Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Long Trail At 100

The Long Trail turns 100 this year, and VPR is planning a month-long series to mark this milestone. We’ll explore the history and future of the Long Trail, learn about the ins and outs of hiking and camping, and meet the people who hike and maintain it today.

And that’s where you come in. If you’re out on the trail this summer, let us know about it! Why do you love the Long Trail? What are your favorite hikes and sections? What was your best (or worst!) experience on the Long Trail? Send your thoughts, photos, and favorite recipes for camp meals and trailside snacks to community@vpr.net.

Planning for this project has gotten me thinking about my own experience with the Long Trail. While I have yet to hike it end-to-end (one of my lifetime goals!), I’ve spent many happy days and nights on the trail. A few memories that stand out for me:
  • Hiking the last 10 miles of the Long Trail with friends who were thru-hiking, and high-fiving Canada.
  • Getting held up by a giant moose on Mount Mansfield. We watched him from a distance for over an hour!
  • Trekking up to the Twin Brook tenting area for dinner because we knew the ramen would taste better if it was cooked in the woods.
  • Losing my balance on snowshoes and falling into a snowy ditch, thereby earning the nickname “Meesh in a Deetch.”
  • Hiking Camel’s Hump on New Year’s Day. I’ve done this almost every year since moving to Vermont. There’s never a view but what a way to start a year!
I even think fondly of my less-pleasant memories, like getting mild hypothermia in October, then yelling at my best friend for trying to force-feed me a peanut butter sandwich. But that's the beauty of the Long Trail: hardship and challenge are as much a part of the experience as the victories. Millions have followed this path, but no one has the same experience twice. Each excursion, whether a day trip or a thru-hike, adds to the Long Trail's storied history.

So, come on. Share with us. And happy hiking!

1 comment:

  1. Wildlife on the Long Trail
    Although my hiking on the Lomg Trail has been limited to day rambles, I have seen many animals. A turkey walked across the trail a few feet in front of me. I have heard and seen many birds, squirrels, frogs and salamanders. I have yet to see any bear or moose but have seen evidence that they have been there. On today's hike between Little Rock Pond and White Rocks I came across wildlife that was totally unexpected.
    While walking north under spruce trees I heard voices coming towards me. I moved to the side of the trail so they would have room to get by.
    A group of elderly naked hikers appeared! They were wearing boots and backpacks but otherwise not a stitch of clothing! At first I was speechless, I could not think of a thing to say. As the group filed by and I attempted to avert my eyes, I counted off eight hikers moving by. When the last naked hiker, who appeared to be in his 80s, strode by I collected myself enough to say, "Hi." As they moved into the distance I wonndered if I had hallucinated. Later in the day I met a clothed hiker who mentioned that he had seen the same group. Apparently it is a tradition in Vermont to hike naked on the summer solstice. Balancing an egg on it's end was not enough for these old gents. They went the "full monty" and I was there to see it.
    Bob Whitney
    Manchester, Vermont


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