Trailblazers: Then & Now
Posted on 16 July 2021
Imagine yourself wearing lace-up leather boots & layers of cotton whilst scrambling over slick rock faces and through dense underbrush...
Almost 100 years ago, Hilda M. Kurth, Kathleen M. Norris, and Catherine E. Robbins – otherwise known as 'the Three Musketeers' – did just that when they made history as the first female end-to-end hikers of Vermont's Long Trail. After hiking nearly 300 miles in 30 days, the trio reached the Canadian border on August 25, 1927.
Interested in the full story? Here's an in-depth account of their trek by the Green Mountain Club, the organization responsible for the stewardship of Vermont's hiking and mountains since the inception of the Long Trail itself.
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The Three Musketeers were the first female end-to-end Long Trail hikers, but far from the last to make history on the trail. Vermonter Mikaela Osler recently set a new Fastest Known Time on the Long Trail in the women’s unsupported category, completing the trail southbound in 6 days, 11 hours and 33 minutes. Here’s the story in her own words, as told to the Green Mountain Club:
"I ran into all sorts of challenges — I didn't really have enough food, I got trench foot, I had to night hike in fog and rain — but mostly I'm deeply grateful for the experience. I'd done several long hikes before the LT and had set an FKT on the Colorado Trail, but I was interested in how I could approach a hike with curiosity and gratitude about what my mind and body could accomplish working together with the land rather than trying to conquer it. I felt the Long Trail was a good place to explore this because I feel a deep connection to the Green Mountains. I grew up at the base of Bolton Mountain in Jericho and my first hikes as a child were to Butler and Taylor Lodges and then, when I was older, up Mount Mansfield and Camel's Hump.
"The FKT hike was really, really difficult, but also: owls hooted for me every night; I saw a snake eating a frog; I summited Mt Abe in the moonlight. One morning, after I'd hiked all night in thunder and rain, the fog lifted and I got a view of the Green Mountains wrapped up in wisps of cloud. I'm also extremely grateful to everyone at the GMC for building and maintaining such a beautiful and humbling trail, and to everyone I met on the trail who was kind to me when they encountered me crying, singing at the top of my lungs, airing out my stinky feet, and everything in between.”
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Planning your own Long Trail hike? Here’s our recommended gear: