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  1. #1
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    Default Long Trail Debrief

    -So, Long Trail complete. Mass to Maine Junction NOBO with AT in 2008, Journey's End to Maine Junction SOBO in 2017.

    -8/4-8/17. Twelve full days and two half days, one on each end. Average about 13 miles per day- a little less around the higher peaks in the north, a little more approaching Route 4.

    -I had no idea that some shelters and lodges charge a fee, so be aware that some do. $5/person/night, there's probably a list somewhere online.

    -I believe there has been a break in the weather. I was dreading all the "it's wet" and "bring extra socks" warnings I had been receiving, but in 14 days I had just one 24-hour rain storm and three overnight rain storms. The mud pits don't dry out of course, but the trail was generally wet for only a day after the rain. I brought 5 pairs of socks due to the warnings, but found that 4 would have been ideal (1 pair for camp only, 2 pair for regular use, and 1 pair for a morale boost every few days). Of course, I may have just been lucky with the weather.

    -It was dry enough that water was problematic south of Cooley Glen Shelter until Route 4 (where I stopped) but by no means was it emergency status. Just ask hikers coming the opposite way, especially if you plan to stealth camp, since it's mostly the unlisted small streams across the Trail that were dry. The day/night I stealth camped on approach to Route 4 I carried my max 3 liters and that was sufficient.

    -I found a 30-degree down bag to be fine. Two nights I woke up needing to put my fleece-lined shell vest on to stay warm, and I wore it some mornings/evenings in camp as well. But I'd guess that, come September, the vest should definitely be switched out for a jacket. (Bear in mind that because it only rained during the day once, the contents of my pack never got wet.)

    -I never used my mosquito head net, used sunscreen several times (I have fair skin), and used my DEET only once in camp.

    -Black flies and mosquitoes were small in number and never a serious concern. Never saw a tick.

    -The trail is marked well enough that I sent my compass home.

    -The Ben and Jerry's tour was nearly worthless. $4 for a video (which is on YouTube), ten minutes in a room with windows looking into the factory (which is on YouTube), and a single spoonful of ice cream. If it were free, I would give it one thumb up, but for $4 I give it two thumbs down. In fact, all of Waterbury seemed like a skippable town to me due to heavy tourism.

    -Resupply in Johnson is a fine idea. It's small, but has everything a hiker needs. Laundromat, post office, and excellent grocery store (which accepts mail drops) are all within two-minute-walk of each other, with a few restaurant options and a fine bookstore. Hitching was easy. Don't know about lodging.

    -Resupply in Waitsfield also a fine idea. Hyde Away Inn is highly recommended. Hiker discount (for walk-ins only), laundry service, hiker box, restaurant and bar in house, free breakfast, loaner bicycles, cable TV, wifi, and a ride back to Trail in the morning. Plus, if you get lucky like I did, at about 9:30am the Hyde Away truck will pull up to the LT road crossing to drop off the previous night's hikers, so you could get a ride in as well. Mad Taco restaurant is good and popular. Clearwater Sports is well stocked, including denatured alcohol by the ounce, although service can be very slow if there is a line of kayak renters or something like that. They accept mail drops.

    -When I finished I stayed at the Yellow Deli Hiker Hostel instead of the Inn at Long Trail, mostly because I had an early train to catch and the hostel is in downtown Rutland. I know these folks are controversial, but I found them to be everything advertised and nothing that wasn't. They're very friendly and accommodating, but they definitely have that "way too happy" religious vibe that leads to the cult accusations. But their hostel is free, has some strict rules that keep it clean and party-free, has free showers and laundry, discounted deli food, free breakfast, and is centrally located for bus/train/library/bank, etc. If you're not interested in their unorthodox religious view, don't pick up the pamphlet on the coffee table, that's all.

    -Does anyone know why there's a sign at Maine Junction that says "This Is Not a Trail" which, of course, looks like a trail? I ask because it's been there at least 9 years.

    -That's it. Back to the real world.

