Post your trip reports in the comments or I'll just copy and paste from emails. All comments will be posted here on the main article once we get them all out there.

Speed's Trip Report:

I just wanted to share some after thoughts of the VT 50…

1) I should have bought a single level home….stairs SUCK

2) I look (and feel) pretty darn good when I'm standing/sitting still

3) I now know what a punching bag must feel like…but for some odd reason I feel better than I did after the Pemi Wilderness run.

4) Zucker is immortal…I would still be somewhere on the trail right now soaking wet, curled up with a warm sheep, and crying for mommy had I attacked the 50 miler.

5) Thanks to Nate for making me think twice and choosing the 50k race. I couldn't have had a better day. Also thanks for getting out ahead of me and giving me something to chase…I wouldn't have finished sub-7 without it.

6) And last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST…Anna…you were the true hero of the day! You and little Nate filled the shoes of many by supporting the whole group with gear, smiles, and encouragement….thanks again for hitting me in face when I started to cry at the first handler aid station…I needed that ;)

Happy healing everyone!

Mutha's Trip Report:
I woke up at 2:30am on race day (alarm was set for 4:30) to the sound of rain on the tarp. I lay there in the dark thinking "why am i doing this?". I fell asleep and dreamed that I called it off while complaining about my sore this and sore that, and just went home. Then my alarm went off and I sat up, still thinking I had called off the race. The PM & Speed were still asleep (their race started at 8am, mine at 6:40). Because of my dream and the rain I was in kind of a dark mood - feeling like this was really a dumb idea. I got to the Ascutney base lodge early and hung out chatting with some other runners, trying to keep an eye out for Gilbert during the pre-race instructions - never found him, even when the cyclists were lining up at the start (Andy, I was standing under the awning outside). The race started in cold drizzle in the early twilight and I was NOT psyched:
  • Anna & Dove were at the bottom of the hill, cheering and shouting in the rain. That was the coolest. It elevated my mood tremendously. They were at two other stations (miles 12-ish and 32-ish) and both times it was just the best in the world.
  • I started passing busted bikes early but I didn't start passing functional cyclists until after mile 12. I guess most of them ended up passing me again. I don't know how many DNF'd while still pedaling, but the two bikers who were told they were the last to make it were yo-yo-ing me until the end. Both dnf'd.
  • The late morning up to Garvin Hill (g-$$$!!) was the best. There was little wind (until the hilltop) and the countryside was filled with silver-grey fog and drizzle. The foliage was beautiful and the scene was undulating hills, horse farms, old maples, well-kept stone walls and fences and stunning barns. This was one of the most scenic runs ever. I kept imagining it was the western british islands. Even the runs through forest and fields were beautifully planned out. We went though many well maintained forests - high canopies, open ground and great visibility.
  • The top of Garvin Hill: wind, quickly chilling bodies, but FREAKING SOUP!! (that was cool). It was too salty so watered mine down w/ Heed. They had salty potatoes and cheese sandwiches.
  • Ran with a chatty guy from Jersey who after 45min of non-stop talking took a face-plant in the mud. I was thinking 'hmm, that shut him up' and 10 seconds later i slid into home. Actually, the guy was cool- just chatty. He was an "I'm in it for the fun!" kind of guy, but he was a very experienced ultra-runner and cyclist and eventually took off.
