Friday morning at 6 am we piled into the car to go to Vermont! We were attempting to climb the 5 peaks in Vermont over 4,000 feet in a weekend. None of us had ever done any of the climbs, so we set a conservative goal of:
Day 1: Drive to Vermont from NY and climb Mount Ellen and Mount Abraham
Day 2: Climb Mount Mansfield and Camel Hump and drive down to Killington (if we had time we were going to try to hike this one too on day two)
Day 3: Climb Mount Killington and drive home
At 10:30 we pulled up to the Sugarbush Ski resort, put on our boots, and headed towards the trail … if you could call it a trail. The journey up to the ridge was not the dirt windy trail I have grown to know and love, but a blue diamond ski trail that headed straight up; and taking the ski lift was not an option.
Of course the picture above does not do it justice.… I swear it was much steeper in real life.
We started the slow slog up the slope, and I’m not going to lie, I got in my head a bit. I was with three other hikers all much more experienced and much better at the uphill then I was. I was lagging behind a bit, and I started to let it get to me; feeling bad that everyone would have to stop and wait for me, even though no one else seemed to mind. It can be discouraging being the slowest hiker, the one always in the back. But you can’t let it get to you, can’t let it discourage you! It’s not a race, it’s your journey to the top.
Half way up, we stopped to enjoy the view… we grabbed some water and a snack (it is always important to eat when hiking to avoid cramping, even if you’re not hungry). We packed chorizo and cheese…which on our winter hikes was always a great snack, but not such a great snack for 80 degree weather. I stuck to my granola bar.
After we made our way up to the top of the Ski slope, we were finally at the ridge WAHOO! From here we followed the long trail (a more traditional dirt trail) to Mount Abraham, the smallest mountain we were scheduled to attempt at only 4,016 ft.
Once we were on the ridge it was a pretty easy hike. We had already done most of the elevation gain. First, we came to the top of a smaller mountain, Lincoln, before we summited Mount Abraham. This had some of the most amazing views.
We then headed back on the long trail to get to Mount Ellen. On our way back, it started to rain a little. Honestly, it was really refreshing in the heat. On our way down Mt Abraham, we came to an opening and I saw our next mountain….and it wasn’t close. See picture below:
But that’s okay we keep going! After all, we have a plan to get both mountains done on day 1.
To reach the summit of Ellen, you need to go over three mini humps. Although it looks far, it’s only about 2 Miles away. There were some trees down along the way. These were easy stepovers for my 6’3″ father … yeah, not so much for me at 5’5”+. Naturally I got splinters all in my leggings (and my butt – ouch), that was fun. I’m in the market for a pair of great zip off hiking pants if anyone has any recommendations lol?
Unfortunately, it had gotten very foggy so there were no views from the top of Ellen.
Now time to head down…. we back tracked on the Long Trail until we reached a ski trail. We took a blue diamond up, so why not take the Black Diamond down? The four of us started running down the mountain zig zagging back and forth, laughing hysterically. (Tip: try to curl your toes to stop them from hitting the tip of your shoes, this will save your toe nails trust me!)
Of course, about half way down the slope we realized that there is a switch back trail we could have taken. I highly recommend the trail (your hamstrings will thank you later). We took the switch back trail most of the rest of the way down, until we were only a couple hundred feet from the bottom then back to the black diamond. Naturally, as I was stepping off the ski slope, I didn’t realize there was a step, and I went flying forward…face plant. Would it of really been a hike if I didn’t fall?
This hike pushed me to my limits. It was the first time I had hiked two 4,000 footers in one day, and the steep route up was tough. Even so, I pushed through and learned that I need to move at my own pace and not worry about anyone else. I’m doing this for me, and the view from the top.
Total distance: 35,305 steps (thanks fitbit), 10 miles
Elevation gain: 3,290 ft
Total time: 6 hours
What to wear:
Socks: I tried out Darn Tough socks for the first time this hike. I love them! So comfortable! Click here to buy
I had bought a pair of White Sierra hiking pants, but I didn’t like the way the zippers felt against my skin, so I wore leggings.
Keen hiking boots: I have had these boots for a little over a year now and they have never let me down!!! If you are looking for a new pair I strongly recommend them!
Watch for my next blog covering day 2 of my Vermont trip.