A 1931 Hike on Vermont’s Long Trail

So Clear, So Cool, So Grand by James Gordon Hindes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

     Subtitled “A 1931 Hike On Vermont’s Long Trail”- what can be more fun than reading an 80 year old trail journal ? Not just any trail journal, but one reeking with history. This $8.95 paperback book comes complete with a 1910 sketch of the Long Trail, some photos of the pages from a 1930 Guide Book of the Long Trail, an Appendix of the dozens of Green Mountain Club and other lodgings mentioned in the journal, 32 footnoted references, a Bibliography, and even an Index.

The Book is available from The Green Mountain Club . It is surprising how close to today the cares are of these two young men as they left Williamstown, MA on July 4 and eventually reached Canada Aug. 8, 1931: black flies, mosquitoes, mud, heat, running out of food, rain, trail angels, twisted ankles, sickness, raisins, apricots, chocolate bars- It’s all the same. Even the cover photo of the young Hindes looks like it could have been taken today- a young fellow in front of a pile of rocks with a big grin and what appears to be sort of a bandanna on his head.

Some challenges of the day are unique to that point in time, such as the phalanxes of porcupines that attack to privies and shelters.  As were the methods of dealing with them- dispatching them with a blow to the head with their axes.

It’s a well written journal as well. It came alive for me as I followed their progress on the new waterproof two sided Long Trail Map, also available from the GMC- a concise tool, with complete elevation profiles of the whole 276 mile trail. I don’t study the profile so much- looks to me like a green tinged version of Dracula’s teeth.

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