Day 106: The Lookout

Day 106. Man, did I wake up rested this morning! Nothing feels better after a 30-mile day in the mountains than sleeping in late, in a bed. I must have known I’d want to give my feet a break today, as my pre-trip Hike Plan only called for 16 miles today. So I took a much appreciated Nero Day, and pushed my departure time from Killington to around noon. And with that extra time in bed this morning, I finished the latest (week 15) video. See above!

After breakfast (provided free with my stay at Mountain Meadows Lodge), I journeyed into the tiny adjacent town up the hill. There wasn’t much, but it had everything I needed. The outfitter is huge, and has great hiking and skiing supplies (fuel canister, check). Then, down the road is a market/deli for resupply with tons of hiker staples (deli sandwich for lunch, check). There’s also a post office, gift shop and visitor center with some neat things to check out. It’s a small skier/hiker town, but it’s a nice one.

With everything acquired that I need to get to my next stop in 3 days (Hanover), I said goodbye to Killington and hoisted my once-again heavy pack for the steep climb out of town.

Side note, on my way to town, I ran into an old friend, Cinco, who I haven’t seen since Hot Springs. He stayed st a different motel, and was getting an earlier start to the day. It’s amazing how people can be within a dozen miles of you for weeks, and you don’t even know it. Like me, he’s been hiking quickly and solo for some time. He also planned to stop after 16 miles, so I said we’d catch up more at the shelter tonight, and said goodbye.

When I finally started, my hike was actually quite nice today. It didn’t rain more than a light drizzle, and the temperature was a low 60 degrees all day. There was a dampness in the air, that kept me just shy of dry while I hiked, but it felt cooling and nice against my normal shvitz. I’m much higher in enervation now, and can feel it in the colder air, so I’m going to get my winter gear back at the Whites as planned: Puffy jacket, long underwear, hat and gloves … nights are going to start to get chilly this high and this far north.

I passed a really nice waterfall (Thunder Falls), and then hiked along a handicap accessible boardwalk for a half mile. These were both great, but were early on in the day, and then it was back to he monotony of the muddy green tunnel. Unfortunately, the overcast sky did not provide any other good views or sights … until the end of my day.

I had planned to go 16 miles to that shelter with Cinco, and honestly would have, if not for the amazing Lookout Cabin I stumbled upon after 14. This is a private and empty cabin that wasn’t really mentioned in the AWOL guidebook (or I would have surely planned on it). Built by the Lookout Farm down the hill, the owners allow hikers to sleep here if they are respectful of the property, and it is amazing. It stands at the top of a tall peak, looking out to the North and East for miles. The cabin is fully enclosed and in great shape (looks newly renovated), and even has a ladder to a lookout platform on the roof. All told, it’s a great place to spend the night! Especially, since the rain is supposed to get worse and pour hard overnight. I am even able to setup my hammock inside from the rafter beams.

So … sleep on a cold, dirty, wet, and exposed shelter floor? Or, hang in a clean, dry, warm, and enclosed cabin? After hiking past so many desirable cabins/shelters in the past, I wasn’t about to let this one go un-slept in. Easiest decision ever.

I’ll make up the 2 miles tomorrow easily, because I have a feeling I’m getting another great and restful sleep tonight.

Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)

  • Start Mile: 1705.8
  • Start Time: 12:00
  • End Mile: 1719.3
  • End Time: 17:30
  • Miles Hiked: 13.5
  • Miles to Go: 471.6
  • Lodging: The Lookout Cabin