Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mt. Bemis

STATE: NH
DESTINATION: Mt. Bemis
ELEVATION: 3725 Ft
TRAIL: Nancy Pond Trail / Unmaintained Mt. Bemis Trail
DISTANCE: ~8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1765 Ft
HIKING TIME: 4 Hours
SEASON: Fall
DATE: September 29, 2012
WEATHER: Overcast
MAP: (Bemis)
NOTE: The map above is from the 1950's and while currently accurate should not be used as a primary source of navigation.

DESCRIPTION: Hiked the Nancy Pond Trail to the abandoned Mt. Bemis Trail. Take the Nancy Pond trail 1.7 miles to a stream crossing of Nancy Brook. The Trailhead is directly after the stream crossing to the right. There is a geocache called the Mt. Bemis trail and the trailhead coordinates can be found on Geocaching.com (search for GC1V5BQ). The abandoned trail is well used and easily defined until the summit ridge where the spruce gets much thicker and with several blowdowns the trail is much more challenging and pace slows. The trail proceeds through an open area which presents incredible panoramic views and the best of the trip. You'll eventually ascend upwards reaching the tattered remains of the old fire tower. The true summit and most challenging bushwhack of this journey are a 100 yards West.

TRAIL DISTANCES:
Nancy Pond Trailhead - Mt Bemis Trail - 1.7 Miles
Mt. Bemis Trail - Firetower -
Firetower - Summit - 650 Ft

HIKING TIMES:

Ascent = 1 Hr to Mt. Bemis Trail
45 min to Mt. Bemis Firetower
15 Min to Mt. Bemis Summit

Descent = 1.5 Hr

3 Hr 30 minute Round Trip
NOTES / COMMENTS:
I haven't been on a serious hike in several years and Mt. Bemis was a great way to easy my legs into the groove of returning to the woods.  The Nancy Pond Trail ascended gradually to the Mt. Bemis trail which, for an unmaintained trail was in excellent condition.  The spruce got thick and blowdows got heavy once we attaned the summit ridge but it was only a short distance and only slightly slowed our speed. We proceeded through an open ridge which would have offered substantial 360 degree views of the area if not for the low cloud cover and overcast conditions.

The photo above is the remains of the firetower while standing on the deck platform. The summit is ~650 Ft to the West and a very thick and arduous bushwhack.
 
The 3725 Ft Mt. Bemis summit canister.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mendon Peak, Mt. Killington

STATE: VT
DESTINATION: Mendon Peak
ELEVATION: 3850 Ft
TRAIL: ATV Trail / Bushwhack / ATV Trail / Bushwhack / LT/AT / Bucklin Trail
DISTANCE: ~9.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN:
HIKING TIME: 5 Hr 45 Min
SEASON: Winter
DATE: 02/18/2012
WEATHER: 35 degrees, good visibility
MAP: (Killington) (Mendon)

DESCRIPTION: Wheelerville Road has a washed out bridge at the 5 mile mark and the Bucklin trailhead / parking area must be accessed from the Rt4 side.

The parking area and trailhead contained trace to minimal snow. Followed the gated ATV road past a house / camp on the left continuing into the woods.  In an open field the trail splits into a Y, it appears the traditional route takes the right fork towards the river. Continuing left will allow you to bypass the first water crossing.  Take a right at the 2nd Y along the bank of the river. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th crossing were open water with treacherously stable ice bridges. Use caution! I was aboe to bareboot until the steep section just passed the 4th water crossing then wore snowshoes the remainder of the day. Follow the ATV trail to the height of land and col between Mendon and Little Killington then bushwhack approx 0.6 miles east to the Mendon summit.  There is a false summit / highpoint approx 0.1 mi before the true summit and canister. Snow got deeper at higher elevations with 6" to 1 Ft depth. The bushwhack is mostly open woods with a few thick sections and blowdowns to avoid. Returned to the height of land and followed the ATV road along the ~3600 Ft contour towards Killington.

Bushwhacked ~.3 mile to the LT/AT and followed it to the Bucklin Trail junction near Cooper Lodge. The last 0.2 mi pitch to the Killington Summit is steep and covered in ice. On descent the steep pitch was avoided by following ski slopes down to the summit chair lift and a short bushwhack back to Cooper Lodge. Descended the Bucklin Trail.

TRAIL DISTANCES:
 
Parking - 4th water crossing = ~2.5 miles
4th water crossing - Mendon Summit = ~1.5 miles
Mendon Summit - Killington Summit= ~1.5 miles
Killington Summit - Parking via Bucklin Trail = 3.6 mi
 
Round trip = ~9.1 miles
 
HIKING TIMES:

Ascent = 2 Hr to Mendon Summit
90 Minutes to Killington Summit

Descent = 2 Hr

5 Hr 30 minute Round Trip

NOTES / COMMENTS: The lower section of the Bucklin trail has been rerouted due to washout. It breaks away from the river and follows the nearby ridgeline for approx .5 - .75 miles before merging back with the original trail.
Mt. Killington