Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mt. Mansfield Summit

After last night's rain this morning was crisp and sunny! Yesterday's storms had ushered in a cold front! :-)

This morning Dad had some business for the resort they belong to Naples so Mom and I went out to do some stuff. First we went to the Cabot Annex here in Stowe to get the cheese we didn't buy yesterday at the factory. Then we found Lake Champlain Chocolates and had to check that out! Next up was the apple cider place - we'd found a coupon for 6 free doughnuts with $25 purchase so we took our reciept back and got free doughnuts! We stopped back at the campground to pay for our sites - we'd missed the guy yesterday, and signed up for 2 more nights. We were going to go to Burlington for a few nights, but we couldn't find a campground so decided to stay here - it's only 40 miles to Burlington. Last errand was the Post Office and Mom wanted to check out some of the stores in Stowe.

When we got back it was time for lunch...we ate cheese of course! I hadn't found any feta so I just put three different types of cheddar on my salad and it was quite tasty!

After lunch Dad and I headed out to the Auto Road up Mt. Mansfield. Mt. Mansfield is the highest mountain in Vermont! You can drive most of the way to the top via a road that is likely also a ski trail in the winter! You do have to pay, and it's almost as much as driving up Mt. Washington, but you get a bumper sticker here too!

Once you get to the top of the auto road, you still have to hike 1.5 miles, on The Long Trail, to get to the summit of the mountain. The Long Trail is this first long distance hiking trail in the US. It runs the entire length of Vermont and joins with the AT between the Massachusetts border and Killington. The hike to the summit is all exposed, above treeline, over rocks! These rocks are smooth and more flat and bigger than the rocks on Mt. Washington so it was a little bit easier walking, however, the wind was blowing pretty good and that made it more of a challenge to walk!


You had full 360 degree views almost the whole way! We did have to go over several false summits, which involved going up, then down, crossing the saddle and back up again. In several spots we were hiking right on the rocky edge, with the wind blowing. We didn't stay at the summit long, they close the road at 4:00 and you have to leave the top by 4:40. It had taken us almost an hour to walk to the summit, so we felt like we had to hurry back to get down.

We not only left the summit, but were back down at the entrance station by 4:40! We took a drive up and over Smuggler's Notch! What a fun road that is! It's very narrow and twisty and in several places it looks like the road dead ends into a pile of rocks! Just on the other side is Smuggler's Cave. We parked there and got out to explore. There was a neat rock cave that we climbed through! We kinda got stuck though and couldn't get all the way back to the car on the rocks so we had to go back the way we came.

One the way back to the campground we stopped at another local/natural foods store! Since I'd finished my yogurt I was now ready for some local milk. They had a pint from Mansfield Dairy here in Stowe. We pass the farm on our way in and out of town. We can smell the cows from the campground if the wind is just right! That's what I call local milk! :-) And it tastes really good! :-). (Just so you know, it's not raw milk it's been pasteurized and homogenized, so just like grocery store milk, only with flavor!)

After dinner we went back to Stowe for Art on Park, a weekly art show/sale that features local artisans. It was small, but there were plenty of interesting things to look at! We met a photographer who had some great pictures! She had a book of Stowe in all 4 seasons!

Between the abundance of yummy local food, the easily accessible hikes, the art and interesting people, I think Vermont is rapidly becoming a state I'd love to live in! I think my Subaru and I could be very happy here!


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