(That's what the plants think if you get off the trail and step on them.)
Last night I fell asleep to visions of rocks and water and the sensation of phantom black flies, but it was darn nice to be back in my own bed.
We left for Vermont Friday afternoon. The plan was to go camping and hiking, but Dan felt pretty sick, so we stayed in a hotel near Burlington, VT the first night. It was a fun and spontaneous treat. We stayed at Quality Inn (after doing another call-every-hotel-on-every-piece-of-printed-material-we-can-find like we did when we came over Lake Champlain a few months ago). I was disappointed to see that it was a doors-on-the-outside kind of place (you know, with no inside hallways), but we were put on the third floor, and the third floor had hallways and an ice machine (which we didn't use)!
Dan still felt too crappy on Saturday to go hiking, so we walked and shopped around Church Street. We shared a veggie and hummus sandwich from Richardson's Place for breakfast (it was almost noon), then we found a seriously amazing sale at Bath & Body Works. They had plumeria lotion and body wash in stock for $4 each! I also got some coconut hand sanitizer for $2.
We left for Stowe in time to get a site at Gold Brook Campground in Waterbury. Along the way we stopped at the Cabot outlet and the chocolate store for abundant free samples. We left with plenty of cheese for later, too.
We set up the tent, then went into town for a while before finding dinner.
While we were looking for a map of Mt. Mansfield's trails, I found a pamphlet for a place called Stowe Fabric & Yarn! Dan sat on the bench outside the store while I browsed the fat quarters and the very odd collection of yarn. (But I touched Malabrigo for the first time! It's as delicious as they say! I didn't buy any, though.) I bought a small piece of fabric for my quilt.
We had pizza at Pie in the Sky (of course), then went mini golfing and tied at about 10 over par. We spent the rest of the evening skipping rocks in the brook right behind our campsite, keeping the fire going, eating cheese, and playing poker.
Dan went all in with two pairs. I had three of a kind. Neither one of us could remember which hand ranks higher, so we agreed to keep playing. If I won, I would be the official champ. If Dan one, that would be fine because we kept playing anyway. I pointed out that if Dan won in the very end (which he did), it just means he won Round 2 and started with more money.
It turns out (I just checked!) I'm the official poker champ!
We woke up early Sunday morning to a hot sun and a beckoning mountain. We hiked up Mt. Mansfield with very few mishaps (I never saw that tree!) and very little whining from me! I was pretty tough, I gotta say!
We made it in one piece, but hiking back down was another story. We convinced ourselves taking a black diamond ski trail down the mountain would be faster and easier than taking the hiking trail. It might have been faster, yes, but it was not easier.
Were the slope any steeper, it would have had serious drop-offs. Once my legs were moving so fast the only way I could think to stop myself was to drop to the ground. My feet still hurt--especially my toes--as you can probably imagine.
But now we've been to the Chin! And it was all worth it!
(You can see all the pictures from our weekend adventure in our Burlington & Stowe, June 2008 flickr set.)