  • Mile 20: first time i was alone. runners were stretched thin enough that didn't see anyone in front or behind. extraordinarily peaceful.
  • Drizzle changed to rain. Rain. It was actually cold, freaking rain.
  • Mile 32, 1:35pm. Still going strong. Anna and Dove at the aid station. Felt highly upbeat because I was on target for 11 hours.
  • For the next 15 miles, slippery single-track and worse-than-Jay mud. I had a few toe-stabs that yanked my tender groin-strain, exacerbating the pain - but it didn't actually effect my stride, just when I slipped. The sore muscle is important in holding back a sideways split which was a common event so I slowed the pace down to a walk and made the decision at mile 39-ish station to bail out of the race - I had sore hamstrings (who didn't?!?), but had a lot of physical energy. The worst part was that I don't know how to do the off-camber mud descents and stay on my feet. I didn't feel agile and was just skating in my running shoes and bouncing off the trees to avoid falls and splits/stumbles. I ran where I could but was only averaging 3mi/hr. In dry conditions I could've averaged 5.
  • I shouldn't say I 'bail out'. What I did was make the decision to stay within my footing comfort zone and hoped for a 12hr finish. In fact when the "5 miles to go" sign popped up on the way to station 10 I got the idea I could make it before the cutoff, figured I'd give it my best shot and actually passed four runners and a biker in just two miles. One young woman was kind of disillusioned and I tried to motivate her but eventually just ran on. When I hit the driveway leading up to the station at about 6:05 I could see they were already packing up the supplies and I knew it was over. Luckily the food/water/soda was still out so I chowed down while more runners were coming in.
  • One woman who arrived 5 minutes after me was so upset she started to cry - she'd flown in from Atlanta for the race.
  • I was actually really pumped and laughing and joking. The Georgia woman asked me why I wasn't upset and why I was so cheery. I said "because I did an awesome 47 mile backcountry run in hellish conditions". I gave her my coke and she cried some more.
  • Got back to the finish line at 6:40 - 12 hours after the start. I went up to the finish to watch runners come in and look for the rest of the gang. No luck. Got some food, chatted with other runners and walked around looking for everyone. I figured there must've been no point in them waiting there so changed in the car and headed back to look for them at the campsite. Nobody. Packed up tent in the dark w/ a headlamp.
  • Highlights: the miles of endless switchbacks of slick mud between station 9 and 10; the mud-pit: 2ft deep, 6ftx10ft muddy water insult; the wet, peanut-butter-covered class IV roads (what douchebag doesn't use Sta-Mat???); drinking coke in a dixie-cup = WIN; hot soup = WIN; whiners = FAIL. Bikers getting on and off their bikes, dragging all the metal through mud-pits for mile after mile after mile after mile after mile.
A Final Note: I decided at mile 12-ish that if I couldn't smile, laugh and joke I was in it for the wrong reasons. When I do these adventures with you guys it's all about the fun. So I slapped myself around a little and actually joked and happily greeted everyone I met. A trio of older folk were out on their lawn on one steep road ascent and whenever they say a runner appear at the bottom of their hill they started banging drums in time with the runner's footfalls. They were wearing court jester outfits. I was grinning from ear-to-ear like an idiot when I realized they were synched with my feet and started doing a medicine-man dance as I climbed. The drummer matched me and we did an awesome jam until I passed by. We laughed and waved and I joked about how they were the best hallucination of the day. They guy yelled: "You look like I'm in your dream!" It was awesome.

