On Thursday, I will embark on my Long Trail thru-hike. The LT runs through the Green Mountains, the length of Vermont: 290 miles from Williamstown on the MA/VT border to North Troy on the border with Quebec. I’ll be carrying 25-30 lbs, hiking 10-15 mi/day, and sleeping mostly in GMC-maintained shelters.
I’ll spend the first five days with my Dad. We’ll meet Mom at Stratton Pond and do Stratton Mt with her. A two-night Stratton trip was our very first family backpacking trip, ten years ago, when I was eight and my brother was five. (Perhaps not the wisest, eh?) We’ve made a family trek every year since then. Our trips have been up to eight days and have ranged over the Green Mountains (VT), the White Mountains/Presidentials (NH), the Adirondacks (NY), the Talkeetnas (AK), and the Bavarian Alps (uh… Bavaria). Over the years our interests have sharply diverged: my brother has zero interest in roughing it; my Mom prefers a slower pace; and while Dad and I both enjoy a challenging trek, this time, I want to go it alone.
More than just an extended backpacking trip, this is a coming-of-age trial for me, a vision quest. I seek to reconnect with myself and with nature as I make a major transition in life, from a teenager under my parents’ wings to an adult and college student. The Long Trail seemed the perfect place to do this: a good length (3-4 weeks); not totally isolated; familiar; and a return to my first hike.
I intend to stop in the towns of Rutland, Hancock, and Johnson as I make my way north. There I’ll pick up mail drops of food and supplies sent by my parents and have access to a shower, laundry, and a telephone. I hope to have internet access and post about my trip. I will be keeping a journal throughout the trip, so if I can’t semi-live-blog, I’ll post my saga afterwards.
My journey won’t be just walking. I’m bringing Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a continuance of my exploration of Western philosophy. I’ll be able to stargaze, commune with fellow hikers, meditate, and practice yoga. I’ll even be occasionally able to swim.
I welcome questions and comments.
How long will the trip be?
290 mi, 20-25 days
What will you eat?
Dehydrated vegan meals from Barry Farm and Mary Jane’s Farm; granola; Clif bars; and the occasional apple. I’m carrying a Jetboil and will cook in there. No plates needed!
How will you get water?
I’ll carry Aquamira water purification drops instead of a bulky ceramic filter. Clean, sweet, cold mountain water flows freely in streams and ponds.
What if it rains?
So I get wet. A nuisance, but not the end of the world.
What if you get sick or injured?
Fingers crossed! I’ll have a first-aid kit with me (I’m trained in CPR and First Response), but if it’s not something I can tough out, I’ll have to hike out and hitchhike to a medical center. I will have an emergency cell phone with me, and pepper spray – but it’s not animals I’m worried about.
What about bears?
I won’t run into many bears, but I will bearbag my food.