Camel’s Hump Mountain, 4083 feet. Huntington, VT. With a side trip to the B-24 bomber wreckage.
75 dF at trailhead, approx 80 dF at summit. Sunny skies and 30 miles visibility. Breezy at summit — approximately 5-10 MPH.
Via Burrow’s, Alpine, and Long trail.
Trailhead: 1100; Summit, 1215. B-24 wreckage: 1245. Car: 1500. Approximately 6 miles.
On the one hand, not having the 48 hanging over my head is a bit liberating. It’s one thing I’m not thinking about any more. (OK, I’m thinking about it, but much differently, being on the other side of the list now.) On the other hand, without the insane impetus to get outside, it’s easier to procrastinate. And yet, not getting outside drives me up the wall. Amongst other things, I like writing about things I’ve seen on the trail. Maybe people benefit in planning their own hikes, which is cool. (And I hear that happens.) This blog is in part a reaction to finding a dearth of that kind of knowledge on the web.
So… Camel’s Hump. Just over 4,000 feet. Relatively easy, and so it was a nice, easy day out. I was nursing an injury, so easy was fine by me.
To be clear, I’m madly in love with the Whites. Vermont feels different, and that’s OK. The distance from trailhead to summit is merciful, making up for the hours-long drive to get there. (And passing through farmland on that drive is sublime. Please don’t get me wrong on that. Oh wow, is it sublime, driving through cow country. Miles and miles of verdant, becalming scenery that just makes you want to slow down. You can’t put a price on that.) One thing I’ve noticed is that the view from the top takes in that farmland, which stands in stark contrast to the view from, say, Bondcliff, Garfield, Isolation, or Carter Dome, where you look across miles of wilderness. Vermont owns its farms, and makes no bones about it. Which is cool!
My VT parks season pass went unused today — the mountain extracts no user fees from either human or iron ranger. (Just know that parking is first come, first served.) And yet, at the trailhead, there were still complimentary maps, and in abundance, no less. The trail was muddy in a couple of small sections, but overall, this wasn’t “Ver-mud.” Until near the summit, I didn’t do a lot of rock hopping, which was also refreshing. And unlike many hikes in the Whites, the trail is amply blazed, and pretty much clean and clear the whole way up. Apart from quirks of geology, the trail was quite well maintained throughout, and this was evident from the number of small kiddos I saw everywhere — all of whom were having a blast on such an epic day.
One thing I noticed was that the alpine herbaceous plants weren’t even nearly as abundant as I’ve seen on other hikes. So don’t go for the flowers. However, the green tunnel was in effect, so even though it wasn’t as floral, my work-a-day stresses sloughed off my back about ten feet from the trailhead. It’s a popular mountain on the weekends, but today, it wasn’t busy. I did see a lot of ferns, and this continues to intrigue me — plants that were likely kicking around about the time the dinosaurs were taking their last curtain call. If the mountains don’t get you thinking on a different time scale, the plants can still fix that deficiency. Wow!
I stopped to see the wreckage of the ill-fated B-24 that crashed on the side of the mountain back in 1944. It’s around 1/4 mile from the summit, and worth the small bit of effort. Take the Alpine Trail and when you see the two yellow blazes, go to the right for about a dozen more yards. It’ll be right in front of you. The hike back to the summit, should you want to take Burrow’s Trail back to the trailhead, isn’t tough. Just know that the short bit of trail does include a roughly 5 foot section of trail that wraps around a cliff-face, and while it’s not a huge deal, you will feel a bit exposed. But it’s exhilarating.
And you can’t beat the view.