I was itching to get above treeline this weekend, to enjoy the fresh snow the hills received this week and, hopefully, some long-range views. I recruited an old friend and we headed for Camel’s Hump in Vermont. David spent two summers working there as a ranger, and yet had not been back to this impressive peak and its myriad trails in over 20 years.
We were the first to arrive at the Couching Lion parking area on the east side of the mountain, and planned an 8.4-mile loop (up the Dean Trail, along the Long Trail following the ridgeline, and down the Monroe Trail). We made first tracks through several inches of fresh powder on the Dean Trail and Long Trail, enjoying vast views of the Adirondacks and glimpses of Moosilauke and Washington in New Hampshire. We saw nobody else until we hit the summit cone, where we met two hikers and their chilly dog. On the way down, though, we encounters dozens of hikers who had come up Burrows or Monroe trail, and had an easy glide down that latter trail. Check out the photo gallery.
Needless to say, when one is woofed from a big hike, and passing within 5 miles of the Ben & Jerry’s factory, one just has to stop in for some ice cream. Indeed, I think there is an obscure code in Vermont State Law to that effect.
Despite summiting this mountain a dozen times last year, I just can’t stay away. This weekend I headed up the mountain early on a sunny Sunday morning with two good friends – my ’86 classmate Jen and her husband Lars. After dropping overnight gear at MRL we strolled up the Gorge Brook trail with 3-4″ of fresh powder to decorate the trees and soften the earlier hard-packed base. The blue skies did not last, but the grey overcast stayed high and we were treated to spectacular views of the Whites from the newly re-opened overlooks. The summit was freshly coated in delicate rime-ice feathers, but the wind was calm and the temp reasonable so we were able to sit and enjoy the view with about a dozen other hikers who reached the summit at noon. Check out the photos!
After a quick descent we retired to John Rand cabin for a delicious dinner (thanks Jen!), joined by another classmate Lelia and the Hooke family. The Hookes and I stayed overnight, as a light snow began to fall. With 3″ by breakfast and 6″ by our noon departure, with heavy snow continuing, it’s beginning to look like Winter has finally come to Moosilauke.