I'm a native Vermonter, recently married to a Montreal girl whose family spent weekends in our lovely state since she was little. Her dad, Marty, was constantly amazed and quite verbal about the beauty and stunning majesty of our Green Mountains. Although I have enjoyed many of the Long Trail's side trails over the years (recently, alongside my wife), I've never even dreamt of attempting an end-to-end hike. But then, in 2009, after fighting tooth-and-nail against pancreatic cancer, we lost Marty long before his time. While hiking up Mount Mansfield later that year, my wife and I struck upon the idea of completing an end-to-end, then side-to-side hike of the entire Trail... with Marty of course, who found so much peace in those peaks, along with us. I'm currently recovering from a back injury which has knocked me off my feet, but once I'm up for it (hopefully no later than 2011), we will make that journey in Marty's honor, enjoying every step and every vista along the way. In the end, that is really what the Long Trail is about, especially after 100 years of existence: staying in touch with what truly matters.
I've attached a couple of photos from hikes Chloe and I took recently up Mount Mansfield and to Sterling Pond.
Ben McCarty (and Chloe Kogan-McCarty)