The race was pretty damned excellent.

Andy's Trip Report:
I don't know where to begin. Anna rocks. You rock for having done it and for the attitude. Dave and Nate rock for smoking the 50K. Anyone who got up the morning, suited up and gave it a go, or supported the event rocked. Wow.

I had everything. Leading off stuff included preliminary sickness during the week, bike issues during the week, a massive acute episode of intestinal disorder shortly after seeing Nate at check in, no sleep the night before. Massive indecision the morning of, while you guys were sleeping in tents. Somehow I made it to the start.

The ride it self was crazy, epic, stupid, funny. I rode well for a lot longer than expected. It was a descent into chaos however. The only thing that probably got me to the finish before dark/cutoff was the progress made earlier in the day.

The midway climb was a beast, but was probably the critical decision point. I did well on it, though it killed me the rest of the way energy wise. But this was about when elite runners started to show up, and when some of the bikers went into whine mode. To me it was like, heck the worse is over and it isn't even 10am. No problem. Right!

Really dug the guy with the drums on the hill. Glad to hear your story about this!

Things started to get dicey from the big climb on. More and more woods, more and more mud. Descents were hell. Had to point the wheel at a rut and pray. Many close calls with trees. Brakes were your enemy. Constant issues with mud and dirt in your eyes. At times was essentially blind. Biking percentage was consistently dropping but still holding above 50%. Mechanics still basically functional, but barely. Riders at this point became much more friendly, supportive. Remaining folks went into survival and support mode. Talking and mutual rooting going on. A few knuckles heads remained, but they became scarce.

Followed some good wheels, fighting off defeatism. Anna at rest 7 was a pure gift. How cool.

Started counting off the last 4 legs. Things were going okay, although shifting was now very dicey at best. Just sticking it in the little ring, pedaling when you could and walking when you couldn't. Riding still over 50%. Somewhere along in here was the party balcony as well, which was cool. Also, amazingly, some beautiful single track that was still rideable. Another huge break.

Then the last 2 legs came. Wholly crap batman. This was essentially a 9 mile hike in the mud, dragging 30 pounds of useless metal. You might as well have been raking the mud, as the wheels became so encrusted they wouldn't turn. You were just muscling the beast through the muck. This was brutal. Mentally and physically. This is where I ended up in the yo - yo with the guy with no chain. He had a great attitude, would run with his bike up hill or on flats, jump on to coast down hill, and off again. I was just slogging and dragging. It took until the last leg on Rt 44 for me to catch him.

The last leg would have been murder, had it not been the last. I was truly dragging the bike up the hill. The wheels were frozen, couldn't shift, couldn't ride. Even as it flatten out a bit with around 1.5 to 2 miles to go, tried to get on and ride, it just wasn't possible. Things were so slippery and the bike so trashed it just didn't work. Finally the ski slopes came, and was able to roll down the hill to finish. Yikes!

I am sore, beat, destroyed. But glad I showed. Hardest day on the bike I have ever experienced, although I probably shouldn't say "on", but "with". The mud lake was great, I went right through that as well, on foot. Was riding right through the deepest part of puddles near the end, as this was "better" than going around. Just some bizarre learning experiences about biking in that kind of stuff.

Sorry to have missed you at both start and finish. Good job, can't wait till next year!

The Puppet Master's Trip Report: VT50 Highlights from PM
1) My sister and nephew as support crew/ultimate cheerers/morale boosting crazies. It was such a boost to see these guys at the aid stations and along the course. I can't begin to explain the mental lift you get from having someone with the amount of energy they brang to the party. That was great.

2) The general atmosphere of the race was very laid back/super friendly and I talked to a ton of people along the way. Although, I will admit that just before the 1/2 way point of the 50K, I had to dial it back because I was pretty sure that if I kept running with the guy talking about how cross-fit workouts make you a better person, I would end up in the Brownsville holding cell. This a-rod was on and on about how the people who suffer during this race will do so because they haven't trained their quads and hamstrings enough - it's all about squats and lunges. In my head I was thinking, "How about I lunge my fist into your ass and see how chatty you are then?!" That was the Scottish in me talking!

3) Knowing that Pat "The Irish Rocket" Flaherty and David "I will make you my bitch" Speed were coming up behind me was motivating to keep me pushing forward early but I will say I got an even bigger lift when we were all trotting together and finished together. Pat caught me by coming up behind and yelling out "Strong, you animal" and Speed just miraculously showed up at the last aid station, drinking Coke in teh dixie cup, looking like he had just gotten out of the shower - fresh!

4) About 1/2 way in, I was running alone through the woods when the bikers started coming into the same course and I was yo-yoing with one guy and we started to chat. He was younger, really pushing himself to ride up these nasty, slippy hills and I was totally impressed and motivated by his energy. On the next downhill, he yelled "Rock on man." and shot off. He must have either taken a long rest to get his bike clean or had a mechanical issue because after the next aid stop, he came up behind me on one of the dirt roads, just looked over at me trying to trot uphill, didn't say a word and just raised a fist and nodded. It totally pumped me up!

