A “stay-cation” may be just what you need if you are suffering from wanderlust during the pandemic.

Jan 28, 2021

 by Beth Roberts

Vermont was one of the safest states in the nation until late fall. We were all so careful and proud of our status, but it happened anyway. It was out of our control, new mandates came into effect as Covid numbers rose. Now, as we near 3 months of strict travel restrictions some Vermonters are getting antsy. We aren’t allowed to have people from other states visit without quarantining, putting all of our weekend friend visits on hold. Also, we love our beautiful state but those with wanderlust are patiently waiting to be able to travel safely again.

My friend Joe is a traveler. I am always envious of, yet eager to hear about his trips. He travels more than I do and he’s good at it, which I admire. We see eye to eye on a lot of little details like what perks are worth splurging on and when to visit certain regions.

We share that travel spirit so lately we have been struggling with the state guidelines. We are both rule-followers and playing it safe but the walls of the state lines are starting to close in.

Last week Joe showed up at my studio for his private boxing and rowing session with an exciting plan to share! He figured out how to have a great travel adventure simply by snowshoeing out his front door. He found a route he could take that would allow him to snowshoe from his home in Killington to The Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden. The Mountain Top Inn is a beautiful resort with a network of cross country ski and snowshoe trails surrounding the Chittenden Dam. He reserved a room and checked to be sure their restaurant was open. His getaway was planned, all he had to do now was pack his backpack, gear up and tackle the snowshoe!

A 10 mile snowshoe with elevation changes is no easy task for most, but Joe is fit, experienced and prepared. Joe is the epitome of the Killington Boot Camp client. He is a very active and outdoorsy 56 year old recreational athlete that supplements his activities with Killington Boot Camp workouts throughout the year. He’s very active year round but I suspect winter is his favorite season in Vermont. He rides the lifts and skis Killington and other nearby ski areas like many other locals but he takes his winter sports to the next level. He has snowshoes and spikes so he can hike all winter in various conditions. Some days he skins uphill at one of our local ski areas and skis down before the crowds arrive or after they leave. He can also be found cross country skiing on the golf courses and local trail networks. In a normal year he’d be traveling to ski internationally in the Dolomites or Tremblant in Canada. This year, unable to travel abroad, he got creative and mapped out this adventurous two day “staycation”.

I asked him some questions about the route and overall experience upon his return. He had planned the same route for both directions initially but wound up veering off and cutting the route a little shorter on the way to the Inn. The elevation gain was greater this direction and he was looking forward to getting to his destination. He said the hike home was actually easier although longer because there was much more downhill on the way home. This also provided a change of scenery for the return trip.

His stats say it all, he tackled this journey with enthusiasm. He completed 9.8 miles of snowshoeing at elevation in five and a half hours. He spent two nights at the picturesque inn and took advantage of their trail system and luxurious lodge.

I asked Joe if there was anything else he’d like to share about his experience.

In his words:

1) I gained a new appreciation of the VAST network of trails. I really want to explore more of them this winter.

2) I believe you have to travel at least a few hours “to get away”. To me, it would have felt a little odd to drive just 25 minutes to the Mountain Top Inn and spend two nights there. This was a very efficient adventure. I could have spent five hours driving to, say, Maine for a long weekend. Instead I traded all that driving time for actually doing an activity. While the Mountain Top Inn is just over the hill from my house, by snowshoe it was five hours away. I felt like I got away and did not have to drive endlessly in my car.

Sunrise from the Inn

3) The Mountain Top Inn is a great destination. My room was nice and overlooked the Chittenden Reservoir and the mountains beyond. I had wonderful meals in their restaurant. Their hot tub was therapeutic after all the snowshoeing I did.

I hope you find Joe’s story and experience as inspiring as I do. I feel very fortunate to be a part of such an active and adventurous fitness community. If we can’t cross the state line we will simply find a local adventure!