Not Knowing is Best
~Saturday, October 9, 2021~
The clouds seem to be liking Vermont so far, but we certainly didn’t let it darken our day. It was probably better that we didn’t know ahead of time that we’d be hiking one of the hardest trails of our trip today. We had a recommendation from Sadie’s vet yesterday to check out the Stowe Pinnacles Trail. Nothing better than a recommendation from a local that knows a thing or two about great hikes. And it’s dog friendly! We’re in!
There are two trailhead locations…..one is the Upper Hollow Rd. and the other is the Pinnacle Heights Rd. Of the two, we opted for the more difficult, longer route of the Upper Hollow Rd. Trail. As we got closer to the trailhead, I don’t know what we were expecting, but we ended up in a quiet, beautiful rural neighborhood with a line of cars parked on the side of the road and one 6-car parking lot dedicated for smaller vehicles. Of course it was full, and Hank wouldn’t have fit there anyway. So roadside parking it was. There is no indication of the beauty that lies ahead from this vantage point. The Pinnacles Trail is known for having some of the best views in all of Vermont. Let’s hope our photos do it justice.
The starting point is at about 1,000 feet with an additional elevation gain of 1,520 feet in 1.8 miles. In short, a buttkicker!! It’s not the 3.6 mile round trip distance, but the elevation gain. From the beginning, there is a slight incline with dense Vermont forest. But in about a ½ mile, the steepness begins with rock scrambling
and dodging those fun root trippers along the way. At times, we exchanged passing the same groups of people as we all had to pull over to catch our breaths. Most of the time it seemed we had the trail to ourselves, until it became pretty congested near the top; it was a Saturday and peak Fall Peeper season after all. We could feel the temperature drop as we were heading up the mountain. Sadie occasionally would break from her forest adventuring to meet other dogs, but was more interested in her agenda. She never slows down. We met a very nice couple, also dog owners, who brought their Golden Retriever with them on today’s trail, leaving their 15-½ year old yellow lab at home. I was stunned but encouraged to hear that their lab has lasted this long, though they said she’s in her final years. With a lot of exercise, a great diet, and a lot of love, we hope these are key ingredients to having Sadie with us as long as possible. She is definitely our third child!
When we arrived at the top at 2,671 feet, we couldn’t help but feel exhilarated and accomplished.
The winds certainly added to the refreshing experience. Of course we were completely sweaty, adding to the chilly feel, so we decided our snack could wait until we got to a lower, more pleasant spot. Wow!! All that work was SOOOOOO worth it. The Green Mountains’ incredible beauty was on full display with views of Mount Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, Worcester Range and the Sterling Range, even with cloud cover. It was quite the stunner with the Fall display and am sure anytime of year would be breathtaking. Everyone...tourists and locals were celebrating the views at the top, offering to take photos of eachother with the amazing backdrop of color. I overheard one couple say they were from the Bay Area and couldn’t help but ask them where specifically they were from. “Redwood City '', they replied, which is where Jeff grew up. What a small world. They had just flown in the day before to have a week of enjoying the season in New England.
After about 15 minutes at the top, it was time to head down which is always less fun for me. I much prefer going up with less opportunity to slip. Hiking poles would have been a nice addition with all of the rocks on the trail. At times, I needed Jeff’s help maneuvering a few boulders. On the way back to the campground, we stopped at the Gold Brook Covered Bridge, the
oldest bridge we’ve seen in Vermont so far and listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974. It was built in 1844 by John W. Smith, following the true Howe Truss Bridge style. Hundreds of Howe Truss Bridges were built across the U.S. for roads and train tracks as a strong and reliable connection. There are only 3 remaining Howe Truss Covered Bridges in Vermont, this being one of them. When it comes to lighthouses and covered bridges, we can’t get enough.
Anyway, the three of us were toast by the time we got back to the campsite. Thank goodness for homemade soup and chili in the freezer when you just don’t feel like cooking. Lentil soup and a side salad. Delicious!