Trail Journal
Volume 2019:8
Trail Ahead
We’re East of the Connecticut!
 
Trail Connections has expanded. We recently added the 44-mile section of the Appalachian Trail from Ledyard Bridge over the Connecticut River in Hanover, New Hampshire to NH Rte. 25 in Glencliff. Combined with the Vermont section that came online earlier in 2019, we now have almost 200 miles of the trail online.
 
The first town that AT hikers go through in New Hampshire is Hanover. This town is notable for so many reasons. Combined with Norwich, it’s undoubtedly the longest road walk on the entire AT. It’s also probably the biggest downtown that you’ll walk through on the trail. But beyond these distinctions, Hanover is the quintessential college town. Dartmouth College is literally the center of the community and the rest of the town grew up around it. You’re going to find a full range of food establishments, accommodations and boutiques.
 
While the AT doesn’t go through Lebanon, this city to the south of Hanover is worth noting. While it doesn’t have the college town feel of Hanover, Lebanon is much more of a commercial center for this region. There are shopping malls and many more lodging and restaurant options. If you can’t find something you’re looking for in Hanover, you’ll probably find it in Lebanon. Also, Lebanon is the home of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center which is the Dartmouth-affiliated major hospital that serves this region.
 
The AT is in Hanover for 14 miles, and there are numerous road crossings and access trails which create many opportunities to day hike a section and get back to your car without too much road walking. North of Hanover, the AT goes through the towns of Lyme, Orford and Wentworth. All three of these communities have town centers with several businesses.
 
Finally, you’ll come into the town of Warren which is where the AT crosses NH Rte. 25 just a short distance from the village of Glencliff that has its own post office and a hiker hostel. The center of town is farther east on Rte. 25 and it has several more businesses. It also is home to an actual Redstone rocket, like the one that Alan Shephard flew on the first U.S. manned spaceflight.
 
This section of the New Hampshire AT can be overshadowed because it’s not the White Mountains. However, both the trail and the communities it goes through are interesting and varied enough that an exploration of them is well warranted.



Leave No Trace
Principle of the Month Club

Plan Ahead & Prepare
 
Doing a little preparation beforehand may save you a lot of problems later on. Therefore, the first principle on the Leave No Trace list is to Plan Ahead & Prepare. This article will focus on what you should do in case you have an incident on the trail, and the resources that you should know about beforehand.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has developed a four-step protocol for handling emergencies and otherwise reporting incidents or suspicious activity.
 
1.     If you need immediate medical attention or law enforcement dial 911. Since there are many places on the trail where there is no cell coverage, you may want to consider purchasing a satellite transmitter (Garmin and SPOT are two brands that carry them). These will enable you to communicate with authorities anywhere on the trail.

2.     If you witness suspicious behavior or observe vandalism or resource damage, call the National Park Service 24-Hour Dispatch and Communication Center, 1-866-677-6677.

3.     If you can’t call or you might be putting yourself at risk doing so, send an email to incident@appalachiantrail.org. Provide as much detail as you can (who, what, where, when & why).

4.     If you’ve had to do any of the above, complete an Online Incident Form (https://wildeast.appalachiantrail.org/at-incident-form/) on the ATC website to let them know about the incident.
 
We’ll break it down to the following:
 
 
Be safe out there!
Two Tents Corner
A friend recently sent me a message telling me that someone she knew was trying to break the FKT for the 100-mile Wilderness. I have to admit that I had to go look up “FKT” to find out that it stood for: Fastest Known Time. A quick Google search led me to a website where I could find the current FKT for the 100-mile Wilderness and the Appalachian Trail, along with about 1,200 other trails worldwide.
 
While this friend of a friend was unsuccessful in his attempt, I sincerely hoped he had made it. However, his attempt also got me to thinking. What about the SKT’s? The Slowest Known Times.
 
Over the past several years, I’ve read quite a few stories about hikers who have broken the AT’s FKT. And while I don’t begrudge anyone attempting to hike their own hike, however fast that may be, I also wonder if this focus on FKT’s hasn’t had a ripple effect on how others hike the trail.
 
As some of you know, I section-hiked the AT over 21 years. And while I initially decided to do so because I didn’t have the time to devote to a thru-hike, in retrospect I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I got to experience the trail at times of the year when there were very few other hikers on it. I had the luxury of enjoying a lake or a view. I quite literally could stop and smell the roses.
 
