Friday, July 28, 2017

Hiking Vermont

Moving off the boat for 6 days was super exciting and alot of work to get both her ready to leave and get packed and organised. We ended up taking nearly all dirty clothes as the hotel had a laundry so we thought we might as well, we also took our left over frozen chicken which we steamed in the microwave for our packed lunches - always the cruising sailors!! Andrew had a load of hotel points that needed to be used up - we had planned to take 2 nights in New York but instead got 5 in Vermont - super cool! The hotel had a heated pool and hot tub and we got an upgraded room with a huge bed - it was perfect. We stayed in the small town of Waterbury which was so pretty, had some great restaurants, good brew pubs and was centrally located the green mountains for some fab hiking. (It's also famous for being the home of Ben and Jerry's - which drew a huge crowd - but not us!!)

Waterbury train station

River view in Waterbury
We quickly found the Green Mountain Club visitor centre - they are the stewards of the Long Trail, which is the oldest long distance hiking trial in the United States and runs the full length of the state to Canada. The whole trial takes 20-30 days so we hoped to do some parts of it, plus the three highest peaks in Vermont.
The Green Mountain Club
We picked up our maps and spotted a cider house on the side of the road - what we found that cider here is apple juice and hard cider is the stuff which contains alcohol. It was pretty good too.
Map Reading with a Hard Cider
Our first day on the tops and it was so rainy the woman in the national park office thought we were totally mad going out for a hike. We set off to climb The Chin in Mount Mansfield National Park - Mount Mansfield is the highest peak but you can drive to the top or take a cable car, so we opted to avoid that side. The good news was there was no one else out there and it wasn't too cold but as we got higher the winds were just so strong it became dangerous so for the first time ever we turned back on a mountain summit attempt.
Hold onto your hat stuff

Tough going on our first day hiking
We returned to the park and opted to return to the hotel for a soak in the hot tub, we met a lovely Canadian family and then crashed in the room with internet TV and a meal I bought from the boat - cheap night!!

The next day the weather was quite a bit better and we climbed Mount Hunger (3540 ft) - it was a straight up and down climb which was a bit challenging for our old knees but the scenery and views were spectacular, complete with a Waterfall and wildlife.

Mount Huner - quite steep at the top

From the top of Mount Hunger

Chip Munk

Not sure what he was
That night we had a dinner reservation at Hen of the Wood - a restaurant we found randomly and oh my gosh what a find - this was the best meal I have had since we arrived in the US; coupled with an incredible setting and perfect service. It was so good we made a restoration to come back on our last night in Vermont.

Wednesday was the Camels Hump, which involved part of the Long Trial and yes the knees were painful but we couldn't miss this one - such an iconic Mountain in the area.
Off we go again!!

View from Camels Hump

Selfie from the top

The Hump

A rest near the bottom
Beer is a big deal in Vermont and there was so much to choose from, some beers are so famous they limit how much one person can buy like Heady Topper - we found this amazing beer store that had so many to choose from and even pour their own Growlers - Andrew was in his element.

Beer Galore
For our last day hiking the rain returned so we opted for a gentle walk in Little River National Park - a nice loop that went through old settlements and a saw mill including a few remnants along the way. This was a great camping area too right on a reservoir. We called into the Cabot Factory Shop on the way home and picked up some good cheese - although their slogan have the 'best cheddar in the world' was a bit questionable..... some of the people we met in store didn't know Cheddar was a place?!?

Little River State Park

An old engine on the walk
That night it poured with rain but it let up just a bit to allow us to get out to Hen of the Wood again for a warm welcome back. Honestly if you are in the area you have to try this place set in an old mill - such good food.
Waterfall at the Hen of the Wood
We stocked up on fantastic Vermont produce at the Hunger Mountain Coop and made it safely back to Kittery Maine, crossing the fast running river at Piscataqua Bridge - we hadn't seen a Moose in Vermont so I was excited to find one at the Kittery Trading Post!


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