Preparing For The Long Trail: An End-To-Ender’s Guide
An autumnal bite is in the air, the trees are starting to turn, and my winter coat is growing in. With signs like these, you better believe I’m about to hit the trail. Specifically, Vermont’s Long Trail, which traverses the Green Mountains.
What? You are too, current or future reader? Why, let’s learn together!
Here’s what I’ve got so far.
(By the way, the hike will be SOBO for me, but most prep information should be relevant regardless of your intended direction).
New England, for the uninitiated, is a beautiful black hole for travel times. The back-country roads wind over and around mountainous terrain, making ostensibly short traverses several hours longer than they would be elsewhere in rural America.
If you can find someone to drive you to/from the terminus, that will be your easiest and cheapest choice.
If not, and if you’re flying, Boston Logan will likely have the best rates. I found one-way flights from Chicago to Boston for $50.*
*Hopefully Unnecessary Disclaimer: Your rates will depend on time of year and how far in advance you buy.
From Boston, there is straightforward public transit to several major cities in Vermont. Burlington, Rutland, and Montpelier are all within shuttle distance of teensy North Troy and Jay, which are the closest towns to the northern terminus (info on southern terminus to come).
PSA: Steve Merrill, who is listed as a northern terminus shuttle option in most Long Trail End-To-Ender’s resources, no longer shuttles. Instead, he recommends Wendy with Jay Way Jitney. You can visit their website or call at 802-323-4252 for more info.
THE WHAT I’M BRINGING PREFACE
I would describe my gear style as Mid-Weight Thrifty. Knowing exactly what I’m packing may not be useful to you, since it was largely bought at second-hand stores spanning the country and decade. Therefore, in the spirit of brevity, I will only list the amount and/or genre of what I’m taking (with a few exceptions).
For example, instead of:
“Forest Green L.L. Bean waterproof pants, a la Hammer Pants, possibly vintage 90’s, with full ankle-to-hip side zippers, bought in Virginia Goodwill (realistically a little heavy, but $3.00)”
I will say:
Waterproof Pants (1 Pair)
WHAT I’M BRINGING
Lightweight tent, single occupancy, free-standing
Lightweight backpack (ULA Circuit)
Ultra-light waterproof pack cover
Down sleeping bag
Waterproof stuff sack
Bag liner, silk
Ultra-light inflatable sleeping pad
Long underwear, leggings (1 pair)
Long-sleeved shirt, nylon blend (1)
Socks (1 pair)
Trail runners, (Altra Superiors)
Sports bra, merino wool (1)
Waterproof socks (1 pair)
Wool socks (1 pair)
Polyester sock liners (2 pair)
Long-sleeved, button-down adventure shirt
Blaze orange t-shirt, polyester
Compression shorts, mid-thigh
Waterproof pants (yes, the Hammer Pants)
Clothes bag (dry sack)
Long Trail map (Green Mountain Club)
Single-charge electronics charger
Various charging cords
USB AC power charger
Toilet paper (½ Roll)
Tampons, o.b. (1 cycle’s worth)
Pads (1 cycle’s worth)
Travel-sized toothbrush (1)
Travel-sized toothpaste (1)
Travel-sized dental floss (1)
Ace wrap (1)
Band-aids (a few)
Titanium spoon, extra long (1)
Small, lightweight knife (1)
Sawyer Squeeze (NEVER SAWYER MINI, EVER EVER EVER. SAWYER, IF YOU SEE THIS, PLEASE DISCONTINUE THE MINI FOR THE GOOD OF HUMANKIND.)
Brightly colored handkerchiefs (2)
Ukulele (judgement rejected)
The first six days of my forecast are rain, so I’m strapping on my big-girl pants (zipping up, actually, all the way from ankle to hip) and preparing for a soggy start. Wish me luck, fellow hikers and dreamers! More to come from the Green Mountain State.
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