I’m not saying that it’s not possible to thru-hike the trail and appreciate it. Far from it. I’ve met many thru-hikers who are doing exactly that, and yet they were hiking many more miles in a day than I ever could. I just want to make sure that the SKT side of the equation is given equal billing as the FKT.
 
The next-to-last year of my section hike, I met another hiker in a shelter in Virginia. I told him that I was in the 20 th year of my hike, and I was planning on finishing the following year. He told me that he was in the 40 th year of his, and he still had around 80 miles to go. He said that he might complete it in a couple of years, and he might not. And while I certainly hope that he eventually finished the trail, he didn’t seem too concerned whether he’d ever do that. He was just enjoying being on the trail. If he finished, I’m not sure if he holds the AT’s SKT. But it’s got to be close.

I don’t recall his name, and unfortunately, I doubt there’s a website out there that will tell me. But maybe there should be.
 
Happy trails!

New in the Store
Chuckaboo:
an Appalachian Trail novel

The Trail Connections Store has added this young adult novel written by thru-hiker Christopher Fitzgerald.

The book tells the story of Don Gallagher, a sixteen-year-old runaway who thinks that the one place where he might not draw suspicion is the Appalachian Trail. At least that’s what he hopes.

We asked Christopher what inspired him to write Chuckaboo. He replied:

The Appalachian Trail is more than a succession of mountains,
it’s also a succession of surprises. Unexpected stuff happens
every day to hikers.
 
While passing through Hot Springs, N.C., I read the latest
messages from well-wishers posted on my online journal. One
note from a stranger jumped out. He said he’d once attempted
a thru hike, but blisters and heat did him in. He wished me
luck. His name was Stephen King from Bangor, Maine.
 
For me, an aspiring novelist, it was an unexpected thrill that
a famous author was following my hike. In the ensuing years I
penned the novel Chuckaboo. It’s set on the Appalachian Trail.
 
You can find Chuckaboo here .


Wicked Cool Events
September
October
  • August 31: Vermont Trail Fest, Manchester VT
  • August 31-Sept. 1: Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival, Manchester VT
  • August 31-Sept. 1: Brewers Festival, Dover VT
  • Sept. 4, 11 & 18: Wagon Rides Wednesday, Woodstock VT
  • Sept. 5 & 12: Thursday Threads, Woodstock VT
  • Sept. 6: First Fridays, Bennington VT
  • Sept. 6, 13, 20 & 27: Foodways Fridays, Woodstock VT
  • Sept. 7: Maple Leaf Half Marathon, Manchester VT
  • Sept. 7: Glory Days Festival, White River Junction VT
  • Sept. 7: Appalachian Trail Conservancy Membership Meeting, online
  • Sept. 12-15: Tunbridge World's Fair, Tunbridge VT
  • Sept. 14: Enfield Harvest Festival, Enfield NH
  • Sept. 14: Downtown Food Truck Festival, Bennington VT
  • Sept. 21: Vermont Wine & Harvest Festival, Dover VT
  • Sept. 21: Harvest Festival, Rupert VT
  • Sept. 22: Vermont Wildlife Festival, Dover VT
  • Sept. 27-28: Killington Brewfest, Killington VT
  • Sept. 28: Peru Fair, Peru VT
  • Oct. 3-6: Ludlow Antiques Show, Ludlow VT
  • Oct. 4: First Fridays, Bennington VT
  • Oct. 4, 11, 18 & 25: Foodways Fridays, Woodstock VT
  • Oct. 4-5: Okemo Antiques Show, Ludlow VT
  • Oct. 4-6: Manchester Fall Art & Craft Festival, Manchester VT
  • Oct. 4-6: Weston Antiques Show, Weston VT
  • Oct. 5-6: Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival, Tunbridge VT
  • Oct. 11-13: Weston Craft Show, Weston VT
  • Oct. 11-14: ALDHA's "The Gathering", Williamstown MA
  • Oct. 12-13: Mount Snow Oktoberfest, Dover VT
  • Oct. 12-13: Vermont Harvest Festival, Woodstock VT
  • Oct. 12-14: Cider Days, Mt. Holly VT
  • Oct. 13: North Face Race to the Summit, Stratton VT
  • Oct. 26: Rutland Halloween Parade, Rutland VT
  • Oct. 26: Fallapalooza, Bennington VT
Trail Connections
Phone: (978) 530-6883.
P.O. Box 15, Hathorne, MA 01937