Dirt in your skirt blog

Four Peaks

Posted on March 27, 2012 by Margaret Schlachter

Sunday, my first day in about a month in which I did not have a work obligation. I spent most of the morning in bed being lazy. Yes, I can be lazy too. It was raining outside so I was not in a rush to head out onto the trails. I had concocted an idea in my head for a run/hike not knowing the distance or the elevation gain and loss.

I packed up my backpack with a variety of nutrition options, filled my camelpak with about 100ml of water, overkill yes. I grabbed a water bottle to hold as I went in my hand. I pulled on my favorite pair of CW-X insulator long tights, a thermal top and donned my blue ninja top. I put a windbreaker in my back and took off. I had no desired time goal to reach and no known distance I would be traveling. The freedom of this excursion made for half of the fun.

I started off heading up the old pipeline work road which connects Killington and Pico after the initial steep accent the travel leveled out and was a gradual incline for a couple miles. I reached the familiar spot on the Sherburne trail and made my way to the top. The weather was odd as I was engulfed in the misty fog. I felt at times I was off in a foreign land and waiting for an unknown creature to emerge from the mist. Pico would be my first peak of the day.

I continued on past the Pico Cabin and abandoned relic from when the Long Trail use to go through this area. It is now kept up by local people who enjoy it in the summers. The Sherburne Trail links up with the AT/LT and would bring me over the next three miles down technical trail to Coopers Cabin. Along this path I saw a couple wild turkeys and a few other birds kept my senses heightened. Everyone always tells me I am going to run into a bear when I head off into the woods so I am always ready. In the thick mist I could not see off the ridge line but could feel the drop off. It was here I could feel the elevation start to increase as the patches of snow became larger and larger.

As I passed Coopers, a cabin maintained for thru-hikers and a local hangout for ski bums in the winter looking for a respite from the mountain for an afternoon beverage, I saw the remnants of a winter of fun. The snow melt uncovers all the treasures from the winter. I continued up to the peak. This was the most technical section of the climb a rock scramble at which felt at times straight up! I reached my second peak of the day. K1 Peak on Killington the second highest peak in Vermont. The fog was thick and the wind was wiping. My time at the summit was brief.

I headed down and descended the stairway down to the top of the glades. I was back on the ski resort, albeit the closed part of the resort. This was the most fun part of the adventure running down the soft corn snow still laying on the trail. It made me feel like a kid free flying down the trail. This was my first adventure back on the mountain without skis on since the fall. As I got onto the  #2 trail I was really feeling like I was coming back home.

This part of the mountain and I have an intimate relationship. The one thing I failed to realize was just how much snow was left on certain parts of this bike trail. As I post holed my way through this part of the trail I placed each step gingerly until I hit a spot of dry trail. Truly this was a first time I think dry trail can be found on Killington in March. Still very much in the misty fog I emerged from the woods feet from the top of Superstar where skiers were taking some of their last runs of the year. I had reached my third peak of the day. Instead of disturbing their day I carried on with my run/hike down the work road I know oh so well.

I had to duck under a couple ropes remnants of trails which a week ago were still open. One crawl under the stash fences and some more open trail I found myself at the top of Bear Mountain. This time I did not let the creatures known as skiers alone. I had to reach my forth peak of the day and the only way to do so was to stay stare the trail with the skiers and boarders. I have shared the trail with bikers, hikers, snowmobiles and a variety of other activities but skiers and boarders this was a first. I can tell you I was a site to them. The two men I spoke with briefly at the top dropped their jaws when I told them where I had been. At this point I was about three or so hours into the adventure.

As I ran down the side of the trail a friend skied up next to me, only me would have someone I know ski up next to me in the fog. Quickly and thankfully the open swath of snow and myself diverged. I was back on the trail alone a bit in shock at how much snow we had lost so fast. I ran down past the top of Snowshed then over and around to the base area of Killington. I continued on through the parking lots, past Snowdon quad, and down to the base of Ramshead. I was back on the road for the last stretch before home.

As I approached home I looked down at my watch I had traveled just over a half marathon in four hours and hit four different peaks. When I got inside and uploaded all the information off my GPS I had ascended over 3,000 feet and descended over 3,000 feet over those last couple of hours. Feeling pretty happy I took the rest of the day to rest. Sometimes the best training days are the ones where time and distance aren’t even really part of the picture. It is when you get home you can see your accomplishments.