At 8:30, I was packed and sitting in the lobby enjoying the “free” continental breakfast when the hotel lady told me that she would be delayed a few minutes on taking me to the trail at 9:00 am. I told her that I would be waiting right here until she is ready to go. At 9:30, she told me that she could drive me now. I pull out a $10 bill to pay her and she tells me that the morning shuttle is $15 because it is further to the trailhead than it is to town. Future hikers staying here should be aware of this ploy.
The frontal passage yesterday afternoon made the weather conditions much more comfortable than they had been for several days. This was an especially good thing because the trail started off in the morning with a 1,400-foot climb up Bromley Mountain. Bromley Mountain is the local ski resort, so I can honestly say that this was the first time I have ever hiked up a ski slope. The climb was quite steep, but the clearing for the ski route afforded me with some awesome views. At the top of the mountain, there is a ski patrol warming hut that can be used by hikers in an emergency as well as a couple of chair lifts. The 360-degree views are amazing.
The 800-foot descent from the Bromley summit ends at Mad Tom Notch and Forest Service Road 21 which marks the beginning of the 800-foot climb to Styles Peak in the Peru Wilderness Area. There is a fairly nice view at Styles Peak and I met up with some other hikers who were also headed to the same campsite where I planned to spend the night. One of the girls had a dog that looked to me like a wolf. The dog didn’t act aggressively towards me, but I didn’t like it because it could stare into my soul with its steely blue eyes. From the overlook, we walked across the ridgeline to the viewless Peru Peak and began our descent to the Griffith Lake Tenting Area.
On the way to Griffith Lake, the trail becomes a long mud puddle that is eventually covered by miles of board bog bridges. The bridges beat walking in the mud, but they are very slippery and slow to negotiate. The wet ground turned out to be home to hordes of mosquitoes. You are fine as long as you keep moving, but you will become instantly inundated by flying pests the moment you stop. When I arrived at the Tenting Area, I selected a wooden tent platform and quickly set up my tent. One of the guys I had been walking with stopped by to tell me that there were going to build a fire by the lake. and maybe do a little swimming, and he invited me to join them. It sounded like a really nice idea, but I had to cave under the pressure from hundreds of blood-sucking mosquitoes and seek sanctuary in the interior of my tent. There was supposed to be a caretaker at this site to collect camping fees, but no one ever stopped by. My only visitor was an unleashed wolf that kept stopping by my tent to stare at me. I do not like that dog.
Date: July 18, 2017
Starting Location: VT 11 & 30, Manchester Center, VT
Ending Location: Griffith Lake Tenting Area
AT Miles Today: 10.6
AT Miles To Date: 1,661.3