Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 18

More free breakfast this morning and then it was time to pack up. Bear Bag contemplated going to the doctor but decided to hike; Rutland and other towns are accessible from road crossings within the next few days if he changes his mind. We walked along busy Route 7 for a bit before stopping in front of a Citgo to try for a hitch. Lots of traffic and lots of stares but no luck. After 10 minutes or so a lady who had pulled into the gas station asked us where we needed to go and offered to take us. Perfect! She drove almost 12 miles out of her way to take us back to the trail. We started up Bear Mountain slowly as we got used to the feel of our packs and the trail again. The climb wasn't difficult until the top when it got a bit steeper, but we made it up and over. I say it a lot but Vermont really is beautiful! And the trail had dried up significantly...still muddy sections but no river of a trail. The plan was to make it to VT 103 and walk half a mile to the Whistle Stop, a restaurant that everyone raves about, for a late lunch. Right before the road we crossed gorgeous Mill River on a very bounce-y, very high, and very liberating footbridge. We made it to the road and headed west to the restaurant to find a few other hikers there as well. We feasted on sandwiches, french fries, and onion rings, with delicious ice cream for dessert. We were stuffed so we sat outside digesting for a bit; I laid down in the sun on one of the benches and actually fell asleep for about 45 minutes! Hard to get moving again after a nap, but we had a mile of trail left for the day. On the road walk back to the trail we switched packs and poles; Bear Bag's Granite Gear pack is comfortable and his trekking poles have a luxurious shock absorber! I took mental notes for any future gear purchases. We had to switch back when we got to the trail though as I have a thing about carrying my gear the whole way. We had a steep climb for about a half mile and then it was smooth sailing to Clarendon Shelter for the night, a beautiful spot with a creek nearby and a grassy front yard! Several hikers here tonight; mostly northbounders with a few sobo section hikers. Tomorrow we climb 3928-foot Killington, a 2500-foot climb!
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