Hey all! Here is the second installment of our trip to Vermont. Check out the first installment here and my Catamount 25k Race Recap here!
Today, I will be telling you about our second day in Vermont. We hiked up Vermont's third tallest mountain (Camel's Hump) and visited the awesome city of Burlington.
My itinerary for our trip (yes, I make itineraries!) stated that we should start our hike up Camel's Hump by 8:00. We actually didn't get started until a little after 10:00! Oops! We were really tired and slept in a bit, and then I had to complain to the hotel manager about our dirty room. After that, I spent at least a half hour in the breakfast room talking to a Canadian couple. The woman told me their room looked "a bit murder-y".
There are several trails to take you to the summit. We chose Burrows Trail, which was supposed to be the easiest of the two most popular. (But not easy by any means.) While the trail head was out in the middle of nowhere, the parking lot was almost full by the time we got there.
At the start of the trail, there were several warnings that this area had lots of black bear activity. FREAKING A. I AM SO SCARED OF SEEING A BEAR. Luckily, I had a bear bell. Jingle, jingle jingle *don't eat me* jingle, jingle...
Off we went. We didn't pass too many people during the first part of the hike. It was very pretty and started as a gradual climb. Soon, it got steeper. It was basically a 2.5 mile hike straight up. I guess that's what mountain climbing is, right!?
I hiked a lot faster than Paul and needed less breaks, so sometimes I would get quite a bit ahead of him and then stop and wait. He said this was the hardest hike he ever did. Besides The Incline, I think this is the hardest one I ever did as well. I guess we could have taken our time more, but that's not in
our my nature. (It took us about half the time the website says it takes.)
During one of the times I was pushing ahead of Paul, I pushed ahead right into a tree with a thick branch sticking out. The impact was hard, to the point where I got nauseous. It scraped me as well, but the scrape wasn't what hurt, it was the initial impact. I guess I need to watch where I'm going!
It doesn't look too bad here, but I will not include some pics of what it looked like as the days progressed!
I never had a bruise like that before. It's weird to see things on your body that you have never seen, and I was a bit obsessed with looking at it and analyzing the different colors it turned as the days went on!
Okay, back to the hike...
Once there was only about .3 miles to go, there was a little clearing where several of the trails up the mountain converged. There was now only one route to the top, which including climbing up lots of rocks. (It was not dangerous.)
We were now in what was considered Alpine Vegetation. Very cool! Before we were at the summit, there were some pretty cool views!
That's Lake Champlain off in the distance!
GUYS, I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW FREAKING COOL IT WAS TO SIT ON THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN!!!!!
It was a bit cool and breezy on the summit..
Paul was sooooo tired. He plopped down like a little kid to eat his lunch. He reiterated how hard the climb was and that he just had to go slow and put one foot in front of the other. I assured him that I thought it was tough as well. I also wondered whether this was a good idea to do the day before my race...
At the summit, I had tears in my eyes. The world is so beautiful. There's nothing like being on the top of the mountain to make you feel tiny and insignificant in the universe. I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean that in an awesome way,
It took us an hour and thirty-four minutes to get up and we were only about fifteen minutes faster on the way down. I did have a bathroom emergency on the way down and had to take a shit in the woods. I was scared a bear was going to eat me as I was doing so.
We passed a lot of people on the way down. A lot of them commented on my bear bell. One man said as he passed me, "With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she will bring music wherever she goes."
Since it didn't make sense to backtrack to our hotel to showers before going to Burlington, we brought a jug of water and some toiletries and took a "shower" behind the port o' johns at the parking area. No, it wasn't fancy, but I did feel very clean afterwards! Paul was on the lookout while I showered and I was on the lookout while he showered. Too bad it wasn't still Hike Naked Day!
It wasn't a long drive to Burlington. Traffic was fine and parking downtown was easy and cheap. We explored the waterfront area for a bit.
On our drive the day before, we saw lots of signs for Maple Creemees. Rachel told us Maple Creemees are maple soft serve ice cream. We just had to try some. It was DIVINE! I wish PA had Maple Creemees!
Soon, it was time to board the Spirit of Ethan Allen. We were taking a narrated sight seeing cruise around Lake Champlain! After all of that hiking, we were looking forward to just chilling out on a boat for 90 minutes!
I highly recommend this cruise! The food and drink were delicious, and the narration was interesting. The only bad part was that there were some loud people sitting near us so we couldn't hear all of the narration. We were annoyed at the rudeness.
