Today I couldn't decide where to hike and finally decided to cross over into Vermont and climb Pico Peak and Killington Peak. It was a gorgeous day. Cold in the monring (it was 29 degrees F in Saranac Lake).
I arrived at the trailhead on Route 3 at 9 AM. I would be hiking south on the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail hitting Pico first. At 9:15 I was on the trail. First thing I saw was a warning sign about dogs and porcupines. I kept her really close! We didn't want to have to de-quill her.
|A good warning sign!|
The climb was gradual and I passed through quite a large birch forest before arriving at the Churchill Scott shelter at the 2 mile mark. The shelter is on a spur trail just a couple hundred yards off the main trail. The shelter is a nice one. It is post and beam with the gable facing forward. It is not all caved up like some are.
Rev and I came across several folks on the trail. One guy was through hiking the Long Trail after having done the entire AT in 2011.
|The birch forest|
Eventully we reached the side trail for Pico Peak. We turned to climb that peak first. After .5 miles, we came to the Pico Camp. It is a comfortable building and has nice new windows and a new door.
|... the inside|
From Pico Camp, it is a steep .3 miles to the summit. At the summit are lots of communications towers and the ski lift, but there are also some great views.
|Killington from Pico Peak|
Rev and I had a little food and water on Pico before taking the spur back to the Long Trail. We then continued south towards Killington. .2 miles before the summit of Killington, we arrived at the Cooper shelter. This one didn't look so nice to me. It's a large stone structure with a stone floor inside and it just felt old and cold and clammy.
|Zooming in on the base of Killington|
At the summit of Killington is once again quite a lot of communications equipment. There is a firetower, but you can't access it.
The weather was just perfect. It was in the 50's on the summit with a light breeze.
The return hike was the reverse of the climb. Shortly after taking the Killington spur trail back to the Long Trail, I overtook a hiker who is in the process of through hiking the LT. He said he has been on the trail for a week.
We ended up walking together the 6 miles back to my car. I then gave him a lift to the Inn on the Long Trail which was just one mile east on Route 4 from where I had parked. It saved him an uphill walk on the road. He was going to stay there 2 nights and return to the trail on Sunday.
All and all, this was a nice hike. The trail conditions were great (not nearly as much mud as in the Adirondacks) . The weather was great, and the unexpected hiking company was great.
|My route for the day|
Hike Distance: 14.4 miles
Hike Time: 7 hours (including stops)
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 3200'