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  1. #1
    Registered User McBride's Avatar
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    Default former AT thru hiker - NOBO thru start in early october?

    McBride here (NOBO AT 2009 03/06-09/26)

    I have spent the last 18 months living in Port-au-Prince Haiti and am thinking about how great a LT Thru would be to clear the head after the last year and a half of effort. As I have commitments here until around the end of Sept I would need to wait till then to start.

    I know that I could catch some flak for my ext statement but I don't think that I could ever SOBO any trail. It's just ingrained in me after my AT Thru. That said here is what my gear list for the AT was (just to get a feel for how I roll): http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...d-explanations

    Incidentally I have also been hiking in Haiti and it has been amazing stuff. Totally uncharted ridge walks through little haitian mountain villages. I would highly recommend it.

    Any thoughts on the timeframe and my cold weather gear would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Dispite your adversion to doing a SOBO, I would strongly recommend it for this hike. It is very likely that by the end of October or early Nov (depending on your exact start date and how fast you hike, given the limited amount of daylight - remember, it will get dark a lot earlier than your used to down in Haiti), there could very well be accumulating snow at the northern end of the state, where the trail is the most difficult, even during good conditions.

    Going SOBO would get the most difficult section of the LT out of the way while the weather has a chance of still being decent for the most part. Then if the weather does degrade, you'd be in the easier southern end of the state.

    As for temps, it could be highly variable to begin with, as there can still be some reasonably warm days in early October, but definately very chilly at night. Be prepared for lows in the 20's.
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  3. #3
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Ditto Slo-go'en's comments. SOBO would be better given any early season snows. Best to get northern VT done as early as possible.
    "That's the thing about possum innards - they's just as good the second day." - Jed Clampett

  4. #4
    Registered User McBride's Avatar
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    I hear you guys,

    How about a Sept 15 or so start NOBO or even a NOBO start from where the AT and LT split? There was a guy named Spaceman that drew comic in the AT registers in 2009 who said it best, "SOBO on the AT is like the hobbits starting at Mordor and hiking to the Shire", I would really like to avoid the anticlimax of a SOBO. I've hiked the first 100 miles of so of the LT when I was on the AT and it was pretty plain jane...

    As for the difficult bits in the north, are those areas like Maine on the AT or more technical?

  5. #5

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    The LT just ends at a granite post in the woods, with a clear cut running along the US/Canadian boarder, nothing very special about it. Nothing like ending the AT at Kathadin.

    From about Mt Mansfield north, the trail starts to have a lot of steep, rocky, ups and downs which wear at you and make the going slow. Even an occasional extention ladder up steep slabs, a lot like parts of Maine. There are a few "hold onto anything you can" (roots, trees, rocks) to get up or down some sections.

    The trail doesn't look too bad from the maps, but the maps don't show all the PUDs, which the LT is very fond of. They much rather go over anything which is in the way then around it.

    If you can start Set 15th, then you should have pleanty of time to do a full NOBO thru-hike, as most people can do it in 3 to 4 weeks. Probably closer to 4 in the fall due to the shorter days. You really want to be done by Columbus day weekend, as it seems the weather always takes a turn for the worse right around then. Starting at the AT/LT junction would allow you to take your time getting to the boarder. It would be a little less of a race to beat the weather and puts you pretty much at the peak of follage season.

    It's been a while since I did northen Vermont in the fall. Wish I could join you. Maybe next year I'll do it.
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  6. #6
    Registered User McBride's Avatar
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    Thanks for your thought Slo-go'en,

    I was referring to the multi day Lake Champlain walk and hitting some more challenging climbs at the end as a highlight rather that the trail just petering out at the end on a SOBO. I think I'll do the midpoint start and head North. Fall foliage and clear mountain air sure sounds good as I sit here in 94 degree heat in diesel fumes and trash fires...

  7. #7

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    I plan to go out around Labor Day weekend with a close friend of mine. I did the section from VT/MA border to Maine Junction in 2009 as a part of AT thru. Last year, I hiked back from the Canadian border to Johnson during late Sept. and early Oct. I finally got sick, and left the trail. The weather at that time was not too cold, but rained everyday. I was rained out in a shelter for a day, and hiked whole day last day in the tail of a hurricane!

    I'm going to start from Maine Junction nobo this year as the initial grade is easier. I may miss some good foliage, but the milder weather will give me a better chance to finish it.

  8. #8

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    As long as you've got the gear, an early October NOBO is very doable. I've done three starting after the 27th of September and haven't run into any measurable snow. A few flurries, some rainy mix here and there but nothing horrible. Prepare for warm days (80+) and some down right cold nights (possible teens). IMHO, it's about the best time of year to be on the trail.

    Foliage season typically peaks the first week of October in the north and the second week in the south. You will most likely be well past peak when you hit journeys end (meaning less wind cover).

