Well, the wedding was about as glorious as could be expected. The weather completely cooperated - picture the perfect Vermont fall day, and you have it exactly right. Perfectly clear blue sky, vibrant leaves, crisp air, you name it, and it was there. I will recap it in the near future, but it won't be today! Instead, I'm going to reverse the order and talk about Sunday first.
We were heathens. We skipped church. But I might argue that once in a great while, spending your Sunday morning out in nature is just a little bit like church.
Since we were on a bit of a limited time budget, we decided to spend time outside with the family. Christopher, the only remaining child at home, will no longer be at home as of Wednesday as he's flying out to California to spend 10 months working with AmeriCorps. That, combined with the fact that we were visiting, gave us the perfect excuse to go for a hike and soak in the extraordinary beauty that is Vermont in the fall.
And thus we found ourselves on our way to Sterling Pond on Sunday, following an attempt to eat breakfast that had us stop at three different places before getting a seat. Leaf peepers...they're the worst.
This particular trail leads the average-paced hiker on a 45-minute trek uphill to a pond, and if you tack on an extra five minutes you can get to the top of a ski trail with an amazing view. (We did both.) The first 10 minutes of the hike are essentially stone steps, and it is hilarious to people-watch. As my dad said, "Well...you can tell just at a glance who's going to make it to the top and who isn't!" We passed:
- A girl wearing sparkly Ugg boots
- A girl wearing ankle boots, a dress coat, and a scarf
- A guy going barefoot
- The real hikers
We can't really judge as we weren't really fully prepared either, but we at least had reasonable footwear. And I guess you can't really tell for sure, because the barefoot guy was actually heading down instead of up.
After a spell, we made it to the pond.
Despite the seeming calm of the picture, the place was actually a bit crowded, so we didn't stay there long. However, it's worth noting that a girl wearing leather riding boots had made it that far. Mad props, riding boot girl. Continuing on the extra five minutes, we made it to the top.
Behold. Pictures from the peak.
After having our fill of both clambering over ski lift equipment and munching some Swedish Fish I'd squirreled into my bag, we turned around and headed home.
All in all, I think it was a fitting parting adventure. On the way back to Massachusetts that evening I thought about Vermont and how lucky I was to grow up there. Being surrounded by that much beauty all the time can't help but encourage folks to get outside and explore, and having a strongly instilled longing for exploration is not a bad thing to claim as my own. I miss living there. MA does have a lot to offer in terms of pre-built attractions - I'll give it that much - but the ever-present sense of wildness at your doorstep is something that can't exist in a place where the land is mostly flat and the houses are a little more squished together.
We're back at home now (in MA), but thinking fondly of a place where breathtaking beauty is a part of everyday life.