A great late spring hike – in February! The meeting time at the Richmond Park & Ride was moved up from 9 AM to 8 AM when the forecast called for rain moving in after 2 PM, although the forecast the morning of the trip moved the likely rain start to 4 PM. We took one AWD car to the upper parking area at Camels Hump State Park and started up Forest City Trail around 8:35 AM. It was overcast but very warm, in the 50s F, so we were all down to shirtsleeves (short sleeves for two of us) almost from the start. With all the snow melt every little watercourse was full, and a few stream crossings were “interesting”.
Getting to the side trail to Forest City from the trailhead kiosk required jumping a minor stream, and later on in the hike, especially along the Long Trail, we could hear the water rushing under the snow on which we were walking.
Forest City Trail was packed and we were able to navigate it with just boots or microspikes as long as we were careful to stay exactly in the center of the trail. But the Long Trail wasn’t quite as well packed, so we switched to snowshoes when we reached the junction around 9:50. We stuck with snowshoes almost all the way to the summit, though we crossed stretches of bare rock where just boots would have been better and stretches of ice where spikes would have been nice. The snow was soft enough in places along the Long Trail that we occasionally postholed down two or more feet even with snowshoes (but is it a posthole if it’s the size of a snowshoe??).
It stayed warm, and probably got close to 60° F, but as we cleared the trees just below the summit around noon the wind became really intense so we layered up just a bit. We guessed the winds around 60 mph (though none of us are very good human anemometers), enough that one could barely stand at the summit. We shed our snowshoes before climbing the final rocks to the summit, and Burrows Trail was again packed well enough that we left them off for the rest of the trip.
We had seen no one before reaching the summit, but saw several people between the summit and the hut clearing, a group from Middlebury at the clearing as we ate lunch, and quite a few more people on the way down Burrows. We reached the car around 1:30, for a total hike time of just under 5 hours.
Participants: Ted Albers, Dean Wiederin (with Sophie), David Hathaway (leader).
Photos: Ted & David.