One of the places we passed was Lone Rock Point. If you look very hard, you could can see people on the cliff. They were jumping into the water! There were also people sitting on that little rock. It was a hot day, so everyone was out enjoying the water. It honestly reminded us of California because everyone looked so carefree.
Here are some fun facts we learned about lake Champlain:
1. There are 70 islands on the lake.
2. The deepest part is about 400 feet.
3. It freezes in the winter and you can drive your car out on the ice to ice fish... BUT if the ice cracks and your car goes under, you have to have it removed within 48 hours!
4. It's the 6th largest lake in the US.
That's Camel's Hump, the mountain we had just climbed!
The voyage was 90 minutes, but I could have stayed on the boat longer! Maybe next time.
Next, we explored Church Street, which is an outdoor mall in the heart of Burlington. I remember running up Church Street during the marathon several years earlier.
We popped in a couple stores and ended up buying this cool ornament made from a Vermont license plate. Paul and I like to get ornaments from all the different places we travel. This one was certainly unique!
We were getting tired and hungry, so we hopped in the car and drove a short distance to Zero Gravity Brewery, a place Paul really wanted to check out.
Paul got a beer and I got some wine. Then he got a flight! He really enjoyed trying all the different kinds of beers.
Okay, look what I spotted on a shelf behind the bar. An old Billy beer can. I remember my Grandpa had one of these in his secretary desk when I was kid. I emailed my Dad to make sure I was remembering correctly and asked why Grandpa had it. He said that when he and my mom were driving back from Disney World in 1978, they bought a 6 pack of Billy Beer in Georgia (because Jimmy Carter was president) and gave one beer to my Grandpa.
I love Vermont.
The brewery had limited food so we went next door and got some grub. Paul got a quesadilla and I got a HUGE burrito.
Before driving back to our hotel, I was insistent that we go check out Lone Rock Point. I really wanted to see where everyone was cliff jumping from. Note: I did NOT want to cliff jump, I just wanted to hike out to the spot and see Lake Champlain and the cliff everyone was jumping from!
Apparently the trails to get to Lone Rock Point are on private property (owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont), but you were welcome to park and traverse the land as long as you register online. I went to the website indicated on the sign at the parking lot, but I didn't see anything that told me how to register. I asked a woman I saw walking and she said she remembered registering, but it didn't cost money and it didn't give you a sign or anything to hang in your car. I'm a rule follower, so I really wanted to do it the right way, but since I couldn't figure out how to register and the woman said no one had ever questioned her being there, I decided it was okay to walk on the land. It was 8:25 and the parking lot closed at 9:00. We didn't have much time to see Lone Rock Point and I had no idea how far away it was!
We walked down a stone road and took the first trail we saw. It took us to North Beach. It was POPPING. There were even some bonfires. (There was access to North Beach via public road.)
Paul was getting bit by mosquitoes so he told me he was done and was going back to the car. I was still dead set on seeing Lone Rock Point so I asked him if he cared if I ventured on and tried to find the trails to the park. He told me he didn't care. So I decided to run since I didn't know how long it would take and I had to be back at the parking lot by 9:00. (At this point it was 8:35!)
I ran back to the stony road and hung a left. I kept going until I saw another trail. It ran into the dark woods... even though it wasn't dark outside yet, it was dark in the woods. I ran and ran and just followed the trail. I had no clue where I was going and my phone only had 6% left. Perhaps this wasn't the best idea... But did you ever just have something stuck in your mind that you were going to do and you just had to do it? That was me and Lone Rock Point.
Soon I heard some rustling and chatter and saw a little spur off the trail. I hung a right and came to Lone Rock Point!
As you can see, it was gorgeous!!!!!! Even though there were several young people on the rocks enjoying the sunset, it was rather quiet. Everyone was just chilling out and enjoying the view.
I didn't stay long, but it was getting dark and Paul was waiting. It was a little scary finding my way back to the parking lot. The woods were even darker now. I was down to 3% on my phone. Sometimes I would come to another trail and wasn't sure which way to go. I followed my instincts and made it back to the parking lot. I ran the whole time so luckily Paul wasn't waiting long.
However, Paul was not in the greatest mood because he got bit by six mosquitoes. When I got back to the car, his legs (and my passenger seat) were covered in Gold-Bond Medicated Body Powder. It's like he had a Gold-Bond party in the front seat. "You're being dramatic," I told him. "Like you're never dramatic," he replied. Point taken.
The next time we come to Burlington, we will take our time and both come out and check out Lone Rock Point when we can take our time. (I started to suspect there was an easier way to get to the point from North Beach, and when I got home, I found this map online that proved my inclination!)