5) I had a few laughing episodes, mostly based on funny songs popping into my head. One moment in particular was the Pogues "Sunny Side of the Street" - kind of a jolly, Irish drinking song, fueled by flutes and guitar. It popped into my head when the day turned the most sour - blowing wind, rain, and mud-caked trails underfoot - and I just started laughing hysterically!

6) In he last mile, trotting along with David, Pat, and a woman named Pat who has helped pace me early and I returned the favor later, the trails turned decent enough in the woods to trot. We all kind of started quick stepping the downhills and then my brain snapped and made me yell something like "Okay. Fuck this, let's go." And I just started running as hard as I could at that point and knew that everyone was onboard. We rocked the roller coaster hills, the shitty, slick ski hill fields, and all pretty much came across the line for a 7hr finish on the nose.

7) Flaherty ate my last 2 e-caps. That SOB!

8) I have to thank Mrs Mad Dog for her pep talk before the Mt Mansfield race about not even letting the negative thoughts gain footing in your mind when racing. Ever since talking it out with her and Sue at the table that night, I have had only happy, positive thoughts on the run. Perhaps the "voice of treason" is dead?

9) VT mud - wow! That was tough footing, even worse than Jay.

10) The scenery was some of the most beautiful I have seen and the winding, rolling single-track trails were so much fun to float along on, even as the legs were getting tired.

11) Post-race beer, food, and more beer and food. Delicious.

12) The Ascutney Sports Center must hate this race because the showers and locker room had about 3 inches of mud and water flooding the entire place. I can only imagine them cleaning up afterwards!

13) Driving to work on VT Rte 131 yesterday morning. If you ever get a chance, take the ride. One of the prettiest roads I have been on in VT, especially with the foliage.

14) Zucker entertaining my nephew (and the rest of us) with wild, fun stories of his brother Jacque, the pooping cow, etc. Awesome!

15) Thinking it's only 1 more year until we get to try it again...

Some pre-race pics here - http://picasaweb.google.com/puppetmaster64/VT502009PreMudPhotos#


All Quiet on the Eastern Front

No gunfire can be heard, no shouts or bleeding soldiers, no cries of pain, no missiles. All that comes on Sunday. Until then, enjoy the beautiful foliage.

[Update 9/26: VT50 was awesome. tMail's northern Presi Trip was awesome. Trip reports to follow after I get home from work this evening.]

tMail's Trip Report: Madison...Bam! Adams...Bam!

The parking lot was totally jammed when I got there and I got the last "normal" spot without parking on the road or the grass. There was a huge group in front of me from Massachusetts that was taking Airline up to Adams...I was going to hit Adams first but decided I didn't want to deal with people so I took Valley Way to Madison...in my head I said I was going to beat the group going for Adams. I saw 1 person on Valley Way a guy and his dog coming down that stayed the night on the ridge. I talked to him briefly I was covered in sweat he said he almost froze to death in his 20 degree bag and not for his dog might have frozen...he had a 20 degree bag but said the cold front lingered last night...he said sky was crystal clear and the stars were amazing....I pushed to Madison took some pictures and then headed towards Adams. I passed the group going up to Adams...took some pictures and passed them on my way down....my knee felt great going down I am almost normal going down 70%...couple more months and the muscle I think will be back to normal. Those rock piles kick the shit out of you....Camels Hump and Mansfield were clear as day. Weather was beautiful, I had to put my Northface Cipher on while standing on the summit with mostly Canadians...I also did some research on where the hell Adams slide is I asked this guy that looked like he was either born in Kings Ravine or lives there if he heard of Adams Slide and he said, " you mean old Avalanche Slide"...I was like...aaaaa...yeah I guess he showed me and I took some pictures...this thing looks f'n insane...there is one section I think you have to bush whack to get through...I will post the pick. Who knows if he was right...someone post the Adams slide map.

