For being so high up, it wasn't terribly windy or cold which was a good thing, but the wind did still blow the rain around. I woke up to a white foggy morning, you would never even know I was on top of a mountain since you couldn't see 10 feet in front of you. My tent was soaked and I just wanted to lay in my tent until the sun shined. I texted Lynn asking if she was meeting me or if we were going back the way we came (I knew I didn't want to go down the way I came up) and it turns out she didn't want to either. I lounged around since I knew I had more time since she was coming to me, I packed up my whole bag other than my tent and sat inside stretching. Then I found the hikers only gondola and it was open so I put all of my gear in the gondola to try and dry off what was already wet, and keep it from getting more wet. I then tried to air out the rain fly and I was almost going to chase it down the ski slope. I gave up on that idea and just put everything in the gondola and sat inside to dry out and stretch. Luckily I was paying attention because Lynn was about to walk down without me. I opened the gondola and yelled her name, she came up and joined me inside. I finished putting on my shoes and we were ready to figure out how to get down. At this point I was ready to just walk down one of the ski slopes, we walked over to the lodge but that opened at 10:30. We then saw a little sign that said all hikers this way, so we followed it to a series of stairs. How convenient! The morning was dead silent with fog and we ventured down the manmade stairs that made going down the mountain so easy. Would they have these all the way down? We then got to another ski lift, now what? Lynn figured we should try and walk left to catch back up with the Appalachian Trail since we had come up and over on the other side. From the ski lift we walked left to a boundary sign and not even 5 minutes later we saw the shelter from the night before! Your telling me, that I could have walked up stairs to where I camped last night instead of a vertical rock wall?! Thanks AWOL for the note of the easier route...not. Either way, we were back on track and safe which is all that matters! Now to make our way down Killington, man I hope it is not as bad as going up. Luckily it wasn't, it was less steep and more gradual and just a lot of roots and mud. It was a long process but eventually we were down to another main road that took us to Rutland. It was one of those days where I was just not feeling what was around me, or the hike itself. I was just walking and not embracing. I looked at the map, and thought up a plan. What if we see if Icarus could pick us up and bring us into town for lunch? I called him, but seems he was in Lincoln, NH. We decided to try and hitch, a few cars passed, one guy stopped but wasn't going where we were looking to go. He said that the Inn was just up the road though that we could walk, hello; I walk everywhere, I don't want to walk to the restaurant. At the trailhead a man flagged us down and said he could drive us, we hopped in and per usual I sat in front. He asked me to open a box that he thought would be cookies and so I took out my knife and cut it open. His wife or girlfriend must have sent him the package since he put the card away to read later and opened up the cookies for us. He took two, Lynn took some and I took two; and then we were at the Inn at the Long Trail. They had little hooks outside for our packs to hang, and we went inside to the Irish pub for some lunch. I got Woodchuck Cider, and a corned beef sandwich we still had like 8 miles to go and it was getting late. This plan wasn't figuring out quite well unless we were going to skip a little bit. Engineer joined us and he was sick with a cold, why doesn't it figure in hiker's heads "hey I'm sick, I probably shouldn't hang around other hikers." No it's more like, "hey I'm sick, let me go where everyone else is." We had a good lunch, a light buzz, and ventured out into the dreary weather. There was a .5 side trail that connected the Inn with the Appalachian Trail so we hiked up rocks back to the trail. I started to feel a little off, not sure if it was from eating and hiking right away, or not having enough water, but I just felt like not walking anymore. I expressed my concearn when we got to the campground and Lynn said well we can stay here, or find a stealth, and then it started to rain. I wasn't sure what we should do, I didn't want to pay to camp at this campground, but a stealth is not always promised either, she said at this point I think we should just go back to the Inn and stay the night to get out of this rain. So your telling me, you want to go back to where we were for lunch 45 minutes ago? It was now a steady rain and when we got to the road our thumbs were out. I didn't have my rain jacket on and after a little I was quite wet and cold, seems no one picks up a hiker in the rain! We switched to the other side of the road thinking maybe going to Killington would be better with more stuff to do in the area, still no luck with someone stopping. Then, a Cadillac pulled over and a young guy asked where we were going, we said Killington and he said we were on the wrong side of the road. Shit. We asked if he recognized the name of another hostel I wanted to go to and he wasn't sure where it was, he was meeting his friend in 10 minutes and couldn't bring us there but he knew there was lodging the way he was headed and if it was the name I gave him he would turn around and get us. We didn't see the Cadillac again, guess it wasn't the same place. We got back on the other side of the road, the side we originally started on and tried again, nothing. We decided to start walking in that direction since there should be an outfitter and we could try there, up the road we walked in the rain and no sight of the outfitter. We stood to hitch from here and I put on my rain jacket, a car finally pulled up in front of us before we realized they had stopped, we ran up and got in. She was in her last year of college and decided to pick us up since we looked safe. Thankfully we had a ride! We went to the hostel I wanted to try but seems they had no room, guess we will be staying at the Inn after all. She was so kind to drive us to the Inn and once we got there we learned they didn't have any hiker rooms left that they only had a suite. For $130 this suite included a gas fireplace, mini fridge, queen size bed, and television. How romantic, guess we have no choice to take this overpriced room-and so we did. We got to room 16, opened the door and it was like I stepped back to a cabin motel from the 70's, awesome...not really. I turned on the fireplace and we placed our wet shoes and socks around the base, it was on a timer and it ticked like a toaster oven. I hopped in the shower and was scared by the mold on the ceiling but the hot water felt great. It was so nice to be inside, warm, and dry instead of miserable walking and then in a tent that night. I hung out on the couch for awhile reading, texting, and enjoying the fire while Lynn was on the phone. It was past 8:00 when I advised we go get dinner at the pub, we walked in to find No Rush, Mailman, Engineer, Puzzle, and a section couple at a table; we joined them. At lunch Engineer got the stew and it looked really good so I started off with a cup of that which was really good, and then a veggie burger with bacon and cheddar which was not as good. We stayed and hung out for awhile and then headed back to the room where I continued to read while Lynn headed to bed. She got news that her daughter Paige, and son-in-law would be meeting her at Katahdin which is exciting! So happy and thankful to be inside, even if I never make it to Maine at this rate!
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