TAKE THIS HILL AND STOWE IT
Overcast at 6:00. I looped around the meadow and found the asphalt recreation path. Only the occasional nonconformist tree showed any trickle of the next month's coming flood of red and yellow; I enjoyed the lush foliage nonetheless.
The first four miles offered an easy, hardly perceptible drop. Clouds got brighter occasionally, even enough to cast shadows, but the sun never came out. A couple of miles through the village of Stowe provided a moderate but discernible climb. The next couple of miles took me past farmland, a few residences, and a golf course. As I left the rec path and turned up Luce Hill Road the sun come out to stay.
Here I met the course's singular challenge: the grunt-n-groan climb to the crest of Trapp Hill Road (for the real-life Von Trapps of The Sound of Music; they own the resort at the hilltop). I'd felt pretty good so far today; the next couple of miles gave me a break from that enjoyment. The very challenging grade hardly let up over some seven tenths of a mile, then it eased just a bit (malicious tease!) before resuming the grind. When I turned around and looked back at Stowe, I realized that the sun hadn't come out earlier; I'd simply walked up out of the low-lying fog that still lay in place, cloaking the town.
Climbing ev'ry mountain—or at least just this one—
The equally steep descent gave me problems even at my pace. Two elements somewhat mitigated the descent: (1) the slightly more forgiving dirt road, and (2) the non-stop magnificent scenery.
After stopping to change prosthetic socks at the next aid station I set out on Nebraska Valley Road's five mile out/back. This stretch offered a few homes, farms, lots of pasture, all nestled between hybrids of very ambitious hills or modest mountains. I stopped to pet some goats. Mile 14 took me steadily up another dirt road through lush forest, to the turnaround near m15.
The temperature reached probably the mid-60's over the next few miles. On the final dirt road segment, clouds moved in front of the sun and suddenly my life felt probably ten dgrees cooler. Growing blisters on my residual limb hindered my efforts to run.