Day 122 – Saturday, July 9: Governor Clement Shelter to Stealth Camp (Killington, VT), 14.5 miles, 1,704.7 total AT miles.

It barely rained last night. What a relief! I woke early and started packing up. Black Santa was already up and ready to go. He wanted to get to Killington, VT 15 miles away and stay at the Yellow Deli, a religious commune-type hostel. I wasn’t too keen on the idea. But I needed a plan – we were definitely going to start getting rain soon.

Black Santa sped off – I’d more than likely see him tomorrow. Greyhound decided to save the money and just camp near town. We’d be staying in Hanover, NH in a few days anyway.

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We left the shelter at 8:00 and started climbing up to Killington Peak. We arrived at 11:00 and decided to have lunch in the Cooper Lodge Shelter. It was really run down and full of litter. As we quickly ate snacks, we watched the weather outside deteriorate. It started raining and got a little chilly – I put on my jacket and we took off into the storm.

We paused at Pico Camp at 12:30pm having hiked seven miles on the day. Here the AT deviates from the Vermont Long Trail – I’m suspecting we’ll see a lot fewer hikers moving forward. I haven’t really mentioned it yet, but there have been a lot of hikers out here attempting the VT LT.

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We left Pico Camp and immediately began descending towards US 4 – and what do you know, we stumble across a cooler full of trail magic. We share some watermelon, chocolate and a Coke before pressing on.

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By 4:00pm we entered Gifford Woods State Park and made the quick hike over to the outfitter in town. Greyhound needed a new fuel canister. After she made her purchase, we walked over to the market. I was already running low on snacks and was getting pretty hungry for dinner – Hanover, NH is still three days away. I ended up buying enough snacks to get me there, plus a sandwich for dinner.

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As we’re hanging out in front of the market, trying to decide where to camp, the rain starts up again. I checked the AT Guide for tenting options and came up short – we’d have to hike out of town in order to find a place to camp. I considered splitting a room in town with Greyhound, but restrained myself from spending the money. Plus, the taxi I called never showed up. We set off into the woods, determined to find a place to camp before the rain really started coming down.

As we’re making our way back past the outfitter, I spied a building on the edge of the property. Greyhound and I hiked over and found a large porch hidden on the back side facing away from the road. There was plenty of room to set up tents and the porch above provided good cover from the falling rain. We stayed up until dark. I went to bed listening to the falling rain.

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

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