Whether you’ve hiked one mile or 272 miles of Vermont’s Long Trail, or you prefer its dozens of side trails or the beautiful trails in the Northeast Kingdom, hiking in Vermont means something different and meaningful to all of us. Green Mountain Club is proud to be celebrating Long Trail Day again this summer. This summer-long fundraiser invites all of you to be a part of the future maintenance and protection of the trail by committing to raising $272, or $1 for every mile, from your friends, family, and community. You can fundraise solo or join a team. Below, hear from four different Long Trail Day participants on what the trail means to them, and how they find meaning in giving back and supporting the work of the GMC.
Long Trail Day Stories
Chelsea Colby, End-to-Ender and Aspiring Side-to-Sider
Chelsea is a teacher who lives in Addison County and completed an End-to-End hike of the Long Trail in 2019. She became a supporter of the Green Mountain Club after that, and an avid reader of the GMC email newsletter, where she first heard about Long Trail Day. Chelsea was also inspired and motivated to fundraise after getting involved with Black organizers and activists during the ongoing racial justice movement.
“In the summer of 2019, I had the opportunity to thru-hike the entire Long Trail from North to South in 18 days. During the pandemic, I started my journey to hike all 88 of the Long Trail side trails which I intend to finish this summer. Throughout the past year and a half, the Long Trail has been my solace and refuge, a place for fun and exploration when we couldn’t leave home. This is my way of giving back to the trail that means so much to me.”
Chelsea’s looking forward to the collective day of hiking in honor of the Long Trail on August 28: “There’s something powerful about that collective day of hiking and our collective power to make a difference.”
Donate to Chelsea’s Long Trail Day fundraiser here.
John Predom, President of GMC’s Northeast Kingdom Section and Captain of the Kingdom Express team
John is no stranger to giving his time and support to the Green Mountain Club. He’s been a volunteer for decades, and currently serves as president of the club’s Northeast Kingdom section, which manages the Kingdom Heritage trails and other hiking trails in the area. Says John, “I started hiking the Long Trail when I was 15 years old and decided it was time to give back in my mid-thirties; starting as a bark mulch packer with the Bread Loaf Section.” John has section-hiked the Long Trail to completion, and is an avid shelter and trail adopter in the Northeast Kingdom trail. He’s also known for some pretty impressive snowshoe art.
John’s the team captain of the Kingdom Express fundraising team, and planning to celebrate the successful initiative by leading a group hike on August 28 up and over the summit of Jay Peak. He did the same in 2019 when he and the late Jean Haigh led a guided hike on the same route. “Raising funds while hiking the trail and doing something I love is inspiring,” says John. “My gratitude to GMC is forever.”
Lizz Lach, Frequent Day Hiker
Lizz is an outdoors enthusiast who thru-hiked the Long Trail in 2018, sparking her inspiration to give back to the Long Trail. She’s an experienced day hiker, but while thru-hiking, “I realized how much work GMC does for the WHOLE trail. It takes a lot of work. I couldn’t believe what went into sawing through major blowdowns on ridge lines, carrying materials and bear boxes miles into shelters and obviously the glamorous work of caring for privies.”
In addition to her thru-hike a few years ago, Lizz goes on day hikes on the Long Trail or its side trails at least a couple times per week, so giving back to GMC helps her show her gratitude and protect the spaces she loves most in Vermont. She gives back to GMC in other ways, too: catch her hosting last spring’s storytelling night full of funny and poignant hiking tales.
Her fundraising tip? Connect with your hiking buddies! Lizz asked those she shared hiking memories and experiences with to contribute small amounts, and found pretty much everyone was up for contributing something, helping her surpass her goal. Follow Lizz’s progress here.
Millie “Early Bird” Mugica, 11-time End-to-Ender and GMC Board Member
Millie’s hiked the Long Trail more than once….try eleven (!) times. Millie started out backpacking on a bit of a whim on her 30th birthday. Twenty years later, you could say she’s been hooked. She’s hiked the trail nearly a dozen times. She’s volunteered her time working on shelter builds and serving on the fundraising and trail management committees for the club. Millie is now serving her second term on GMC’s Board of Directors. It’s just one way she gives back to the organization that means so much to her. “There is no place or organization that is dearer to my heart.”
Millie half-jokes that since she’s celebrating both her 50th birthday and early retirement from a career in education this year, she’s considering donations to her campaign presents for both.
Donate to Millie’s personal fundraising page here.
Get Started with Long Trail Day
Want to join Chelsea, John, Lizz, Millie, and our dozens of other participants and raise money to contribute towards Long Trail Day? It’s simple!
- Register solo or with a team at www.greenmountainclub.org/longtrailday. You’ll receive a registration card in the mail, a custom-print GMC bandana, and a link to download a free digital Long Trail map.
- Customize your personal fundraising page with your name, a photo, and a little bit about what the trail means to you.
- Share your story! Talk about why you support the Long Trail and the work of the GMC with your friends, family, and local communities.
- Share hiking photos and a link to your personal fundraising page on social media using the hashtags #LongTrailDay2021 and #HikeVT
- You can also email out personalized fundraising messages directly from the fundraising website.
- Start small — every dollar counts!
- Keep an eye out on GMC social media for flash giveaways and door prizes along the way. Prizes from VT Artisan Coffee & Tea; Vermont State Parks, Darn Tough Vermont, Kula Cloth, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Wildgood plant-based ice cream, MountainOps Outdoor Gear in Stowe, The Mountain Goat in Manchester, and more.
- HIKE a portion of the Long Trail on August 28, and stay tuned for details about Trail Magic. GMC staff and volunteers will set up tables of treats as a way of saying thank you and celebrating the trail.
- Celebrate! Everyone who achieves their $272 goal will receive a custom mountain-print Buff. There will also be grand prizes for the top solo and team fundraisers.
What are you waiting for? Register now!