My partner and I are section-hiking the LT. It is quite a different
experience from our having walked 960 miles of the Camino de Santiago
de Compostela from Le Puy, France to Santiago, Spain. There, a bottle
of wine and three-course meal awaited us. On the LT it is whatever we
can carry with us. It is amazing what stuff we eat on the trail that
we would never consider touching at home.
The Long Trail exists to beat a hiker up. If there is some hill, some
incline, some mountain, the Trail will go out of its way to get the
hiker to scramble up and down over rocks and roots. But hike it we do
and we are all the richer for it. Two summers ago when I narrowly
missed gashing my forehead on a boulder when I slid off a slippery
rock, my third pitching forward onto my face, I decided my trail name
should be Face Plant. And it is thus.
Last summer, we spent the night at Stark's Nest on top of Mad River
Glen. It could not have been better: to the east over the Northfield
range and Warren-Waitsfield valley, the full moon was rising. To the
west, we watched a golden, then orange, then purple sunset over Lake
Champlain and the High Peaks. We slept in the lap of luxury inside the
warming hut before slogging our way onwards the next day.
Knowing that there are such incredible moments that await us keeps us
at it. We hope to finish the LT this fall as a way of celebrating its
Meanwhile, I go up and over Rte 4 a lot so keep an eye out for any LT/
AT hikers who need rides into the booming metropolis of Rutland. They
should be coming through soon like monarch butterflies.
Lee A. Crawford
Photo: moonrise over Warren-Waitsfield with the top of the single
chair at MRG in the foreground