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Item of the Month: One Last Hike Before the Snow Comes!

Published: November 09, 2010 by Joanna Riley

I grew up in Massachusetts where there are places to hike but all of the trails are flat. When I came to Vermont I was exposed to mountains such as Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield. At these mountains hikers can take leisurely strolls or climb rigorous trails. The CDI’s Long Trail collection contains images of the oldest long- distance hiking trail in the United States: Vermont’s Long Trail. I looked at this collection and realized that everything has history, even hiking.

CABINS! This is a camp that the Green Mountain Club members stopped at during their hikes. This picture portrays Olden Paris, Theron S. Dean, and William Seymour Monroe drying out after a storm. One of gentleman holds a surveying wheel which was used to measure distances. They also have wood for a fire, a clothes line filled with dirty, stained clothes, and a trash bug hung up in the tree. You can see arrows on the trees where they marked the path.

SNOW! Who ever said you can’t hike in the snow! The Long Trail was used throughout the whole year. These gentlemen are at the base of Mount Ellen at 4 A.M. During the winter months hikers wore wool to keep warm. Good thing we have Gore-Tex and synthetic fleeces to stay warm!

TRAILS! These men are building a trail on what we know today as Camel’s Hump. It used to be called Couching Lion. The men used tools such as saws to cut down the trees. They used the trees to build cabins and as fuel for fires.

CLIMBING! This person is using the rocks to help him get up Burnt Rock Mountain. The packs used were heavy and made of leather and canvas. Some of them had straps that went around the forehead of the person. This would help alleviate the weight from the shoulders (but put strain on your neck and is not recommended). Hikers in these days were able to drink out of rivers that flowed through the mountains and therefore did not have to carry water.

TRAIL BLAZING! The man on the right appears to be Herbert Wheaton Congdon. This photograph is during his journey along the Long Trail from Mount Mansfield to the Brandon-Rochester Pass in 1914. He is documenting what he sees and creating a trail map. There is a trail marker in the background held up by rocks. The footwear these men have are not the hiking shoes we see today. They don’t seem like they give you much ankle support or traction climbing rocks and walking through brush but it doesn’t seem to be affecting these guys!

Check out the rest of the Long Trail Collection! Videos about the Long Trail can be found at the UVM Libraries' Vimeo page and at "Live at 5:25"'s online episodes (15:41)