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The Green Mountain State
August 16, 2017
High Point: Mount Mansfield (Vermont)
Elevation: 4,393 feet
Starting Point: Underhill State Park
Total Miles: 8 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,136 feet
Let's just start off by saying that people on the East Coast don't fuck around when it comes to trail building. They are not into the gradually rising switchback trails that make up the majority of West Coast trails. Rather, they build trails that go directly up the mountain as quickly as possible. Mount Mansfield in Vermont was no exception to the typical East Coast trail. For this hike, I did a loop trail. The trail up was longer and therefore a little less steep, but was not a walk in the park by any means. The way down required me to scoot on my butt and hold onto tree roots to lower myself down to the next step. Needless to say, the hike was a shit ton of fun. After the ease of Oklahoma and the concrete walk in New Jersey, Vermont was just what I needed.
The best part of this high point, is that my best friend, Laura, lives in Vermont. So, before hiking the highest point in the beautiful Green Mountain State, I got to spend three days with Laura and her wonderful son, Talon, her husband, Lee, and their dog, Mocha. We went to several restaurants, enjoyed local beers, went on low key hikes around Lake Champlain and best of all, went out and sang karaoke! I must admit, we rocked the stage while doing duet versions of "Killing Me Softly" and "Nothing Compares To You." Being able to spend quality time with my best friend and having the opportunity to get to know her two and a half year old son better made this high point my favorite so far.
If you, the reader, have never been to Vermont, especially Burlington, Vermont, I highly suggest taking the trip. There are wonderful places to eat, awesome local beers, lovely strolls around lakes and farmland and fantastic hiking opportunities. Even though the mountains are only slightly above 4,000 feet or smaller, they are still majestic and breathtaking. The trails will kick your ass and the views are always rewarding. A piece of my heart lives in Vermont...if only they had glaciers, I would move there in a heart beat.
Food: I ate lots of different food in Vermont. My favorite restaurant was Honey Road where Laura and I ate a series of tapas along with our beer and wine. Some of the things we ate included: Grape leaf dalma with lamb, yogurt and spices, fried green tomatoes with carrot tzatziki and pickled corn and dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon. We also ate pizza at American Flatbread and I had an amazing maple creemee (soft serve ice cream)! Lastly, I had one of the best burgers with cheese, bacon jam and veggies at The Farmhouse. So far, Vermont has been my favorite state in terms of company and dinning options.