We had another relaxing morning at our campsite, all the teenage and 20-something boys trying to ignore Parker's squeals and our clanking and swishing packing up the gear.
Sparky found a moment to kick back before getting packed up in her Poco for the day.
On the trail by 9ish again, as it happened it was the same time as most other days on this trip. (A big difference from the 6 and 7 a.m. start times on the PCT). The morning started out with a gentle climb through a bright deciduous forest, more toads, rocks, roots and leaf litter. The heat was already slowing me way down so Chris went ahead. (He had a quote on the PCT, "Heavy pack + hot weather + incline = one slow Baby." Now that quote is doubly true.)
After our slight climb we enjoyed a long slow decent to the Gorge. I
knew Chris was still ahead of me because I found our tent poles along
the trail. Apparently they'd slipped out of the bed roll when he took a spill. Good
thing I was bringing up the rear!
The Gorge was a delightful opportunity to strip down and go for another swim. We clambered down the steep, rocky slopes underneath the suspension bridge for a delicious cool down.
But our break was short lived. Moving on, we tackled quite a climb. After we passed a steamy field under power lines, we climbed a rock tumble that could only be found on trails in New England. (The PCT was graded for pack animals, so none of this climbing on your hands and knees.)
And we emerged on a road where a trail angel had just left a cooler of icy cold bottled water. The ice cubes were still crunchy! From there the trail detoured onto a ~2 mile road walk after Hurricane Irene had washed out part of the trail. The smooth and graded gravel roads were a welcome change, despite the hills. We passed farms and beautiful yards and even a stable with trotters peeking out of their stalls.
The road disappeared — literally, washed away by Irene again — and we turned back into the woods. Our destination was only a mile or so away. We'd heard about a shelter with a tenting area near a brook.
The campsite and brook was exactly what we needed on a steamy summer day. Chris and I took frigid skinny dips in the rushing water, each taking a turn holding the babe.
A real mountain stream: Refreshing to Mom and Dad, too chilly for Parker to even dangle her piggies in the rushing water.
Rushing water also made for cooler temperatures and cozy sleeping.
We discussed briefly whether we wanted to stretch our last 10 miles into two days. There was little debate, we were ready to get off the trail. So this lovely little campsite was our last, and it was fantastic place to finish up. Next stop Inn at Long Trail! But first a four mile climb up Killington and Pico peaks...