Long Trail – 94 Mile Hike

By AlpineZone News |
Oct 03 2001 - 12:47 PM

Date: September 22 to October 3, 2001

Trails: Long Trail
Distance: 94 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Conditions: Varied
Equipment: Just be aware of a water shortage problem and be prepared for any weather conditions

Trip Report: This was a 94 mile backpacking trip that I had started planning about two months ago. I had hiked about 120 miles of the Long Trail in Vermont from Danby to Jonesville but that still left the remaining 47 miles south to Massachusetts and 94 miles north to Canada. Deciding to do the northern portion I picked the peak foliage time of the year to hike which would make the views and colors that much more brilliant and the lack of bugs and pleasant temperatures make it perfect for hiking. My girlfriend, Lulu, and her dog, Lily, joined Shelby and I even though she claimed to be just a little nervous about being on the trail that long. A plan was developed. When hiking by myself I usually do 12.5 and 13 mile days without a problem but this was vacation so we tried to keep it to 8.5 to 10 miles when possible so we wouldn’t feel pushed. We worked on the weight of our gear and food so that when we started out with 6 days supply my pack weighed 41 lbs which also included 5 quarts of water. Lulu’s weighed 31 lbs including water. Shelby’s was 10 lbs and Lily’s was about 5 lbs (she eats less :-). I know that we weren’t “ultralight” but we also wanted to be comfortable so I felt pretty good about the weight.

My daughter, Haley, and her dog have an apartment in Westford, Vt, which is northwest of Burlington and within two hours of where we would be hiking so we used her and her apartment as our shuttle and our re-supply point half way through the hike. Thank you Haley. It worked out perfect.

Haley dropped us off at the trailhead of the Journey’s End Trail Saturday morning at 9:30 on Sep 22. She later told me that she felt bad about just dropping us off…like she would never see us again. Silly girl…WE WE’RE READY!! Anyway, Saturday afternoon we came across a group of Green Mountain Club volunteers that were rebuilding Shooting Star Shelter that had been destroyed by heavy snow last winter. They told us that another group were also rebuilding the next shelter, Laura Woodward. Because the Club had to hire a helicopter to bring in the material at a cost of $8000 it was decided it would be more economical to do both of them at the same time. We arrived at Laura Woodward Shelter after a 10 mile day and it was finished. Several of the crew had stayed to spend the night before heading home and the shelter only slept 5 so we had a full house. It rained Saturday night but by morning it had stopped and we headed out. We didn’t run into rain again until Monday night at Tillotson Camp. Luckily we only had 8.5 miles to hike Tuesday because it rained all day. Thursday afternoon, after a 11.7 mile day, we arrived in Johnson, Vermont, at the Long Trail Tavern for a hamburger, a Long Trail Ale, and our car. We drove to Haleys for the night and then on Friday washed our clothes, shopped, resupplied, dropped our car off at the Jonesville post office and ate turkey dinner in Burlington. Saturday morning Haley drove us back to Johnson to head south once again. She and her dog, Darby, joined us for a few miles of hiking on a clear, but cool, morning before heading back.

I won’t go into detail on the hike other than to say that since the idea of the Long Trail was to cover the highest peaks in Vermont you NEVER go around a mountain so there is always a lot of elevation gains and loses…but that also includes views that just can’t be captured on film. We finished up Wednesday afternoon at Jonesville, Vt, hiking 94 miles in 11 days. Not real fast but we had a great time. Except for a couple of days the first week the weather was great and we met people from New Mexico, Utah, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Florida, South America, and Holland. We can’t wait for the next hike. I do have photos posted at http://community.webshots.com/album/23262250GMtDOTQIML and http://community.webshots.com/album/23377524XqfyihcgQa

Submitted by Dave Mathis
Rutland, VT
Thu, 18 Oct 2001