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  1. #1
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    Default Last minute trail advice for LT....September-October

    Planned to give the CT another go this fall but not sure I can get enough time away from Life....now considering a shorter option ie the LT.....I normally average around 20 mpd for off the couch southern section hikes with no problem. I have no hiking experience in the NE and understand the LT is tougher terrain hence slower miles...what should y’all consider a moderate pace for a sept-October thru of LT..also concerning bringing my pup who has done great on southern AT but had issues in Co. Any advice appreciated...


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  2. #2

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    We headed south. From Canada to Appalachian Gap we could do 10 to 15 mpd...and sometimes that was a struggle. After Appalachian Gap our paced picked up to 15 to 25 mpd. North of Appalachian Gap is some of the most challenging terrain I've seen in a while. Trip report link is below:

    https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/sho...-Sept-12-Oct-4

  3. #3

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    Duh wrong link... correct one is here:

    https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/sho...Sept-12-Oct-4)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hipbone View Post
    Duh wrong link... correct one is here:

    https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/sho...Sept-12-Oct-4)
    Great thx!!


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  5. #5

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    Not only is the top half of Vermont insanely difficult, daylight hours are getting short and that will cut into your mileage. 1 MPH is a typical pace for the top half of the LT. To E2E the LT, your looking at 3-4 weeks.

    Also keep in mind that outside the National Forest land, camping is restricted to designated sites only and tenting at many of these sites is limited or non-existent. In general, the LT is not very tent friendly. I typically carry just a bivy sack for emergencies. It's easier to find a place just big enough to lay down on, then it is to set up a tent. Just hope it don't rain that night. Collage groups are at every site in early September. Typically they find someplace near the shelter to set up a big tarp they all sleep under, which farther complicates things

    I would not recommend bringing a dog. You will have to carry him up or down some places which you need both hands to hold onto rocks and trees.
    How's the dog at climbing aluminum ladders?

    SANY0224.JPG

    Or how about getting up this? Yes, that's the trail!
    SANY0196.JPG

    There are some really scary parts of the trail on Camels Hump and Mt Mansfield too.

    Other then that, September is a great time on the LT. It will get really nippy towards the end of September too. Frost is very likely, maybe even snow if you go NOBO.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Collage groups are at every site in early September.
    man, i just hate that. why do people think shelters and campsites are there for them to go and do lame art projects as a group?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    man, i just hate that. why do people think shelters and campsites are there for them to go and do lame art projects as a group?
    Agreed. Find an area that can accommodate large groups and not make it impossible for other hikers to share the space.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hipbone View Post
    Duh wrong link... correct one is here:

    https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/sho...Sept-12-Oct-4)
    Nice trip report!


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  9. #9
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    We went north. We're happy doing 15 mpd off the couch in the South, but like others, we found the LT to be rather challenging. (Pro tip: if you can't find the trail, look at the sheer cliff directly in front of you. The next blaze is likely halfway up (or down) the cliff.) Our trail journal is linked below.

    We ended up doing some longer days, a couple of 17 mile days and a bunch of 14-15 mile days. They were hard and took 12+ hours of solid hiking. I honestly felt like the last 100 miles in the north was a little easier, maybe because I finally got used to the terrain, maybe because I got stronger (hah!), or maybe just incipient mental collapse.

    Good luck.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Not only is the top half of Vermont insanely difficult, daylight hours are getting short and that will cut into your mileage. 1 MPH is a typical pace for the top half of the LT. To E2E the LT, your looking at 3-4 weeks.

    Also keep in mind that outside the National Forest land, camping is restricted to designated sites only and tenting at many of these sites is limited or non-existent. In general, the LT is not very tent friendly. I typically carry just a bivy sack for emergencies. It's easier to find a place just big enough to lay down on, then it is to set up a tent. Just hope it don't rain that night. Collage groups are at every site in early September. Typically they find someplace near the shelter to set up a big tarp they all sleep under, which farther complicates things

    I would not recommend bringing a dog. You will have to carry him up or down some places which you need both hands to hold onto rocks and trees.
    How's the dog at climbing aluminum ladders?

    SANY0224.JPG

    Or how about getting up this? Yes, that's the trail!
    SANY0196.JPG

    There are some really scary parts of the trail on Camels Hump and Mt Mansfield too.

    Other then that, September is a great time on the LT. It will get really nippy towards the end of September too. Frost is very likely, maybe even snow if you go NOBO.
    Thx slo....I should have done lil more research before asking...didn’t realize the terrain was so difficult...I guess if I can’t get time for CT might settle for Wonderland trail and save LT for later...I’m sitting here in looking forward to getting out on trail! Too dam hot down south! Bring on the cooler weather!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    Thx slo....I should have done lil more research before asking...didn’t realize the terrain was so difficult...I guess if I can’t get time for CT might settle for Wonderland trail and save LT for later...I’m sitting here in looking forward to getting out on trail! Too dam hot down south! Bring on the cooler weather!
    My motto for the LT is "No Mercy". It's just one damn obstacle after another. It seems they went out of their way to make it as difficult as possible. But that mostly applies to the northern end. Of course, that's what makes it interesting and challenging. it's not just shuffling your feet along a path.

    An option would be to just do the AT section of the LT. It's only 155 miles and easier both logistically and physically. Even shorter if you stop at the inn at the long trail and skip the dog leg to NH. You could do that in under 2 weeks. Also, your JR would do okay through there (just hope he doesn't find a porcupine) and there are better camping options. Not many, but some. There are a few steep, rocky bits, but nothing like north of the Maine Junction. Hike from Williamstown, MA to Hanover, NH - both towns have bus service to Boston, but that would impact traveling with the dog.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliotrope View Post
    Agreed. Find an area that can accommodate large groups and not make it impossible for other hikers to share the space.


