Backpacking the Long Trail

Posted on June 22, 2017 by Chris Lumens in .

Starting on August 5, I am planning on spending nine days hiking the northernmost portion of the Long Trail. I will be starting on Saturday at the Canadian border and hiking as far south as I can by the following Sunday. My goal is the summit of Mount Ellen (which I have hiked to from the south before), with a backup of Appalachian Gap if I can’t make it all the way.

The point of this hike is to see if I really like long distance hiking without taking on too much risk. The Long Trail is very easy to get to from my house - I can drive to any point on it in two or three hours. There’s at least one road crossing every day. There’s decent cell phone coverage throughout. Finally, there’s at least two, maybe even three, shelters every day.

My basic plan is to hike four or five days, getting picked up either at Smugglers Notch or the road crossing before it. I’ll get resupplied and stay in a hotel and take a shower and all that. Then I’ll hike another five or four days to the end point where I’ll get picked up again. I’ve got some ideas as to where I’ll be staying each night, but I’m not going to plan it out too much. I don’t know what the weather will be like, nor do I know what kind of pace I can realistically maintain on the rockiest portion of the trail. I am hoping for twelve mile days.

Along the way, I am planning on activating a lot of peaks for Summits On The Air. There’s eighteen activatable peaks on the stretch I’m doing, and almost all of them are either on the trail or accessible via a very short side path. Some haven’t been activated before, which is exciting.

Over the next few weeks, I will go into detail about various aspects of this trip - what I am taking for gear, what my radio setup looks like, what I am going to eat, etc. For now, here’s some of the new things I am going to be experimenting with on this trip:

I am going to try to take notes each night when I get to camp, and I will be using my phone for taking pictures and recording a track. However, this is not going to be a very connected hike. I will probably wait until the end to dump all my pictures and do writeups. Spending too much time on the phone just seems like it would defeat the entire purpose of the hike.

I’m definitely nervous about this since it will be twice as many days as I’ve ever been out and probably three or four times more miles. But I am looking forward to it quite a bit, too.