This weekend it was time to hit a 111er peak (or peaks) that none of us (us being: Jenn, myself, Ewart, and Caro) had done. We had one day to do it, and I had to be done hiking by 2pm (I needed to bring my camera in for servicing before its warranty expired). Hmm.... tough constraints. Surprisingly, there was a peak - in fact, two peaks - that satisfied all the criteria : Mount Ellen and Mount Abraham in the Green Mountains of Vermont. None of us had done them, and, since we had two cars, we could even do it as a traverse, which made it all the more appealing. And the drive to and from Ottawa through Montreal made it perfect for dropping off my camera.
We decided to do the traverse from south to north, starting from Lincoln Gap at the south end and ending at Appalachian Gap at the north end. On paper, it looked to be about 15 or so kilometres, and not a whole lot of elevation gain or loss, all things considered.
Lincoln Gap is a neat out-of-the-way sort of place, with an old and decaying road that passes through a low point along the spine of the Green Mountains. A very nice and prominent sign marks the start of this part of the Long Trail, a trans-vermont trail which runs from the southern border to the northern border of the state. This section is also known as the 'Monroe Skyline', and is considered one of the nicer sections of the LT.
Starting off at Lincoln Gap
The trail does indeed turn out to be nice, with good maintainence, generally good footing, and neat-looking metamorphic rocks. It isn't long before we are reaching some good lookouts just below our first 4000-footer peak, Mount Abraham.
Caro and Ewart approach Abraham
Mount Abraham turns out to be a wonderful little peak that has a little-bitty tip that pokes out into the alpine. The square-footage of actual tundra/alpine terrain is very small, but it lends a nice air to the peak. The views around are wonderful, and are enhanced by lots of interesting atmospheric and seasonal phenomena, like low-lying clouds in the Champlain valley, weird mists and colors in the air to the southeast, and the dying colors of late autumn.
Wide-angle Abraham summit
Back on the trail again, we make good progress, now that we are at altitude. The skyline generally stays at about the 3800-3900 foot level, and is suprisingly level for a ridge. Along the way, we pass many prominent and not-so-prominent sub-summits. There are also many ski resorts along this section of the Green Mountains, and the Long Trail crosses over the top of every one of them. Never been on a trail that visits so many different ski operations! Fortunately, everything is closed at this time of year, and we have the trail to ourselves.
Pleasant ridge wanderings