    That is also hunting season. Most of the Long Trail land is legally open to hunting, so be aware. That time frame will be bear, turkey, small game and deer archery seasons. Best to have some blaze orange (hat or pack cover).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by McBride View Post
    I hear you guys,

    As for the difficult bits in the north, are those areas like Maine on the AT or more technical?
    Of the AT in ME, I have done only the 100-mile wilderness and from ME 26 to Gorham, but I have done all but a few miles of the AT in NH and all of the 48 4000'-ers. Yeah, Mahoosuc Notch is slow going, and there is not anything like this on the LT. Nevertheless, I would say the LT north of VT 17 is either harder or more technical than the AT in the Whites. I did the LT SOBO, starting at the end of June. The first two days were about 11 miles with 4000' gain each; the 5th day was 12.5 miles with 5500' gain. I do not recall such segments in the Whites. The LT up the forehead of Mansfield requires more care than anything on the AT in NH (including the descent north from Moosilakee or south from S. Kinsman). Many rocky sections were very slippery when wet; I can't imagine walking on them if they ice up. If it rains, the trail is often where the water runs; there are hardly any water breaks there (the segment from Smuggler's Notch to Taft Lodge is a notable exception). Unlike ME, there were no brooks to ford though (except for those floating boardwalks next to Griffith Lake). Unlike the Presidentials, the longest completely exposed segment is only a mile or so, on top of the chin of Mansfield, and the LT is marked with blazes on rocks every 10' or so and lined with ropes on both sides; so, you are unlikely to get lost there even in a cloud, unless of course it is covered in snow.

  10. #10
    Registered User Mr. BuffaloMan's Avatar
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    Hey, McBride. Good to hear you'll be back in the States. LT should be a lot of fun. But, ... will you be taking your chainsaw with you this time, too?

  11. #11
    Registered User McBride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. BuffaloMan View Post
    Hey, McBride. Good to hear you'll be back in the States. LT should be a lot of fun. But, ... will you be taking your chainsaw with you this time, too?
    Oh my beautiful Chainy..... You know, I hadn't even thought of that. She will definitely be coming along. How you been Buffalo?

  12. #12
    Registered User corialice81's Avatar
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    Default my thoughts...

    McBride!

    Stormer said you were interested in hiking the LT. I didn't realize how soon...

    I just did a recap of my two cents on TJs if you want to give it a read. www.trailjournals.com/cori

    I also posted pictures at http://cholladay.smugmug.com/TakeaHi...8670539_g9VpjT

    Grommet

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by corialice81 View Post
    McBride!

    Stormer said you were interested in hiking the LT. I didn't realize how soon...

    I just did a recap of my two cents on TJs if you want to give it a read. www.trailjournals.com/cori

    I also posted pictures at http://cholladay.smugmug.com/TakeaHi...8670539_g9VpjT

    Grommet
    Grommet,

    Glad to see you survived the thunder and lightning - LOL!

    Best Quote Heard on the Trail:
    Worst vacation, evah!
    - Rocket (as she and Storm stroll into Cooley Glen during the thunder-boomer)

    Me (at Cooley Glen)-> CooleyGlen.jpg


    -Drumhaggart

  14. #14
    Registered User McBride's Avatar
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    Grommersen!

    I'll call you when I get back in the States and pick your brain. Facebook me your digits. Miss you.

    -McB

  15. #15
    Registered User mirabela's Avatar
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    Default

    You'll hit some ice on the higher peaks that time of year no doubt.

    The northern stretch is not 'more technical' than anything on the Maine AT, but it should be noted that whereas most of the Maine AT features nice grippy granitic rock, the Greens are mainly made up of slippery metamorphic stuff. When wet or icy you can expect to fall more often than you do anywhere else in the northeast.

    If you're equipped for the cold that can be a fun time to hike. Consider taking a pair of microspikes in case of significant ice.

    Note that peak foliage in the mountains usually goes by after the first weekend in October, and by the third week of the month it is strictly 'stick season' up north especially.

    Good luck & enjoy.

  16. #16
    Registered User corialice81's Avatar
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    Drumhaggart, That quote was pretty amazing! How was the rest of your hike? Grommet

  17. #17
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    Grommet,

    Sent you a PM.

  18. #18
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    I started a year ago from tomorrow (Sept. 25th) headed south. Hit a foot of snow on Stratton and Glastenbury mountains in mid October. Definitely wouldn't have wanted to be hiking in the northern peaks though that. I think you're smart to start near Killington/Pico.

    We did not have traction, but the grades on those two southern peaks made for fun glissading.

    Pretty sure we were in the same tail of of the tropical storm that Highway Man mentioned. We holed up in Whiteface shelter for a day, then hiked the next day in a soaking rain over the Sterling Range, down-and-up outta Smugglers Notch to Taft Lodge. That second night @ Whiteface was sleepless as the winds were gusting into the shelter, good thing we had set up our tent flys across the shelter front.

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