Mendon...maybe not; how about Killington?
Submitted by Nancy
Mountain: Mendon Peak and Killington (4,235)
Date: November 1, 2008
Time: Mendon - 4 hours and 45 minutes
Killington - 3 hours and 40 minutes
Weather: Cloudy am, sunny pm, breezy, temps ranging from 30's to 50's
Elevation Gain: 4,030
Trails: Bushwhack and Bucklin Trail
We are at Up For Breakfast in Manchester at 7 am. Pat has a Hungry Hiker - 2 of just about everything including eggs, toast, sausage, bacon, and pancakes. Nancy has white chocolate, pecan and strawberry buttermilk pancakes with REAL maple syrup. Yup - that should get us up the mountain!
At 9:15 a.m. we head up the logging road toward Mendon. We manage to stay dry over the water crossings and, using trip reports from others, we find our way to the cairns. We pass one, then another and finally arrive at the third cairn and head into the woods. It takes about, oh, 30 seconds for Pat and I to figure out that we are in trouble. We had hoped to find and follow a herd path. But we hadn't figured on the 8 inches of snow that makes finding and following a miniscule herd path next to impossible. We have only 12 mountains on the 100 highest in New England list left to go - all bushwhacks. Huh...better figure out how to use that GPS or make some bushwhacking buddies.
We turn around and head back down, both of us disappointed, but sure we are making the right decision.
I am carrying some pretty hefty emotional baggage up Mendon and don't have the opportunity to get it out. I knew I needed a hard hike and Mendon, especially since we didn't summit, didn't do it for me. On our way back down Mendon, I suggest we climb Killington. Pat is game. Of course. No sooner do we arrive back at the car, than we head up Killington on the Bucklin Trail...FAST!
"Let's see how far we can get in an hour," I say. I am on a mission to vent and rage and empty myself of the poison I am carrying. The harder I push myself, the faster I go, the more I rage. By the time we get to the steep part, I am spewing my anger out at the mountain and Pat is right behind me, listening, supporting, and encouraging me.
An hour has passed. "Let's see how far we can get in another half hour," I say, knowing my anger is fueling me and I am not ready to stop. I keep pushing and climbing and pushing and ranting, as fast as I can, up and up and up. We stop briefly twice to catch our breath. Pat takes over the lead a bit before the cabin. By this time we are past the allotted extra half hour, but we are too close to bagging the peak to stop.
"I think it's important we make it to the top," Pat says, knowing my wrath has not waned. We ditch our packs and keep moving quickly up the trail. We arrive on the summit in 2 hours, breathless, sweaty, amazed, and cleansed.
It is windy and cold on top. I am freezing and we don't linger. We take a few summit pictures and head back down faster than we came up. Part way down we realize we are starving and stop to shovel some trail mix into our mouths. We arrive back at the car three hours and forty-five minutes after we set out on Killington.
I am lighter now, the rage is gone. I am back to me. I left a lot on the mountain. It didn't belong to me, even though I have been carrying that poison most of my life. It wasn't mine, and I left it on Killington. There's more to get out. I'm glad there are lots more mountains to climb.
Pat and I look at each other and smile. Who needs a punching bag when we can climb mountains? We make a great team and climbing Killington in 3.75 hours after attempting Mendon was just what we needed.
Sitting in the car, heat on full blast, ahhhhhhhh....