July 28. Woke up in the lodge…4 hikers and our gear in one room, it did not smell very good. The coffee brewing downstairs did though and we all headed down for a full breakfast in the dining room. The service at the lodge had been so nice it was hard to think about hiking again but I had to move towards Maine. Rafiki left before me, Rat Bucket and Rayo headed to a grocery store, so I set out on my own around 10 AM. Right off the bat I came to another section of trail closed due to Hurricane Irene. It said the walking boards had washed away…after laundry, clean socks, and drying my shoes in the morning sun the last thing I wanted to do was submerge them in water…I took the bypass. The first hill out of Killington was pretty killer…1,300 feet up in a mile. It was one of those climbs that worked up enough sweat to make the clean laundry and shower irrelevant, but I made it! The owner of the lodge said the trail to New Hampshire would be spectacular, and he was right. I passed through so many different settings today…thick, lush, green forest, then wide open pine groves with little undergrowth. Over each little hill I would descend down into a pasture looking over another country road, a few houses, and farms. I also passed several hillsides with syrup lines tapped into the trees, running down the hills to the valleys. The pastures were a little tough…they seemend to be hiker maintained. That means when we hike through, whatever we trample down is what is maintained. Some of the grasses I walked through were as tall as me! The hill climbs were tough too…they were more like Georgia, steep dirt tails straight up the mountain. I prefer this to the boulder scrambles, but at times I felt like the Alps mountain climber from the game show The Price Is Right, inching my way to the top as your guess on the price of the bleach was off by a few pennies. The tops of the hills though were rewarding and at 8 PM with the next shelter still 4 miles away I hit the top of a long climb and turned back to a panoramic view of the mountains, this would be my campsite. I saw a little head poke out from the brush, a coyote, but then he scampered off. I set up camp and had my dinner. Not long after I arrived Rafiki showed up! Somehow I had passed him during the day and he set up camp as well. It was an amazing sunset and as the light faded the moon lit up the mountains. This would be one of my favorite campsites on the whole trail. New Hampshire tomorrow!