Thursday, July 5, 2012

V is for Victory ... or Vanquished

Wednesday, June 27, 2012:

And V is for Vista - the Venue for the battle in question.  Yesterday the weather Vanquished my hopes of seeing the panoramic View from atop Killington Peak.  Today I hoped to make a triumphant return.  But ...

7AM, cloudy and dreary, a little misty drizzle falling.  The forecast was for a 100% chance of rain all day.  But it was time to get out there and hike.  I set my jaw, as I did yesterday, expecting no joy, just trying to survive the misery of being wet all the way up and back - about 6.3 miles each way.

There were other hikers out just for the day - Vermonters are a tough breed.  V is for Valor - the never-say-die Vermont spirit.  Not sure what they were getting out of the experience.  I was just getting wet.  And once up on Pico Peak and traversing the high ridge to Killington at 3500 feet, I was getting cold too - confronting a steady wind as the trail kept to the windward side.

The trail was Vanquishing me in multiple ways.  Most of today's miles were moderately difficult, meaning almost constant use of leg muscles to step up, step down, over root and rock, across chasm-sized puddles, uneven stepping stones.  My knees ached.  My strength was failing.  It didn't help that I was hurrying - trying to get it over with.  I was wearing myself out.

I reached the summit access trail and my turn around point at Cooper Lodge at 11AM.  No change in the weather, no reason to scramble up to the summit to face the foggy walls again today as I did yesterday.  I put on my extra layer for the windy descent and headed back down.

I was half way down.  It was 12:30.  Suddenly ... as if by magic ... the sun came out.  I don't know if it cleared at the summit, but I was given a 'consolation prize' at a limited vista point at about 2800' elevation.

Then the clouds rolled back in, soon followed by the haze and mist.  And just as I got to US 4 and the nice big trailhead lot where I was parked it began to rain again.  Surely it was just a passing shower and the sun would come out once more and I'd be able to hike at least that last mile north to where the AT and the Long Trail part company.

But no.  A steady, sometimes heavy misty rain owned the rest of the afternoon and evening.  It didn't stop.  It's still raining as I write this and daylight is waning.



Here's the fallen warrior's route, emblazoned with little red pins that mark the shots taken.  The link to the photos is the title line above the map.  Enjoy.

AT Day 161 - Killington from the north at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Vermont

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