Thursday, September 20, 2012

Journal: Experiments with Small Critters

Two Towns Later

Leaving Killington and Rutland I felt lazy. The sun was out, the day was warm. After lounging on the grass for half an hour I proceeded up the historic AT at four O'clock. Two routes run through Killington: the present day route skirting Pico Peak and the historic route going to the top of Pico. I took the historic route for views and received the extra bonus of an ice cold spring coming straight from the mountainside, no filtering required. I made ten miles before stopping in the second oldest shelter on the AT. A refreshing twilight bath in the brook made a good day better.

The next day I hiked a few miles until I reached a shelter with a lawn! Needless to say, I spent a few hours enjoying the sun. That was a ten mile day too. But I was ready for the next day. Leaving at 8 AM I hiked quickly and steadily with breaks for swimming and lounging. By 5 I had covered twenty miles. Seven more saw me to the top of Bromley Mountain where I slept in the ski patrol warming hut.

The best part of that day was the twilight hike up Bromley. As the sun set, the woods became darker and darker. I would be nearly turning on my headlamp when the trail ascended sharply. Suddenly, I would be back in the last of the sunlight! This happened five times over the course of an hour and entertained me immensely.

The mice at Spruce Peak shelter, south of Manchester, were the next to entertain me. Dogger and I stayed up most of the night fending them off and saving our food bags from predation. Mice absolutely can cling to silnylon. Very well. Even after making great leaps to land on said silnylon.

The chipmunks at Stratton Pond were no better, constantly making forays to reach food. But they learned; after an hour of chasing off one chipmunk, he would make a start towards the food, see that I was watching, and back off. He was very cute.

Stratton Pond was altogether lovely and the site of my next 26 hours. Hiking around the pond, chatting with the caretaker, meeting dayhikers, catching up on my writing and drowsing in the sun. Not to mention dipping in the cool water. I enjoyed the warm day to the fullest knowing that the warm weather is ending. Sure enough, I hiked out in the cold rain the next day. Since then it has been fairly chilly, enough that I am wearing hat and gloves in the morning. Tonight will probably be cold too and I have to head out of town while I still can. Toodles!

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