It’s been a year since John hiked the entire Long Trail. It took about three weeks to hike 272 miles along the mountain spine of Vermont, from the Massachusetts border up to the Canadian. (Read more about the trail and its history HERE.) I never posted any of the photos from his trip, but I thought a year’s anniversary would be a perfect time, especially since he’s thinking about going back to hike at least part of it again, and I’ll be in Vermont in a few weeks myself.
Friends sometimes ask why I didn’t hike with him, and the simple answer is: 1. There is no way I could keep up. (John is a runner and I barely get 5,000 steps a day, never mind with 20+ pounds of stuff on my back. (Oh yeah, and the HILLS!— the Long Trail is one the most difficult trails in the US) and 2. I just didn’t feel like spending three weeks hiking.
Instead, I played the role of resupply queen and occasional provider of transport to laundry and a shower. I was able to visit friends, stay at my favorite inn on Lake Champlain, and look up at the mountain ridges knowing John was a tiny dot somewhere…
We bought some trail food recipe books, and I mixed up various concoctions which he would then add boiling water to (they all sorta tasted the same though, he said), sending them off in care packages.
Shangri-la was McGrath’s, near Rutland, where he splurged on a hotel room and real meals.
For the first two resupplies he was able to hike down to a post office to pick up the packages I sent, but I picked him up myself the last few times— Hooooweee!— he was stinky and his feet were encased in mud. Here he is back at the trail after a shower, a good meal, and some laundry-doing…
Apparently there are a lot of ladders and serious climbs along the way. This view is looking UP…
He made a lot of trail friends on his hike, told me some wacky stories, was wondering if he’d see a bear but didn’t, and loved his time up there. I loved knowing that a place I called home for eleven years was giving him such a wonderful experience and taking good care of him. The Long Trail is special. It’s also the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the US. Yes the Appalachian Trail and the ones out west are longer and more well-known, but the Long Trail, like everything else about Vermont, has this un-commercial, undiscovered, mellow vibe.
John earned his official trail badge (which I really should sew onto his Eagle Scout sash!) upon sending in a record of his trip diary and is now a member of the Green Mountain Club. I admire him so much for deciding he wanted to take on something pretty hard-core and then not only making it happen but having a blast doing it. Cheers, babe! xo
More photos from his trip are posted HERE.