2020 was a bust for many thru-hiking plans, including my own for the Appalachian Trail. Yet if I couldn’t hike the whole AT, a few hundred miles was better than nothing. Stellar also had AT aspirations, so we put our heads together while in Colorado, coming up with a plan to thru-hike the Long Trail. It had been one of his goals since he and Sandy had lived in Vermont. He was also eager to re-unite with several of his family members that still reside there.
The LT is 273 miles, running the length of the Green Mountains from the Canadian border to Massachusetts. It’s in fact the first long distance, continuous footpath purposely designed. Built by the Green Mountain Club between 1910 – 1930, it later became the inspiration for the AT. In following, the AT incorporated 100 miles of the LT as it was routed through Vermont (much like how the CDT and CT ‘share’ sections of trail). Given its unique and long-standing heritage, thru-hikers of the LT are more traditionally referred to as “End-to-Enders”.
Thru-hiking the LT is like experiencing a shorter version of the AT. But I’d go further to say that it’s like hiking the most difficult parts of the AT. Summed up on the LT website, “hikers encounter the best natural features Vermont has to offer, including pristine ponds, alpine sedge, hardwood forests, and swift streams. It’s easy in few sections and rugged in most. Steep inclines and plenty of mud present hikers with ample challenges.”
We intentionally planned our hike to take advantage of ideal fall conditions and peak foliage colors, starting at the Canadian border and working our way south. Is there any other way? Once a SOBO, always a SOBO. We figured it would take us about 16 days total, including a day hike to the top of Mt Greylock (highest mountain in Massachusetts) to finish our thru-hike. I began the trip by flying direct from Fort Lauderdale to Cleveland OH so that I could meet up with Stellar. The next day, we drove 10 hours in his Prius to upstate Vermont, where we stayed with his cousin’s family overnight.
I wrote blogs for this trip while on the trail but didn’t post in real-time. I apologize if the tenses seem off as a result. Cheers and enjoy!