Day 55

I was up early today and out of camp by 8 am. I was climbing up Killington today there was a snack bar at the top I wanted to stop at for lunch. The morning light was beautiful through the woods. I passed through a tall grassy field with wildflowers I can’t identify. I passed a pasture full of cows grassing. It felt like a good day. A few miles down the trail I saw a cooler and hoped it would be full of goodies and it was. I drank a birch beer and ate a cookie before moving on. Not even a half a mile later there was another cooler with drinks and so I took a Coke and Lemonade to go. I got a quick glimpse of Killington, the 4000 footer I was about to climb. There were cheeseburgers up there.

The trail was a lovely woods walk through pine forests and across full streams. I passed a sign marking 500 miles to Katahdin. 6 miles in, the climb up Killington began. It was mild, but long. 4 miles long. Up and up and up I went into the alpine zone, the temperature was hot even though I was at 3000 feet. It would climb to 94 today. I finally reached a ridge walk with 1.5 miles to go to the summit. It was almost 2 o’clock. On my way up I passed 3 hikers going south. One was a southbounder that said the restaurant on Killington was closed. Another was Liberty who I had met in Virginia at the Lickskillet Hostel. She was slackpacking back to Rutland and the Yellow Deli. She tried to convince me to stay there but I had heard it was owned and operated by the Twelve Tribes cult and I didn’t think it was such a good place for me to be. She said it was fine, they were very nice, and most of all it was free but I stood my ground. I would stay at the Inn at the Long Trail. The third hiker to pass was Quest and this time he asked why I was always hiking alone. I said it’s been hard to keep up with folks out here. He then went on to lecture me about how I should talk to people more and look them in the eye. He gave me a hug, I must have looked sad. At least, he didn’t tell me I should smile more but I think he kind of did in a round about way. Around this time I also hit the 600 mile mark for my hike.

With my dreams of a cheeseburger dashed I trudged up the mountain toward the summit to get my picture. More ski lodge machinery in the way of my view. At 3 o’clock I began the 5-mile 2500-foot decent to Route 4. There was a short cut trail (that used to be the AT) to the inn where I would be staying. My feet and knees were throbbing and hurt so bad I felt like crying. I decided to take the short cut for the sake of my pain. I was treated with a lovely view to the north on the way down. It was slow going and the skies were starting to cloud over giving the woods a spooky feeling. Dark woods at the end of the day make me jumpy sometimes.

By 6 o’clock I had made it to the Inn at the Long Trail. I dropped my pack outside and hobbled up to the reception desk and hoped for an available room. It was walk up only for hikers to get the discounted rate. Luckily they had a room and I paid my $70 dollars and as quickly as I could hauled my pack up stairs to clean myself up. As I was gathering my dirty clothes to take down to wash, the sky opened up and dumped sheets of rain for hours. I’ve been awfully lucky when it comes to dodging rain out here on the trail. After I put my clothes into wash I hobbled into the Irish pub downstairs and ordered shepherd’s pie that came with soda bread. The folks here are really into Ireland. I fell into bed about 10 and slept like a rock.

Miles: 1686.3 – 1699.2 (12.9 + 3.8 side trail to Inn)

Total: 604.6