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  1. #1
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    07-09-2016
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    Default 2018 Section Hike

    Howdy, and thanks in advance for any input -

    I'm planning on a Vermont AT section hike this year, starting in Hanover NH and finishing in North Adams ... I'd like to avoid crowds on the trail as much as possible, realizing that may largely be a relative term. In 2016 I did part of the LT in late September, and was surprised at how many times shelters were crowded (overflowing in several instances). Any better early in the season? I know GMC asks people to avoid hiking through May to prevent erosion due to mud, but also hear that even early June can be crowded with college students venturing out. Any thoughts/suggestions?

    Thanks again,

    Steve

  2. #2

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    June would be the least crowded. Of course, there is a reason for that. Bugs and mud mostly. June can be a wet month. Activity picks up in July, with a good chance of encountering a scout or outward bound group. Thru hikers start to show up in numbers during August. Usage peaks in Sept/Oct due to the foliage and nice hiking weather. Pick your poison. The last two weeks of June would probably be the best weather/crowd size compromise. Just pack sufficient bug netting just in case.
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks - that was my thought, but was looking for just a bit more assurance. I'll keep an eye out; if mud season ends early, I may opt for sooner. Not morally opposed to crowds and I always have a tent/tarp for shelter, but I head out to get AWAY from people.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve54 View Post
    Not morally opposed to crowds and I always have a tent/tarp for shelter, but I head out to get AWAY from people.
    If getting away from people is a priority, then maybe hiking on the AT is not the thing to do. There are plenty of other trails around which have very little traffic. The northern end of the LT is quiet. The Coos trail in NH is very lonely. You'd also be alone on the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway, but that's only a 3-4 day trail, but you can extend it through Mass and CT if you like.

    Of course, these trails take a little more planning and effort then the AT, but that's the price you pay to be alone.
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  5. #5
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    Default

    Steve: I have hiked most of the section you mentioned, however I need a piece between VT 12 at Woodstock to Arlington-Stratton Road near Manchester Center. Would be interested in joining you in the June/July time frame if you would like the company.
    CPT Kirk

  6. #6
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    Default

    Thanks for the ideas, I'll put them on the list - wasn't even aware of the Cohos Trail; looks interesting!

    I'm doing the AT through Vermont as part of section-hiking the AT through New England; did MA last year, and if this goes OK I'll do NH and ME in the next year or two. Still getting my feet wet again after years away from this stuff - I've done more remote hiking out West (Grand Tetons, RMNP) but for only a few days. So, while not a fan of crowds, until I'm more sure of my abilities, I accept they'll be part of the experience; just trying to minimize it if possible.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cdk4091 View Post
    Steve: I have hiked most of the section you mentioned, however I need a piece between VT 12 at Woodstock to Arlington-Stratton Road near Manchester Center. Would be interested in joining you in the June/July time frame if you would like the company.
    CPT Kirk
    Thank you for the offer CPT, but I prefer hiking alone -

    Best,

    Steve

  8. #8

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    The Long Trail is getting increasingly popular. 10 years ago, the northern section felt remote and quiet. That isn't the case any more. Shelters that I once had all to myself in the summer are now full, or near full with others tenting nearby. The best way to avoid crowds is to go when people are less likely to want to go - when it is colder or wetter and buggier than most people would want.

    The Cohos is a great trail if you want more isolation. It's also getting more popular - but this is relative. In '09 I went days without seeing other hikers. In '16 I saw other hikers almost every day. The downside with the Cohos is that it is much less developed than even the Long Trail. There are many more miles of road walks (paved and unpaved) and there are more stretches which follow snow mobile and four wheeler trails and these trails aren't designed to handle water. You are much more likely to encounter wet and soggy trail on the Cohos. It's improving every year, new shelters, more trail taken off the roads, trail hardening and grooming being done. Given that Cohos Trail Association has little money or volunteer labor force compared to other trail associations, it is amazing how much they accomplish.

    I haven't done the Northville-Placid trail for about 10 years, but there are long stretches of the NPT which are incredibly remote. It's more of a lowland, lake to lake, trail than most others which go summit to summit, but with any luck you'll find some gorgeous, quiet and isolated stretches there.

  9. #9
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    Default

    The best time? The last 2 weeks of May(yes I Know). Global warming has driven mud season ahead 2 weeks. If we have the normal amount of rain this Spring it's the very best time to avoid crowds and bugs in Vermont. The trail clubs advice has to do with their "spring cleaning" program not the mud. They like to do a big event involving hundreds of vol's all at the same time around June 1st. That's why they tell everyone the horrors of mud story. It's just a story.

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