Clarendon Gorge to Cooper Lodge
Phew! 70% chance of rain, against the backdrop of hiking uphill 3,300 feet skyward from our tents, starting stream side at the Clarendon Gorge at Rt 103. The sound of the water rushing downstream near our tent site was an aural sound scape lullaby.
So much to eat last night.
But….Paddy-o offered to drive us down to the Whistle Stop restaurant just 0.7 mile to the west of the parking area. It’s a great place that we enjoyed on our 2007 thru- hike. Good stuff, prices, service too.
Paddy-o offered to slack pack us again this morning, as far as the forest roads reach on the route to the top of Killington. For 6 glorious miles all I carried was an empty 1 liter water bottle, that I refilled at a stream and then purified with the Steripen I was also packing. I was hiking behind Lee, who was often running up the trail ahead. Also hiked with Weatherman ( AT 2008) a new friend who has been steady with us and will probably stay that was until we reach Canada. Two Dinners is out for two weeks and is also with us. Spit and Polish are a couple of 21 year old camp counselors from Keewadyn, a reputable old school girls camp here in VT. Lee named them after we witnessed the girls thoroughly licking their stainless steel camp bowls. They hate their names. They are also on track for Canada.
At the end of the slack pack, we met Paddy-o at the end of the Governor Clement road, where he hauled out the grill for the last time and cooked up some fresh authentic NY city hot dogs, accompanied by a jar of the onion-based sauce that vendors sell on the city streets. Of course, there were also Gatoraids, ice, chocolate milk and Moon Pies for dessert.
But eventually we said “Good Bye” to Paddy-0 , who told us he may be back next weekend to help us out again! Is it even possible that Lee and I could receive such support ?
Then up, seriously. I felt good today, and made it to Cooper Lodge, just below the summit.
It is a broken shell of it’s former self, but should be adequate for keeping the rain off the group. The caretaker showed us which sleeping spots avoided the rain that would soon be leaking in. She was in the shelter with us, Spit and Polish, Two Dinners.
Suge Knight and Denim Chicken were two southbound thru hikers who came in late and one slept on the picnic table inside.
It’s the case that the Northbound thru’s have much more experience than Southbounders like these guys. I challenged one of them who was complaining that he had no dry clothes left. He did not believe that I still had dry socks after 8 days of wearing the pair I was placing between my sleeping pad and my sleeping bag. He claimed “I’m a thru hiker, that’s why I throw my wet socks in my sleeping bag each night “. Lee backed me up when he said it was dumb to put your stinking wet socks in your sleeping bag , and that hanging them on your pack to dry during the day was much better. What a pair. Even a dog takes better care about soiling it’s nest.
After we ate our dinners, we hiked up to the summit of Killington to watch the shape-shifting clouds and check the views.
Tomorrow we plan to hit Route 4, at the 104 mile mark where we hope to snag a room at the Long Trail Inn. I haven’t changed hiking clothes (don’t carry a change) or had a shower in 8 days. It’s time.