On a weekend in late September, Rainer and I drove to Vermont's Mount Ascutney State Park to go camping and do some hiking. The ranger station was closed when we arrived, but the rangers were very sweet and left a note for those campers who had not yet arrived, providing each camper's site number and a map. So helpful! This area is what I would call "the boonies," so there was no light pollution at all. The high beams were necessary to navigate the campground at night! We stayed in a lean-to within the campground, which proved helpful with the severe thunderstorms that passed through on Friday night!
Hike: Leaf-peeping, Weathersfield trail, Cascade Falls, Gus' lookout, West Peak platform, Summit, Observation tower
In hopes of doing some Autumn leaf-peeping, we chose the Weathersfield Trail, a 2.9 mile path that takes hikers from base to summit. After a mile or so, we reached the picturesque Cascade Falls, which flows daintily right past the trail. After the waterafall, the climb became pretty tough! Some sections were super steep, with rocks and roots to boot. As we neared the summit, it became clear that the views from the top would be spectacular. There was a short offshoot trail that lead to Gus' Lookout, and another that lead to the West Peak viewing platform. We soon realized that the leaves were mostly still green, but both provided sights that were out of this world. Soon after, we reached the summit. We enjoyed some apples and snacks, then headed to the observation tower. The tower is about 25 feet high and provides a panoramic view of the area. I really enjoyed identifying other mountains that we had summited in the past with the help of signs that pointed out nearby peaks.
I wiped out a few times on the way down (again), but we proudly completed the entire hike. We left feeling satisfied!
After the hike, we started the hour long drive to Peru, Vermont, where we had heard a fall festival was taking place. We also really wanted a photo of Rainer, a native of Cusco, Peru, with the sign marking the town line. The festival was small, yet lively. It was complete with a pig roast, roasted corn, activities for kids, local artist's wares, and a biergarten. We spent a few hours enjoying the festival and talking with local residents. We also spent wayyyy too much money on Peru swag! :P
As we drove away from our lean-to the next day, I was filled with a sense of peace and more importantly, a sense of belonging. The outdoors welcome everyone!