Winter 66 of 67 . . . Killington Peak

Date of Hike: 2/20/17

Bucklin Trail, Long Trail, Killington Spur: 7.4 miles (2,671 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
-  Whitney and I had originally planned to hike this on get-away-day during our new year's Vermont hiking trip with Tim and Matt.  The hiking weather for that day was rather subpar and the driving conditions would have been just as crummy so we decided to delay the hike until a better day later in the winter.  Monday's weather was looking perfect so we made the scenic drive from the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the Green Mountains of Vermont.
- Having only hiked Killington once before, by way of ski slope access roads in the summer for me and during her 2014 Appalachian thru-hike for Whitney, the Bucklin Trail would be a new trail for us.  It starts off very mello, as it is mostly flat for the first two miles over an old woods road paralleling Brewers Brook.  There has been a reroute from 2011's tropical storm Irene so there is now an extra PUD added in, but if conditions allow (firm snow of winter or dry footbed of summer) I highly recommend the old section of trail as it's really pretty and still blazed throughout most of it.
- After two miles the trail starts climbing steeply with little reprieve until shortly before the LT/AT junction, from here the trail easily meanders to Cooper Lodge.  Cooper Lodge is an old cabin that has definitely seen better days, and on this day it was seeing a lot of skiers and boarders using it as a smoke shed if you will!
- From the cabin we hooked onto the Killington Spur which is a short and excessively steep trail over boulders of all sizes, lucky for us they were all buried in snow which made the scramble much easier as we dug our spikes into the snow and carefully made our way to the summit.
- Killington's summit has really great views, along with a few ugly towers and buildings, but the view to the north and west, especially towards the Adirondacks is pretty sweet.
- After snapping a few pics we carefully picked our way back down the steep section to the cabin and made good time on the way out, briefly chatting it up with some of our hiking friends (Pam, Theresa, and Barb) who were also out enjoying the day.
- The highlight of the descent was sticking to the abandoned section of the trail, like I mentioned before it avoids the PUD and is quite pretty as it travels alongside Brewers Brook.  The final two tenths has been washed away so we traversed a side hill to hook back onto the trail, which was a fun way to end a nice springlike winter day in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

 The first two miles (left), followed by a steady and steep one mils climb (right)

Cooper Lodge Smoke Shack 

Whitney tip-toeing her was up Killington Spur 

 Two other hikers carefully make their way up to the summit

Whitney with Pico Peak in the background

Summit towers

Looking down on Killington ski area (bottom).  View to the southeast (top)

near the summit there is a double black diamond called Catwalk, looks pretty scary to me! 

 Hiking out on the old abandoned section of trail

Signs spotted along the way