One of the most interesting conversation that happened ever for me...about 3/4 of the way down Airline was with this Japanese guy. I talked to him for about 10-15 minutes he was attempting a Presi Traverse with a 70lbs pack...what he was trying to do today was go from Airline to either Crag Camp or Gray Knob this was at 1.50pm...he was still thinking he could do this while tagging Madison and Adams. I made the decision to tell him this was totally not possible and that his option at this time was to make it to Madison Hut (closed) and just camp somewhere there. I told him the weather tonight and tomorrow was going to be terrible and to make no attempt to go across the Gulf Side Trail, which he intended and camp his 2nd nite in Edmunds Col which is Hurricane Alley. I told him bad choice...I told him go to Madison stay there all tomorrow or go back down Valley way and maybe try Monday. There is a significant chance he will get lost or be missing...but I made every attempt to warn him NOT to try for Crag Camp or Gray Knob...

Anyway...after I talked to him I got to thinking if I ruined his day or did the right thing...I tried setting him straight and making it realistic for him...I guess it is that fine line similar to winter hiking when you wonder if you should tell someone...don't attempt to go above tree line.

Anyway it was a great day...89 total peaks completed on the grid total time today was 5 hours 25 minutes...including the convo with Japanese guy...


Shoal Pond/Thoreau Falls

The 9/19 Plan: Starting at the Willey Station House trailhead for the AT, trotted the Shoal Pond/Thoreau Falls loop clockwise. Trip reports will follow actually doing it, although there is a tentative plan to stop by the Scottish Fest at Loon Mtn.

Mutha's Trip Report (Pics Here):

  • Dave and I cranked out the miles and miles and miles. An easy route when hiked (barely do-able in a day if you walk it), but relentless when run. Gorgeous though - really gorgeous.
  • 22.5 miles, 2200ft of elevation, in sub-6 time - it amounted to about 4mi/hr (15.3 min pace). It doesn't sound that fast for such minimal elevation gain, but for some reason this hurt more than the pemi. Even my pains got pains.
  • The day was gorgeous, although a little cold. It was my first hike of the season entirely in a long-sleeve top. I wore gloves for the first hour or so, took them off and put them on a half hour later. It was brisk and breezy and the scenery was fantastic.
  • Most of the route is runnable or trottable, with quite a few exceptions (due to muddy or awkward footing). Why it took so long is hard to say. Last time it took me 7 hours. This time, 5:45. I honestly thought we could do it in 5. I think it's quite possible, but we both had injury flare-ups and I'm sure it slowed us down.
Most remarkable element to the day: Almost NOBODY out on such a fine day.
  • Parking Lot at the top of the Willey House Station Road: One guy with a dog.
  • All the way to the Wilderness Trail: nobody.
  • On the Thoreau Falls trail, a foot bridge conveniently crosses the North Branch. Down below, sitting on a tarp, deeply absorbed in writing something (didn't look up): one guy.
  • Thoreau Falls itself: nobody
  • Ethan Pond (AT) back to car: Two adults and two kids


Hancocks Ho! and The Pizza Man

tMail, g-$$$, Westie, the PM & Raven hit the Hancocks:

tMail's Trip Report (Pics Here): What a great day on the Hancocks!

