Cara Clifford Nelson with her son Carl on the Long Trail.

Cara Clifford Nelson with her son Carl on the Long Trail.

Episode Summary:

Today’s guest on the podcast is Cara Clifford Nelson – the granddaughter of Catherine Robbins Clifford, who was  one of the first women to hike the Long Trail end-to-end.  Catherine Robbins Clifford hiked the entire Long Trail in 1927 with her friends Hilda and Kathleen – together the three hikers became known as the “Three Musketeers”, and Catherine’s granddaughter Cara has adopted the trailname “Musketeers Too” as a reference to her grandmother’s historic trek.

3cCara became fascinated by her grandmother’s adventures on the Long Trail when she was in high school, and in 1997 her and her sister decided to do an end-to-end hike of the Long Trail to commemorate the 70th anniversary of their grandmother’s historic trip (see photo to the right of Cara and her sister Amity with their grandmother Catherine, who met up with them during their hike).  They used this unique opportunity to raise much-needed money for the Green Mountain Club’s Long Trail Protection Plan (which has now successfully preserved all but 5 miles of the 273-mile-long trail). Click here to see a newspaper article about this 1997 hike on the Long Trail.

In 2013 Cara returned to the Long Trail, this time with her 10-year-old son. This was the same summer that my mom and I spent on the Long Trail (check out episode 47 of the show to hear more about our trip), and Cara and I share lots of stories about life on the trail. Although Cara and her son did not complete an end-to-end hike in 2013, they are still working on section hiking the entire trail, and it’s clear that she has passed on this deep family connection with the Long Trail to the next generation!



Musketeers Too! – Cara’s Long Trail website

The Green Mountain Club

Middlebury College article about Catherine Robbins Clifford


Listen to the podcast episode here:

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