Day 9 - Long Trail

 

We got up and moving before 7:30 this morning, an early start for our first full day in the more difficult terrain of northern Vermont.  We immediately began climbing Bloodroot Mountain and down into Wetmore Gap (aptly named due to the dew covering everything!) and then began a gentle climb of Farr Peak.  It was then an easy and wide road-like walk down to Sunrise Shelter, our first stop of the morning.  From here, we had a really great view of our first big rocky peak, Mt. Horrid, and the Great Cliffs.  

 NoKey on the Great Cliffs

NoKey on the Great Cliffs

 

The climb up Mt. Horrid evoked imagery of dragons guarding castles with princesses locked away in towers, but it wasn't that exciting!  We had a tough climb up, but the trail has been maintained very well and we flew up it to the side trail to the cliffs.  The extra 0.2 miles we added to our day were totally worth it for this amazing view!  

 

From here, we still had to finish climbing Mt. Horrid, which we decided was named this because of the three false summits, and then made the climb up to Cape Lookout Peak.  We had a beautiful view of the valley below before heading down and then quickly up Romance Mountain before coming down to the Sucker Brook shelter.  

Since it was only 1:30 it was too early to stop, but we couldn't make it to the next shelter 8 miles away.  We looked at our map and decided on a point called Lake Pleiad and hoped it wasn't a bog.  First though, we had to climb Worth Mountain, which had a few false summits of its own, and then come down into the Middlebury Snow Bowl, a ski area just outside the wilderness we had been hiking through most of our day.  The ski slopes afforded us beautiful views of our hiking tomorrow through the Vermont Presidential range and we saw the first hikers coming southbound we had seen all day.  They let us know that Lake Pleiad was beautiful for camping AND swimming, which sounded great to us because we had been sweating most of the day.

 The view from a ski slope

The view from a ski slope

 

We got to the camping area and are spending the night with 2014 AT thru hikers Lost Boy and Messy, Messy's cousin, and a father and son from Pennsylvania. We all took a dip in the lake and ate huge dinners before calling it a night.  We are all prepping for rain in the morning since they're calling for a 100% chance all day... Yikes!