The Sterling Pond trail sharply ascends the forested slope of Sterling Mountain. The Smuggler’s caves, rest rooms and parking lot lie across Route 108, nestled beneath Mount Mansfield’s western ridge. Step-like stones lead to rocks, soil and roots. We breathe hard before the first straight-away.
Finally, we make it to the pond. Different couples and families take turns photographing themselves beside or atop a boulder on the shore. One man discusses a path back with another, map in hand. We eat grilled chicken and avocado sandwiches before moving on. First, we ascend the Long Trail south, then use a connector to reach our lookout. Clouds cover the radio towers atop Mount Mansfield. We still see the heart of the mountain as we finish lunch alone.
down the mountainside
Frankie and I slide down the pipe at the North Hills Aquatic Center. Then we soak in the hot tub. Rinse and repeat.
Jambalaya dinner quiet night in after