We slept in this morning since we thought we had no chance of making it to Killington before 11 am. We began hiking at 8 am and immediately began our climb of Killington (the mountain, not the town!) The climb started out gradual, but became much steeper as the miles went by! We stopped at a beautiful spring about 2/3 of the way up to refill our water and then continued on up the hill, now getting views to the east.
We reached what is considered the top on the Long Trail at Cooper Lodge Shelter, but the peak of Killington is actually 0.2 miles higher. We climbed up to get the view and reached the top at 10:30. We couldn't believe how quickly we hiked 7 miles this morning! From the top, thru hikers can take a free gondola ride to the resort down the hill. We did this to kill time since we were planning a short day. We found out the post office was actually open until noon and a free bus was coming in less than 5 minutes that drove right by! We hopped on and rode to the post office and the Inn at Long Trail to get a room for the night. We might not have found the Secret Shelter, but our luck today was incredible!
From here, we have an easy day hike of the trail, the Sherburne Pass Trail, up to Pico Peak. Pico is where we were planning to stay tonight, but since we got to town in time we no longer have to camp! We chose to take the blue blazed Sherburne Pass Trail because it is the original and historic Long Trail. It was rerouted in 1999 to the present location down the hill. Since we took the white blaze back in 2012, we decided to blue blaze this time for a change of scenery!
Tonight we will get laundry done and have a beer in the Irish Pub while listening to live Irish music. We have an easy day planned out of town tomorrow to help us adjust to the tougher part of the Long Trail. We say goodbye to the AT in the morning... North to Canada we go!