Did you know there is a network of willing volunteers stationed across the state, working together to provide hiking knowledge, recommendations for the best places to get water or stay for the night, and transport to and from trailheads? And that they are motivated simply by a shared love of the trail and a desire to see others make that connection? Volunteers like this exist in the Green Mountain Club’s Shuttle Driver network, one arm of the legendary GMC Trail Angel community.
GMC Shuttle Drivers enable hikers to traverse the state to start their Long Trail hike or get back home at the end of their journey. They are often longtime hikers themselves, and GMC volunteers in other capacities. Some even open their homes to hikers to stay overnight in a clean bed or do their laundry on rest days. They provide valuable information to folks while promoting the work of the Club. Many refuse offers to be reimbursed for their time and instead ask hikers to support the GMC instead.
In a recent End-to-End trail journal, two hikers described an interaction with Don Groll, one of GMC’s longtime volunteers and members, “8/25/15: Don Groll, Trail Angel, dropped us off at Journey’s End at 12:00. He wouldn’t take any $, just asked us to become members of GMC. And we did!”
At the Volunteer Appreciation Picnic last fall, the GMC Shuttle Drivers were recognized as the 2015 Group of the Year. This honor is given to a group that collaborates with the Club to improve the Long Trail, increases access and awareness of the trail, or embodies the spirit of the GMC. Shuttle drivers were presented with a certificate and bumper stickers bearing the slogan “I Brake for Hikers!” It was a token of our gratitude to the on-the-ground ambassadors that represent the Club’s mission statewide.
If you are interested in becoming a shuttle driver or anticipate needing one during your hike, please contact the GMC Visitor Center at 802-244-7037 or [email protected].