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Long Trail Thru Hike

September 27 – October 16, 2017
Overview map of the Long Trail

At the tail end of a year road tripping the U.S.A. I headed to New England to experience their famous fall colors. Specifically I thru hiked the Long Trail, which runs 270 miles the length of Vermont.

Browse all my pictures from this footpath in the wilderness, until I get a full trip report posted.

This hike was my first long distance one on the east coast, and had a unique character from the other trails I have done. Despite being an officially built and maintained trail, the tread was very uneven and difficult underfoot, with plenty of steep ups and downs along the way. Some of the trail predates the use of switchbacks, and more modern construction seems to still omit them for historical continuity. I constantly climbed up a steep mountain just to plunge down the other side. The tread underneath was almost never smooth dirt either, but a constant assortment of roots, rocks, boulders, and mud. I rarely strolled easily but was instead often looking down, placing each footstep carefully. This terrain made for some difficult hiking, despite the relative lowness of these mountains. My miles per day were less than usual, although the dearth of sunlight did not help in that department either. Much of the trail went through the “green tunnel,” where for miles on end the tree cover would densely rise up on each side of the trail obstructing any views. The trail would even PUD up to a mountain peak, where nothing still could be seen due to being entirely covered in trees.

On the plus side three sided lean-to type shelters or four sided enclosed cabins were located strategically along the entire LT. Almost every night I had a roof over my head and rarely used my tent. Several strong rainstorms rolled through throughout my hike, and the solid, dry structures were a much welcome place to spend the night.

The worst part of my thru hike though was that my main reason for choosing the LT— to see the fall colors — was greatly thwarted by a very warm fall. Despite starting my hike in late September the trees were still green and did not change till I was very far north. When the leaves finally turned, they were not as vibrant as usual. The colors were still nice, but nearly as dazzling as normal.

Not to throw too much hate towards the LT though. I did enjoy my hike and the Vermont wilderness, but the journey was more difficult than expected and the rewards not as grand. It was still a great way to spend my fall though, and the Green Mountain Club had done an amazing job building and maintaining the trail and shelters.

Gleasom Brook
A small lake surrounded by trees changing color