Hiking Vermont's Long Trail


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Vermont's Long Trail is the oldest long distance hiking trail in the United States. Completed in 1931, it runs 270 miles from the Massachusetts/Vermont State line north to the international border between Vermont and Canada. The Long Trail is maintained by the Green Mountain Club and served as the model for the construction of the longer Appalachian Trail.

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Hiking Vermont's Long Trail

  1. 1. Hiking Vermont’s Long Trail Philip Werner [email_address]
  2. 2. What You’ll Learn <ul><li>The Long Trail </li></ul><ul><li>Planning a hike </li></ul><ul><li>What to expect </li></ul><ul><li>Getting prepared </li></ul><ul><li>Q & A </li></ul>
  3. 3. About Philip Werner <ul><li>Hiked the Long Trail in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Long Trail Mentor, Green Mountain Club </li></ul><ul><li>Climbed the White Mountain 4000 footers </li></ul><ul><li>Trail maintainer, White Mountains </li></ul><ul><li>Hiking blogger at SectionHiker.com </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Long Trail <ul><li>273 Miles Long </li></ul><ul><li>Oldest long distance hiking trail in the US </li></ul><ul><li>Model for the Appalachian Trail </li></ul><ul><li>Finished in 1931 </li></ul><ul><li>Maintained by the Green Mountain Club </li></ul><ul><li>Runs from VT/MA border to Canada </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why People Hike the Long Trail <ul><li>Training to hike the Appalachian Trail </li></ul><ul><li>Challenging long distance trail </li></ul><ul><li>Short enough to do in a month </li></ul><ul><li>Physical and mental challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Celebrate a personal milestone </li></ul>
  6. 6. Big Mountains Mount Mansfield – 4,393 ft
  7. 7. Dramatic Vistas Canada from the Vermont Side of the Border
  8. 8. Forest Canopy Green Tunnel, Willard Gap
  9. 9. Camaraderie Gorp - 2008
  10. 10. Beaver Ponds and Lakes Beaver Pond near Story Spring Shelter
  11. 11. Rugged Scrambling Summit of Camel’s Hump, 4,083 ft
  12. 12. Rushing Streams and Waterfalls Big Branch River
  13. 13. What Trail Madonna Peak
  14. 14. History Northern Terminus Sign at Canadian Border
  15. 15. Critters <ul><li>Moose </li></ul><ul><li>Bears </li></ul><ul><li>Deer </li></ul><ul><li>Beavers </li></ul><ul><li>Porcupines </li></ul><ul><li>Rabbits </li></ul><ul><li>Chipmunks </li></ul><ul><li>Cows </li></ul><ul><li>And more </li></ul>Vermont State Bird Black Fly
  16. 16. Mud, Lots of Mud
  17. 17. Humor Mt Mansfield
  18. 18. The Long Trail: South to North <ul><li>Runs through Green Mountain National Forest </li></ul><ul><li>Follows central ridgeline of Vermont </li></ul><ul><li>Climbs 53 named peaks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>6 peaks over 4,000 ft </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>21 peaks over 3,500 ft </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Crosses 13 named gaps, mountain passes and hollows </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Southern Long Trail <ul><li>Southern 100 miles of the Long Trail coincide with the AT </li></ul><ul><li>Easy hiking </li></ul><ul><li>Well blazed </li></ul><ul><li>Well maintained </li></ul>
  20. 20. The Northern Long Trail <ul><li>AT splits off and heads east to New Hampshire at Maine Junction near mile 100 </li></ul><ul><li>Northern LT gets increasingly rugged and remote </li></ul><ul><li>Trail blaze quality varies </li></ul><ul><li>Treadway can be difficult to follow in places </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer people hogging the shelters </li></ul>
  21. 21. Southern and Northern Peak Count Comparison <ul><li>Southern Long Trail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 4,000 ft: 1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 3,500 ft: 5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 3,000 ft: 6 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Northern Long Trail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 4,000 ft: 5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 3,500 ft: 15 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 3,000 ft: 18 </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Planning a Hike <ul><li>Green Mountain Club Waterproof Map </li></ul><ul><li>Green Mountain Club Long Trail Guide </li></ul>
  23. 23. Hiking Season <ul><li>The Long Trail is closed until Memorial Day to prevent trail erosion from snow melt </li></ul><ul><li>Black fly season lasts for most of June </li></ul><ul><li>Hiking season is June thru September </li></ul><ul><li>Watch out for thunderstorms in July and August </li></ul><ul><li>Autumn leaves peak by mid-September </li></ul><ul><li>Wintry conditions from October through May </li></ul>
  24. 24. End-to-End Strategies <ul><li>Thru-hikes take an average of 22 days </li></ul><ul><li>Break the hike into separate sections </li></ul><ul><ul><li>many day hikes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>five to ten multi-night backpacking trips </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hike the trail over multiple years </li></ul><ul><li>Hike south, hike north, or mix it up </li></ul><ul><li>Hike solo or with a partner </li></ul>It doesn’t matter how you hike the trail or how long it takes. Everyone who finishes gets the same certificate and recognition.
