Running through the highest elevations of Vermont’s Green Mountains is a dance through some of nature’s finest work. At one moment, you might be navigating a minefield of roots, rocks and fallen tree limbs in a forested section of Vermont’s scenic Long Trail.
From many of Vermont’s higher summits and ridgelines, views of the New York’s Adirondack Mountains to the west are easy to come by.
Minutes later, you could break out above tree line where sweeping views of the mighty Adirondacks will stop you cold in your tracks. And then there’s the suspense of a possible moose encounter, or the soaring raven that seems to follow you for miles. You are never alone in the Greens.
Emily keeps it moving halfway into a run across the top of Vermont’s Worcester Range.
Beneath your feet is some of the oldest granite on the planet, worn down from once dizzying heights by time, glaciers and gravity. Drop away again below tree line (which is about 4,000 feet in Vermont), and a world of fluorescent green guides you. Fields of ferns whisk you through ballrooms of yellow birch before the trail funnels into a fragrant passage through tightly spaced spruce and fir trees.
One of the best things about a long mountain run is the moment you take off your shoes.
With a trusty pair of trail shoes, perhaps a friend or two, and a bottle of water, longtime Vermonter, Vicky Beaudoin, doesn’t think twice about running along the rooftop of her state. “It’s not so much the uphills that push me, but the challenge of maintaining the presence of mind needed to keep myself from tripping along the trail,” she says. “Often, my head is—or wants to be—somewhere else, so I really love how it makes me focus on nothing more than the ten feet of trail right in front of me.”
Lindsay Curry and Emily Johnson on the trail in Vermont’s Green Mountains.
Beaudoin agrees that running across Vermont’s highest mountains is at once exhilarating and peaceful: human-powered therapy for the mind, body and soul. Like so many runners, she especially likes mountain running as a means of exploring favorite locales efficiently, areas that would normally require a full day or more to travel at a walking pace. Above all, it’s just fun to dance.
Sunset stride in the Green Mountains of Vermont, with the distant Camel’s Hump on the horizon.
Before heading out on a long mountain run, please refer to a good topo and trail map, and be sure to bring along a little food, water, an extra layer and a headlamp. A small running-specific hydration pack works great for carrying this kind of gear.