The Long Trail: Sherburne Pass to Lincoln Gap

Since late 2015 I’ve been section hiking Vermont’s Long Trail. This is the original long distance hiking trail in the US and the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail. It stretches 270 miles from the Massachusetts border to Canada. This week, QB and I have a few days off so we’re hiking a 50 mile section from Sherburne Pass to Lincoln Gap.

6/23/19 LT Mile 120.8

Last night we went to my buddy Brett and his wife Erin’s wedding in St. Johnsbury, VT. Afterwards, instead of staying in a hotel nearby like normal people, we drove an hour and a half west and slept in the back of my Subaru at a trailhead parking lot at Lincoln Gap.

This morning we rolled out of bed/car a little later than normal, got packed up, and put our thumbs out. Immediately we got picked up by a nice couple in a pickup truck who were headed down to Killington to mountain bike for the day. We hopped in the back with the bikes and enjoyed a nice sunny ride through Vermont for the next hour. We picked up some last minute necessities(candy bars and chips) at a gas station then quickly got a ride up the hill to Sherburne Pass where we ate lunch at the Inn at the Long Trail (QB says get the Nachos!).

The AT and the LT run concurrently for the southern hundred or so miles of Vermont and this is where they split. We followed the trail north all afternoon and I have to say, it was really nothing special. I mean I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either. It was a green tunnel all day, with a fair amount of mud, but I guess that’s why they call it Vermud (that joke never ever gets old). Besides today being a bit boring it was definitely an enjoyable day and it certainly felt good to be back on trail.

We walked into the evening and found a place to camp in a little gap on a snowmobile trail. All day I noticed the bugs but they weren’t anything more than a minor nuisance until we stopped here. All of a sudden they swarmed. We had to put everything else on hold and set up the tent immediately. Hopefully they’re all gone by morning.

6/24/19 LT Mile 141.9

Some of the bugs must have slept in because they weren’t as bad by the time we got up and moving this morning. The trail was a little nicer too. For awhile we followed a nicely graded and wide uphill ski trail that accesses a bunch of backcountry skiing. I’ll have to keep this area in mind come winter.

After we got to Brandon Gap the trail rose steeply up to Horrid Mountain(it wasn’t that horrid). The rest of the day we seemed to be going up and down along the tops of mountains, even though they were all wooded summits and there were hardly any open views. Opposed to yesterday where we were lower in a forest and just contouring all day. Still though, it was muddy and buggy and muggy. Not complaining or anything but these aren’t my favorite hiking conditions.

This afternoon we walked through Middlebury Snow Bowl and within the ski area was Pleiad Lake, an excellent stop for a mid day swim!

We crossed Middlebury Gap, RT 125, and continued hiking up and down on rocky and muddy trail. At one point we walked through a remarkable amount of moose poop. I mean I wouldn’t write it here if it wasn’t worth mentioning, it was just that extraordinary of an amount of moose poop. A couple miles after the communal moose toilet we set up our tent near the Emily Proctor Shelter and called it a day. It might be a bit less buggy here than last night, still buggy though.

6/25 LT Mile 152.6

Today started off nice enough. It was cool and cloudy with a breeze that kept the bugs away. Then, like gangbusters, it started raining cats and dogs. It was absolutely pouring. The trail went from its regular makeup of mud, rocks, and roots to a muddy river with rocks for islands. Luckily we only had to walk through 11 miles of this nonsense and we’d be in a nice warm car. It would have totally sucked to spend all day walking in the rain and then try to camp in it. I felt bad for the other hikers out there today. The trail itself rolled up and down along a ridge and on a clear day I’m sure would have provided some sweet views.

Here and there the rain would let up but by the time we got to Lincoln Gap it reached something of crescendo and was absolutely pissing on us. When we reached the car we stripped out of our muddy soaked clothes on the side of the road, threw all our filthy crap in the rooftop cargo carrier then hopped in, cranked the heat and did our best to dry off. It’s a 3+ hour drive home but warm and dry. Plus we stopped at Cockadoodle Pizza in Bethel, VT and stuffed our faces. I’m not sure I’d recommend this section of the Long Trail but I definitely recommend Cockadoodle Pizza if you’re in the area.

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