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What’s it like to hike the Long Trail? (Encore)

a person and a dog at the top of a mountain
Megan Mondor
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Courtesy
An injury prevented Megan Mondor from completing the Long Trail in 2018. So she returned in 2019, and picked up where she left off. She and her dog Huck completed their end-to-end trek in August of that year.

The trail follows Green Mountain ridgelines from one end of Vermont to the other. To answer this listener question, Brave Little State goes deep into the woods.

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The 272-mile Long Trail follows Green Mountain ridge lines from one end of Vermont to another. So what’s it like to hike the whole thing?

That’s what Eliza Keller, a Post Mills native living in Boston, was wondering when she put her question to Brave Little State.

Our people-powered journalism show originally produced this episode in May of 2018. (Find the original episode, and explore our digital feature here.) To celebrate the encore of this episode, we checked back in with a few hikers for updates since their trek on the trail.

Alec Fleischer, a.k.a. Hemlock, now lives in Durango, Colorado. He works as a carpenter there – and in his free time, he spends lots of time out on trails, as an ultra runner.

a picture of a person in a blue shirt on top of a green mountain
Alec Fleischer
/
Courtesy
In 2018, Middlebury College student Alec Fleischer, who took the trail name Hemlock, decided to thru-hike the Long Trail between his summer job and the start of classes.

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Megan Mondor, a.k.a. Whoopie Cat, was so inspired by her time on the trail that she wanted to keep the adventure going. So she quit her job and bought a 1988 Chevy van off craigslist. She tricked it out for “van life” and named it Large Marge.

A picture of a black and white van with green grass around it and a dog
Megan Mondor
/
Courtesy
Megan Mondor's four-legged friend Huck, and her tricked-out van named Large Marge.
A picture of a bed with multi-colored pillows and sheets
Megan Mondor
/
Courtesy
The comfy interior of Large Marge.

Megan also returned to the Long Trail the following summer, to finish what she started. Huck the dog came too, and they completed their end to end trek in August of 2019.

A picture of a dog in an orange tent.
Megan Mondor
/
VPR
Megan Mondor's Long Trail sidekick Huck relaxing on the L.T.

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After that, of course, the pandemic – and Megan’s van, Large Marge, became a haven and a perfect way to travel. Now Megan and her girlfriend use it to road trip around the East Coast, and dispense trail magic on the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail. Wondering what trail magic is? Listen to the audio above!

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This episode was reported and produced by Lynne McCrea and Angela Evancie, with editing by Henry Epp. We had engineering support from Chris Albertine, and additional production help from Josh Crane and Myra Flynn. Ty Gibbons composed our theme music; other music by Blue Dot Sessions.

A very special thanks to Liza Morse and the Green Mountain Club.

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Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public Radio.

Angela Evancie is VPR's Director of Engagement Journalism and the Executive Producer of Brave Little State, the station's people-powered journalism project.
Lynne is a producer/reporter for special VPR News projects. Lynne joined VPR in 2002. A veteran broadcast producer, she spent 12 years as field producer at ABC affiliate WCVB in Boston, where she did reporting and writing for the award-winning Chronicle newsmagazine. Since coming to Vermont in 1995, Lynne has produced and written television documentary and magazine programs as well as a variety of new media projects.