START: Inn at the Long Trail, VT
FINISH: Melville Nauheim Shelter, VT
DISTANCE: 88.3 miles (142.1 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 29.4 miles (47.3 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 576.2 miles (927.1 km)
Blowdowns: There were quite a lot of blowdowns around the Killington Peak area. Trail maintenance crews in this part of the world are certainly kept busy. I doff my blaze orange cap to them. They do an amazing job and I hope that all hikers, be they thru, section or day, appreciate their efforts.
Bamboo Bob: A big thanks to Bamboo Bob (see photo above) and his wife Judy for their wonderful hospitality and generosity. Best of luck, Bob, for your 2013 CDT Thru hike!
The Long Trail: In the Fall of 2002 I hiked the Long Trail, a 267 mile route through the Green mountains of Vermont. Established in 1930, it is the oldest long distance hiking trail in the United States. From the Inn at the Long Trail to the VT/MA border, the Long Trail is contiguous with the AT for a little over 100 miles. My 2002 journey was memorable for many reasons, and without being consciously aware of it at the time, may well have planted the seeds for future thru hikes in the United States.
Five Reasons to Love the Long Trail:
Ice Cream: Vermont is the home of Ben & Jerry’s. As a lifelong ice cream lover, I felt a little like a Muslim making a pilgrimage to Mecca!
Autumnal colors: Magnificent. It continues to surprise me that more people don’t do this hike in the Fall.
Maple Syrup: See Ben & Jerry’s.
Long Trail Ale: Any trail which has a beer named after it is OK in my book.
Side Trip to Bennington: The Grandma Moses museum is a gem. How can you not help but love the story of an unknown farmer’s wife and grandmother, achieving worldwide fame as a folk painter whilst in her 80’s? A true American original.
Nearby the museum is the grave of Robert Frost, one of America’s finest ever poets. Having been an ardent admirer of the former poet laureate since my teenage years, I paid my respects to the great man who’s poem, The Road Not Taken, became a mantra of sorts to a young nomadic soul with dreams of seeing the world.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost