A few weeks ago, my plans were all over the place. I finally had it nailed down, or so I thought, and then I had to change them again. The weekend turned out to be a fantastic time with friends, old and new; we climbed a few mountains, ate good food, played with puppies, and drank good cider.
Dinner at The Bench in Stowe was incredible. A must go if you are in the area. Roasted half duck, gluten free wood-fired pizza, sandwiches, poutine, beer, and cider! It was the perfect way to start off the weekend. Thanks Ryan and Tess! I look forward to stuffing my face here after The North Face Race to the Top of Vermont.
A night of new faces, fire, and drinks, it wasn’t long till everyone was passed out. I got up as almost everyone was getting ready but since I was hungover, I wasn’t ready yet to go hiking. A nap in my new Lamzac was called for especially since I figured out how to get some air in it! Watching Ryan try to fill it while drunk the night before was hilarious but netted zero results. I woke to the sound of my picture being taken.
It wasn’t long before we were driving up through Smugglers Notch looking for the trail head to Hell Brook Trail. I forgot just how beautiful this area is. While getting ready, I realized I had made a grave error when packing my gear! I had a long sleeve with me, but my shell to put on at the summit was no where to be found. Apparently I had left it on my kitchen table. Whoops! Don’t be like me, pack your shell.
We started to climb. I knew by looking at the map we were pretty much going straight up the side of the mountain making it a short and steep climb. I read the guidebooks after the fact.
This is a very advanced trail, they don’t suggest downclimbing it, they don’t suggest climbing it with dogs. We did both, on a rainy day. The trail was technical and challenging but beautiful.
The summit was socked in, there was no view to speak of, save for the 5 seconds the clouds parted while we were on the Adams Apple and we could see Mansfield. The wind was whipping. We didn’t last very long before it was time to head back down the mountain. I was cold!
The climb down was easier over all. I could simply sit on my butt and slide when I needed too. I consider it a win that the one location that is a real scramble, with a bolted in steel bar for assistance, that I didn’t cry when I went over it.
The trail was beautiful. One I highly recommend. Even if it is challenging. There were waterfalls, caves, climbing, and on a clear day there are even views from the top.
* All photos courtesy of Ryan Trott.