Long Trail: Here We Go!

Greetings from Jay, Vermont. My pack is packed (unlike what you see above haha), my alarm is set, my resupplies have been cached, and tomorrow I’ll start heading south from the US/Canada border doing my favorite thing in the world: eating lots of snacks. Oh, and hiking until I drop.

Tomorrow, Sunday, July 3rd I’m attempting a self-supported fastest known time on the Long Trail. It’s 273 miles long with 65,000 ft of elevation gain, and it’s the oldest long distance trail in the US! The current women’s self-supported record is held by Jennifer Pharr Davis at 7 days, 15 hours, 40 minutes, set in 2007. Since then, Nika Meyers and Mikaela Osler have taken a day off that time in unsupported fashion, finishing in 6 days, 11 hours, 40 minutes and 6 days, 11 hours, 33 minutes, respectively. You can read about the differences between self-supported and unsupported FKTs here, but in a nutshell: when you’re self-supported you can cache supplies ahead of time, buy stuff along the way, and accept help from random strangers. Sort of like a typical thru-hike. When you go unsupported, you have to carry everything you’re going to need with you from beginning to end, and you can’t accept any kind of outside help.

So in order to set a new self-supported women’s FKT, based on the guidelines, I would not only have to finish under Jennifer’s time, but under Mikaela’s time as well. So a hopeful goal of less than 6.5 days, it is!

Beyond numbers and goals, I have just really felt happy and at peace during my time here in Vermont. These mountains are really special, and beyond that I feel happy to have connected with the community here, and hope to continue to do so. I thought I’d feel alone so far away from home, but it’s been the complete opposite of that.

My dear dad will drive me to the Journey’s End trailhead, and will remain up in Vermont just to be nearby in case anything unexpected happens. It is reassuring to know he will be close by!

I will share updates when I can via Instagram (@pinkfeathers) but they may be pretty sporadic. You can be sure that no matter what happens, I will have many words to share when it’s all over!


Thanks for reading. If you enjoy my writing, please consider buying me a coffee! See you on the other side!


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Who is Mercury?

Liz Derstine, trail name “Mercury”, is a distance runner, endurance hiker, writer, and musician residing in Boston, MA. She holds fastest known times for women on the Appalachian Trail (supported, northbound), Long Trail (self-supported), and Pinhoti Trail (self-supported).

Newsletter 💫

Subscribe to Liz’s weekly newsletter full of inspiring stories about running, music, trails and life.

Success! You're on the list.