"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hiking to the Highest Point in Vermont - Mt. Mansfield

Waterbury,Vermont
Goldbrook RV Park

One of the last highlights of our time in Vermont would be hiking to the highest point in the state.  Especially since we struck out in the two previous states, New Hampshire and Maine.  Mt. Mansfield is the highest elevation in Vermont at 4,393 feet with a gain of close to 2000 feet. It would be 10 miles round trip back to the truck.
 We drove to Underhill State Park to begin the hike.
 Oh, we're smiling now.  Not so much a few hours later!
We parked and hiked up the CCC road for 1 mile to get to the trailhead.
At this point we started up the Sunset Ridge Trail through the woods which crosses over a stream a few times for 1.7 miles.

This is a moderate to strenuous, all uphill trail with some scrambling.

 There are several huge chunks of quartz which is common in the Green Mountains.  It's very pretty.  Some are covered with moss.

You probably can't see it, but at the top center of the mountain ridge are some antennas.  We will be parallel to these at the top and you will see much closer up pictures of them.
Once you leave the tree line you get up into the alpine where the trees are much shorter and scraggly due to the extreme cold and winds.  Now you begin to climb the interesting rock dome-like area.
The views go on forever up here.  You can see the Adirondack Mountains in New York and Lake Champlain.
 Up here the rock has interesting swirling textures of fine sandy loam and quartz.  Really unusual and it reminded me of the outside of oyster shells.
The trail switchbacks up the alpine ridge. Once you break onto the ridge, there is no shelter if a quick moving storm should come through.
Just follow the blue blaze up, up and up.
"Are we there yet?"

That top peak is not actually the summit.  You can't see it as it is behind the first peak.
There are several large cairns to help guide you up.
And up.
And up.
And up!
The rock surface is just so pretty and interesting you have to remember to look around at the views below you too.
You get a slight break in the climb just before the trail junction at Laura Cowles.  The ground is seeping with water and little bits of color show through.  A nice boggy/pine smell fills your lungs.

At the junction it's just another mile or so up the Long Trail to the summit.
I didn't get pictures of the planks, but you walk over a couple and then climb the last stretch.

There's those antennas I mentioned earlier.
There it is, up ahead, the TOP!


And here we are!  At the "chin".
The summit marker.
It's very cold and windy up here so a quick snack, rest and a couple of pictures and down we go.  To the north is Canada, NY to the west and if you look east you can see Smugglers Notch.

Down is always harder and a little rough on the knees and feet so you have to keep enjoying those views and try not to think about it.
Just WOW!

It seemed like the rock face took forever to get down.  Then a little more scrambling and a bit of butt scooting and we were done.  Of course there was still that last mile along the CCC road to get back to the truck.  Our reward was a great dinner out.  No pictures, but I had a Filet Mignon that was served on a hot brick which I then cooked it how I wanted.  Interesting.  We all had great food to fill our bellies and we looked forward to some Ibuprofen and a nice bed.

SUCCESS in Vermont !!

12 comments:

  1. I absolutely love reliving our adventure reading your blog post. Wonderful details and photos. Again another great event together. Glenda said she still likes you. Haha

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    1. We always have fun! I know she really is just letting me go first. That's just the kind person she is!

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  2. Looks like a great hike, and a beautiful day. We've been through Vermont several times, but never done that one.

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  3. Wow! You guys ROCK!! Great goal to hike the highest peaks of each state and you're killing it!

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    1. There were only 3 we couldn't do so far. Have to conquer those another year. 4 left to get!

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  4. Congratulations! That was a tough climb up and down! Great views...for the east coast:)

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  5. Good job guys! Those views look like it was worth the pain. Safe travels!

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    1. This was the most challenging of the high points so far. It was a great hike with awesome views! 23 down, 4 left to get.

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  6. Congratulations on completing another states, how many does that make now?

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    1. We've finished 23 high points/summits this year so far. There are 4 left before we return to AZ/CA.

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