Saturday, July 25, 2009

Last Day on the AT

Sisters at the Wintturi Shelter

Enjoying Lunch at the Shelter

I had asked my nephew Matthew to do an AT section with me while I was in Vermont. He was free the last day of the conference. My sister and brother-in-law asked to join us. I decided the section from Green Gate Road to Vermont 12 would work well because the guide book stated there was a 400 foot elevation gain if one walked from south to north. The elevation diagram on the map showed a climb at the very beginning of the hike and then a long, gradual walk down to Route 12. The section is near Woodstock, VT, not that far from Matt's home in NH.

We met in downtown Woodstock, shuttled the cars and walked up an old woods road to access the AT. It was a bit of a climb up to the trail and the insects were out in force so we stopped to catch our breath and apply insect repellent. Soon we were at the ridge line and saw the first blaze. We continued to climb, passed a lookout rock that didn't have much of a view and then started down toward the Wintturi Shelter, about .2 mile off the trail. It was time for lunch and we spent about a half hour eating and relaxing.

According to the guidebook, the shelter was built in 1994 to replace an older structure with the same name. It is named for longtime trail maintainer Mauri Wintturi and is maintained by the Green Mountain Club. It has wooden sheathing and a metal roof and would be a dry spot to spend the night. The notes on the wall are distances to spots on the trail both north and south. Every shelter has a notebook where hikers make comments or leave messages for those who might be a day or two behind them. I always like to make a note myself to commemorate the fact that I stopped there.

Leaving the shelter we expected a 3.8 mile gradual downhill walk to Vermont Route 12. At least that's what the guidebook said. Much of the walk was downhill, but near the end there were three sizable "bumps" which required uphill pushes just when we were getting tired. We were rewarded by some good views of Mt. Ascutney at the top of one of them, but Virginia in particular, felt betrayed by the guide book. And she had every right to feel that way.

We did finish and were fortunate that it did not rain on us. Here we are entering the parking lot at the end of the trail.

Virginia and Tom crossing the bridge to the parking lot

In front of the signpost in the parking lot at Route 12

Total mileage for the day: 6.1, 5.4 AT miles.

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