This morning I was looking for a good destination for a winter’s afternoon hike. Morning business meant I could not reach any trailhead until after noon, so I picked Spruce Mountain – an easy 2-mile trail up a short mountain in east-central Vermont. I was here just over a year ago, in deeper snow, but the memories of a lovely hike were shadowed by a sad incident on the drive home that sent my Tesla into the shop for almost two months. So today was an opportunity for redemption. And a beautiful day at that!
The trail is relatively flat for the first third of the route, then a bit steep and icy for the middle third, before topping out at a forested summit with a fire tower. The view is quite stunning – the photo above doesn’t do it justice, despite its horizon highlighting the snowy peaks of the Franconia Range at left, Kinsman Range in the middle, and Moosilauke at right. (See full-res version.)
The summit is shared by a stone foundation – presumably the site of a fire warden’s cabin in the days when this fire tower was routinely staffed. Note the powder snow still on the branches and trees – it must have been rather wind-less up here for the past week, with three fresh snowfalls of the past week lingering in the branches. (The whole route bragged about 4-6″ of powder on top of a firm, icy base.)
Although there are some good views from the ground, the fire tower grants visitors 360º views.
Full-res versions of these photos in a gallery.
Distance: 7 km
Time: 2 hours