Matt’s Bike n’ Hike, June 2014

Matt's Bike n' Hike June 2014 - 6“You know, Matt, I think I’m going to be tired on the ride home.”

We were standing on the summit of Camels Hump. Now, I hike up Camels Hump a lot. But I usually drive to the mountain. Matt had another idea. Ride bikes there. Hike. Ride home. And have fun along the way.

Matt's Bike n' Hike June 2014 - 23Before the Tough Mudder, the Spartan Race, or Real Housewives of New Jersey came Matt’s Bike n’ Hike. I think this was the 33rd Annual running. Admittedly, that is a guess based on the age of Matt’s road bike which survived a cross-country ride shortly after Lewis and Clark first forged their way West. In any event, Matt’s been doing this for a while. This was my first go. A 60 mile ride and a classic Vermont hike.

Matt's Bike n' Hike June 2014 - 21-1We met in the morning in Burlington to commence the day. First milestone was breakfast in Richmond. Immediately the group was divided, some preferring the Bridge St. Cafe and some On The Rise. It’s Matt’s gig, though, so to Bridge St. we went. There I saw Heidi eat a plate of breakfast burrito and homefries that was bigger than her head. Apparently we needed fuel for the day.

Matt's Bike n' Hike June 2014 - 17Coffeed and caloried, we hopped back on the bikes and headed to Camels Hump State Park, including a fun climb up the gravel road for the last few miles.

At the Forest City trailhead, we changed from biking gear to hiking gear. Hey, it wasn’t a race after all.

As we headed up the trail, Heidi had a little muscle pain that didn’t seen right. Matt tried to help her work it out, but to no avail. So she took an alternative route without the big steps (climbing Camel Hump is a bit like mounting a relentless boulder staircase), while Matt, Joe, and I charged on to the summit.

Apparently Matt’s daily routine involves several thousand feet of elevation gain, and while his fast walk barely nudged his heart rate above 60 bpm, I felt I was sprinting the whole way up, sure that my heart was going to bust through my ears.

Matt's Bike n' Hike June 2014 - 5It was a hot sunny day, and the summit was awash with hikers. We enjoyed the view and some sandwiches that Joe had grabbed in Huntington. And then we started heading back down, knowing we still had the descent and ride home ahead of us.

On the way down, Heidi reeled us in, and we hit the water hole. Joe and Matt did the plunge. I got my ankles wet. Brrrrracing cold water!

Matt's Bike n' Hike June 2014 - 1Back on the bikes, we worked our way down to Hinesburg Hollow Road, a first visit for me, and a pleasant ride. We stopped for an icy Honest Abe tea to cool off, and to suck in 14g of sugar. Then it was the gentle roller coaster back to Burlington, with time for a shower and a stop by the waterfront for a beer and the sunset the Rudyard Kipling said was one of the finest in the world. It is.

I may be old and tired, but I still enjoy a day well spent!

(More photos from the day.)

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