack of dogs hiked to Clarendon Gorge to see the view.  9:40 Cave Dog met up again with The Kennel at Rt. 140. 

Ski, Trail, and Lucky Dogs were with Sugar Dog at USFS Rd. 10.   They met a group of adoring fans from Vermont Academy.  There were also some fans hiking through.  Bark out to all you folks coming to the trail to support Cave Dog!  Apparently, there is also a nice outhouse at this stop. At, 12:30pm Cave Dog came in with Yankee Dog. 

This afternoon Cave Dog decided he wants to hike with people through the remainder of the challenge.  This is the first time Cave Dog has made this request of The Dog Team and they are more than happy to oblige.  It is quite a big change from his previous challenges but probably a good one for all involved.  Cave Dog's spirits were up and he was feeling really good.  He told Yankee Dog he may continue through the night and not sleep because he is feeling so good.  The entire Dog Team was feeling upbeat and excited. Woof! Woof! Woof!

(Bark out to Lady Dog who couldn't be with the team this challenge.  The team misses her and her creative problem solving skills.  The oven just isn't the same without the boots in it.)

At Lake Trail Junction, Cave Dog was joined by Ski Dog.   Near Peru Peak Ski Dog had an encounter with an angry mother.  Mother pheasant (again this is most likely a Ruffed Grouse) that is, who flapped menacingly as she moved across the ground toward Ski Dog.  It frightened Ski Dog rather thoroughly. 

At Mad Tom Notch Road, 4:54 pm Cave Dog met the Kennel.  He was in high spirits and moving well, he keeps picking up time.  His feet are aching but not really blistered.  His appetite is rather hearty - chicken fingers, hamburgers and french fries, breakfast burritos.  Yummy.   Ski and Trail Dogs were with Cave Dog to Rt11/30 which they reached at 6:40 pm

As of 10:30 pm, Good, Geek and Ant dogs were on their way to Branch Pond Trail Junction with help from Paula and her 4x4.  (This is Paula's second year helping the Dog Team at this section.  Thanks Paula.)  Rad and Rus Dogs were off to the First IP Road junction and The Kennel was waiting for Cave Dog at the Stratton Arlington (Kelly Strand) Road.  Burns and Lucky Dogs were leaving for Caughnawaga Shelter.   Hamz and Hunting Dogs are already on their way to West Ridge Trail Junction were they will stay overnight. 

At the Stratton Arlington Road support stop Cave Dog slept/rested for 2.5 hours.   The Dog Team has planned the support stops to the end and spirits are soaring. 

Stratton Arlington Road will be Trail Dog's last stop with Cave Dog and the Dog Team.  Trail Dog has been an awesome hiking partner for Cave Dog.  He hiked with him all last night and this morning, and today.  He has attempted the AT record so has many amusing stories to share with Cave Dog to keep his spirits up.  Trail Dog has been an invaluable asset to the team.  Thanks Trail dog! Woof! Woof! AAA-OOOOOOO!

3:50 pm garbled message from base camp reporting that Cave Dog is almost to the terminus of the Long Trail!!!

If you want to see Cave Dog complete The Long Trail Challenge 2004 please come and cheer him in.

Directions to the last stop on the Long Trail at the Massachusetts border:

From 100 turn on Mill Road going west.  (Mill Road will be a half mile north of Billmont's Country Store.)  Mill Road becomes County Road and ends at the Seth Warner Shelter at the Long Trail.  From there hike 3.1 miles south to the MA border.

From Rt 2 travel to where it meets the Appalachian Trail.  Go north on the AT for 3.8 miles.

Weather: AM- Cloudy but the rain is holding off.  Afternoon- Light rain and drizzle.  Evening - Clear and cold.  Wind gusts.
Day 5
Last night on their way to West Ridge Trail Junction, Hamz and Hunting Dogs took an alternative trail that was shorter but unfortunately fell one mile short of the Long Trail.  They had to take out the GPS and a compass to find their location.  They then hiked a diagonal to hook into the Long Trail.  They made it in plenty of time to catch Cave Dog at 7:38 am. 

As of 10:44 am Cave Dog is  2 hours and 24 minutes ahead.  His legs are obviously aching, to be expected after 258 miles, but he is still going.  He should be arriving at Rt 9.

Cave Dog called in his own time at 10:48 when he reached Split Rock.  Split Rock was the location where his 2003 attempt of the Long Trail ended, see Descending into the Maelstrom for the account of those last few hours. 

At  11:04 he reached Rt. 9.  Cave Dog's motivation and determination are pushing him past the ache in his legs and his tiredness.  Chilly Dog says he's like his normal self just tired. 

Solstice Dog is at Sucker Pond outlet Brook for his last support until the terminus of the Long Trail at the MA state line.

As of 11:45 am:
ETA - 4pm-6pm 

Directions to the last stop on the Long Trail at the Massachusetts border:

From 100 turn on Mill Road going west.  (Mill Road will be a half mile north of Billmont's Country Store.)  Mill Road becomes County Road and ends at the Seth Warner Shelter at the Long Trail.  From there hike 3.1 miles south to the MA border.

From Rt 2 travel to where it meets the Appalachian Trail.  Go north on the AT for 3.8 miles.

***At 5:30pm on June 27, 2004 Cave Dog finished the Long Trail breaking the record by 2 hours, 3 minutes.***

It took Cave Dog 4 days, 13 hours, and 15 minutes to complete the 273 mile Long Trail.  He started at the Canadian border at 4:15 am on June 23, 2004 and ended at the Massachusetts line at 5:30.  The last portion of the challenge was extremely difficult for Cave Dog, not only was he tired but Cave Dog seems to have injured his ankle.  Cave Dog's grit, determination and ability to keep moving through pain, sleep deprivation, hunger, and thirst have led him to the end of this remarkable journey.  At 6:05pm it was reported that Cave Dog was asleep at the end of the trail, taking a dog nap before returning to The Kennel.

Weather:  Clear and sunny, 70.  Perfect.
Day 6+


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