A lot of you have been in contact with me recently about hiking the Long Trail this year and it’s exciting to hear all of your plans. Regardless of whether you thru-hike the LT in a few weeks, or section hike it over many years, you are about to embark on a truly wonderful experience that will teach you a lot about yourself and take you to some wonderful wilderness areas in New England and along the Canadian border. Plus, you’ll be making history.
After you complete the Long Trail, you have the opportunity to apply for a certificate from the Green Mountain Club celebrating your achievement. To apply for this handsome document, you need to submit a summary of your end-to-end (E2E) hike. Your writeup can be up to 10 pages long including photos and must be a record of your experiences on the trail: a simple list of shelters, hikes, and dates is not sufficient.
My E2E summary was easy for me to pull together because I wrote detailed trip reports after I completed each section of my hike last year, so you might want to be proactive and keep an ongoing journal of your hike. It will make your E2E summary easier to pull together when you finish.
Once your E2E submission is complete, you need to print it out and send it to the Green Mountain Club. Members of the staff try to read all of the summaries they receive each year and a copy is archived at the Vermont History Library (part of the Vermont Historical Society) in Barre, Vermont. This is where things get cool.
The Green Mountain Club started collecting E2E reports in 1943. These were moved to the Vermont Historical Society (VHS) in 1974, which has 3,581 E2E reports in the archive today. Spanning 65 years, this archive sounds like it could be an incredible resource for historians and ecology researchers interested in Vermont history, bushcraft, and longitudinal environmental observations centered along the Long Trail corridor. I double majored in history in college and I’m sure I would enjoy spending a few days digging through this collection.
In addition to the E2E reports, the Green Mountain Club Archives contain club records, section records, subject files, past editions of the Guide Books of the Long Trail, The Long Trail News, and maps that are also publicly accessible. Paul Carnahan, the Director of the Library at the Vermont Historical Society, says that the Green Mountain Club E2E archives are seldom accessed today and that there are no current plans to publish them online. However, if you are interested in viewing the E2E archive or other Green Mountain Club historical documents, they are accessible during normal VHS hours.
The library also houses a variety of resources documenting the history and people of Vermont, including a collection of books and pamphlets dating from the 1770s to the present, letters, diaries, ledgers and scrapbooks. Some of Vermont ‘s earliest maps and planning documents are available here in addition to extensive photograph and broadside collections. In addition, the library has the largest printed genealogical collection in the state for researchers with a special interest in family history.
In closing, I’d like to thank Paul Carnahan at the Vermont Historical Society and Jen Donley at the Green Mountain Club who were very generous in providing the background information for this post.