This was pretty much the best day on the trail yet. Pilgrim, Don’s Brother, and I got dropped off at the trailhead by my brother the chauffeur. Although we started the day with bugs and 80 degrees a cold front finally came through and the temperatures moved into the 70’s for the rest of the day. Additionally the higher elevations over Mt. Killington (the highest in VT) brought nice winds and kept the bugs away. Mike went back to the hotel to pick up a slack packing couple we met on the trail yesterday from Puerto Rico. He would go on to hike a few miles with them before returning to his car and hotel. I suggested to DB and Pilgrim that a good trail name for Mike would be Jeeves as he is our chauffeur. Mike has rejected the name so we still need a new one.
The trail had rock scrambles to start the day and some slippery and difficult spots. We had to take a 2 mile detour as a bridge is out over the river firm Hurricane Irene two years ago. The climb up Killington was long and had some difficult spots but generally gradual. It was over 2000 ft climbing from the shelter near the base.
At the summit of Killington we met two day hikers, one of whom was a through hiker last year – Roboticus. As we were sitting for lunch we were surprised by Fatty who I had not seen in 500 miles! She has joined us for the night after learning of our dinner and hoteling plans. Don’s Brother has just said hours before “I hope we see Fatty again.” We figured she was far ahead by now as she’s an aggressive hiker but she took 9 days off to visit NYC. Steady and Spirit are also nearby and are going to meet us for dinner. It’s an AT reunion!
The descent of Killington was nearly all downhill without any of those annoying hundred ft up hills. I ran down the whole way for about two hours and made it to the road a half an hour before everyone else. Mike wasn’t there yet with the car, but there was a local lady doing trail magic and she had a cooler full of Klondike bars! I ate 3. In the usually impressive fashion Fatty ate 4 Klondike bars when she and Don’s Brother arrived. In the meanwhile Mike had shown up and we chatted with the angel for a while. Pilgrim made it down to the road as well right when the trail angel brought out various fruits and snacks. Mike then drove us back to town and had drinks for us in a cooler.
Having people around without bugs and in normal temperatures has brought out great spirits. Hiking in this temperature took much less of a toll on me today and despite hiking 18 miles over Mt. Killington I feel quite fresh for the first time in days.
We’ve passed the 500 miles remaining milestone. It’s still a long way to go but we’re over 75% complete. With the most popular sections ahead and the hope of cooler weather we might actually have bits of enjoyment in the hours and hours of walking.
I’ve got some pictures but ill have to upload them on a computer as the iPad does not have a hook up for my camera.