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Young adventurers tackling the Long Trail

RIPTON — Over the last two summers, four hearty Ripton kids have trekked a whopping total of 84 miles on the Long Trail, finishing at the Canadian Border.
They reached the northern terminus of the trail in North Troy on June 27. The 8-12-year-old mountaineers are looking to finish the trail in the coming summers. 
Beth and Matthew MacIntosh, nine and eight years old, respectively, have been hiking with Mary and Baxter Harrington, eight and 10 years old, respectively, up the winding, rocky trails of some of Vermont’s tallest peaks, including Mount Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, Mount Abraham and Jay Peak. 
Tackling the trail in increments, they’ve traipsed eight-mile stretches and five-day-long overnight trips. According to Tracey Harrington, mother of Mary and Baxter, the kids love it. 
“They showed a great attitude throughout the hiking,” she said in an email. “They are comfortable scrambling up tough terrain, crawling through the caves and caverns of Devil’s Gultch, walking through wet, muddy bogs, carrying their gear and eating lots of cheese sticks, Knorr noodles and foil-wrapped tuna.” 
Jay Peak and Mount Mansfield were two of the toughest, rockiest climbs for the kids, she said, but they persevered. The kids hiked the longest leg of the trip — at 29 miles — in only four days, from June 16 to June 19. On their longest day, they trekked 8.2 miles. 
Laura MacIntosh, Beth and Matthew’s mom, and Jay Harrington, Mary and Baxter’s dad, are passionate about hiking and both have completed the Appalachian Trail, Laura in 2000 and Jay in 2002. These two have accompanied the kids for the entirety of their journeys, and they’ve been joined by Tracey and even Mary and Baxter’s grandfather, Frank Willis, making the trip tri-generational.  
Tracey said hikers can look forward to seeing the little ones on the trail again soon. They may tack on bits and pieces of the Appalachian Trail with their families, but for now, they’re planning to hike south from Mount Abe, staying focused on finishing the trail that traverses the state. 

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