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  1. #1
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    Default E2E in September - first long distance trip

    So I decided that this year I would finally take the plunge into backpacking, and after doing the Escarpment Trail in the Catskills a few weeks ago and Glastenbury Mountain loop this past weekend, I'm thinking I might actually be in good enough condition to tackle the Long Trail. I'm planning to start Labor Day weekend and hope I can finish in 23 days when my vacation time runs out.

    Is it fine to go NOBO through September? How wet should I expect it to be, and should I look into planning resources aside from this forum and the GMC's map and the latest End-to-Ender's guide? And any recommendations for sleeping systems? I'm happy with my sleeping bag and air pad, but my 2-person tent takes up way too much space (and weight) to justify lugging it 270-odd miles and only use it as a backup. I'd consider a hammock/tarp system if the weather isn't going to be too rough.

    Many thanks for any advice you can throw my way!

  2. #2

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    Sep is perfect
    Sobo is better to watch leaves change, you walk with the change
    But hit hardest terrain first
    The map is 99% what you need.
    Because the trail is so straight north-south they could fit it all on one small map in vertical sections
    I wish all trail maps were as good as this one. Its superb. Good size, waterproof, just enough detail, shelters, mileages, etc.

    E2E guide is really of little use zero for hiking, may help with planning though. Nothing in there that cant be found elsewhere online though. Its a dissapointment really. It does support gmc, so go ahead and buy it, but its mostly a donation.

    Various online blogs and journals will give good idea what to expect. P. Mags has good guide too.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 05-31-2017 at 04:24.

  3. #3
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    +1 on the LT map, it is very, very good. We carried the E2E guide, but I made a lot of phone calls before the hike and made notes in it to update info.

    We bought a small 2-person Zpacks tent for the LT, and used it about 1/2 the nights on the trail. Had I been solo, a hammock would have been a better choice. But keep it as light as possible, you'll be staying in the shelters many nights (in some cases because there is no legal place to tent, in others because there is no practical place to camp, and sometimes just because it's easier).

    We went northbound. I liked having the Canadian border as my destination - gave me a goal to shoot for. Hiking in Vermont is both extremely pleasant (the people, the food, the beer, the general climate) and extremely difficult (the trail). But we enjoyed the experience overall.
    Ken B
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    Our Long Trail journal

  4. #4
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Nobo is better to "ramp up" as going SOBO you hit the hard stuff right off the bat. Being newer this might be hard... but you've got some time to get in some good dayhikes first. I would try to make sure you can do some back to back 10 or preferably 15 mile days on your local trails. If you can do that easily enough... that will translate to 5-10 mile days on the north end of the LT.

    Sobo might be your better trip though with an "end date" looming. The northern 100 miles can be tough to get to/get off, so I like to take on the hardest to reach trailhead to start. As you go south, if you end up behind schedule you'll find multiple ways to get off the trail and back home if needed. The Vermont bus lines run pretty easily from trail town to town south of Killington. So if you're cutting it close on vacation time you'll be in a better spot to scoot home quickly or even grab a cab ride if you have to. That won't really be an option up at Troy and it could take you a day or two to get back to town to work your way home.

    Going Sobo to start also means that since you'll be moving a bit slower at the beginning of the trip because of the terrain, you'll have time to linger at all the good stuff. If time gets tight and you have to "rush" through anything it would be the southern end, which is still pretty amazing- but much more realistic to do some longer days. If you try moving fast on the north end you'll only be frustrated (or worse).

    September on the LT is just about one of the best hikes in the country... so as long as you ease your way into the mileage you can't go wrong.

  5. #5

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    The AT section of the LT will still be fairly busy in early September with the thru hiker stragglers (who still think they can make it to Katahdin). That is also the time of year when the collage orientation groups fill up all the campsites. (but they usually stay out of the shelters unless it's raining).

    Although the northern end is a lot harder and don't expect to do much more then shelter to shelter for a while, it will be a lot quieter. By mid Sept some really chilly weather can start showing up so it would be good to get out of the higher and more rugged sections up north before that happens. By the time you get to the AT section of the trail, the late thru hikers will be mostly gone.

    You should be able to use the shelters every night, but having an emergency personal shelter is good idea just in case. A simple bivy sack and tarp would do.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6

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    A bivy/tarp setup should be more than sufficient as a secondary shelter option. I did my e2e 8/13-9/2 last year and slept in a shelter half the nights and my hammock the other nights. I would consider this time on the later side of AT hikers and there wasn't a single night where the shelters were completely full. Had I known, I would've left my hammock at home and just brought a sleeping pad to stay in the shelter every night. The college orientation groups shouldn't be on the trail in September, they should actually be in school. The LT is wet all of the time. It's a green canopy from MA to Canada

  7. #7
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    I did my SOBO 8/19-9/05. I brought my tarptent but never used it. As others have said, there are places in the northern part where camping is limited to shelters and there in many locations tenting sites are non-existant. I ran into several college orientation groups and most slept under large tarps and were not a problem. Did have one group of 10 from Tufts U. at Monclair Glen on a rainy night that stayed in the cabin but I was the only other hiker so there was plenty of room. I agree that the newer versions of the E2E Guides are not as useful as the older version were. I used them for planning purposes only and just carried the map. Had 8 days of rain out of 18, but most of the storms came at night. Only walked 3 days in the rain. My last night on the trail I stayed at the Cogdon shelter and it was full with 2 people sleeping on the floor. Only 2 were AT thru hikers. Several LT NOBO thru hikers. This was the only time I had a full shelter. In fact, I spent 5 nights in shelters by myself. I resupplied in Jonesville (mail drop), Stow, Rutland, and Manchester Center.
    More walking, less talking.

  8. #8
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    September is a great month to hike the LT. Definitely expect mud and rain. Weather begins to get colder in September up there, especially by mid Sept....be prepared for hypothermia weather with cold rain (maybe ice or sleet) and wind on some days. We experienced winter storm conditions going over Jay Peak in 3rd week of Sept 2013.

    I would not want to lug a heavy 2 person tent on the LT if you have a lighter alternative. You can hopefully find room in the shelters in northern VT, but don't count on room in southern VT, they tend to be crowded with AT hikers and local section hikers, especially on weekends.

    if things work out, I plan to do another NoBo LT hike this September...going to really miss the Whistle Stop cafe

  9. #9

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    Since I had to cut my spring hike short due to allergies, I might try the LT again this fall myself.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  10. #10
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    I'll be taking the plunge as well! Tentative start date of Aug. 12th heading NOBO. Depending on which way your headed, we may cross paths. I'll be lugging my tent, but am considering that to be my luxury item for when it's an option. Just got my pack in the mail today...so excited!!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by adesbonnet View Post
    I'll be taking the plunge as well! Tentative start date of Aug. 12th heading NOBO. Depending on which way your headed, we may cross paths. I'll be lugging my tent, but am considering that to be my luxury item for when it's an option. Just got my pack in the mail today...so excited!!!
    We might cross paths way up north! SOBO looks like the best way for me to go, and hopefully I can get a few miles in on Sunday the 3rd after driving up from a wedding.

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