Longtrail 100 BlogBy Steve Zind
By Chris Eubanks
I pulled my pack out of the car, and discovered that I could barely lift it to my back. I could not lift it beyond my waist without severely straining my back. This thing is too heavy…much too heavy, I thought. My brother Sean and my dad had to come on both sides of me and physically lift it up so I could strap it on. It took two guys just to get the pack on my back. And I was going to carry it 270 miles? I took a test walk around the parking lot. Although I knew the pack still weighed 29 pounds, it felt much heavier than when I was walking around with it at home. Contributing to its weight were five changes of clothes, a jumbo bag of trail mix, two jumbo packs of beef jerky, metal breakfast bowls, a composition notebook, and a tube of toothpaste. Though heavy, the food and bowls were essential, but the rest was dead weight that I could have done without.Our plan was to hike the Long Trail straight through for twenty or thirty days, depending on which one of us you asked. Dad had his mind set on twenty, while Sean and I thought thirty was more reasonable. Every five days or so, when we reached a highway, my mom and my sister Shannon would drive down with five more days of supplies. I knew that my pack would be heavy the first day, but I just figured that we would eat about five pounds of food from it.
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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.