We are in Vermont this weekend. First time ever for me. It really is beautiful, even though it is the off season and ski slopes are green. Mike and I came up here to meet two of our sons and a friend who have been hiking on the Appalachian Trail for a couple of months.
After the grueling 18hr drive up here yesterday from Indiana, we woke to a beautiful morning... perfect temperature and sunshine. Drove from Rutland to Killington where the trailhead is and the guys were waiting for us. I was really excited to see them since it has been a couple of months and they have been living in the woods, the deep woods far from civilization much of the time so I don't have to tell you that I've worried about them quite a bit. I know they are grown men but still I'm their mother. That will never change.
It was really great to see them and I celebrated with a few photos.
This one is of John and Josh with me.
The area around the trail is just beautiful. I took a few photos there too. They turned out pretty good even though my camera is an autofocus and doesn't really provide many options for me to make them better (or screw them up).
Mike is joining the guys for a 2-day, 17 mile hike and I'm going to enjoy the local flavor. (Of course he had to check his Blackberry before leaving.)
At their suggestion, I took a gondola up to the top of Mount Killington to meet up with them 1/2 way through their hike. It started to rain and was windy and chilly. (I guess remnants of hurricane Earl). I had second thoughts about heading up there but they called and said the weather was butter up there so I headed on up. Tickets purchased in the ski shop are $15 for a round trip.
It was very chilly when I got to the top but when I got off of the gondola I immediately headed over to the path to the crest. I hadn't worn shoes for hiking since I wasn't planning on it and the path was very rocky and uneven, a bit difficult in places. Definately not where you would take children, by the way. It was very windy up there but worth the relatively easy, short climb. I didn't even have on sneakers or boots and still managed with no trouble.
There is a small snack bar/restaurant at the top. They have a great view of the surrounding slopes and countryside. Kinda rustic with a snackbar on one side that serves burgers and sandwiches and around the back a bar and small TV and observation deck with wonderful views.
On Sundays they serve a buffet for $25 which includes the price of the round trip gondala ride. The view is worth the price.
After a snack at the top, my hikers decided (upon urging of Mike) to in fact call it a day and head back to town rather than hike the five more miles and sleep in the shelter overnight. The Vermont State Fair is in town and the guys said they were interested in checking out the pig races. The one-way gondola ride would have been $7.50 each but when the attendant found out that they were "thru-hikers", he let the guys go for down for free. John and Josh said that they got quite a few benny's at villages along the trail because just by mentioning that they "thru-hikers".
As evening approached the temperature dropped considerably. The guys got a much needed and deserved shower and we all headed out for some food. I would be remiss if I didn't share Stephen's one trip salad from Pizza Hut. It was a prize winner indeed. All I can say is WoW!
Can't wait for Day 2, tomorrow.