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My drive today took me south in the Green Mountains to Killington, VT.  From the campgrounds, I took 17 over the mountain and through the woods to Waitsburg instead of grandmother’s house.  The fall foliage here was beautiful.

I drove through a few small towns to Middlebury Gap.  My first stop was Texas Falls.  I had to go there just because of the name.  The bridge to the trail was closed.  It is being replaced with ARRA money, but no one was working.  The crystal clear water flowed over granite rock which created a faint blue tone.  It looked so refreshing, yet I bet it was ice cold!

My next stop was just slightly further down the road, just past the highest point of the gap.  It was a forest area dedicated to Robert Frost who lived nearby in Ripton.  In the 7th grade, I had to memorize one of his poems, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”.  I still remember the first two verses:

“Whose woods these are, I think I know.  His house is in the village though.

He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer, to stop without a farmhouse near.

Between the woods and frozen lake, the darkest evening of the year.”

My next stop was Brandon Gap.  We went for a hike along the Long Trail, Vermont’s 265-mile “footpath in the wilderness” that follows the crest of the mountains from Massachusetts to Canada.  The climb to the cliff was very much like the ones in New York…very steep and over the rocky bed of a dry waterfall.  This time I reached the top, a cliff that overlooked the Green Mountains that currently appear crimson red.  It definitely was a vigorous hike as the Reader’s Digest book suggested.  I somewhat twisted my ankle again!

Eventually, I pulled into Gifford Woods State Park.  Each campsite was very private.  As I was driving around to pick my site, I ran into Nick, from New Hampshire, who was hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Earlier in the year, he hiked 800 miles of it.  This time, he started a month ago and plans to hike 500 miles assuming the weather holds as he goes North.  He had already lost 50 pounds!  He’s supposed to keep me posted on his travels.

Kord met up with me at the campgrounds and then we went for dinner at McGrath’s Irish Pub.  Murray, the owner makes a mean grilled cheese, slaw and French onion soup!  It was nice to have a real meal, a beer, and heat before we went back to camp to hang by the fire.

Websites:  Www.vtstateparks.com/htm/gifford.htm, www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=HGN095-025

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