  25. 25. GMC End-to-End Certificate <ul><li>After you finish the Long Trail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Apply for certificate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Send in a 10 page (max) journal of your hike which is archived </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Receive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Certificate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GMC Patch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition in the GMC Magazine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1 Year GMC Membership </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Backpacking Skills <ul><li>Read a topographic map </li></ul><ul><li>Hang a bear bag </li></ul><ul><li>Filter or purify your own water </li></ul><ul><li>Use a backpacking stove </li></ul><ul><li>Stay warm when wet </li></ul><ul><li>Good scrambling footwork </li></ul><ul><li>Follow a poorly marked trail </li></ul><ul><li>Pack lightweight </li></ul><ul><li>Take care of your feet when they are wet for days </li></ul><ul><li>Predict the weather using clouds </li></ul><ul><li>Accept what the trail throws at you </li></ul>
  27. 27. Getting Prepared <ul><li>Take a few multi-night backpacking trips before you attempt the Long Trail </li></ul><ul><li>Practice hiking in the rain with a full backpack for a day or more </li></ul><ul><li>Get some above-treeline experience in the White Mountains or Adirondacks </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your gear weight under 20 pounds, not including food, water, and fuel </li></ul><ul><li>Arrange for friends to resupply you at trail heads or give you rides to town </li></ul>
  28. 28. Weather
  29. 29. Coping with the Rain <ul><li>Wear trail runners instead of boots </li></ul><ul><li>Dress in layers to prevent hypothermia </li></ul><ul><li>Walk through puddles not around them </li></ul><ul><li>Sleep in shelters instead of pitching a tent </li></ul><ul><li>Line your backpack with a garbage bag instead of an external pack cover </li></ul><ul><li>Put your sleeping bag in a waterproof stuff sack </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to put on wet clothes in the morning </li></ul>
  30. 30. Footcare Tips <ul><li>Wear soft shoes that drain quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Wear two thin liner socks if you are blister prone </li></ul><ul><li>Allow for plenty of toe space </li></ul><ul><li>For wet feet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use duct tape on hot spots before you get blisters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Duct tape sticks better than bandages when wet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t pop blisters if you can avoid it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rub Hydropel or petroleum jelly into your feet at night to repel water </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Cooking and Food <ul><li>Keep it simple and easy to cook </li></ul><ul><li>Shoot to carry a maximum of 5 days of food at 1.75 lbs per day and 100 calories per ounce </li></ul><ul><li>Figure out where real grocery stores are in advance </li></ul><ul><li>Poor grocery variety in small town convenience stores </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t count on gas canister availability in small towns </li></ul><ul><li>Hitch-hiking can be very difficult in Vermont </li></ul><ul><li>Consider sending mail drops to nearby post offices </li></ul>
  32. 32. Thunderstorm and Lightning Danger <ul><li>Cumulonimbus clouds spell trouble </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anvil shape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big and tall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Darkness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heavy rain, hail, and lightning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learn to predict the weather from clouds. </li></ul><ul><li>Get below treeline if you hear thunder or see lightning. </li></ul><ul><li>Get an early start in the morning to avoid afternoon storms. </li></ul><ul><li>Wet ground and roots can conduct current. Lie on your backpack or on top of a flat rock perched above another rock. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Long Trail Shelters <ul><li>Southern AT/LT has three sided shelters </li></ul><ul><li>Northern LT has four sided buildings </li></ul><ul><li>Use shelters instead of camping to stay dry </li></ul>Journey’s End Camp Glastenbury Mountain Shelter
  34. 34. Stay Clean <ul><li>Use Purell on your hands before and after filtering water, after the bathroom, and before eating </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t bathe in streams </li></ul><ul><li>Use a wet towel to rub sweat off your face and wash your feet at night </li></ul><ul><li>Pour grey water into a hole 200 feet away from lakes or streams </li></ul><ul><li>Rinse out your base layer every few days </li></ul>
  35. 35. Mosquitoes, Black Flies, and Ticks <ul><li>Treat all of your clothing with permethrin before your hike Wear long pants when you hike </li></ul><ul><li>Check for tick bites at night </li></ul><ul><li>Use a bug net over your face </li></ul><ul><li>Bring noseeum netting for shelters or camping </li></ul>
  36. 36. Navigation Issues <ul><li>Difficult to find trails on top of ski resorts </li></ul><ul><li>Blazing can be erratic in wilderness areas </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t count on cell phone coverage for GPS services </li></ul>
  37. 37. Questions?