Since September was a bust with Colorado, my focus turned to the plans I had in the East for October.
This idea began taking shape back in May after COVID shut down the world and killed my EBC trip. At that time, I thought we would surely be through all this Coronavirus stuff by Fall and wanted to do something big on my list but closer to home in case we still couldn’t travel abroad some 7 months later.
The tallest peaks in the East came to mind. My chiropractor is from New Hampshire and is always telling me I should try their mountains. We also have family in that area, so I asked my brother-in-law if he wanted to join me on part of this adventure. Paul eagerly accepted my invitation but not sure he fully understood what he was signing up for.
My wife and I flew with our youngest daughter to Vermont and spent a nice weekend with family. Paul and I then left Monday morning to kick off my COVID Fall Series of State Highpoints on Mt. Mansfield.
It was a beautiful drive through the hills of Vermont. The first clear profile of this mountain comes into view along VT-108 on the way up to Stowe Mountain Resort. It’s not hard to see the resemblance of the facial features that describe this highpoint.
From the trailhead parking at the entrance of Stowe Mountain Resort, you have to walk up the road about a 1/4 mile. Nothing is marked very well and the only hint of where to start is the white blaze on the inset tree that didn’t catch my eye. In fact, we walked right past this trail turn and continued looking up the road to find another faint trail start that I had on my GPS as the beginning of Long Trail. I guess all the leaves on the ground didn’t help either, but some signage would have been nice.
It was great to be here at this time with all the autumn colors yet still nice enough to be hiking in shorts. The Long Trail is a pretty steady incline with a few sections that was literally climbing a staircase of rock.
As you approach the treeline about 3 miles up, you reach this intersection. Following the trail here to the right for 1/4 mile leads to the Adam’s Apple. Bearing left for 1/3 of a mile takes you to the Chin, which is actual peak/highpoint.
If you hike this route up Long Trail, you might as well take the slight detour to get this great view of Mt. Mansfield from the Adam’s Apple.
Continue following white blazes up the north side of Mt. Mansfield to the top.
There were quite a few people up there for a Monday in early October. However, most came by car or gondola.
Getting to the top for us was only 3.6 miles and 2,900′ of elevation, but Paul was struggling. I think he thought this was going to be a walk in the park…
Views from the top were pretty cool and we felt lucky to have decent weather after all the rain that fell the day before. I was also hoping to see tomorrow’s destination to the East but the clouds had already moved in by the time we got up here.
We made this hike a loop by cutting across the top to the Nose (at the radio towers) and then down from there. The walk across the ridge was about a mile and a half for a total of 5 miles by the time we got to the Nose.
The Visitor’s Center was closed due to COVID, but I’m not sure there was much to see inside anyway.
This is where you’re supposed to follow the road down from the parking lot to the Haselton trail. Again, not a lot of markings to guide the way.
I had a map that said the trail went around the backside of the Nose before dropping off the top. When we got to the end of the road at the Ron Whitcomb Communication Facility, we found that trail to be closed!
We then backtracked that extra 1/2 mile and returned to the Visitors Center to follow the road to another waypoint I had for the Haselton Trail. It was only another 1/2 mile down that road before we came across this sign near the top of Stowe Mountain’s FourRunner Quad chairlift.
The last leg of this hike drops down Upper Nosedive, a black diamond ski run in the winter.
You are only on this ski slope for about 1/4 mile before the trail enters the woods again.
1.5 miles remains from this point down through the trees and over some rocky terrain.
As the Haselton Trail exits the woods, we found ourselves at the Midway Base Lodge not far from the car. Final stats for the day, after a few mistakes and a bit of minor route finding, was 8 miles and 3,150′ of elevation. Not a bad warm-up hike for what we will be doing tomorrow!
From here, we drove 2 hours to meet back up with our wives at a cabin we rented in Carroll, New Hampshire, for part 2 of this East Coast adventure.