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Long Trail Trip Report: Clarendon Gorge to Middlebury Gap: Part 1

I got back last night from a four day, 50 mile section hike on the Long Trail in Vermont and I’m slowly recovering from being back in civilization. I’m still in the zone, if you know what I mean, where I’m much calmer and focused on the now. I’ll write up a longer trip report in a part two of this post, but I will give you some of the highlights here.

On this hike, I passed the point where the Appalachian Trail heads east to New Hampshire and the Long Trail continues north to Canada. I’d always heard that after this point the Long Trail becomes much harder than the AT and I can confirm that. This was some of the hardest backpacking that I’d ever done. The trail immediately gets rougher, there are few if any blazes, and there are a lot more mountains to climb.

Black flies were not a problem on this hike until the very end when the sun came out. Until then we had very heavy, nearly continuous rain and my hats off to Garp, Sally, and Taylor who I hooked up with along the way. They are doing Long Trail thru-hikes and had been hiking in the rain for 7 straight days. Because of the rain, the famous Ver-mud became even muddier until the last day of my hike where the trail just became a river. My boots and socks had become saturated days before and it felt like I was wearing cinder blocks on my feet.

There were virtually no views on this section because of the rain. Visibility ranged from 25 to 50 yards until the last few hours of my hike when the weather started to break. I was a little disappointed by this because I was looking forward to camping on the summit of Mt. Killington and seeing a sunset and stars. Instead, we were socked in with mist. The moon must have been out though because it stayed light out well into the night.

Drying Laundry, Rolston Rest Shelter
Drying Laundry, Rolston Rest Shelter

Much to my surprise, I became of convert to sleeping in shelters. There was so much rain that it would have been impossible to set up a tent and the condensation even in my Lunar Solo would have soaked my sleeping bag. I ended up spending two nights with Sally and Taylor at the Rolston’s Rest and Sunset Shelters which was pleasantly social. I’m already planning on more shelter stays on future sections and will be making some gear list changes to acommodate this.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for a more detailed part two of this trip report. I’ll also being writing up some posts this week on mud, hiking in the rain, and more on backpacking without a stove.


  1. After spending a whole day cycling (50 miles) in the rain last Sunday, I can imagine hiking all day in the rain, especially over multiple days, must be no picnic either.

    Looking forward to report part 2.

  2. It wasn't great, but it sure beat working! I got some more pictures of the mud that you wanted to see and me and my friend Garp worked out a cool way to describe different mud viscosities. I'm working on the post now. Should be up in next week sometime when I get back from Austin.

  3. If you do this hike again try staying at the Holiday Inn in Rutland as hey have a free shuttle that will take you to the 103 entrance or to the Pico entrance/

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