Why I’m Hiking the Long Trail

Why Thru Hike?

I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time browsing thru hiker’s posts on Appalachian Trials and The Trek over the past year and always enjoy the “why I’m thru hiking” posts, so here are my reasons for thru hiking:

  • To prove to myself that I can
  • Because I’ve finally found a “sport” that I’m good at and it’s an amazing feeling
  • To become stronger than I’ve ever been before
  • Because I love being outside among the trees
  • To show the world that a woman can thru hike and they don’t need a man to go with
  • To become more self-sufficient and learn how to live in the woods
  • Trail legs
  • Hiker hunger & the joys of not dieting to lose weight
  • Because since I started hiking, I’ve finally started to love my big calves and legs for their strength instead of hating them for being too “fat”
  • To overcome the fear of sleeping in the woods brought on by The Blair Witch Project

(There is much more that I could say about women and hiking, body image, and finally finding a hobby I’ve become completely enamored with (other than reading), but those thoughts are for a future blog post).

The Long Trail, Why?

I didn’t always have my eyes set on hiking The Long Trail in Vermont.  In fact, until a few months ago, it wasn’t even on my list of future goals.  Why the change, you may ask?  The desire to test out my trail legs on the LT entered my mind when I began toying with the idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail. I figured, why not try out a shorter thru hike to see how much I liked it, and living in New Hampshire, the LT fit the bill.  It was as simple as that.


Views from the AT on Mt. Jackson

  Is the AT Next?

Who knows!  I’ve toyed with the idea of thru hiking the AT for a little over a year now.  I would LOVE to hike the AT however there are many things that are holding me back from pursuing that particular dream.  The main reason being my husband.  I don’t know if I can leave him for 6 months.  (Work would be the second reason).  Why not section hike the AT?  Because I’m a purist.  I applaud everyone who hikes period, and all of those who have done the AT whether as section hikers, flip-floppers, LASHers, etc., but for me, it must be the traditional all at once or not at all.  HOWEVER, I would prefer to do it SOBO.

The Test

So, the LT is the test.  If I’m mentally and physically capable of spending up to a month basically alone in the woods of VT, walking every day, AND I enjoy it, MAYBE the AT is next…The LT is the test. 


Views of Mt. Washington from Webster Cliff Trail (AT)


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Comments 6

  • Gary Stell : Mar 21st

    Good on ya Socked In! That’s a great way to “test the trail” so to speak. I understand the big number one and two reasons for you not hiking the AT. I’m hiking it this year because a. My family is all raised and have families of their own, and two, I’m retired now. So, no hurry, just do what ya can when ya can and enjoy every minute of it.
    Happy Trails

    • Socked In : Mar 22nd

      Thanks for the advice! I’m enjoying every minute of hiking 🙂

  • Wyn : Mar 21st

    Good on you! I thru-hiked the Long Trail from Sept-mid-Oct 2016, last fall, with my dog. We both loved it. Was my 2nd long hike. 1st was the John Muir Trail in 2015. I’ve also done a number of shorter hikes. We did the LT southbound. Wanted to not get caught in early winter and hoped to catch the leaf change as I went south. The colors were spectacular. Got to hike through the whole cycle. From green with a few spots of color to fully aflame to brown and on the ground. My advice is to work on your legs. Do squats and steps up and down up to 18 inches to prep for the big rock-chunk ups and downs you’ll encounter on the trail. I lived in NH for 10 years in the 70’s. Love New England. Especially love Vermont! Enjoy…

    • Socked In : Mar 22nd

      Thanks for the advice! I live in NH and hike every weekend. I also do a lot of cardio at home and weight training. I’m trying to up my endurance so that I’ll be prepared to do bigger miles on the LT. I also love NE and the changes of the seasons 🙂

  • Mr Maps : Mar 21st

    Hi Socked in,
    Your story is almost identical to mine….I was planning on hiking the AT this year but decided to delay it until 2018…..I’m now planning on hiking the LT NOBO this year starting in late June….I will also be leaving my spouse behind but hopefully she can join me for the 1st few days….maybe our paths will cross, when will U be starting the LT this year?

    • Socked In : Mar 22nd

      I plan on starting late June as well! Very cool that we are heading out onto the same trail! I don’t know many people who are hiking the LT and I didn’t think I would see many other thru hikers on it, which is somewhat scary for me, however, the more I talk to people the more people I find out are hiking the LT. Happy trails!


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