Another milestone - we are vacationing in Smugglers Notch, VT this week. My son, daughter and I signed up for a guided hike up Mt. Mansfield, highest summit in VT at 4,300 feet and change. I have summitted five 4,000 ft peaks in my life. The last one was Whiteface in NY, after which I started feeling the first twinges in my AT (5 yrs ago). So this was especially meaningful to me.
We woke up in the AM to a cloudy overcast day. My daughter promptly rolled over and went back to bed. My son and I decided to brave the elements and go for it. It was scheduled to be a 6 hr hike. The ascent was much more of a cardio issue than AT issue for me, but man did it stretch that AT, calves and hammies. The ascent included hiking up some pretty steep ski trails at Stowe. Nasty.
We got to the shelter that was at 3,800 ft. at the tree line and the guides decided that because of the steady rain that had been falling and the 25 mph winds, we better give up on our summit plans. Instead, they led us onto the Cliff Trail, which had the roughest terrain I have EVER experienced (and I have hiked a fair amount). The rain made it even more treacherous. I was so careful with each and every foothold. I certianly had my slips and falls and have the bruises to prove it, but at the end of the day, I made it! 6 hours; over 2,200 vertical feet of climb; and the absolute most challenging hike I have ever experienced. I was slower and more deliberate than I have ever been, but that is a good thing.
For the first time, I feel healed. If I can do this, I can do anything- and so can all of you!
P.S. - one of the guides had an MCL replacement last year and when I told her I had an ATR all she said was, wow, I’m glad I didn’t have THAT!
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