By: Marguerite Jill Dye
For over a decade I taught art classes to seniors at the Killington Summerfest and was sorry to see it come to an end. However, I recently passed the crowded Adventure Center at Snowshed Base Lodge and saw mountain bikers and adventurers on chairlifts and zip lines, and I better understand Killington’s plan. I parked at K-1, grabbed water, a day pack, and poles and started to hike up the logging road hiking and bike path.
My eyes darted from pebbles and ruts to bikers speeding past and across the trail as if playing a computer game. Mountain bikers charged around curved, packed dirt trails like a luge in the snow. They jumped off ramps and flew through the woods and on wide open ski and bike trails. I noticed a man and his twin boys, 6 years old I guessed, resting and waiting patiently for Mom who soon appeared, coaxing their 3-year-old across the ski slope.
“You can be certain he’s the youngest biker on the mountain,” she said proudly. It was astounding to see the children’s coordination and how beautifully their parents encouraged them along.
Other pairs and groups of youngsters, teens, Millennials, generations X, Y, Z, and even a few brave Baby Boomers passed at varying speeds. We heard hoots and hollers from the Beast Mountain Coaster on the edge of the slope, and further up the trail we discovered a yurt in the woods, where lunch is served in winter. I shivered as I remembered skiing Snowshed 40-odd years ago in temperatures so brutal that all other lifts were closed. It was the first time I was given a cape on the chairlift to prevent frostbite. How I would have loved a warm yurt in the woods!
As Duane (my hiking partner) and I hiked back down to the car, he realized his prescription dark glasses were missing, so with eyes downcast we doubled back up. Huffing and puffing, we returned to the remote area where he’d stuffed his shirt in my backpack. There, at the edge of the trail, I spotted his dark glasses lying in half dirt, half grass, neither broken nor scratched. Hallelujah! We gave thanks for our good fortune.
Then we heard a rustling in the woods. A bear? No, a family of turkeys scurried through the brush. Very cool to see.
Later we joined friends at Killington Active Seniors for Wednesday lunch at Lookout Grill, then decided to trek from Kent Pond to Thundering Brook Road and back up to the pond.
As we entered the forest through a verdant lush corridor, recently trimmed by the AT Club, fairies and gnomes hid in hollow trunks, beneath branches and fallen trees. I felt anticipation, expectation. Who knew what might appear? Dainty woodland flowers, mushrooms, and ferns added to the magic as I touched quartz lines and gems cradled in bear-sized rocks and stones. I talked to trees and tried to decipher giant boulders’ patterns and marks where Abenaki Indians most certainly walked. The soft carpet beneath my feet transported me back to my Girl Scout days sleeping under the stars on a pine needle bed in a forest above a lake in Vermont, or was it New Jersey?
We descended to Thundering Brook Road then hiked back up to the pond where a little boy was fishing, keeping company with our beloved loon family, popping up and down.
A lovely summer day in Killington!