The Long Trail Gets Away Again


Chittenden Brook near the LT in Vermont

Saturday was supposed to be the start of a four week SOBO adventure on Vermont’s Long Trail. For those who’ve been reading since the start you know I’ve been wanting to do this forever and each year start out thinking this might be the year. Usually by mid Summer I’ve either hiked myself into an injury or had family commitments come up that force me to say “Maybe next year.” This year was different.

When I injured my hip on the June AT trip I walked my way through the recovery keeping my legs strong and discovering that the hip felt better the more it was used. The support I had from my family was amazing and despite some issues with our car my wife was practically pushing me out the door because after all these years she was as tired of me not going as I was.

Things were looking so positive I began to stockpile food and was putting mail drops together in between trips to make sure the legs were primed for the trail. Last week, with the start of the trip only ten days off, things fell apart. I mean literally fell apart, as on the return from a Speck Pond overnighter the rear tire on my motorcycle failed spectacularly. Thankfully I was able to get it off the road safely and even was lucky enough to be near a house full of friendly farm folk who let me use their phone to try to find some help for the bike. Alas, in the far reaches of Maine, help is hard to find. I ended up paying a small fortune to have the bike towed home.

If this unexpected expense was my only issue I’d probably suck it up and chase my dreams, but it really is more the last straw on a tall pile of reasons to call the trip off. Our car, the one the girls would have to use to drop me off and pick me up on either end of VT is circling the drain. After having been stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere its the last thing I’d wish on them. There are a few other things going on as well that had me hesitant about abandoning my post here at home for so long. My wife being so supportive doesn’t make it any easier 🙂 A woman who loves you enough to tell you to go is worth staying home to spend time with!

So here we are again another year later and the same sad story. Fall will come to Vermont without me once again. I’d say “Maybe next year.” but at this point I’m not sure I can say it with much conviction.  For now I’ll focus on what is possible rather than what is not. I’ll get to spend more time watching my daughter start kindergarten. My wife will have some help raking the leaves that will start to fall soon enough. Who knows? I might even sneak out to visit a mountain or three. Besides, with the lack of rain this year the leaves will just turn brown and fall off, but next year…

4 thoughts on “The Long Trail Gets Away Again

  1. Okay, I was all set to say that you’re making excuses not to go, but then I read this: “A woman who loves you enough to tell you to go is worth staying home to spend time with!” and I just melted. That is soooo wonderful – what a GREAT reason NOT to leave! 😀

    • I actually struggle with that Mouse, as I really do miss both my girls when I hit the trail. The first day or two of a trip is often punctuated with brief, but intense, moments of longing to be with them.
      This is just a case of me thinking that being a good husband and father is more important than being a good hiker. I can accept that to the folks who say “If you really wanted to go, you’d go.” I might look like a quitter. What I couldn’t accept was the thought of putting my need to do this adventure in front of the needs of my family.
      Thanks for your support during this trying time Mouse 🙂 Seriously though, I do appreciate it when folks talk back at me so it doesn’t feel like I’m talking to myself, so thanks for commenting!

      • As a mom of 8 kids, let me assure you: if you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t be a good “you.” And if you’re not a good you, you can’t be who your kids need, as a parent. (Remember, they’re half your DNA!) The trick is finding the right balance, but we’re all struggling with that, all the time. The fact that you’re trying to find the balance tells me you’re doing the right thing, by default. Cheers, Lone Stranger! 🙂

  2. As a dad who bypassed a lot of trail opportunities while my boys were growing up, I can feel for your decision. Now that they are out of the nest and I look back, I don’t regret spending time at home with them instead of being on foot.

    I has to cancel my NH trip this summer due to a family death, and understand a little bit what it must feel like. I hope you will keep the LT on your wish list for the future. It’s been interesting to read your thoughts on that. Good luck and see you on Trailspace.

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