Thursday, July 31, 2014

Long Trail End to End

I've been putting in a decent amount of miles lately, both running and hiking for an upcoming adventure I have planned in September so I figured I would write a little about it for anyone that might happen to ever still see this blog.

At the beginning of September I am going to attempt and end-to-end hike of the Long Trail (also known as a thru-hike, but the preferred language of the Long Trail community seems to be "end to end")  The Long Trail is a 273 mile single track trail that runs along the ridge of the Green Mountains in Vermont from Massachusetts to Candada. The first 100 miles of the trail is relatively mild, conceding with the Appalachian trail.  The remaining 173 miles stay west as the Appalachian breaks to the east and makes it's way towards the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  The northern portion of the Long Trail can be pretty rugged and technical at times, a lot of rocks, mud and roots.  Boulders to climb up and down, with man made ladders of wood and rebar in places, not exactly runnable.

My goal is to complete the trail in 8 days which would be an average of 30 miles day.  Not necessarily an impressive feat to my fellow ultra runners, but it's something that's only been done a couple times before in a self-supported / un-supported manner (there have been a handful of sub 8 day efforts by runners with support crews) I will be attempting this in a self-supported manner, meaning I will start with 4 days of food and resupply in a town along the way.  the fastest known time for a self supported thru-hike on the LT is Jennifer Pharr Davis's time of 7 days 15 hours 40 minutes.  that's the mark I'd like to beat.  Although the trail has been completed in a faster time in an un-supported manner, meaning from the start you carry evertying you need, without resupplying, by Travis Wildeboer in a time of 6 days 17 hours 25 minutes.  I believe that time is out of my reach this time around, but i'll definitely have it in my mind if things are going unexpectedly well.

I've spent much of the last month on different sections of the trail, having hiked 183 miles of it so far and covereing a total of 250+ total miles (some sections repeated) on the trail in July.  by the time I start my trip on September 1 I hope to have covered every mile of trail so that I know what I'm in for.  The time spent on the trail has been invaluable for fine tuning my gear and nutrition.  Just a few days ago I covered 37 miles in rain with very sloppy trails with a full pack and felt great when I got to camp.