  2. #2
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    05-02-2014
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    Millstone Township, NJ
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by brian.spigel View Post
    -The Ben and Jerry's tour was nearly worthless. $4 for a video (which is on YouTube), ten minutes in a room with windows looking into the factory (which is on YouTube), and a single spoonful of ice cream. If it were free, I would give it one thumb up, but for $4 I give it two thumbs down. In fact, all of Waterbury seemed like a skippable town to me due to heavy tourism.
    Thanks for the post and congrats on completing the trail! Only going to slightly disagree with you about Waterbury. I didn't use it a town stop during my end-to-end hike but stayed in Waterbury for a week with my family afterwards. I really enjoyed it. Also in Waterbury, that you may have missed is the Green Mountain Club HQ - which was fun to visit and gives you a view of Camel's Hump and Mansfield if it's clear weather. Also in Waterbury, that you may have missed is the Prohibition Pig and across the street is a craft beer shop that both have a great selection of Vermont craft beers. Of course we also checked out the Ben & Jerry's tour and while I don't disagree with your description, I thought it was only $4 so it didn't bother me too much. There is a great grocery store down the road and you can buy a pint there if you want to spend the $4 on straight Ben&Jerry's instead! Anyway I thought Waterbury was a beautiful little town and not too far from Stowe and Montpellier as well.
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 29/48
    "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian.spigel View Post

    -It was dry enough that water was problematic south of Cooley Glen Shelter until Route 4 (where I stopped) but by no means was it emergency status. Just ask hikers coming the opposite way, especially if you plan to stealth camp, since it's mostly the unlisted small streams across the Trail that were dry. The day/night I stealth camped on approach to Route 4 I carried my max 3 liters and that was sufficient.
    Thanks for the data dump. Curious about any listed water sources you may have found to be dry or close to, in that section. May be SOBO in a few weeks and trying to keep my notes as up to date as possible. Thanks and glad you had a good hike!
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

    http://lesstraveledby.net
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  4. #4
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    Default

    Fair enough somers515. I may have had a different opinion if the day didn't start with the anticlimax of the B&J tour.

    As for listed water sources that were dry, there were none. Water was problematic but not an emergency. Every shelter and lodge had water, though Cooley Glen's was barely flowing. It was all the smaller, unnamed streams on the trail that were starting to dry out. For a couple days in the mentioned area, the shelters were the only places for reliable water, which meant hiking with a full stock instead of tailoring your water amount to the upcoming terrain.

    It's worth noting that I use treatment drops as opposed to a filter, so I need more than a trickle of water in order to fill a bottle and avoid the sediment.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thank you for the update Brian. I use a gravity bag filter system I put together but carry a collapsible cup for dipping it full if needed. My problem is that I am a steam engine that needs regular watering so I need to know when to carry extra. I appreciate your help in keeping my notes up to date
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

    http://lesstraveledby.net
    YouTube Channel
    Trailspace Reviews

  6. #6
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    05-15-2017
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    glens falls, New York
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    Yes, there is a list of fee shelters on the GMC website.

  7. #7

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    I was through the LT around the same time and followed your journal entries for much of the way. Starting at Journey's End at noon on August 6th and reaching Maine Junction on the 17th (and the Mass Border on the 24th) and mostly agree (including about Mad Taco, Waitesfield, Johnson and the B & J tour) with a couple differences.

    Probably because of my later start, I found much of the north, from Jay Pass to Eden Crossing to be a mess. Probably this was a result of the heavy rains on August 5th (which led me to start a day late). This was my fifth end to end trip and the first time I didn't love the far north. It seemed to me that the GMC was having a hard time keeping up the trail in light of the increased traffic (shelters that I almost always had to myself were often full). There was a work crew at Tillotson, so maybe the trail work there will help.

    There were scattered showers many nights and happened to be in shelters where the showers hit - only to find dry trail only a mile or so away. So while Emily Proctor was hit with intense rain one night, the next day I found the water source at Boyce to be almost entirely dry - just a few standing puddles in the stream bed. The posted water source on the ridge between Ellen and Abraham was also almost dried out, but the rain barrel at Stark was full.

    I like Waterbury, but never bothered to hitch there when doing the Long Trail. It seems to me more of a town to visit when you have wheels. Like somers515, I enjoy Prohibition Pig.

    I definitely agree with Johnson as a great resupply choice (I've settled into a routine of doing Johnson, Waitesfield, The LT Inn and Manchester for resupply and hitching into Bennington just for a meal and some snacks if I'm not in hurry), but Morrisville a little further down the road from Johnson is a great town - lot's happening, a couple good breweries, a fun movie theater, and a BBQ Place (Black Diamond) with serious BBQ and a fine list of local brews on tap (when I was there, they had 5 from Hill Farmstead). Morrisville might be better with wheels, though.

  8. #8
    Registered User Last Call's Avatar
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    09-03-2013
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    Default

    Talk about thread drift!
    Let's head for the roundhouse; they can't corner us there!

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