Trail Journal
Volume 2020:03
Trail Ahead
When hiking on a trail, you naturally set a series of goals for yourself. “I want to get to the next summit or to a place where I can camp.” Part of the satisfaction when achieving a goal is that you can finally see what that place has to offer. “Will I be able to see a great sunset from that summit?”

This past month we’ve achieved two tremendous goals at Trail Connections. We now have a social media presence on both Instagram and YouTube. Please click on these links to see what we’re talking about. Both of these have come about because of the efforts our Social Media Marketing Coordinator, Alex Leavitt. In his brief time with us, he’s done some amazing stuff. In addition to getting us on Instagram and YouTube, he’s also bolstered our presence on Facebook as well.

Now comes the interesting part. Just having a social media presence isn’t the goal. Getting the visitors to Trail Connections engaged with us is. We welcome your contributions to our social media platforms. We especially want to hear about your experiences in the communities along the trail. #ExploreBeyondtheTrail

We just ask that you keep it tasteful and complimentary. The places you want to recommend versus the places you want to avoid. We look forward to having you share your experiences with us.
Leave No Trace
Principle of the Month Club
A growing group of hikers is choosing to avoid staying overnight in the shelters and campsites recognized by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

(and listed on the Trail Connection website), and instead establishing what are known as dispersed campsites. While everyone should exercise Leave No Trace practices in general, it is especially important for those staying over in dispersed sites to strictly adhere to those principles.

The most recent edition of ATC’s AT Journeys lists some good practices to use when establishing a campsite:

  • Camp more than 200 feet from water.
  • Burn wood that is dry.
  • Scatter any campsite that you set up so that it’s indistinguishable from its surroundings.
  • Use a bear canister. This not only makes sense for your safety, but also for the safety of hikers who will be following you. A habituated bear is not a safe bear.
  • Be considerate of other visitors. Don’t let the size of your group get too big.

Sleeping in a dispersed campsite may give you more of a wilderness experience, but make sure you don’t adversely impact the environment while doing so.
Two Tents Corner
I admit. I’m a sucker for numbers. Give me a bunch of statistics, and I’ll try to decipher what those numbers mean. Since we’re a member, the Green Mountain Club recently mailed me a copy of their annual report. One page in particular interested me. It was the one with all of the numbers on it.

Around 200,000 people hiked some portion of the Long Trail in Vermont last year, but only 264 were end-to-enders (the GMC equivalent of thru-hikers). That means that only about 1 in every 1,000 of those who hiked on the Long Trail hiked the entire thing. Those numbers are remarkably similar to the numbers for the AT as a whole – about 4,000,000 hike on the AT in any year, but only about 4,000 of those are planning on a thru-hike. As we all know, only about a 1,000 of the 4,000 actually make it.

About 75,000 of those 200,000 hiked on one of four mountains along the Long Trail: Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, Abraham and Stratton. That means that away from those mountains, the Long Trail is still relatively sparsely used. This is also consistent with the AT. While the popular areas can become overcrowded, it is still possible to “get away from it all” if you hike where it is less so.

The other statistics on the page quantify the amazing work that GMC does: trails maintained by volunteers, acres conserved, workshops and trainings offered, the public educated. As impressive as what GMC has accomplished this past year, what is even more astounding is that they are just one of 31 clubs that maintain the AT. All of them do amazing stuff.

A final statistic is noteworthy. GMC has 9,200 members or roughly 1% of Vermont’s population. One GMC member supports over 20 hikers. Sadly, this statistic is also true along the AT’s corridor. A very small number of the people who use and otherwise benefit from the trail actually pay to maintain it. If you’re not a member of a trail club, and you appreciate the AT as a resource, then you’re not doing your part. Without the trail maintainers, the numbers just won’t add up. 
Wicked Cool Events
  • Mar. 1: Jack Jump World Championships (Mt. Snow), Dover, VT
  • Mar. 4: Ski Trip (GMC), Bennington, VT
  • Mar. 6-8: Boston Family Fun in the Snowbelt (AMC), Londonderry, VT
  • Mar. 9: Full Moon Backcountry Ski (GMC), Winhall, VT
  • Mar. 10: Easy Full Moon Snowshoe (GMC), Manchester, VT
  • Mar. 13-15: Vermont Open (Stratton Mtn.), Stratton, VT
  • Mar. 13-15: Family Ski Weekend (AMC), Franconia, NH
  • Mar. 17: Ridge Trail (GMC), Dover, VT
  • Mar. 20: ALDHA's Vermont Ruck, Killington, VT
  • Mar. 20-22: Bud Light Reggaefest (Mt. Snow), Dover, VT
  • Mar. 20-22: Hiking the 4,000 Footers (AMC), Carroll, NH
  • Mar. 21-22: Vermont Maple Open House Weekend (various locations)
  • Mar. 21: 50 Years of Caretaking on Stratton Mtn. (GMC), Manchester, VT
  • Mar. 22: Mt. Moosilauke (GMC), Benton, NH
  • Mar. 22: Snowshoe to Lye Brook Falls (GMC), Manchester, VT
  • Mar. 27: Women's Outdoor Skills (AMC), Carroll, NH
  • Mar. 28: Winter Brewer's Festival (Mt. Snow), Dover, VT
  • Mar. 29: Spring Pot Luck (GMC), Londonderry, VT
  • Apr. 6-9: Certified Interpretive Guide Training (AMC), Carroll, NH
  • April 18-19: Five Colleges Book Sale, Lebanon, NH
  • Apr. 24-26: Backpacking for Beginners (AMC), Carroll, NH
  • Apr. 25-26: Wilderness First Aid (AMC), Carroll, NH

AMC: Appalachian Mountain Club,;
Trail Connections
Phone: (978) 530-6883.
P.O. Box 15, Hathorne, MA 01937