Smug About Smuggs: A Nature Appreciation Moment

While on my mini-vacation in Vermont last weekend, I was able to hike a section of Smugglers’ Notch.

When I graduated a month ago, still never having tried to ski or snowboard, I figured my days of seeing the mountain were over. Oh, how wrong I was.

My friend Amber, her roommate Laura, and their friend Christine all invited me to partake in their summer challenge to hike a new mountain every weekend. I love hiking — back home I used to go every Sunday with my high school French teacher — so I quickly agreed to join in on the adventure.

We got a fairly late start, leaving campus around 12:30 in the afternoon, when the sun was already beating down on us, making the 85-degree heat feel like it was well over 90 out.

We spent the 45-minute drive to the mountain jamming to music and getting to know each other better. Soon, we reached the entrance to the section of The Long Trail that we’d be hiking; we laced up our shoes, grabbed our water bottles and began our ascent.

The beginning section of the trail was very rocky. The entire time I couldn’t help but think back to freshman year when I hiked up Mount Camel’s Hump and felt like I was rock climbing because of how steep it is. In comparison, this was easy.

Along the way we saw many other hikers, several beautiful waterfalls and took frequent water breaks, or what Christine called “Nature Appreciation Moments.”

It only took us a little more than an hour and a half to reach the top, just less than two miles from where we began. There, we were greeted with a picturesque lake. We decided to continue climbing up to find the chairlifts and take in the view from up there.

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Seeing the chairlifts gave me a better idea of what it would feel like to ski down a mountain. At the top, we ate our snacks, sipped our water and enjoyed being in nature.

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Eventually we peeled ourselves away from the sight and headed back down. It only took an hour to reach the parking lot, even though the rocks were slippery and we had to be careful not to completely slip down them.

On the ride back to campus, we stopped to reward ourselves with ice cream. It truly was a beautiful day for a hike with beautiful people.

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