Section Hike of the Appalachian Trail in Vermont

Manchester Center, VT to Rutland, VT

September 26 to 28th, 2007

49.8 Miles

The idea to hike this section of the Appalachian Trail was cooked up more than a few years ago by my friend Matt, who is the part owner of a condo in at Killington Ski Resort. We had discussed potentially doing the hike for the last several years running and usually in conjunction with the Killington Brew Fest. The brew fest is Killington’s way of trying to start shaking people down before the actual start of ski season. It is reason enough to stir interest in our group of friends to make the trip from New York City pre-ski season.

Leading up to the trip, the weather looked ominous, but the three of us, Matt, Paul and myself decided to carry on with the trip regardless. It did however mean that on the morning before beginning the hike we would drive around endlessly until we could score some rain gear for Matt. He received the requisite heckling for holding us up. The last laugh would be on him anyway for spending the money unnecessarily as he wouldn’t need the rain gear.

We started out by keeping a reasonable pace. We weren’t out to win an adventure race, so we were able to spend our time goofing around on the trail. We had done numerous day hikes in and around the Green Mountain area, so we sort of knew what to expect. We periodically passed people on the trail including several thru-hikers heading south. On out first night, we shared a shelter with two other people, one of which we named Lumberjack, as it sounded as he was cutting lumber all night. It is Appalachian Trail tradition that each person receives a trail name, so we were keeping in the spirit. We had some fun with our own trail names, most of which we found hilarious, but to mention any of them to an outsider they would have thought we were in need of mental care.

By the second day there were some sore feet. It was a constant debate as to whether we would finish by heading down Killington Mountain and straight to the condo or if we continue on to Route 4 and make the Inn at Long Trail the final stop for some stew and a beer. The answer would change each hour for each of us depending on how we felt at that particular time.

Late on the second day the sky grew dark and it looked as if it was going to open up and pour. Paul and I were in front and made it to our planned shelter for the night, which was at capacity due to a group of Mennonites on their yearly hike in the area. The Mennonites were as nice as could be, not least of which because they cleared out three places for us to sleep in the shelter minutes before we were lashed with rain. When Matt arrived literally only seconds before the rain began, he greeted us with a barrage of profanities before he know anyone else was there. The Mennonites were relatively quiet after that.

On our last day of hiking we woke to gray skies, but other than a drizzle in the morning, it stayed dry. We each hiked at our own pace for the day, periodically meeting up. This worked to my detriment as I was without a map. I was feeling good and planned on continuing past Killington Peak to the Inn at Long Trail. I did want to check out the September view from the Killington summit, but wasn’t exactly sure which side trail it was and how long a walk it was. After all, there was a beer waiting for me. I continued on down the trail to finish at my intended goal. The stew was warm and tasty and the beer opposite on the temperature but the same in how good it tasted. It turned out that Matt and Paul both decided to head down Killington back to the condo, which left me stranded at the Inn at Long Trail. It was warm and there was plenty of food and drink. I felt a sense of accomplishment that we had finally done the hike that we had spoken about for so long. And I still had the brew fest to look forward to…

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