Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mt Abraham & Mt Ellen VT

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Aug 15th 2013; Mt Abraham (4006') & Mt Ellen (4003')

I've decided to wait until September to do my last 3 Maine peaks (less flies - less people) so I have jumped into doing the five VT 4000 footers.  I'm posting this late (Aug 27) and have completed all 5 in August. The 1st Vt hike was Mt Abraham & Mt Ellen, both along the same range that is better known as Sugurbush and Mad River Ski area.

This being a longer drive than usual, I decided to find a campground that I could drive up to the first night,  get a good night sleep before the hike, and come back to after the hike and get a good night sleep before driving back to RI.  I ended up staying at a Vt state campground called Silver Lake near Bernard VT. its still 45 miles from the range i was hiking but shortened the drive up and back.

After staying here and another State campark on a subsequent hike,  I have to say that Vermont really knows how to run a good state camp ground.   The sites, showers (coin operated) and heads are all exceptionally clean and they are adament about there quite times and encourage you to contact the on-site ranger any time a day for anything. the sites are fairly close together, but with the enforced quite time it was great for what i wanted - sleep.

Abraham and Ellen are both along Vermonts "Long Trail" (LT) . The LT is similar to the Appalacian trail (AT) but shorter and is only in Vt. The average time to hike the LT is 4 weeks vs 4 months for the AT It is America's first long hiking trail and inspired the making of the AT.  This section of the LT is between two gaps, Lincoln Gap to the South (Lincoln Gap road) and Appalacian Gap (locals call it the "Ap gap") to the North (Rt 17) both Trailheads are near 2400 ft, so the actual elevation gain on this hike is fairly low The best way to bag both peaks is hiking gap to gap with a car spot. Not having a car spot I chose to start at Lincoln Gap go up to Abraham, follow the LT to Ellen then turn around. Not a particularley hard hike. Weather was good, views were great, and I dont recall a lot of bugs.  Abraham was empty when i first passed her but by the time i got back it was crowded.  Being a fairly easy hike to get above the tree line, its a very popular with the locals.

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The only sites available were lean-to sites, $28 vs $22 for a tent site.
I kind of like the lean-tos and with a free standing tent inside the lean-to with a small matress I carry in my truck it was very comfortable. 

I lucked out and the 1st eavening turned out to be the annual Barnard street fest with a band on the steps of the Barnard general store (.5 miles from the camp site) and stands with burgers, dogs, chicken and potatoe salad near the pond across the street.  

I got up at 0430 made my usual oatmeal breakfast and was on the trailhead by 06:00

Battell shelter is located ~1.8 miles up the trail.
I think the LT has more shelters per mile than the AT. t
There were still a few hikers cuddled up in thier sleeping bags when I passed through.

Battel shelter compost privy. Interesting sign on it below:

most of the trail is a mixture of rocks (above) and slabs (below)

starting to get views after ~ 2hrs of hiking


A hiker that had already peaked Abraham and was on the way back down
 with her dog offered to take a pic for me.

Got to Abraham at ~8:30, 2.5 hrs, 1582' elev gain 

peak has a stone wind wall, but no peak sign, the sign you see just says to stay off the vegetation.
I forgot to get a summit portrait but I'll be back in a few hours.

Shortley along the ridge is Little Abe who somehow rates a sign even though she's not on any list.
Further along is Lincon peak which has a nice viewing platform near the top of one of the chair lifts from Surgarloaf. Evidentley there is also another lift running in the summer that gets you fairly close to this peak. That's Abraham in the Background with little Abe to her left.

Looking North. Left to right: Ellen(4083), Cutts Peak (4022'), Ellen (4083), further off is Cammels Hump (4083) and Mansfield (4393').




Sign along the trail down from one of the lifts. Note the "N"s


Passed several ski lifts along the ridge trail, unlike N.H most of Vt high peaks have been developed

This last lift was actually just past Mt Ellen, I hadn't  realised that I had passed the viewless peak, but this was a great place to take a break, eat, and soak in the views before turning back

Looking North to Camels Hump and Mansfield (my next two peaks to be done on my next trip)


self portait from the widow on the control booth.

I'll bet there would be some great views from the top of that tower.  - hmmmm

yup!  :

looking back down at the platform

Looking back from the tower at the slight hump that is Ellen.
Guess this is my Mt Ellen summit pic.

Back on the trail, this tiny cairn is supposedley the peak of Ellen

Back at Abraham (2.5 hrs later) with the heard of casual hikers. There was a Geen Mountain Hiking Club person stationed there trying in vain to keep the mob off the fragile alpine vegatation.


back at the trail head 16:30  10.5 hrs ,I counted over twenty cars . there were 2 when I started.

driving back to the camp ground i had to stop and take  a pictute of these signs "SLOW DOWN" - MOOSE AROUND"

and despite a sign saying no stopping. I had to stop and take a picture of this waterfall.
Leaving the campgound the next morning I noticed this strange fish near the pond across from Barnard general store. It's mostley made of horse shoes welded together.