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  1. #1
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    Default Long Trail Thru Hiker Companion

    I'm trying to find a Long Trail Companion Guide, which I'm pretty sure exists. I looked online at REI.com but found nothing. I'm looking to do it next season in honor of my godfather who loved the outdoors.

    What is the best season to do it?

  2. #2
    Registered User Moose2001's Avatar
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    Check the store at the Green Mountain Club

    https://www.greenmountainclub.org/
    GA - NJ 2001; GA - ME 2003; GA - ME 2005; GA - ME 2007; PCT 2006

    A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.
    —SPANISH PROVERB

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharky View Post
    I'm looking to do it next season in honor of my godfather who loved the outdoors.

    What is the best season to do it?
    I ordinarily don't post to this forum anymore, but I recommend September or later if you are willing to pack your woollies.

    You may not yet understand, GMC and ATC are different animals as are how they are funded. Both need your financial assistance and you should support their efforts to provide you with an experience you apparently value.

    Do you not tip when you patronize your local taproom?
    Last edited by emerald; 10-30-2010 at 01:36.

  4. #4
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    I agree September is a great month to hike the LT weatherwise.

    During the months of July and August you will be sharing the trail with the Appalachian Trail thruhikers in the southernmost 100 miles of the LT. That can sometimes lead to crowded shelters at night, but makes for an interesting and fun experience with many seasoned veterans of the trail.
    Order your copy of the Appalachian Trail Passport at www.ATPassport.com

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  5. #5
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    another vote for september. no bugs and nice temperatures

  6. #6
    Registered User Toolshed's Avatar
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    Ditto - Last week of August through early September. Less mud, no black flies, few deerflies and few mosquitoes. It can get into the 30's at night though, at elevation. Also with the slightly cooler weather comes the better views. Especially of Champlain and the Adirondacks...
    .....Someday, like many others who joined WB in the early years, I may dry up and dissapear....

  7. #7

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    I did it in several sections in the month of September. I did a 5 day at the end of July and wouldn't recommend it because of the bugs (but I'm sure the swimming is better - btw - the only swimming I did was on the July trip (Stratton Pond) - it was pretty necessary just to keep sane!
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

  8. #8

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    September is a great season for an LT hike. Another good time is late July into early August - after the worst of the bugs and before the college orientation groups. If the cooler weather in later September is a problem for you, or if your schedule is tied to academic year - the first two - three weeks of August is prime time.

    The GMC used to publish and End to Enders Guide for LT hikers. They may have stopped - an online version is available at www.longtrailhiking.info

    The GMC also has a Long Trail mentors program - but the forums here and at longtrailhiking.info can serve the same function. You might also try the Q&A function at that site - its not always well monitored, but you'll get good answers with a little patience.

  9. #9

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    It can be pretty chilly in September, but it's gorgeous during the days, usually not too rainy/muddy, and you're guaranteed shelter space.

    Awesome time to be on the trail imo.

  10. #10
    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    September is nice, but the Long Trail can become a pretty lonely place in the northern sections. In 2009, I spent several nights alone in shelters once I passed Maine Junction. There was one day that I walked from Bamforth to Buchanan (12 or 14 miles) and I did not see a single hiker either direction.

    If you like the social aspect of hiking, it's better to go in the summer (ie, July or August) and just deal with the minor inconvenience of mud and a few mosquitoes.

  11. #11

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    I hiked the Long Trail mid-August to mid-September and thought it was a good time of year. I escaped the bugs and experienced a range of weather temps from hot & humid to cool and Fall-like. I agree that September is a wonderful time to hike.

    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=6248

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    Thank you to everyone for your input. I'm thinking early September going south to north just for the simple reason of the symbolic nature of finishing on the Canadian border. I may change that if the logistics become impossible.

    I recently went on my first solo trip and I was fine until I got into camp where it was eerily quiet. I've heard that the northern section of the Long Trail is on the same difficulty level as The Whites in NH or harder. If I've made it from Franconia to Pinkham Notch can I handle Maine Junction north?

  13. #13
    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharky View Post
    Thank you to everyone for your input. I'm thinking early September going south to north just for the simple reason of the symbolic nature of finishing on the Canadian border. I may change that if the logistics become impossible.

    I recently went on my first solo trip and I was fine until I got into camp where it was eerily quiet. I've heard that the northern section of the Long Trail is on the same difficulty level as The Whites in NH or harder. If I've made it from Franconia to Pinkham Notch can I handle Maine Junction north?

