Long Trail Memory: "Trail Magic"

Most thru-hikers step onto the Long Trail at a transition point in our lives - graduation, retirement a major move – and each of us is searching for something - clarity, adventure, a connection with nature. In 2005 I was reeling from a year of change - major move, new job and the purchase of my first home. When I stepped onto the Long Trail I hoped to reconnect with both my home state and my self. I little suspected the trail magic I would encounter.

'Trail magic' is a term thru-hikers use to refer to serendipitous occurrences on the trail. The trail provides when you need it most and expect it least; whether it takes the form of a mango found in a shelter on a sunny morning as you make a new friend or a cooler of sodas at the base of Killington on a drizzly day. My greatest encounter with trail magic occurred just 4 days into my thru-hike.

On July 4, 2005 I met the man who would become my husband while thru-hiking the Long Trail. We met at the Stratton Pond shelter and nearly three years later we returned to Stratton where we got engaged. The trail provides.

Kathrine Sullivan


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Longtrail 100

VPR is marking the 100th anniversary of The Long Trail with a month-long series of reports and essays. Through this series, we'll explore the history and future of The Long Trail and introduce listeners to the people who built, maintain and hike it today.