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    thats what i get for trying to be witty...

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    thats what i get for trying to be witty...
    I got it....and laughed out loud.

  14. #14

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    3 weeks is a fair time for strong hiker with 1 zero, 1-2 half days for resupply.

    But many like to soak up a little more VT ambiance, with a few more zeros.

    10-15 mpd in north. You are limited by camp spacing a bit since not much other legal camping often can be counted on.


    South of maine junction trail is easier, 15-20 no problem.

    People do hike w/dogs.
    I think they are too much trouble personally. But I always think that.

    Ladder areas need bypass. Town activities and lodging are problematic.
    And porcupines are a threat. More than 1 journal tells story of getting off trail to find vet to remove quills from face/mouth.
    And, it rains. A lot. Staying in a camp with others your pooch isnt all that popular.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 07-30-2018 at 03:19.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    3 weeks is a fair time for strong hiker with 1 zero, 1-2 half days for resupply.

    But many like to soak up a little more VT ambiance, with a few more zeros.

    10-15 mpd in north. You are limited by camp spacing a bit since not much other legal camping often can be counted on.


    South of maine junction trail is easier, 15-20 no problem.

    People do hike w/dogs.
    I think they are too much trouble personally. But I always think that.

    Ladder areas need bypass. Town activities and lodging are problematic.
    And porcupines are a threat. More than 1 journal tells story of getting off trail to find vet to remove quills from face/mouth.
    And, it rains. A lot. Staying in a camp with others your pooch isnt all that popular.
    Thx...looks like LT will be almost the time frame of the CT so looking at possibly doing WT if don’t get the enough time for CT.


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  16. #16
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    Re: The College Groups

    I find that while the college groups may overwhelm a camp site, it is simple enough to find a private spot to camp some distance away. (You do carry your own shelter, right?) They tend to be there just a week or two around labor day. They are Freshmen mostly out for a 'team building' experience. The kids are from many of the fine schools around the Northeast. I have enjoyed meeting them, and talking with them on my hikes, and they bring an insane amount of food that they will often share with hungry hikers The last group I met cooked me a campfire flat-bread pizza that was absolutely delicious.

    Most of all I am happy to see young people off their cell phones, actually talking with each other, and enjoying the beautiful Green Mountains. Share the trail.
    Last edited by imscotty; 07-30-2018 at 08:02.
    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


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  17. #17
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    Sounds like the LT is now off your radar, but in case it's still on the table, Just another data point: I only averaged 12-13 (maybe) miles per day in northern VT along the LT, and I can normally crank out some good sized days.

    Yes, that ladder is problematic for pooches, that being said, if your dog is small enough, you could always do a double-carry up (NOBO) or down (SOBO) the ladder. I was hiking (SOBO) with a lady that did this for a decent sized Labrador... downclimbed the ladder with complete pack, with dog secured at the top of the ladder. Dumped the pack at the bottom, climbed the ladder, put dog in pack, then downclimbed again. I didn't actually witness this, but heard about it at camp that night. It can be done. I only remember one big ladder down-climb, but memory fades with age.....

    Also, FWIW, I only ran into those annoying groups of kids on the southern portion of the LT, the AT portion. When I did the complete LT SOBO at your same timeframe (late Sept into OCT), I didn't see any big groups at all. I think the LT thins out a bit starting in mid September. Seemed like it to me.

    I absolutely loved the LT and plan on repeating it with my wife, perhaps next September.
    Last edited by colorado_rob; 07-30-2018 at 09:22.

  18. #18

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    Salty I will be doing the AT portion of the LT starting about Sept 3rd, have to get thru 50 miles of mass first(starting Sept 1st).

  19. #19
    Registered User handlebar's Avatar
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    I went nobo in 2015 at age 70. 18 hiking days a couple of which were neros. Averaged 15.2 mpd. Last 6 days average 14.4mpd. Started Sep 13; finished at Canada border then back to road about 6pm Sep 30. Hiked from It helped that I was joined on the 3rd day with then 24 year old Andrew. He was the hare; I the tortoise. It is a tough trail, but no worse than starting out the AT in GA. It was a very enjoyable trail. If you routinely do 20mpd in southern Appalachians, you should have no problem. Enjoy!
    Handlebar
    GA-ME 06; PCT 08; CDT 10,11,12; ALT 11; MSPA 12; CT 13; Sheltowee 14; AZT 14, 15; LT 15;FT 16;NCT-NY&PA 16; GET 17-18

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Sounds like the LT is now off your radar, but in case it's still on the table, Just another data point: I only averaged 12-13 (maybe) miles per day in northern VT along the LT, and I can normally crank out some good sized days.

    Yes, that ladder is problematic for pooches, that being said, if your dog is small enough, you could always do a double-carry up (NOBO) or down (SOBO) the ladder. I was hiking (SOBO) with a lady that did this for a decent sized Labrador... downclimbed the ladder with complete pack, with dog secured at the top of the ladder. Dumped the pack at the bottom, climbed the ladder, put dog in pack, then downclimbed again. I didn't actually witness this, but heard about it at camp that night. It can be done. I only remember one big ladder down-climb, but memory fades with age.....

    Also, FWIW, I only ran into those annoying groups of kids on the southern portion of the LT, the AT portion. When I did the complete LT SOBO at your same timeframe (late Sept into OCT), I didn't see any big groups at all. I think the LT thins out a bit starting in mid September. Seemed like it to me.

    I absolutely loved the LT and plan on repeating it with my wife, perhaps next September.
    Just booked a flight to Reno mid/late September....10 day hike of TRT...I love the fall....it can’t get here soon enough. LT is on my list for next few years as my daughter heads off to college next year should have more time for trips....


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