Howard was born in Burlington, Vermont, in 1951, and graduated from South Burlington High School in 1969, the University of Vermont in 1973, and Albany Law School in 1982. He began hiking on the Long Trail with his parents, Ruth and Larry, and also the Boy Scouts in the early 1960s. These experiences blossomed into a lifelong love of hiking, backpacking, and the Long Trail.
He took his first long hike in 1970, doing the stretch of the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail from Williamstown to Vermont Route 140 in Wallingford in May. His first of two hikes of the Hundred Mile Wilderness in Maine occurred in May, 1973, and in the summer of 1972 he was the GMC caretaker at the former Gorham Lodge near the summit of Camel’s Hump.
In 1973 and 1974 Howard was a summit ranger naturalist (now known as summit caretaker) on Mount Mansfield under the joint auspices of the GMC and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. Since then he has been working on completing the Appalachian Trail in sections, with 540 miles to go. Since 2000 Howard has been the adopter of Hazen’s Notch Camp, and since 2015, the adopter of Roundtop Shelter as well. He is a member of the Northern Frontier Section, serves on the GMC Trail Management Committee, carves trail signs for GMC, and is a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club and Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Howard is a veteran of the U.S. Army and the Vermont Army National Guard, retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant Colonel, and serving combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a Vermont Superior Court Judge, and lives with his wife Doreen in Hyde Park.