This morning Mom & Dad and I were parting ways. They were headed west into New York to take a few days to catch up on the real life stuff - bills, emails, haircuts, etc - that they'd be neglecting while we were playing before meeting up with friends from Florida to keep playing and I was heading home, but in still had a few stops planned!
There was rain in the forecast for today and it showed up with a vengeance this morning! I'd checked the forecast before I got out of bed and it said there were storms in NY headed our way. I attempted to eat breakfast at the picnic table but I was just starting my coffee when I heard a rumble of thunder and decided I'd better unhook and stuff before it started to rain. I barely made it! I had to put my bike on in the rain! The rain came hard and heavy for a few minutes and then let up so I took the trash to the dumpster and went to say goodbye to Mom and Dad. While I was there the downpour began again! We looked at the radar and the really heavy stuff was not far behind and they still needed to hook up the jeep, so we said a quick goodbye and then quickly got on the road.
I was heading down VT100 all the way to Jamacia. Even in the pouring rain Vermont is a nice state to drive in! It didn't start raining until I was out of Waterbury, but when it did it was pouring!
My first stop was The Vermont Country Store in Weston. The Vermont Country Store says that they are "purveyors of the hard to find" and we used to get their catalog and it was always filled with interesting stuff. I was looking forward to a visit to their store.
When I got there the rain had stopped. Of course it did, a perfect indoor rainy day activity and now it wasn't raining. I took my raincoat just in case. The Vermont County Store is definitely something! They had so much stuff - penny candy, specialty foods, rugs, sheets, clothing, toys, books, speciality bath products, you name it, they had it! They also had displays of old appliances and cooking tools! It was a fun store to stroll through, but I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to get there.
Across the street is the Weston Country Market, or something like that. They are clearly trying to compete with the Vermont Country Store and not doing a very good job! That store was full of tacky touristy crap. I got bored quickly and decided to try and find something else to do.
I decided to head to Machester, maybe they had some nice stores or a place for a walk or bike ride. The weather was continuing to improve so when I spotted the spot where the AT/LT crossed VT11 I pulled in and parked. I knew there was a hike there that I wanted to do - Bromley Summit - but it was three miles one way, then I'd have to walk back. I wasn't sure I had time - or enough good weather - for six miles, but I decided to just hike out a bit and then come back.
The trail was really easy! Wide and flat, gentle elevation gain, no rocks to climb over. I found myself moving along pretty quickly and I realized that a 6 mile walk was really just a three hour deal if I kept moving.
About halfway up I passed a couple and we got to talking. They are both teachers and they live in the area. They said that in their district the average class size is 12-15. The teachers get grumpy if they have more than 18 kids. Vermont seems to begging me to move here! ;-)
Soon I came to a sign that said the summit was 1 mile away! The trail got steeper after that! Just when I was thinking that I had to be almost there the trail came out of the woods into a clearing. There was a sign that said "Bromley Summit 0.3". The last three tenths of a mile were up the ski trail! It was crazy steep and long. No rocks, smooth terrain, but straight up! Finally I got to the top! There used to be a tower up there but they had to take it down because it was structurally unsafe. Now all that's up there is the top of the ski lift, a warming hut and the trail! I wonder what folks do if they are hiking when the ski resort is in operation? You can't just hike up a ski trail when there are skiers!
The hike back down was easy, but not as fast. I stopped to chat with two AT thru-hikers and soon was back at the van. It was 1:15 when I started up and I was back at the van heading out by 4! 6 mile hike in under three hours!
Now it was time to move on to Jamacia State Park where I was hoping to get a site! I couldn't make a one night reservation, but the guy had told me he had lots of sites. But first, a stop at the local IGA for Ben & Jerry's. Nightly ice cream is going to be a hard habit to break!
Jamacia State Park is very nice! They have about 40 sites, all wooded and secluded. No hook ups. They gave me a map with the available sites circled and sent me off to pick one. I'm in site 13 - big and wide, not as level as it could be, but centrally located, easy in and easy out! After I parked I had to go back up to the office to pay so I took the bike off to ride up there. On the way back I discovered that there's a Rail to Trail path right in the campground! I rode 1.5 miles down it - it's lovely! The West River flows beside it and there are rocks and pine trees on the other side! I wanted to ride further but it was getting close to dinner time and I was worried it would rain again. Hopefully if it's not rainy tomorrow morning I can go a little further.
Before I went back to the van I wanted to check out the swimming area. It was a beach area right at a wide spot in the river! It looked lovely so I went back to the van and got my bathing suit on! (This is now the 6th time I changed clothes today...having everything with you all the time is a blessing and a curse!) The water was cold and the sun had sank below the mountain so it wasn't a good time for swimming. I didn't get my hair wet even, but I did wash the mud off my calves from hiking!
I rode my bike back to the van, taking a loop around the entire campground. My shoes were wet from rinsing off the sand so I just changed into lounging PJs (clothes change number 7!) and ate dinner in the van so I wouldn't get more sand on everything! I did kinda want to walk the campground before it got dark but I was already over 20k steps for the day so decided I could sit and enjoy my book and my ice cream!