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  1. #1

    Question Vermont AT in June

    I am just about of southern AT to hike and am planning to section hike the AT from Rt. 4/Killington to near the VT/Massachusetts state line sometime next year. My regular section hiking partner has thru-hiked the Long Trail, and therefore this AT section, so I need to do my own planning here.

    I'd invite my college-age daughter and several non-college age friends (who would do no more than 10 miles a day) to hike parts of it with me. Looks like I'd solo about half of it. My natural pace seems to be 12-13 miles a day, and there seems to be no shortage of shelters.

    I have several questions:

    1. Is June a reasonably pleasant month for this, or is it too buggy? I see where the Green Mountain Club recommends against hiking this area (because of mud) before Memorial Day, and I don't want to do a mid-summer hike.

    2. Is there a best section of this for which to set up the group hike of 3-5 days? Easier, but scenic is my main goal.

    3. Are there bus/train options available?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    11-04-2013
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    Wallingford, VT
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    1. In June the blackflies will be out in full force. My most preferred time for hiking in VT is late September/early October for the foliage, lack of bugs, and cooler temps. If you want to keep it in a time span that fits the summer vacation schedule of those you're hiking with I would lean towards late August. The blackflies will be long gone and temps may be cooling off a bit from peak summer. There will, however, be more crowds that time of year from the tail end of the AT bubble and other people doing the LT, so you can pick which are the least attractive factors.

    2. It's sometimes tough to get easy and scenic together. The section between Rt. 9 in Bennington and Rt. 11/30 in Manchester comes to mind. There are significant climbs up Stratton and Glastenbury Mountains and up from Rt. 9 if going NOBO, but the views there are great and the terrain aside from those climbs is pretty mellow. I would call the 10 miles from 11/30 to Stratton Pond the easiest stretch of that length on the AT in Vermont. Manchester to Rt. 103 has less steep climbing but less scenic views, several nice water features though.

    3. Amtrak and bus service to Rutland and extremely limited flights to the regional airport. I know there are mass transit options for VT/MA but unsure on details.

  3. #3
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    02-05-2009
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    Delray Beach, Florids
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    1. It's all about the rain. I like late May a bit better for Southern Vermont if it has not been rain soaked. No rain no mud. The bugs can get bad real fast during the course of June.
    2. The section up and over Stratton is excellent for your group.
    3. Good bus service is available all along your route. The train is also available at both ends of your trip. The best big airport is Albany NY.
    4. The trail club in that area has a history of promoting a hidden agenda. They discourage early hiking Rather than getting out there as soon as the weather breaks. There method each Spring is to get a big team to clean out the Winter deadfalls and do serious trail maintenance right before Memorial Day. Schools are out so they get more workers. Additionally if they have had lots of rain then early hikers tend to walk around the big muddy parts and end up widening the trails which makes a mess and more work. They are stubborn New Englander's. Perhaps they don't believe in global warming.

  4. #4

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    Yes, it's all about the rain - and the snow. Each year is different. Sometimes June can be great, sometimes it can be hell. More often then not, it's hell.

    This year on my LASHer hike, I got to Vermont in early June, just as the weather changed from being mostly dry to mostly wet and was quickly up to my knees in mud and up to my ankles in water. When the LT gets sloppy, it gets really sloppy, really quick and then stays that way for a while. The predictions are for a reasonably snowy winter this year, so typical spring conditions (which last into June) will likely be the case.

    The AT part of the LT is relatively easy (meaning it's not insanely hard) with the Killington/Pico area the hardest.

    There is bus service to Boston from Williamstown, MA. ( the bus leaves about 7 AM and if you buy a ticket in person, it can only be done with cash) A side trail leads directly to town from near the southern terminus of the LT. There is bus service from RT 4 to Burlington, VT and from there you should be able to connect to Boston.

    Disclaimer: I spent 2 summers as a paid GMC caretaker, have lived in Vermont for a bit and have hiked the LT extensively.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #5

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    Thanks, all!

    My section hike from Killington to Hanover, NH was in mid-August, and was warm but manageable. I'll probably drive, but some of my co-hikers would probably want to fly or take the train.

  6. #6

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    Here is the once per day bus that goes from the Albany airport to Bennington, Manchester and Rutland:

    https://www.vttranslines.com/bus-schedules/

    Of course there are folks who shuttle AT hikers from the ALB airport. Call them for rates:

    http://www.appalachiantrail.org/docs...s.pdf?sfvrsn=0
    Order your copy of the Appalachian Trail Passport at www.ATPassport.com

    Green Mountain House Hostel
    Manchester Center, VT

    http://www.greenmountainhouse.net

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    Here is the once per day bus that goes from the Albany airport to Bennington, Manchester and Rutland:

    https://www.vttranslines.com/bus-schedules/
    Jeff,

    The bus looks like it would be very handy. I'd have my own car as I'm only coming from Maryland, but would need shuttle transportation.

  8. #8

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    As far as planning, VT9-Bennington, VT and VT11 and 30-Manchester Center, VT is 40.1 miles, according to AT Distance Calculator. Continuing a little further south toMA2-North Adams, MA, would add 18.4 miles.

    The range of my group for a 4-6 day hike is somewhere in there, probably the shorter distance would work better. I got a couple of friends interested with my first inquiry.

    Thanks for your help!

  9. #9
    Registered User
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    11-02-2013
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    rochester, ny
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    I section hiked all of Vermont into NH the end of June-first week in July this year.
    The temperatures were comfortable with shorts and short sleeved shirt during the day and night.
    There was little to no mud when I was there.
    The only time I noticed bugs were near the firetowers on top of Stratton and Glastenbury Mountain.
    I felt there were alot of refreshing, beautiful mountain streams.
    Great views from the firetowers and Killington. My favorite spot was the side trail to the lookout private cabin; but that was north of Killington.
    I thought MASS-Stratton Mountain was easier hiking than the mountains leading up to Killington. I did 15-20 mile days.
    I'm not sure about buses/trains.
    Have fun when you get there! And if you have extra time after your hike drive north about an hour to the Ben and Jerry's factory and several cheese, chocolate and wine tasting shops! There was also a maple sugaring farm that was fun to visit with lots of yummy samples at all stops!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattjv89 View Post
    It's sometimes tough to get easy and scenic together. The section between Rt. 9 in Bennington and Rt. 11/30 in Manchester comes to mind. There are significant climbs up Stratton and Glastenbury Mountains and up from Rt. 9 if going NOBO, but the views there are great and the terrain aside from those climbs is pretty mellow. I would call the 10 miles from 11/30 to Stratton Pond the easiest stretch of that length on the AT in Vermont. Manchester to Rt. 103 has less steep climbing but less scenic views, several nice water features though.
    Just adding a follow-up on this post. Am planning on following Matt's suggestion for location, but now in August 2017. Having good interest from friends.

    Thanks to all who've helped!

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