Longtrail 100 BlogBy Steve Zind
I hiked the LT south-to-north in the summer with my daughter six years ago, now I'm working my way south in the winter on day sections. I started two years ago and made it from the Canadian border to Camel's hump and last year got to Brandon Gap. I like to hike with a partner, but some days I go solo, but given some of the conditions I've been in, I know it's not advisable. Although the days are short and it's slow going in snowshoes, it's great being out on the ridge of the Green Mtns in the winter. Without leaves on the trees, the views are spectacular, and there's something about hiking in the mountains when there is no trail to follow that makes it a special experience. As the trail is under snow, and often the trail markers and any clearing through the trees is buried, I've pretty much given up trying to follow the trail. The first year I hiked without GPS and looking back I'm not sure how I made it as far as I did. There were some treacherous situations, but somehow I always made it out by dark. I almost never meet anyone on the trail (sometimes a moose or a fox), nor is there a track to follow, except on Camel's Hump and Mt. Mansfield. Now that I'm using GPS, I can at least know that I'm near the trail and can find my way out. I learn some strategies as I go, what and what-not to carry, bring food that I can eat as I go (because when it's below freezing you get too chilled if you stop for any length of time), and how to keep snow and ice out of boots and clothes. Each day I go out I seem to learn something new to make it better. I love plowing through the deep powder, and seeing the mountaintops encrusted with the snow.
As I get farther south, it will require some longer drives for day hikes. And there are also some sections without road crossings or side trails, so I'll have to do some overnights. I'm looking forward to that. I'm always looking for winter hiking partners who are crazy enough to enjoy this kind of adventure. -Joplin
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.