Continuing wild family hiking experiences on Vermont’s Long Trail

Backpacking into the wild may seem an odd way to spend your vacation. Rehydrating food, rationing toilet paper and sleeping with a T-shirt over your head to ward off mice isn’t exactly the stuff of dreams. But, in a sense, it is exactly what we need to re-energize and break from the anxiety, stress and overstimulation of our modern work life.

It is the chance to focus deeply on our surroundings, immerse ourselves in the songs of the woods and walk away from cares and sorrows. And it is a chance to celebrate the American wilderness and those who had the foresight to preserve these areas for us to enjoy.

The Long Trail was conceived and built between 1910 and 1930 and was the model for the much-longer Appalachian Trail, which overlaps it for 100 miles. The Long Trail varies from easy strolls along pine needle-covered knolls to rock scrambles, ravines and ledges.

But the biggest challenges are the numerous steep downhills where you haved to scoot down long ledges and use tree branches to stop from sliding. There are rustic, comfortable shelters beside water sources that dot the trail every 8 miles or so, and tenting is allowed along the trail in most areas.

Some of the shelters are breathtaking historic log cabins or stone shelters. On the trail, there is a feeling of connection to the many people who hiked or cut trail here long ago.

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