Hi, this is very early to be posting this, but I'm looking for a hiking partner for the entire Long Trail this summer. I am an in-shape 16 y.o. male and an experienced backpacker (100 miles in northern Maine in 2015, 160 miles in Alaska this year, etc), but my folks won't let me do the LT without a buddy. I'm looking for somebody with at least some extended-day hikes in their pocket, and preferably young just because we'd have more in common. Looking to complete LT either in July or August, not sure yet.
I suggest you have your parents look at trailjournals.com The website has a Long Trail section. If you have not checked it out, you should. Having a trail companion is hit or miss; at 16 you should be able to handle it by yourself with proper research. I don't see the benefit of having a random "buddy" picked from the internet.
We all control, by decision or indecision, where we are. - Royal Robbins
I agree with John. You might be able to screen people you find on hiking sites, or even do a trial hike with them. Are you able to connect with any hiking groups? Even meetups?
In addition, I'd suggest going to the Long Trail section of WhiteBlaze.net in "other trails." Also, get in touch with the Green Mountain Club. They have a workshop on the Long Trail, where you might meet prospective hikers/hiking partners. They can also hook you up with mentors who can help you plan your trip (I'm one of their volunteer mentors).
Personally, I'm really wary about backpacking for more than a weekend with people people I don't know well or haven't hiked with. On the LT (and longer trails) you may not finish with the people you start with and you may finish with people you didn't start with.
One time when I was doing the LT Northbound, I met a worried Mom who had just dropped her teenage son off for an End to End hike. I promised her I'd check in with him and see how he was doing. Other than carrying too much food so his parents wouldn't worry, he seemed to have it very well together. He and I were at the same shelters the first two nights, but we split on day three. He seemed to be off to a great start.
His parents had agreed to meet up with him once early on in his hike. There will be plenty of people on the first 100 miles - that might be reassuring to your parents.
Interesting that your mom would consider someone (even though probably reputable if from here but still solicited on line), but still totally foreign, as acceptable...over someone met, (and there will be plenty), on that popular trail.
Explain to her that you - (1) have the experience, old enough, can handle yourself, smart, just like her. (2) The trail is super popular...pass over 50 - 75 daily that time of year. (3) You will do all your due homework before...food resupply, trail maps, gear decisions, funding. (4) You hike at your own pace and more sooner than later, will fall in and spend extended time with a group of similar hiking idiosyncrasies. Being a solo, if anything becomes hinky, you can always walk away. Why not hike with someone where you can physically see has similar gear, tempo, style, age? (5) You don't want to be responsible for someone who you have never met, much over, have never hiked with. (6) You have a cell phone...will check in almost daily. Then beg.