In Vermont, there is a ski area called "The Beast of the East" located on Killington Mountain. Charlie had skiied it in his younger days and I had climbed up the ski trails a couple of summers ago while my sons rode mountain bikes on them but last weekend we decided to climb it from the west on the Bucklin Ridge Trail.
We have only climbed a two 4000 footers in Vermont, but were struck both times by the softness and ease of the trails. While parts of the trail are as steep as the ones in New Hampshire and Maine, the forest has more hardwood and the trail has more humus making the footing soft and a pleasure to walk on.
For this trail we hiked in along a stream for two miles before turning away from the stream and beginning our climb. Along the way we met a couple coming down with their seven week baby on his first hike.
Eventually our trail merged with the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail and became much steeper as we headed up the summit cone. I'm not sure how the mom and the baby did the rock scrambling part but apparently they did.
When we emerged onto the peak, it was as if we were in a hurricane--the winds were fierce. Charlie walked around taking pictures of the ski area and the mountain bikers while I engaged in my favorite summit activity--a rock nap.
My 4000 footer totals stand at
Vermont 2 out of the 5
Maine 7 out of 14
New Hampshire 46 out of 48
That will be all the New England hiking for August--we're heading to Sweden, Latvia and Estonia this coming weekend but September and October are great hiking months in New England--so there will be more peaks ahead.