Having postponed last week’s trip up the Mansfield Toll road due to cold, rainy conditions, I was a little concerned that the rain drops on my windshield headed toward the Toll Road this morning could lead to similar conditions. But, luckily, it was only a fine mist during the hike, being in the clouds that enshrouded Mount Mansfield today. Temperatures were in the 40s with 40 mph winds predicted for the top and rain was forecasted to start much later in the day.
A group of 5, all sign ups on the GMC Burlington’s Meetup group, met at the Toll Road in Stowe at 8am. Following introductions, we started the upward walk around 8:05am. Conversations were friendly as people were all getting to know each other. The moderate pace of the group helped get the heart rate and calves warmed up. After the warm up, we came across our first signs of old snow. We crossed a snowy ski trail, and there was a slight off trail moment but we re-evaluated the ski trail map and got back on track quickly. The patches of snow along the toll road became longer stretches of white on white with the mist and snow. Microspikes weren’t really necessary but a few of us donned them anyways. The snow was a crusty, slightly slushy mix with a little section of ice.
Two members of the group decided to turn around at the Stone Hut area and felt confident they would be able to make it back to the parking lot with no issues. The three others continued onto the top. The Mansfield snow stick measured about 2 feet of snow. We made it to the visitor center, which was the goal of the hike, around 10:40am with a little extra walking on the back side of the visitor center. Winds were definitely whipping so we didn’t linger up there long. No views to be had up there today.
It was an uneventful hike back down the toll road with our first limited view with about 1/2 mile of the hike to go. We returned to the parking lot around 12:10pm.
Hike participants: Lisa (leader), Stephanie, John, Logan, Jordan.
Photos: Lisa, John.