A Twitter Bot Sends Out Mile-by-Mile Details of the Long Trail, Once a Day | True 802 | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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A Twitter Bot Sends Out Mile-by-Mile Details of the Long Trail, Once a Day

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A tweet from the bot - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • A tweet from the bot

Here's some inspiration to get you through mud season and looking ahead to summer adventures.

Burlington cartographer Bill Morris has created a Twitter bot named Every Long Trail Mile that tweets out details about each mile of Vermont's famed 272-mile hiking path. Every weekday around 2 p.m., the bot spits out a description of another mile, including the nearest town, topography changes and the max elevation within the stretch.

Morris has hiked the entire Long Trail, but it took him about 20 years. He did half in 2001, then completed the rest in sections before wrapping it up in the fall of 2020.

Morris, who used maps made by his employer, Mapbox, said the bot keeps his brain on the trail and provides a "regular reminder that it's out there."

"I often feel like I'm at my best on a long-distance trail in general and on the Long Trail specifically," he said. "It's got a good vibe. It's good for the soul."

Morris was inspired by Jason Sanford, a North Carolina-based software engineer who created Every Mile bots for the Blue Ridge Parkway — a scenic roadway that winds through the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia — and the Appalachian Trail. Morris used the same code to create the Long Trail version.

He started it up last October, beginning at the southern terminus and heading north. As of Monday, the bot was on mile 100, in Mendon. On some tweets, Morris also includes a GIF that shows the mile snaking across mountainous terrain.

Morris hasn't gotten a ton of feedback on what he described as an "arcane" undertaking. The bot has just 55 followers, and those who contact him about it are "mostly fellow math geeks."

"It's possible that this is not something that has a lot of legs to it," Morris said. "Maybe not that many folks are interested in subdividing arbitrary long-distance lines into mile increments and tweeting about each of them individually. But in this case, I love the Long Trail, and it was fun to adapt it for this purpose."

The original print version of this article was headlined "Miles To Go"