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Finishing my Vermont 4k's.

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  • Finishing my Vermont 4k's.

    October 14, 2022

    This was an ACC trip organized by Bill, netting five of us (Bill, Wendy, Paul, Hugh, and myself) down to Vermont for three days to attempt some high peaks. Some major deja vu was experienced on our first hike of Mount Mansfield, starting with our arrival at Underhill State Park during an evening downpour. The campground was deserted so we settled into a lean-to instead of tents, which kept us out of the deluge. I got up at 05:30 and drank coffee for a couple hours in the cook shelter, watching the endless drench and hoping it would let up a bit so we could go hiking. At 08:00 it finally tapered to a drizzle and we decided to hike up the mountain.

    After a few minutes of heading up a gentle trail which cuts off the roadway switchbacks it started raining again so we shrugged into our jackets to avoid getting too soaked. It was warm and the forecast called for a cease at 10:00 so we continued going. At least we did get a few views from beneath the cloud cover. We went up Maple Ridge towards the Forehead which has some short scrambling sections which were fun but somewhat slippery in the wet conditions. A break was taken on this summit as the rain stopped, but the fog rolled in.

    Traversing the ridge we began to run into a few people as we passed the visitor center. The trail was littered with a lot of string. I think the intention of the string is to keep people from wandering off the path, but it really is a bit of an eyesore and sometimes was a tripping hazard as broken string pieces threatened to entangle the unwary foot. Since we could not see many views, we got never ending views of white cord instead. After a few kilometers of string walking, we arrived on the highest point of Vermont in the fog, where we sat down for lunch among the puddles and more string.

    We descended down the Sunset Ridge trail which was a little tricky with the slippery wet footing, but fortunately we did get a few views as we got below the cloud cover. More string kept us focused on staying the path and avoiding the trips. As l warmed up, I stopped at one point to put away my jacket and while I had the pack off, decided to pull out my second hiking pole. I then proceeded down the trail for a while before noticing that I was still hiking using single pole techniques. Dropping my pack, I scampered back up the trail and found it about 500 meters back, fetched it and returned to find Hugh waiting for me with a very tasty orange.

    We took the brief side trail out to Cantilever Rock to check out this massively erect rock formation prior to scampering down the last bit of trail back to camp. The campground was full today so we setup our tents at our reserved spot as the sun came out gloriously to start drying things out.


    October 15, 2022

    Today we planned a traverse hike from Lincoln Gap to Appalachian Gap. We drove to App Gap and dropped Paul's car before continuing towards the south end of the traverse where we discovered that the road was blocked for winter about two kilometers before the trailhead. We parked here on the side of the road and just decided to walk the rest of the way. Bill and Wendy wanted an easier day so they chose to just climb Abraham, while Hugh, Paul, and I sped ahead so we could complete the traverse in a reasonable amount of time. Hiking up the roadway was steep but we managed to reach Lincoln Gap trailhead in about 30 minutes, enjoying the pretty coloured leaves surrounding us during this climb. To our chagrin we found several cars in the lot here... apparently the other side of the gap is still open for driving. If only we had known we could have saved the road walk.

    Abraham was a fairly gentle trail through the woods until the last part where an easy scramble brought us out onto a small alpine summit. String deliniated where we were allowed to walk, and we sat down within the roped boundary for an early lunch on the summit. We met a woman carrying a 2 month year old infant who was curiously looking around at its first 4000' peak on this beautiful day.

    The trek across the ridge towards passed by several ski areas, and indeed the best views were had at the top of the lift structures. Navigation was tricky at these open ski areas as finding the path back into the woods was sometimes a challenge. Ellen itself was a forested summit with no view, but immediately nearby was a ski lift which provided a platform to sit on with a view during our second lunch. After we finished eating we had to ask another group where the trail went to next, since our direction lay down the fall line of a ski run. A helpful person pulled out her phone which showed the trail entrance on the next ski run over, after which the path ran along the edge of the ski slope we were looking down at.

    The rest of the walk from Ellen to Appalachian gap was long. We passed several more ski areas, and took a last break on a marble bench looking to the west at one of the final ones. Near the Theron Dean shelter we explored a small cave before descending down a very steep section of trail which had several sections of via-feratta like stemples and at one point a rickety wooden ladder. After just over seven and a half hours of hiking we arrived at Appalachian Gap to quite a crowd of people. Completion of this traverse has finished my collection of Vermont 4000' peaks.

    Last edited by mbowler; 10-23-2022, 07:06 PM. Reason: Date fix

  • #2
    The top of Mount Mansfield is a memorable place once you get above all of the trees!


    • #3
      How many 4Ks are in Vermont?
      So far I have only one.


      • mbowler
        mbowler commented
        Editing a comment
        Only five, and all but one are ski hills.

      • Yury
        Yury commented
        Editing a comment
        mbowler, in this case I have a chance of finishing Vermont 4Ks soon.
        I am not that sure about New Hampshire and Maine.

    • #4
      Are these dates correct? You finished 6 years ago?


      • mbowler
        mbowler commented
        Editing a comment
        Wow... no! This was last weekend. Big typo... thanks!

    • #5
      -Camel's Hump