We woke up early this morning at the shelter due to it being packed and people packing up as early as 5:30. I had a hard time waking up and felt a little queasy from all the sugar I’d had yesterday. We left out around 8 and had an uphill to start our day. We climbed up slowly and walked through a few farms before coming to a long detour due to the damage caused by Hurricane Irene last year. Despite warnings the trail was closed, we’d heard it was easily walkable still. I’m glad we trusted our instincts as the trail was the most beautiful we’d seen yet in Vermont. The damage to the valley was evident and amazing. You could see where entire hillsides had washed away and rivers had flowed over. We also reached an important milestone- the 500 miles left mark! We took photos with the sign and moved on to cross another steam, this one where a bridge had washed away along with the road! It was a little harder to cross, but not too bad. We walked up to the Governor Clement shelter and had lunch before beginning our long, steady uphill of Shrewsbury/Killigton Peak. Up and up and up we went for two hours before reaching the Cooper Lodge shelter, which looked more like a cabin. We met up with Secrets and Shenanigans and found out that the steep 0.2 mile side trail behind the shelter lead up to a gondola! We climbed it (seriously, I was on my hands and knees it was so steep) and were treated to the most amazing view I’d seen yet in Vermont! We followed the hiking trail down to the gondola and then rode down to the bike store. We caught a ride down to Killington to get out drop boxes. Nokey’s box didn’t show so we decided to go stay at Inn at Long Trail to wait it out. Secrets, Shenanigans, Dirty Girl, and Shaggy were all there as well. We had a lot of fun catching up with Dirty Girl since we hadn’t seen him in nearly 700 miles! We all had dinner at the pub and took hot showers before calling it a night way too late (after 10 pm!) The photo is the view from Killington Peak.