Friday, August 5, 2016

What doesn't Killington you

I like being flexible.  If I wake up and want to hike, I can.  Wake up early enough, I can go to Maine.  Take more time, VT or NH.  I can even do local hills and mountains.  I can change my mind on 128.  After a nasty experience with heat exhaustion and whatever knocked the crap out of me, I needed to hike.  I think I will have to boycott hiking in July.  It never ends well.  Was planning on Saddleback and Horn, but trouble sleeping and apparently snoring, I was too tired.  So why not shave an hour off and do Killington?  So that is what I did.  I even played tourist for a bit.  Great little trip for sure.

This is not my first rodeo with Killington.  I tried last year.  But didn't start until noon and it was 90.  This time i started at 1:30 and it was 80ish.  Big different, plus it got cooler at elevation.  That is key.  I also tried another trail which i liked better than the other one I used across from the Long Trail Inn.  OK, liked the bottom half, the steeper part not so much and it was humid to boot.  Took forever.  There were no landmarks so it seemed like it took forever because I had no gauge for time or distance.  And all the damn blazes.  So many blazes.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice trail, it just went on forever.  I mean, it really did.  And unlike AMC maps, there was no real accurate rendering of the trail so I had no idea how far I had not gone.  Sigh.

I did finally make it to the AT/LT.  No idea of which direction was which.  I met a sectioner who was headed to Gorham.  We had a nice chat.  I could hear the ruckus from the Cooper Lodge area. There was a group of kids, some thrus, some section hikers.  I sat in the Lodge for a bit, had some food.  I decided to leave my pack there.  It was only #15 at the lot, but I was tired.  So off I went to the summit.  Met a few more thrus and section hikers.  Some with packs, some like me, slackpacking.  And OH MAN, is that a steep ass climb.   Like WOW.  I looked up and got discouraged for a bit.  Few steps, rest.  Few more steps, rest.  Occasionally I looked behind and got the real inspiration I needed.  Just amazing.  But I kept going and going and going. And then…

It was more wonderful than I thought.  It was cloudy, but just amazing.  Better than Abraham, even if was not 360.  I could hear the last gondolas go down.  I missed the restaurant.  No flush toilet, cold running water, but that di not matter, I made it.  I spent some time taking selfies and just taking in the view.  I honestly did not want to leave.  But I knew I had to.  There were chipmunks around the lodge and I did not hang my food.  So, begrudgingly, I left.  Getting back down was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I chatted with the ladies of the tent platforms.  What a great group of women.  I even saw my first blue fuel canister.  They are like the unicorns of the fuel canister world and only work on one stove.  

Or ski trail maybe. Might go to resort.

I went back to the lodge, got my bag, and found a spot in the sun.  It was inhabited by men, um stinky men.  And it needed some love, a lot of love.  The women had it right an I would have done the same.  Found a spot and enjoyed my lunch for dinner.  Great antipasto of grilled veggies and cheese.  And I had a signal, so I texted a friend about plans for next week.  I tidied up, chatted some more with the ladies and gave away my espresso beans.  The trip down only took two hours and I was wall within the 5-6 hour time from the map suggested.  Not that I was keeping track, but people keep posting their fast times, so I am going to proudly post my slow ass times.  HA.  
And I made it down in two hours.  Thanks to a little James Taylor and Jamiroquai (yes, it is in the Google dictionary).  Some others too.  It really helped me keep my pace as I was beating the dark, which I did.    Yeah, I came off that trail like a boss.  There may have been some dancing.  I wanted to go home through MA and started that way.  I ended up in Rutland, which I am calling the home fo cheap gas.  Like 30 to 40 cents cheaper than just 3 miles away.  And Stewart’s.  Yes, Cappucinno milk, smoothies, Long Trail Ale.  Love that place.  However Google had other plans and took me right back to 4E and NH.  Oh well.  At least I knew where another bathroom was.

Yup 1.98 in VT.

I wanted to go back to ME today.  If for nothing else than to scout gas stations.  But part of that flexibility is deciding not to do anything after waking up.  I will go back, maybe Sunday.  There are more peaks there and the ride is WAY longer.  Twice in some cases.  But I will also be there next week for a few days.  I have time.  On my melt down on Tecumseh, I gave myself until March, and that is very doable.  I really want to do this.  I need this.  For me.  NOW if this heat would just go away… NOW.

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