Friday, July 31, 2015

Jay Peak and Big Jay

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Jay Peak and Big Jay July 31 2015

Note to anyone who has or is planning a hike to Big Jay after this date: I lost a spare pair of prescription glasses along the herdpath to Big Jay, If found, please try to contact me and I'll pay S&H to get them back.  -

I drove up to Northern Vermont from Rhode Island Thursday afternoon (7/30/15). Arrived at a Mill Brook campground in Westfield VT at ~ 9pm (~ 6 hr drive).  More of an RV park really. Got up at sunrise and drove to the VT Long Trail off of VT  RT 242.  Trail to Jay Peak is on the North side of VT242. Plenty of parking on the South side.

 Started on this section of Vermont's Long Trail on the North side of Rt at 6am

Empty hut right near te start of the trail. Could I have slept here and saved $20?
Trail is a fairly easy grade and was dry. A few small scrambles just to make  it interesting. All the way up to Jay Peak the trail us well blazed with the Long Trail white blazes
Steps over the water lines (for man made snow) where it first crosses a ski trail. Jay Peak is a big Ski area. from here you could walk along the ski trail to the top or follow the blazes over some boulder scrambles. I followed the blazes on the way up.
Starting to get some nice views now.
Looking down at the ski trails and resort at the bottom.
The road to the left bypasses the actual peak, I took it on te way back

Some memorial benches near the top.
The Peaks National Geographical Survey marker.
#98 Peak Selfie. Wind picked up once I got out of the woods and I had to put on a jacket.  Note my glasses here. I forgot my croakers this trip and lost them on the whack to Big Jay.
Once past the peak you keep following the white blazes along the Long trail until  it leads you behind this fence -
Then shortley to a well defined split. The Long trail continues to the right. The left is the start of herd path to Big Jay (FYI Jay Peak is higher than Big Jay)
I guess I didn't take any pictures along the herd path,but it was easy to follow and had many many deep soggy mud bogs. This rescue sled is in the small clearing at the peak of Big Jay
Selfie at Big Jay, I have lost my glasses somewhere through the mud bogs. I walked slowly on the way back to Jay crouched over looking for them but no luck. Probably buried in the mud now. h well they were only an older pair I use for hiking.

Another view of the sled It really is a long and heavy sled. Not sure why someone dragged it here. I I Think there used to be a peak canister at this tree. It was starting to get overcast now and my lense got wet somehow.

A better view of the opining in the fence that the LT goes through.
Having already bagged Jay i took the road  bypassing the peak and picked the LT back up at those wooden steps. At this point it was overcast pretty bad and threatening to rain - no views. 
By the time I got down the sun had came back out. Great, because I was thinking about not going onto Dorcet if the weather turned.   I saw no other hikers on the way up but on the way down i first crossed a LT thru-hiker (Gumball) that would finish today, The Northern end of the LT is at the Canadian border 10 miles north of  Jay Peak. The start of the LT is coincident with the Appalachian Trail (AT) where it crosses the Mass/VT line.  Shortly after passing Gumball, I crossed three LT "Section Hikers" also finishing the LT today. [section hikers do the LT in sections rather than continuous like Thru Hikers. The same terms are used for AT hikers. then on the way down i must have crossed a dozen of day hikers just going up to Jay Peak for the day. Many of the hikers (including gumball and the section hikers) said they thought that there was a restaurant that was suppose to be open at the peak near the top of the Tram, but when i was there it seemed deserted and the Tram wasn't running. maybe i was just too early. 
After finishing the Jays I drove down to Dorset to Emerald Lake State Park. Vermont won't let you make reservations for only one day,but I had called them and they assured me I could get a walk-in site. I pitched my tent and set up my free standing hammock. Then took a short drive to the "trail-head" I had planned to use for Dorset Peak on the way back.  Dorset does not have any official trails but you can't really call it a bushwhack or even a herd path because there are numerous backwoods roads still used by bikers and probably ATVs and snowmobiles. The trick is making the right turns. I happen to have a GPS track of one possible route  On the way to the trailhead i passed a cool looking quarry with dozens of people swimming and jumping off the sides.  This is right off VT Rt 30. I had seen pictures of this on someone else s hiking blog, So on the way back i stopped took some pictures. Changed into my trunks that I had brought just in case and tried out some of the jumps. This is a deep privately owned quarry.

Note the pile of Marble blocks already harvested from the quarry.

There are ladders strung at various spots. this jumping location is one of the more popular high jumps. I did this one after jumping in from where I'm taking the pictures.

Further to left is an even higher jumping spot. I tried this one too but only after talking to the kids there to make sure there was plenty of clearance.  There are some spots where there are boulders and pipes not too far below the surface but I made sure I jumped in the same spots as the locals. It was a blast
Typical splash from jumper the highest spot.
After 3 progressively higher jumps and a refreshing swim, I headed back to the site and cooked up some hot dogs and canned spaghetti.  I ended up sleeping out of the tent in my hammock, surpriseling there where no bugs to bother me.

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