Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 9: Climbing Killington

Dscn5434September 12: The next morning, I took down my tarp from the front of the shelter to get a little more light coming in. The temperature was cool—the first time in two days I actually felt cool—but it wouldn’t last long. Leaves littered the shelter, blown in from the wind during the night.


I ate breakfast and packed up camp, and I wandered back to the trail, I bumped into a local walking her dogs who said the wind has pushed the rain water through their windows which had never happened before, and a friend of hers had their car destroyed when a tree fell on it during the night. It was a wild storm, indeed!


I wasn’t back on the Long Trail for more than 10 minutes before I saw the first blowdown crossing the trail. There is a lot of blowdowns on the trail, but this particular one was clearly recent and I’d have bet happened during the night. The leaves on the tree were still bright green, the crack in the trunk fresh.


At the Governor Clement Shelter, I caught up with Cackles who lingered in the shelter late in the morning—a pretty normal occurrence for her I’d been learning. I was surprised to discover that she was ahead of me at all, though. I thought she was behind me! We compared notes at which point I learned that she had taken the detour rather than the Long Trail which is probably when she passed me, and likely passed me before I had even found the secret shelter so never saw the notes I left pointing her in that direction. At least that mystery was cleared up, and I told her all about the shelter and where I had found it. =)


As the morning wore on, so the the heat and I started the steep climb up Killington Peak—the second highest peak in Vermont. Technically, I didn’t hike to the very top the year I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. It was a wet, miserable day and views seemed unlikely, so I skipped the short but steep climb to the very top. The weather was only slightly better this time. It wasn’t thick with wet fog, but clouds that looked like they could rain at any time lingered overhead.


Dscn5407I dropped my pack in Cooper Lodge—a shelter near the top of Killington—then climbed the rest of the way to the very top unencumbered, and the views were wonderful! Although clouds blocked out the blue skies, they were all well above the summit so they didn’t really limit visibility at all. The wind was gusty at the top, tough, and cool, so I didn’t linger long before heading back down to the lodge where I stopped for lunch #1.


I took a quick lunch, hoping to make it to the Churchill Scott Shelter before any rain started later in the afternoon—and I did make it. I got into the shelter at around 3:30, which was the earliest arrival so far at a shelter, and by 4:00, the rain had started coming down in earnest. I was quite happy having escaped the rain. =)


In related news, when I arrived at the shelter, I was more than a little surprised to find that two people had already set up a residence in it—a couple of southbound A.T. thru-hikers who had left Rutland earlier that morning. Which meant they had walked less than 2 miles that day. For some reason, this kind of annoyed me. Get a MOVE ON! Not that a thru-hike is a race, but sheesh—I’d be going stir crazy if I had walked only a mere two miles for the entire day. I did about 10 miles to get to the shelter and felt a little guilty about “taking it easy”—I simply can’t comprehend how someone would choose to go less than 2. I’d probably do more than that even if I had my leg amputated the day before!


But the part that annoyed me most about them—was that I felt like they wanted to completely shut me out. They hid out in their little corner of the shelter, whispering to each other about stuff that wasn’t even personal in nature like what to have for dinner or about the weather. Really? Why do you guys have to whisper to each other like it was a great secret that I wasn’t to be a part of? It was just plain annoying. Speak up or shut up! The constant whispering was driving me crazy. When I first walked in, I asked all about them—who they were, which direction they were hiking, where they started, etc. I wanted to know a little about these people I’d be sharing the shelter with all afternoon and night, but they asked me absolutely nothing which made me suspect that they really just didn’t want to talk to me at all.


Whatever… so I mostly just read my book and ignored them after that.


As the afternoon passed by, I figured that maybe one or two more people might show up and liven things up a bit, but nobody else ever did show up. It would just be the three of us in the shelter for the night.


Hurricane Irene washed out a footbridge that crossed
the creek here, but I didn’t have any trouble
getting over it!


The Governor Clement Shelter. I liked the secret shelter
as the better option, though! =) But this would
have been the shelter I stayed at if I hadn’t found the secret shelter.


Keep your dogs on a leash! It’s for their own protection!




Cooper Lodge sounds fancy, but it’s just this
run-down shelter.


View from Killington Peak.


Killington Peak



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