8/30/2020 – Mt. Abe & Lincoln Peak
The six of us met at the Battell Trailhead on Elder Road (Lincoln) for the 9 AM hike time. The parking lot at Battell holds about 8-10 cars and when I arrived already 5 cars in lot so by time all of us arrived we filled up the lot and the road parking began. The first notable mention is the hike was rescheduled from Saturday due to the rain. I held out as long as possible but upon watching the forecast on Friday morning and looking at the mountain forecast website hoping for the weather to flip from rain to clear skies, realization set in that was not going to happen. Hence the reschedule email was sent with the Sunday option. Thus, the 6 out of the 10 participants being able to make the hike. Began with introductions, as two new hikers participating in a GMC hike, so welcome to the Green Mountain Hiking Club Burlington Section Jenny Gage and Ethan Arrowood. Reviewed covid hiking guidelines, hike route and began our hike at approximately 9:10 am. Headed up the Battell Trail (2 miles) reaching Long Trail North Juncture at 10:30 am at which time we convened to gather the group back together before changing trails and making sure everyone was doing well. A short venture of about 2/10 of a mile on LTN brought us to Battell Shelter where we stopped to see the shelter and chatted for a few minutes before continuing up the trail. The trailhead elevation ~1,300 feet with Mt. Abe Summit at 4,006 feet making the elevation gain from beginning to end 2,700 feet. We had a strong to moderate pace for entire hike which is notable being hike is moderate to difficult hike based on parameters of hike < 8 miles(7.4 miles) but > 2,400 foot elevation gain. A few technical rock outcroppings due to some moisture and brief steep climbs but no lemon squeezers! We arrived at Mt. Abe at 11:30 am where greeted by cool temperatures, brisk cool wind and great 360 degree views of the inside of a cloud (quoted by Dave from former GMC executive director on Mt. Abe in June of 2010). As a result, the choice was easy to press on to Lincoln Peak with the hope the sun would come out to break the clouds for some real views of surrounding mountain summits. We arrived at the Lincoln Peak wood deck area where we sat on floor to stay out of the cool wind and all added another layer while ate our lunches. Jenny won the prize for best food with a cold crab salad, and Ethan for combination of voracious appetite/large bag of healthiest snack with monster size carrots, while the rest of us had our sandwiches! We held out as long as possible until the cold temps of about 50 degrees F got the better of us although we did have a few pop up views of the valley below but still no sun as the clouds rolled in and out. On the way back to Mount Abe the sun finally broke the clouds and we actually had views with the warmth of the sun feeling awesome as we de-layered from our windbreakers. Dave struck up a conversation with Aubrey on Mount Abe on return leg of trip, who we asked to take a group picture. Aubrey joined us on the hike down to Battell Lodge and exchanged emails as she and her husband would be interested in doing future hikes with our GMC group. Dave met another LT through hiker at Battell Lodge and had some good conversation about the hike route as the hiker pulled out his LT map. After about a 20 minute break, we began our descent down the remainder of the Battell Trail with discussion involving apple picking and other enjoyable things to do in the Fall. With apple picking came Dale’s anticipation of fresh apples and more homemade applesauce! We arrived back at the trailhead at 3 pm. Another great hike with great group of hikers and two new hiking friends! Welcome again to Ethan and Jenny and hope you enjoyed the hike. Hike participants: Ethan Arrowood, Jenny Gage, Marcus Keely, Tess Stimson, David Hathaway, and Dale Schmit (leader). Photos: Dale Schmit, Marcus Keely, and David Hathaway.
8/1/2020 – Mansfield Forehead via Rock Garden Trail
The five of us met at the Stevensville Road Trailhead (Underhill) at 8 am. Good thing we arrived at the earlier time because after our arrival the parking lot was full with us taking the remaining spots. After brief review of Covid hiking guidelines we began our hike at 8:10 am up the Butler Lodge Trail reaching Butler Lodge at 9:10. After a snack break and enjoying the view we travelled up Wampahoofus a tenth of a mile where turned onto Rock Garden. Rock Garden is truly a great adventure with some lemon squeezers, crawling over or under a huge boulder, and plenty of other great up, down, and around rocks of all sorts! Trail conditions were excellent today with only a few spots where moisture made a slight difference in traction. Plenty of mushrooms sprouting in comparison to a hike from a couple weeks ago but no slugs like last year. From there we turned up Maple Ridge to begin our ascent to the forehead, arriving at approximately 11:15. Maple Ridge has two unique features, one being an approximately 5 foot gap about 7 feet deep to jump over followed shortly up the trail by steep graded rock face to climb by getting a hand grab on the crevice as scampering along the face until able to transfer feet to the crevice ledge walking along the rock face until reaching a point where able to reach your leg up onto the plateau of the trail above. Awesome! After reaching the summit, we took a break over by the beginning of the LT South trail since other summit area was full of people breaking/taking in the views. Perfect views of all surrounding summits such as Camels Hump, Bolton Mountain, Dewey Mountain, and many others as no cloud cover and excellent temperatures for hiking. While breaking for lunch we discussed whether to descend on Maple Ridge to Wampahoofus or head down the LT South to Wallace Cut Off and back to Butler Lodge Trail with LT South being the trail of choice. We began our descent about 12 pm to enjoy some ladders that were a nice addition to the hike. After the ladders, there was a steep ledge area which David discussed could be a difficult edge to navigate in the winter due to knowing where the edge is located due to the snow cover. After reaching Butler Lodge, we took another break and David had a good chat with a Long Trail Patrol member about work being done on the trail while we jokingly chatted at the trail juncture about how nice the privy was at Butler Lodge! After about a 20 minute break we resumed our hike and encountered quite a few hikers in this section of the trail where we had to navigate using our physical distancing and masks the most in comparison to the rest of the hike. We arrived back at the trailhead at approximately 2 pm. After a brief discussion that another successful hike with great company and great group of hikers, nobody from group lost, and no injuries! My first hike as a group leader and will always be a special memory for me so thanks to everyone who joined the hike! Hike Participants: Marcus “Einstein” Keely, Jill George, David Hathaway, Susan Tobin. Trip Leader: Dale “Rockhopper” Schmit. Photos: David Hathaway, Marcus Keely, Dale Schmit (leader).