Be Careful What You Ask For

You just might get it.  Those moments when things come together are interesting.   When we cross over a line and something we’ve dreamed of doing becomes something we actually are doing.  In crossing that line we’re moving towards getting what we wanted, but now we are faced with the task of actually doing.

The other day I accidentally got my wife’s blessing to do the Long Trail in Vermont this Fall.  I say accidentally because I wasn’t even really thinking about going until we are able to do it together years from now.  Then it came up in conversation and she told me to go before I even really asked.  If I didn’t know it was love I’d think she was trying to get me out of the house, but offering to solo parent for a month while I’m out living my dreams is definitely love.

The first time I heard of the Long Trail I began to dream of walking it some day.  I didn’t think I ever actually would as I’m not really a thru hiker, but it sounded like my sort of adventure so a nice dream.  Officially 273 miles stretching from the Massachusetts border on the south to the Canadian border on the north the trail goes the length of Vermont.  Following the Green Mountains it is a long series of peaks and valleys getting peakier as you head north.

The AT joins the LT for the first hundred miles in southern Vermont.  This section sees much more traffic and once the AT heads off to NH and ME on its way to Katahdin the Long Trail continues on more lightly traveled.  As the trail heads towards Canada it becomes progressively more challenging.  Some folks like to do it in the other direction to get the hardest part out of the way first while others work their way up to those peaks training their legs as they go.

Along with crossing all of those mountains and valleys the trail passes near many small Vermont towns as well as some wonderful B&Bs and inns.  Most people will go into town every few days for resupply and many folks plan a day of resting and feasting at one or more of the inns.  My plan is somewhat different as I’d like to save those treats for a future trip on this trail with Mrs Stranger.   Traveling together seems to be the time to enjoy those niceties while this solo trip is better suited to something more challenging.

My plan is to do the entire trail end to end without resupply and without leaving the trail.  Any zero/low mile days, if I decide to take them, will be on a mountain rather than at an inn.  In fact I’m planning on avoiding using the shelters as much as possible in favor of setting up camp alone off the trail.   Despite the fact that this trail passes close to civilization often and the shelters can be social centers my intent is to make this a true escape from all of that as much is possible.

Now that this plan is in motion there are many things to consider.  How to carry enough food and fuel for 20 days or more?  How many cookies to bring?  Will I be tempted by inviting inns close enough to the trail that I can hear the clink of pint glasses?  Will I give in to that temptation?  Finding out the answers to all of these questions as well as many more is what this trip is all about.

To me getting out there has always been about questions and answers I guess.  What am I capable of in terms of body and spirit?  What is the view like from the top of that mountain?  Will it ever stop raining?  We have to be careful about the questions we ask ourselves too I guess.  I am anticipating more than a few nights alone in my tent filled with answers I can only hope I’m prepared for.  I guess that pretty much sums up my life though, hoping I’m prepared for the answers I find on the path less traveled by


2 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Ask For

  1. Good Luck! A lovely wife gives you a terrific chance to test yourself. Do it as soon as the snow melts and remember to prepare for a really bad blackfly season.

    • Thanks for the encouragement John. Despite the temptation to go sooner I will do this trip in September. Early travel on this trail is not recommended due to mud season and the damage walking on trails causes during that time. I will wait until the AT bubble has passed through to avoid the crowds but hopefully I’ll still be done before the peaks see snow.

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