The rain fell hard all night, which is good for all the dry little creeks and streams out there. I decided to splurge on a morning shower and stood under the warm water for several quarters worth of time. State parks have it going on with all these amenities…if you can put up with the traffic and people.
We took it slow this morning; Retread was heading home, Anonymous was flying out tomorrow, and the two nobos were getting dropped off for their Katadhin quest. It’s strange just having hiked what they have left to do. I refrain from saying too much about what they have ahead…I don’t always like it when others do that to me…regardless, they will get a ton of advice from all the others coming south too. It’s hard, they wanna know what they are in store for, but I don’t think you really can prepare yourself for New Hampshire and Maine, you just have to experience it.
The hype around the trail south of here is: “so flat, you can do big days, it’s nothing like what you experienced in the north.” The challenges down here are more like: ticks, heat, and…hmmm, what else??? Maybe not so much the heat anymore. The sobos got hammered by long periods of really hot (like in the 90s AND incredibly humid hot. No thank you.)
I walked out of camp and to the trail. A short up got the blood flowing. Solo again. I would be solo through my last 100ish miles when I made it to, hmmm, not sure yet. I can get off trail and to Albany, NY from any number of places in the next week. When I looked at a map, Albany sat to the east, and a wagon wheel of roads burst into the mountains of Vermont and Massachusetts. I could hop off the trail and to the airport from just about anywhere.
And then I was on the Long Trail. About 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail share the same tread south of here…the northern portion of the 200ish mile trail traverses the spine of mountains north of here to Canada. Also the Long Trail is the first long distance trail in country. Respect!
The big feature of the day would be to climb Killington, Vermont’s second highest peak. It also has the region’s biggest ski resort. I passed on the climb to the top (via a steep 0.2 side trail) and snack bar because the forest was in a cloud, and I had too much food on my back. I remember racing up there with Average Joe in 2002 and snacking hard. The views were great too.
The rain had stopped shortly after I had started hiking yesterday, but the dense and thick greenery made for a drenched walk all the same. It was beautiful.
I ambled to a stop early. I had already made a reservation at a nice hotel in Manchester Center, a three+ day hike from my zero. I had plenty of time to hike there, too much food once again, and another book that was getting interesting – this one a British spy novel set in the 1970s.