Sunday, August 23, 2015

High Point # 6 - Mt. Mansfield, Vermont

Hi and welcome back!

At the beginning of summer, my family and I went on a vacation to Waterbury, Vermont.  While we were there, my dad and I climbed the high point in Vermont, Mt. Mansfield.  Mansfield is 4,393', and it's part of the Green Mountains.

The high point is located in Underhill State Park, so we had to drive about an hour from the hotel to the trailhead.

When we got to the trailhead, it was drizzling, and although we thought the climb would be an hour to an hour and a half round trip, the ranger said it would take more like five hours.  

Because we only had t-shirts on, and hadn't brought rain gear, we decided to go to Burlington instead and climb the next day.

The next day, it was around 80 degrees, and sunny (the only sunny part of the whole trip, it would turn out).  We started the climb midmorning, and took the Sunset Ridge Trail.  It was steep, rocky, and still very wet from the rain the previous day and the many streams that flow down the mountain.

We climbed through the woods for about 45 minutes, then came out to see a view of the summit ridge.

Right after we came out of the woods, there was a great rock outcropping, and we could see  about 50 miles across Lake Champlain and the border into Canada!

From there it wasn't quite as steep as the trail in the woods had been, and after 2:02 of climbing, we got to the summit.

Stowe Ski Area, as seen on the far side of the mountain.

For the descent, we decided to take the Laura Cowles trail, which was more technical, but would shave some distance off the total.

What we didn't realize was that the Laura Cowles trail was even steeper, rockier, and wetter than Sunset Ridge.  We really had to take our time, and we slipped in a few places, but thankfully we were holding onto trees and roots as we were jumping from rock to rock.

Even though we stopped to talk to some people on the descent, we decided that we wanted to finish in under four hours.  We were just about running the last few hundred yards (once it was almost level), and our total time was 3:58:30!

Be sure to check back soon, when we add our post about the latest twofer in Connecticut and Rhode Island!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy 2015!

Hi and welcome back!
Unpacking Breakfast

On Christmas eve, dad and I did our annual knife edge hike, although this year it was rainy and mild.  We left the house around 6:00 a.m. and got to the trailhead at 6:30.  We reached knife edge at 7:30 and tried to use the Esbit pocket stove, which is little more than a two-sided windscreen that holds a pot.

It was windy when we got to the ridge, and we couldn't keep a match lit long enough to start the fuel cube.  So we didn't get to have breakfast on the ridge, but it was an adventure!

The next day, on Christmas morning, for the second time I got a tent!  It's the Marmot Ajax 3-person, and I slept in it that night.  I have to say that it's better than the Alps, and a lot roomier and more comfortable than the REI minimalist bivy that I've been using for the last year or so.

The Ajax

My brother, sister, and I each got some cool rock holds for Christmas, too.  Mine included a leaf, a pine tree, and there were also an acorn, a tennis ball, and a few others.  I can't wait to get them up on the rock wall.

On New Year's Day, Dad and I made our hike part of our first-ever "polar bear plunge"!  We joined about 20 other people and walked from a friend's house to a swimming hole in the Mahoning Creek.  After breaking through the crust of ice on top of the water, about 15 of us waded in, held our breath, and dunked ourselves under the water.

It was...interesting.  My feet went numb almost immediately when I stepped into the water, and it took me about 30 seconds to get into deep water and submerge myself.  After that I waded out and dried off as quickly as I could!  The air temperature was about 37, which was good, but there was a little wind.  The walk back was really, really cold, but we had a great time!

Thanks for reading!