    You'll be fine. The first 100-ish miles to Maine Junction are not too difficult, which should allow you to get in decent shape (it's amazing what 7-8 days on the trail can do for your conditioning!). It actually remains pretty easy until about Lincoln Gap. The most challenging section in my view is the chunk between Appalachian Gap and Route 15.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by StubbleJumper View Post
    ....It actually remains pretty easy until about Lincoln Gap. The most challenging section in my view is the chunk between Appalachian Gap and Route 15.
    Even the hike to the Lincoln Gap ridgeline (Mt. Abraham) isn't really difficult. The toughest part of the Lincoln Ridge is the descent into Appalachian Gap.

    Re. the latter to Rt. 15 - I agree with your assessment. I'll add that while the challenges of Camel's Hump and Mansfield are well-know, don't underestimate the stretch from Jonesville/Rt. 2 to Taylor Shelter which features almost constant up-and-down.

  15. #15
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    although the northern section is more difficult, the shelters are close enough together that you have allot of options on how far to go each day.

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    I hiked the LT southbound (i.e. beginning at the Canadian border) beginning the last week in July. Weather was nice and there were no bugs. September would be perfect!

    Having hiked the AT also, I can compare both trails. The difficulty of the northern end of the LT wasn't as tough as I was led to believe - certainly no more difficult than the Whites or southern Maine.

    As far as guides are concerned, this map was really useful. That, along with The End-to-Ender's Guide would provide all of the info you need.
    Last edited by Tagless; 11-10-2010 at 07:55.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tagless View Post
    As far as guides are concerned, this map was really useful. That, along with The End-to-Ender's Guide would provide all of the info you need.
    Tagless offers very good recommendations!!!

    I believe the End to Ender's Guide is updated every other year and 2011 will have the latest and greatest info. It is edited by Bob "501" McCaw who does an excellent job and the new edition should be available in Feb or Mar.
    Order your copy of the Appalachian Trail Passport at www.ATPassport.com

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  18. #18
    Long Trail end-to-end '03, AT VT Maine Junction to Hanover Rough's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookerhiker View Post
    Even the hike to the Lincoln Gap ridgeline (Mt. Abraham) isn't really difficult. The toughest part of the Lincoln Ridge is the descent into Appalachian Gap.
    In the Fall of 2009 the Green Mountain Club installed a series of steel rungs in some of the steepest rocks on Stark Mountain north of Stark's Nest. During the summer of 2010 they also added quite a few new puncheons on the stretch from the Barton Trail junction to just north of Dean Shelter.

    I have used the rungs multiple times and they are much safer than the old root and rock scramble.

    Thanks, GMC!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rough View Post
    In the Fall of 2009 the Green Mountain Club installed a series of steel rungs in some of the steepest rocks on Stark Mountain north of Stark's Nest. During the summer of 2010 they also added quite a few new puncheons on the stretch from the Barton Trail junction to just north of Dean Shelter.

    I have used the rungs multiple times and they are much safer than the old root and rock scramble.

    Thanks, GMC!
    That's good to know and I add my thanks to the GMC. I hiked the LT in 2007 and "enjoyed" the root & rock scramble! I happened to slackpack that section which made it more managable.

    When I first hiked the LT in the late 70s and early 80s, the descent into Appalachian Gap was called Stark's Wall but I didn't see that name in the current guidebook. Is it still Stark's Wall?

  20. #20

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    I agree with what some people said here that September is the best time to hike the Long Trail. The air is cool. Bugs are still there, but rarely bothering. And the foliage starts to develop throughout the month. You will probably encounter fewer hikers on the trail than in warmer months, which means you won't get too crowded in the shelters at night.

    But there're a few things I may advise you as a result of my section hike this year. Bring enough warm clothes and a good set of rain gears. Don't wear Gortexed boots or shoes since this is the infamous muddy trail. Sometimes it can be shin deep in the mud puddles if you misstep in it. Trail runner is a good foot wear choice particularly when it rains. Further, Vibram outsole may be more durable, but less stickier on wet rock surfaces.

    I only did 50 miles from the end back to Johnson. The trail is indeed tough and rough, and hits almost all of the peaks!!! I originally planed to hike through 170 miles to Killington, but abandoned the idea mainly due to the rainy weather and foot problem(brown toe nail). I guess I always had bad luck with Vermont in the last two years.

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