The sunlight hit my tent and it was time to get up, the deli awaits! We hiked down the mountain we had just slept on and it wasn't a bad hike down-in the morning. We got to the river and found it was a great spot to stealth camp, but I was more than happy with our decision to stay at the top of the mountain last night. From the bridge it was only a minute or two before we were at the road. We spent a little time hitching but in no time we had a ride from Meme and we were thankful. She was on her way to work and brought us into Rutland to the Yellow Deli. The storefront was adorable and I was excited. I started with a strawberry smoothie and Lynn got a green drink. We both got egg sandwiches and everything was great. I noticed a familiar face at the counter and I tried to think of where I knew him from. It wasn't until about 20 minutes later I realized he was the mate tea guy from Trail Days! He and I made a deal that if I remembered his name I would get something and he was to remember my name too but I don't think that got him anything. How generous of me, his name was Asher and mine Ashlee. I went up to the hostel to stamp our passports and met him up there; I asked if he remembered me, and he said kind of. I explained the history and he said it sounds familiar, I told him his name and then asked mine. He couldn't remember until I told him it was a name that sounded like his and he questioned Ashlee? Correct! He gave me 20% off our bill which was pretty awesome. I went back down to the deli to order a sandwich for lunch; I got roast beef and swiss on pumpernickel with lettuce and cucumber and mayo on the side. We hung out charging our phones for awhile and talking with Turbo who is from Hamden, CT the town I lived in this past year! He then said that he knew someone that could bring us back to the trail if we wanted, and we were all for it. He introduced us to Icarus who upon telling him we were thru hikers threw us a nip each, I got coconut rum and cream and Lynn got Peppermint schnapps! How fun. He said how he could bring us in an hour after he dropped some other hikers, that put us getting back out at noontime which was later than I wanted but Lynn had to run to the drugstore anyways so we agreed. We walked down to RiteAid but they didn't have what she wanted so I hung out at the park while she went to CVS. It was so relaxing just laying on a park bench, I kept having the scenario of a cop chasing me away thinking I was a bum though. Luckily this did not happen. We waited for Icarus and then he drove us back to the trailhead where we were almost 4 hours ago. After hiking on, we came to another trail magic pulley-either people in Vermont are very generous and we are missing it-or they like to play tricks on thru hikers; I am hoping the first. There was a detour so we were to walk on the road for a couple miles and I was not happy about this. Road walks are so boring and pointless, we sat and I ate the other half of my sandwich while Lynn ate her lunch. A pickup drove by, hmmm I wonder if we can get a hitch for the detour? Lynn was skeptical, then another truck drove by; "but we haven't finished eating." I was at my last bite of sandwich and a new Ford pickup pulled down the road, she said "no not this one" why? Before I could decided to flag him down or not, he pulled up beside us to talk and then I threw it out there, "hey, would you mind driving us down the road for the detour?" "Not a problem he said." I threw our packs and poles in the bed of the truck and then sat up front. I always sit up front when we hitch since I carry my knife on me and it is safer to have one in front than both of us in the back. His name was Andy and he was a really nice guy who had just moved to the area. He even invited us to a cookout that evening but we had plans to camp on top of Killington tonight. The ride was all of about 5 minutes but we all talked the whole time. We were so grateful for Andy's hospitality of driving us that small distance (to a vehicle) but far distance to a hiker. From the edge of the woods we knew we had a climb ahead of us, a ski mountain to be exact. It was later in the day and I was exhausted, and thirsty. Lynn stopped to get water but I didn't want to carry the extra weight up the mountain; I pushed on up. I would tell myself, "just two more hours," "an hour and a half, "one more hour," "45 minutes," "half hour" and so on. It was a long, and steep up, and just when you thought you were close; there was more. Finally I saw the tower and lodge in the distance...crap I am still going there. The terrain leveled out and it was just walking instead of climbing, but still I wanted to be there. Then I saw the shelter, which meant just .2 to the top of the mountain to our stealth campsite. Ha, just .2 of the steepest rockiest terrain. I went down at the shelter to get some water from the spring and ran into Preacher who I haven't seen since that freezing 20 degree night in Georgia. I then hauled my water up to the top of Killington. Halfway through I debated is this really worth it? I made it to the top and it was all rock...not really stealth worthy. I took some photos and almost got knocked over by three pitbulls who ran up to me barking. I remembered Turbo was telling Lynn and I that the J Trail lead to the gondola and lodge and there would be some stealth camping there. The sunset was overcast and non-existent so I walked down the J Trail, and further, and further. Finally I came out to the gondola platform and was excited to call this my home for the night. The weather was turning cloudy but I was still able to snap some good mountain photos from my personal gondola. I texted Lynn to let her know I was tenting on the platform and started dinner. I enjoyed dinner, my nip of rum, and got a text saying Lynn is stealthed under the pines she had set up when she didn't see me so we would catch up in the morning. I loved being on the platform, not to mention there was a trashcan so I didn't have to carry out any of my dinner trash which was nice. I relocated my tent to under the gondola cover incase it did rain tonight and that was a good choice on my part since it did, but being so high up the wind blew the rain under anyways. Goodnight Killington Ski Mountain.
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