More hikes and sights in Southern Vermont.
More Vermont beauty on the way to Mt Killington
There's just so much wonder in this small state! Vermont is the 5th smallest state and the 2nd least populous but ranks towards the top in natural beauty! To me, there's abundant natural beauty in every state and I could never determine which has the most. However I'm thoroughly convinced that Vermont should be a destination for nature lovers, tree huggers and dirty hikers like me. 

Yesterday I was at the site where the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail were born. Today I was further north on an equally historical mountain- Killington. Today's destination was Mt Killington summit which is the second highest peak in Vermont and one of five 4,000-footers in the state. 

Before hiking the mountain, I headed into Rutland which is one of the few centers of commerce in the state. I hit up Cafe Terra for coffee and furiously wrote as much as I could for the blog. Its located in downtown Rutland which was a great place to wander around for the morning. Rutland had more Vermont flavor than Manchester but wasn't quite as busy as Burlington.
Hurricane Irene damaged some trails as well
Getting to the trail head to Mt Killington was a bit of an adventure. Last summer, Hurricane Irene rolled through parts of New England and caused significant damage in Vermont. I never realized how hard this part of Vermont was hit. There were entire towns that were literally isolated because the roads were so badly damaged. Of course, there's also significant amount of damage on the trails.

The Bucklin Trail is a popular route up Mt Killington and is accessed via the Wheelerville Road. This is a dirt/gravel road that is normally accessible by almost any car. However there is a bridge that is out making the Bucklin Trail head only accessible by driving Route 4 east from Rutland and heading south on Wheelerville Road.

Eventually I was on the trail and boy, its just as bad as some of the roads! There are downed trees all over the place making the going somewhat slow. Pay attention to the blue marks that are painted on trees to follow the trail. For the most part, it follows Brewer's Brook and then charges directly up the mountain for the last 1/4 of the trail.
The trail makes a *very* steep ascent towards the summit
I finally came to the intersection of the Long Trail and the sign said "0.2 miles to the summit". Great! Almost there.... oh no! The last 0.2 miles are positively the steepest "trail" I've ever been on in the Northeast. This wasn't normal Appalachian steepness... it was a full on, hands and feet climb. Beware!

Of course the view from the top was worth it! You can see all the way to the Adirondacks of New York, the Berkshires of Massachusetts and even some of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. You could also see all the way to Mt Abraham and Mt Stratton in Vermont. One of the best views in the state!
View from the summit of Mt Killington
After spending almost 45 minutes on the summit, I came down the same route for a total distance 7.2 miles. I spent some more time just hanging out in Rutland and doing some research for my last day in Vermont. Tomorrow, I would be heading to climb Mt Abraham and Mt Ellen!

Day 4: Mt Abraham and Mt Ellen

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