First pick up of the day was Westie, I knew there was an early issue because when I called him phone was off...I got a txt msg at 5.58am...."be there in 5"...Westie was there in 5 minutes jumped in my car and I was instantly drunk. Westie was hung over Tyler style, I could smell the Absolute Boston dripping from his veins. Westie went/passed out until Hookset where we picked up the money man G$$$. Westie passed out again until Lincoln.
  • It was then to the DD in Lincoln greeted by Riley, PM and Raven.
  • Next stop trail head.
  • Hike was great Westie hung on all day for dare life. The traverse up to Hancock was great real kick in the knee felt great....we hit the summit and had great views of Osceola's, Tri's, Chocorua.
  • On the summit Raven revealed that she is afraid of birds, the wind and has a fetish for smelling peoples dirty clothes like HH beanies and Darn Tough socks.
  • PM likes toad urine.
  • Riley likes anyones food.
  • G$$$ likes the war whoop.
  • Westie likes I mean loves booze.
  • Tmail loves river crossings.
  • We decided if we were a company and had to fire someone it would be Riley:
    - Not self sufficient.
    - Intimidates people.
    - Steals peoples food.
    - Can't talk.
    - People may be allergic to him.
    - He pukes all the time.
    - He could have fleas.
    - He wouldn't know the difference.
  • We had an awesome day hiking, great laughs, good conversation, great friends....Raven knocked down two more peaks....we hit Lincoln hard the Summit Shop and the Ice Cream joint.
  • Drive home Westie passed out again, pass out #3 on the day Hat trick!!!!
  • Great day G$$$, Raven, PM, Riley, Westie!!!!!
Gannett is on for 2010
The Puppet Master's Trip Report (Pics here): Good times indeed! I am glad Westie brought the hangover and not me this time!!
  • Riley is getting a lawyer and there is talk of Obama coming to the house to have a beer with the two of us to see if we can "be men about this."
  • Raven is digging tunnels in the backyard. She seems distant, like she's still fighting the war...
  • I heard G$ got screwed out of ice cream... SAY WHAT?!
  • I also saw a picture on www.rockstuds.com of Mad Dog in a man-kini (I threw up in my mouth.)
  • I hope MuthaZ sold some pies today.
g-$$$'s Trip Report: Yes...was good to get out on the trails and get humbled by the climbing prowess of my fellow adventurers. No introduction to Westie is complete without a solid g-$$$ war whoop but a good soak in the hot tub and the ankle is much better.

Not cheated out of ice cream today....just my little boycott of that god-forsaken excuse of a community known as Lincoln and saving the calories so I could share a scoop with EZ-E and the missus tonight.

Thanks for getting me off the bike and onto the trails. Now back to the family drama. Sounds like my BIL was involved in a fight and got pushed over the balcony, resulting in his C-5 paralysis. We're to get a copy of the police report tomorrow. Regardless if it's his fault or not, it's gonna be tough to turn things positive for him....yet we still must try.....the whole thing makes me f'in glad to be able to use the legs today, slow as hell or not.

Mutha manned the pizza oven. No summits today:
Mutha's Report: Sue and I volunteered to bake pizzas at our CSA 'Harvest Fest'. A group from NECI (New England Culinary Institute) created all the toppings from veggies from the farm, and I worked the wood-fired oven like a man possessed. Sue kept me fueled with beer, applejack and food and we went home happy, full, drunk and smelling like smoke. What a great day. Missed the mountains, but I passed out (Like WESTIE!!) when we got home and slept for 2 hours.



tMail came up to VT for few days of fun on the tail end of a huge couple of weeks for me. In addition to a semi-pemi, Carrigain w/ Maddog, Pemi, bushwack w/ the PM, etc., tmail & I crammed in a ton of stuff in the last three days.

Full gallery of Mansfield pics from Mutha here.

tMail's Report: HigH Times:

What a weekend...

I left Friday morning for Muthaville, USA. A fantastic ride up on the Labor Day wknd with no traffic at all. Views going through the Franconia Notch were incredible. Once I arrived I was received by Mutha, Spanky and Jake. We unloaded the vehicle and took a trip to the St. J Co Op to get some trail food for Sunday. The Co Op rocks, Lauren rocks, Chocolate Covered Ginger rocks.

We headed back to the house and got ready for our 45ish mile ride. It was a great ride no traffic great roads, some dirt sections that we managed and some nice climbs. Once we returned to the house...we cooked up some vegtables, out of this world corn, salsa, beans all kinds of things.

Saturday morning we checked out of Muthaville, USA and headed for PMville, USA. Northfield, Vt my first time there and to the house that the PM hatched from. What view up on a hill looks over awesome foothills of Vermont. We headed down to the Flying Pig 5k...and Raven, Uncle Pete, PM and Mutha rocked like Kenyans.

