As I hinted at a few months back, my good friend Santa and I have been planning a thru-hike this winter of Vermont's legendary Long Trail. Created between 1910 and 1930, and known as the oldest long distance trail in the United States, the trail extends just over 270 miles from the Massachusetts/Vermont border up to Canada over the backbone of VT's Green Mountain range. The first 100 miles are shared with the A.T., so Santa and I are familiar with the terrain and what we'll encounter, albeit at a much different time of year. The trail is credited with being the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail itself and has a recorded 3,100 thru-hikers. The group comprised of those who hike it in one instance or compile a multitude of smaller section-hikes are affectionately known by the Green Mountain [hiking/trail maintenance] Club as "end-to-enders".
The majority, actually all but one recorded thru-hike of the trail that I've been able to find on the Internet, has been done in the late spring to late fall months when New England's mountains terrain and weather is a bit kinder to those who take it on. Most find that the trail take about two to four weeks in summer months (and therefore almost ideal conditions). True to form of loving a challenge, as well as both of our limitations of time with school and work, respectively, Santa and I have allotted 3 weeks to finish the trail this winter, knowing full well that snow and other weather at 3,500-4,500 feet above sea level will likely pose more than one challenge throughout our trek.
At this point we plan to leave the 19th of December, the day after my birthday, and drive out to the North Adams, MA area (remember Mt. Greylock from the A.T.?) to begin at the border of Vermont. I'm building a gear list for this adventure, as most of my backpacking equipment is 3-season and will not support sub-zero temperatures that we'll likely see throughout a fair bit of the hike. I've begun building a Gear Talk page for this hike, alike the A.T., where I'm going over the equipment list I'll carry on the trail.
I'll post occasional updates as we lead up to our departure time, highlight select gear and our more detailed plans and itineraries, and will also be attempting to blog daily, and keep the photos coming. My hope is to again provide some entertainment as you all sit in your warm homes during the chilly winter timeframe during which Santa and I will once again be living in the woods. Yes... this will be a cold one, but on the bright side I get to literally spend Christmas with Santa. Who else can say that?
Onward & upward,
Ryan "Texaco" McKee