4000 Footer DATE: 10/28/2023 - 10/28/2023
Trip/Event Location: Underhill, VT
Trip Leader(s): nhclimber03264
Max # People: 25
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Mt Mansfield: elevation (highest point) 4380ft, distance to highest is 3.86 miles, total trip distance approx. 7 miles.
- Ascent via the Tear Drop Trial to Maple Ridge Trail to “The Forehead” (
The group will meet at the Tear Drop Trailhead at 8 a.m. and depart up the trail at 8:15 a.m. SHARP.
JT led six GO members for an epic hike of Mt. Mansfield in Stowe, Vermont. At 4,393’, Mansfield is the highest point in Vermont. Leaving at 8 am, the group started on the Tear Drop Trail on the west side of the mountain. This is a lesser-used trail that was originally built as a ski trail by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program, funded as part of the New Deal. The trail was named because early skiers descended so fast that teardrops streamed from the corners of their eyes. From here we merged to Maple Ridge Trail. There were a number of challenging moments on this trail, including a few precarious rock scrambles and even a leap over a small gorge!
As we approached the tree line, a light rain became steadier. JT had sent emails leading up to the hike about what to bring if the weather turns. This, in addition to the experience of those on the trip, meant that we were ready with our rain gear and additional layers. And it was a good thing because the steady, driving rain turned to sleet towards the summit. Additionally, the winds increased dramatically in the alpine zone. 40+ mph winds pushed us around on the trail, pelted our faces with sleet, blew hats off heads and covers off of packs.
The winds calmed and the rain lightened as we started our descent on Sunset Ridge Trail. Spots of blue sky could be seen as we made our way below the clouds. Good humor and warm conversations made up for the soaking we had received at the summit. About 15 minutes before arriving at the parking lot, we bumped into a hiker from Montreal whom we had seen earlier in the day. It seemed like she was backtracking the trail and she looked worried as she scanned her phone. After speaking with her, we helped her determine that the lot where she was parked was on the other side of the mountain. A couple of the GO members offered to be her trail angels and drove her back to her car by Smugglers Notch. This was a good reminder to always pay it forward because next time it could be us who need the help.
Thank you so much to JT for organizing and leading this wild adventure!
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