From our spot in Jeffersonville, Vermont I can see the highest peak, Mount Mansfield. It is not just the tallest summit in Vermont at 4,393ft, but it the same mountain where the famous Stowe ski area can be found. I have always looked at the mountain, which resembles the profile of a giant face looking up towards the heavens, and wondered how I could get up to the summit. During this visit to Vermont I was determined to make it happen, so after a bit of research I did just that.
|Crossing beautiful streams on the way up|
My calves are still burning as I am writing this, several days later, but the pain is all worth it knowing that everytime I look up towards the mountain I will remember standing on top of it and soaking in that 360 degree view. Here is how I made it....
|Breathing hard on the way up|
|Where the trails meet|
The stream became smaller and smaller until finally I reached an altitude where the rocks were covered in a thick blanket of moss that continuously seeped out water like an oversaturated sponge. It was pretty wild to see, especially since it was a beautiful sunny day without a single raincloud in the sky. Yet here was the headwaters of the everpresent river down below.
|Alpine summit environment|
|Summit of Mt. Mansfield, VT|
A USGS survey marker was at the very top of the summit. I was surprised by the number of folks up here, as I hadn't passed a single person on the trail up. I later found out that there is a much easier way to the summit, one that most of these folks had taken. Over on the Stowe side of the mountain you can drive up the toll road which takes you to the very top of the Stowe ski area lifts. From here it is short climb followed by an amble along the ridgeline to the scenic summit. I stopped for a hearty picnic lunch at the top, soaking in the beautiful weather and cool breeze. And after a few pictures from the summit I raced down the Sunset ridge trail, passing folks on the way. I felt like I was setting a pretty fast pace to try and get back home before Catalina woke from her nap. That pace was definitely put into perspective as I crossed paths with a trail runner literally racing up the trail.
In the end it was a great half day's adventure. In fact the total time I was up and down including lunch was three hours. And I made it back before Catalina woke from her nap. Mark that as another great Vermont adventure.
|The summertime view of Stowe ski resort, from the Chin|