Killington (1704.1) to Hwy 12 Earlybird’s House (1724.5)
I stepped out the front door of the hotel to dark grey clouds and imminent rain. Just after 6am I started hiking and by around 6.30 I had my rain gear on. Not only was it raining but it was cold. It seemed like only a week ago I was suffering in the heat and humidity. The northern states have a reputation for early cold weather, sometimes there isn’t much of a summer.
Rolling hills and slippery trails summed up the days hike. I stopped at the first shelter to grab a quick snack and water. It was around 9am and it had several hikers wrapped in sleeping bags, they weren’t in a hurry to move.
I continued on the sometimes steep trail, including one ladder that I had to use to get down a cliff. I was making good time in the rain. I was hoping to hike the 20 miles from Killington to highway 12 to meet up with Earlybird, a thru hiker I met on the CDT last year. She kindly offered to host me for the night.
I was making good time had time so I made a small detour to a private shelter called The Lookout. It’s more luxurious than normal AT shelters, it has a fireplace and 4 walls instead of 3. That’s luxury. When I arrived there were about 8 hikers laying on their mats and wrapped up in their sleeping bags. They hadn’t moved all day. It was just after midday.
I lingered and chatted to the other hikers, none of which I’d ever met before. It was around 2pm when I took my first steps outside the shelter. My steps were slow and deliberate. I was cold. My whole body started to shiver and I started to feel a little bit uncoordinated as I walked. I tried to walk as fast as I dared and tensed my upper body to try and generate body heat. It worked but it took around 15 minutes to warm up. It was a further hour before my body was comfortably warm.
There had been a cold soaking rain all day. I use a waterproof case to store my phone. To use it I needed a dry bit of tissue to dry the screen and my fingers, the phone wouldn’t work if I didn’t do this. I used lots of toilet tissue today.
Just before 4.30pm I arrived at the trailhead and parking area on highway 12. My body was soaked to the bone. I waited less than a minute until Earlybird arrived and whisked me off to her home in the middle of nowhere only a couple of miles from the trail.