Long Trail End-to-End

Summary and Reflections

While non-traditional, I highly recommend a northbound flip flop of the Long Trail.

 

Ending around/on Mansfield provided spectacularly beautiful sights, not to mention it's much easier to travel from Burlington than the "Northeast Kingdom" as its colloquially named.

 

Starting in the south provides for a gradual work up of terrain and miles and the trail is much more forgiving and well maintained. It's approximately 185 miles to Burlington/Camel's Hump area from the southern border of the Long Trail, which provides a solid ramp up of both mileage and time to get some trail legs under you, not to mention Burlington just happens to be one of the cities most of the private shuttles, public transportation, and trail angels will be amenable to transporting you to/from.

 

There's a cabin on the short approach trail at the northern terminus you can stay in if required, and the thirty or so miles from the border south to Eden Crossing are pretty rugged/poorly maintained (read: incredibly frustrating) - not the way I'd like to end a long hike. 

 

Regarding timelines, I finished the Long Trail in twenty days, including one zero day and a nero or two. I slack packed two days to help with mileage, and hit the ground running for the first hundred or so miles on the southern end of the trail mainly because I'm stubborn and being surrounded by AT thru hikers got me all nostalgic.

 

13-17 mile days your first week on the trail may or may not be realistic for you, depending on your experience and fitness levels. I am not a badass all knowing trail god (IANABAKTG), but I did see people of all types and experience levels on the Long Trail.

 

A large part of long distance hiking is being mature enough (experienced enough over time) to realize what works for you, what doesn't work for you, and making changes appropriately. What works for one person may or may not work for another - and while a lot of long distance hiking experience translates well to other long distance hikes, every environment is unique.

 

And as always, journal, and take pictures of the people you meet. Overlooks and great but views start to look the same after awhile (especially when looking back), but I find it's the people you'll want to remember the most.

Day 08

Day: 08

Date: 22 Jun 2017 1107PM

Location: Rutland, VT - The Yellow Deli

Today's Miles: 0

Total Miles: 108.3


Took the day off today, well deserved. Been pushing hard since I got on trail a week ago and I must say it was too much too quickly.


As with most zeros, it was a lazy day. Slept in, had breakfast, resupplied at the grocery store, attempted to take a nap.


Met up with two friends from last summer's adventure, thru hikers who I met on the trail. It was really good to see them - ended up grabbing some pizza at a local bar and chatting for a few hours.


Late night, looking forward to getting some sleep and back out on the trail tomorrow.

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Day 03

Day: 03

Date: 17 Jun 2017 0614PM

Location: AT Mile 1635.0

Today's Miles: 14.3

Total Miles: 42.5


Woke up to wet clothes and shoes today, my least favorite thing on the trail, but was still able to leave the shelter at a reasonable time this morning even though none of us were feeling it.


Luckily, it didn't rain on us at all today, even though the forecast said otherwise. Still hiked in wet boots all day, but at least they dried out slowly throughout the day.


Feet are not happy about the wetness, started to cause a few hot spots and a blister or two. This usually happens when my footwear is wet and my feet aren't toughened up yet so there's not much to be done other than taping up, and continuing on.


Finished with another respectable mileage day, for me at least. I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to walk far enough each day to make it worth my while, especially after remembering doing much bigger mileage days last time I was through here, but things are well and that isn't the case.


My workout regimen before deciding to hike the Long Trail was almost purely weightlifting, not something that I thought translated directly to hiking. There are significant differences though that I'm recalling when I started my thru that I'm happy to report are not happening. My arms are definitely not sore from gripping and moving trekking poles around all day long, and my leg and back muscles are doing pretty well with all the walking and carrying a pack. It probably helps that I'm twenty pounds lighter then I was at my lightest while thru hiking - which is effectively like carrying two packs instead of one.


Looking to head in to Manchester Center, VT tomorrow after another long day. Going to resupply and spend the night at a hostel before coming back to the trail.


Only sixty more miles before I leave the AT and head out into new territory. Looking forward to it, but it has been good to be around hikers again regardless.

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