Monday September 28, 18.4mi/29.6km
Taft Lodge (204.6/3609ft) to Prospect Rock (223.0/1020ft) (VT)
We departed the lodge just before 7am and hiked down the 2000ft to the road and Smuggler’s Notch. The bottom of the valley was in full color, and the low clouds obscured the ridgetops.
The trail re-climbed the other side, sometimes steeply. These stairs were a fun shape to behold.
It was a wet morning, with intermittent rainfall alternating with blowing mist.
The puncheon boardwalks were a nice break from the usual rocks and roots.
The trail joined a ski trail near Sterling Pond, this verbose sign was kind of hilarious.
We stopped in Sterling Shelter for an early lunch break, and to get out of the rain. Rachel, another NOBO, was there too. We ate while watching the heaviest of the rain fall down. After lunch we climbed Madonna Peak. No views up there!
The descent if the peak was easy at first, then it became very slippery on wet slab rocks. Yuck. The intermittent views were non-existent.
We descended down a little more to Whiteface shelter, and had another good break. More NOBO hikers were there, and a friendly SOBO guy too. The rain was lighter now, and we left the shelter without using rain gear (aka my umbrella). The climb up Whiteface Mountain was steeeep.
Of course there was only a view of the inside of the clouds on top.
The descent was slippery and slabby rocks again, along with mud.
We descended steeply for an hour, and then less steeply on a nice trail, to the next shelter. By now the rain had stopped completely, and the sun was making efforts to appear. We stopped in for only a few minutes, trying to get to a hiker/camping store before they closed at 6pm. The rest of the way to the road was nice smooth trail, following an old logging road.
This stream crossing looked cool.
We shopped at the town Hardware store for a while, and I bought a new pack raincover (I had forgotten mine in the car), and a map and fuel canister. Sweet. Mark and I hiked on, along a nice trail with some caves.
And then we crossed the Lamiolle River.
We had a final climb up to Prospect Rock, where we setup camp. It was a perfect end to the day, watching the sunset while eating dinner.