Once the race was over we headed back to Muthaville, USA and stopped for a quick sandwich. We hung around the house for a about 45 minutes and then headed out for our ride. This ride was one of the most scenic rides I have ever been on in my life. Vt is a beautiful state and to me best taken in by bike. Corn fields, cow farms, horses, sheep, healthy green forests and fields. The roads are awesome and the climbing and descending is great. Turning on Rt 14 North and going through Craftsbury Common and the stretch to Irasburg Vt was awesome. The ride south on Rt 16 was like Colorado through Barton and Glover and East Greensboro. I spent more time in Hardwick than one could imagine.

Dinner was rice and vegtables, nice glass of vino and off to bed.

Next morning up early and off to Mansfield via Stevenson Rd and Maple Ridge Trail. Views of the Dacks where incredible. Once on the forehead humanity invaded. French fashion was in full swing.

We hit the Forehead, Nose and Chin and on the way down hit the Butler Cabin, I think, awesome day. We did a drive by casa de MadDog and saw his big dump truck in the driveway.

Dinner that night was awesome, Nick handled the grill, Sue was all over the bean salad it was awesome. Pre dinner was Long Trail Belgian White in the hot tube!

What a weekend:
100+ miles of cycling
Vt High Point
Great Food
Great Friendship
Great Hospitality

Special thanks to Mutha and Sue for letting me stay at their house...Spanky for letting me know she eats cat shit and Jake for being a girl.

Cobalt good luck getting your balls removed, ask Jake what is like!
Mutha's Report:
Friday afternoon tMail and I took at 45-ish mile bike ride that weaved around the VT/NH border, crossing the Connecticut River and hitting Monroe (NH) & Lower Waterford (VT). The route included a number of dirt-road sections which was a challenge on road bikes, but we persevered nonetheless.

Saturday morning was a return to the Flying Pig 5K - in which The PM (lead by treadmill), Uncle Pete and I burned our lungs. The initial launch up the hill featured the PM passing me in long leaps like I had stopped running. (Race results .pdf here.)

Saturday afternoon tMail and I rode 60+/- miles through the most scenic, beautiful countryside in the northeast kingdom, from Hardwick through Craftsbury Common to Barton and back.

Then on Sunday, tMail, Spanky & I hit Mansfield in the clearest air I've ever seen. We could see the slides on Mt. Whiteface in the Adirondacks, the water tower in Burlington, the Champlain Islands, The Presidential Range, etc. It was incredible. Even from Danville on the ride home we could clearly see treeline on Mt. Washington. The summit crowds were huge - hundreds of people milling around all over the place, most of whom had driven up the Auto Road. There were very few backpacks to be seen.


tMail is trying to kill me

The man is a machine. 40+ miles yesterday on bikes, 5k race in Northfield (Flying Pig) this morning, 60 miles on bikes this afternoon, 16+ mile hike tomorrow in the Greens. Dang, I need a vacation from this vacation.


Mt. Worcester

At about 3,300 ft, Mt. Worcester is high enough to afford an outstanding hiking experience. It's the second peak north of Mt. Hunger in the Worcester Range and while not a challenging hike, is dog-friendly, scenic and from top offers views of Mt. Mansfield and nearly 360° views.

The summit is mostly exposed rock w/ short fir trees and the top 5 minutes of the hike is over granite with huge quartz intrusions. It also appears to be such an obscure trail that it's rare to see anyone. We passed two couples on the way up and on the way down, but it appeared that they weren't heading to the summit - it was kind of weird.

Jake, Spanky & Trudy were all perfectly thrilled by this blue-bird day hike. We had lots of food at the top and spent a half hour or more chatting, eating and enjoying the day.

As an added bonus, I drove and Andy directed me 'the back way' though Woodbury, Calais, Kent's Corner and who knows where else. Those towns and roads make some of the greatest back-road bike riding in the region.