My Long Trail Story & My Master's Thesis

I thru-hiked the Long Trail in 2006. The hike itself lasted 22 days and was the culmination of a dream I had fostered for over 20 years ever since I first learned of the Long Trail while working as a research assistant on Camel's Hump. As it is for many who thru-hike the trail, it was a life changing experience for myself. My family was very supportive, despite a 2 year old son who did not like seeing me go. While the wilderness experience of hiking the Long Trail will always remain with me, as will the friends and memories form that time, it was only more recently that I began to understand the true impact the hike had on me.

In May of 2010 I completed my Master of Education degree at the University of Vermont. My hike on the Long Trail served as the back bone to my graduate thesis in which I explored a concept I entitled "The Three Circles of Me." The circles included self, family and community. I found these regions of myself correlated to each of the three weeks I spent on the Long Trail and delved into each circle in greater detail through this lens. I chronicled much of my Long Trail hike and thesis on

Currently, I am planning to thru-hike the Long Trail again, this time with my two children Kate and Rob. The hike is planned for summer of 2015.


Dann Van Der Vliet
"Redtail" LT 2006


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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.