So there you have it. In 224 miles of hiking over 13 days, I managed to cover most of the Long Trail side trails along the entire length of Vermont. This was much more hectic and stressful than hiking the entire Long Trail would have been, and probably caused more wear and tear on my body as well. This was extreme section hiking. This was masochistic. This is my kind of hiking.
My general strategy for the hiking was simple: I used my Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus pack with the lightest kit of gear possible for the overnight parts of the hike, but returned to my car often to switch out for my day pack. Going light was key, but so was pushing myself as hard as possible to get from one trail head to the next. Having stocked up on food before the trip was important, but the heat and long days at the end of the trip highlighted the importance of simple, quick, easy, high-energy foods. Lots of nuts and dried fruits and bars were the staples of my diet, since the combination is high in fats as well as natural sugars (this is one of the reasons I like Larabars so much, since they are literally just nuts and fruit). That means high calorie-density with plenty of sugar for shorter-term energy. It worked pretty well for me.
Here’s a summary of the hiking. Note that the distances measured are based on the trip odometer on my GPS, which pretty consistently measured shorter distance than those listed on the maps. I figure this is because the map distances are measured by wheel, which is probably more accurate for mountainous terrain. Wheels take into account the distance added by slope, while I think the GPS measures distance as if walking on flat ground. So you can probably add 10% to 20% to the measured distances if you like. Don’t worry about it.
5/27: 5.7 miles. Stratton Pond Trail, North Shore Trail, Long Trail.
5/28: 20.4 miles. Lye Brook Trail, Branch Pond Trail, Kelley Stand Road, North Shore Trail.
5/29: 8.9 miles. Long Trail, Old Rootville Road, Lake Trail (lower half), Baker Peak Trail.
5/30: day off.
5/31: 16.9 miles. Griffith Lake Trail, Old Job Trail, Long Trail, Lake Trail (upper half).
6/1: 19.9 miles. Griffith Lake Trail, Home Stone Brook Trail, Green Mountain Trail, Green Mountain Connector, Big Branch Trail, Long Trail, Little Rock Pond Loop Trail, Keewaydin Trail, Ice Beds Trail.
6/2: 20.4 miles. Long Trail, Sherburne Pass Trail, Pico Link Trail, Deer Leap Trail, Appalachian Trail, Black Swamp Trail, Shrewsbury Peak Trail, New Boston Trail.
6/3: 18.9 miles. New Boston Trail, Bucklin Trail, Long Trail, Killington Link Trail, Chittenden Brook Trail, Sucker Brook Trail, Skylight Pond Trail.
6/4: 21.7 miles. Long Trail, Burnt Hill Trail, USFS 59, Cooley Glen Trail, Long Trail, Clark Brook Trail.
6/5: 18.5 miles. Long Trail, Bread Loaf Mountain spur, Emily Proctor Trail, Battell Trail, Jerusalem Trail, Beane Trail, Monroe Trail (lower half), Dean Trail.
6/6: 19.1 miles. Allis Trail, Forest City Trail, Burrows Trail, Long Trail, Alpine Trail, Monroe Trail, Hedgehog Brook Trail, Lake Mansfield Trail, Clara Bow Trail.
6/7: 22.2 miles. Beaver Meadow Trail, Chilcoot Pass Trail, Long Trail, Whiteface Trail, Forester’s Trail, Frank Post Trail, Babcock Trail (with extension).
6/8: 16.3 miles. CCC Road, Sunset Ridge Trail, Cantilever Rock Trail, Profanity Trail, Long Trail, Adam’s Apple Trail, Hell Brook Trail (top), Laura Cowles Trail, Maple Ridge Trail, Lakeview Trail, Canyon Trail (three sections), Cliff Trail, Amherst Trail, Halfway House Trail, Butler Lodge Trail.
6/9: 15.1 miles. Forehead Bypass, Wampahoofus Trail, Rock Garden Trail, Frost Trail, Nebraska Notch Trail, Sterling Pond Trail, Hell Brook Trail (lower), Hell Brook Cutoff, Long Trail.
Whew. That was exhausting. I missed a few small trails in the north, but most of what I didn’t hike were the trails near Williamstown and Bennington, which I plan to hike in the fall when I live in Keene. I’ll have to come back to hit the Haselton Trail, since that one won’t be easily added to a through-hike of the Long Trail. All of the other side trails that I missed are easily added to the through-hike as spur trails and such.
That’s it for now. Hopefully I will soon have some other stories to tell you. Thanks for following along!