MOUNT MANSFIELD RIDGE WALK: 6/20/14
On the second day of our mini-vacation in Vermont we decided to take it easy and drive the Toll Road up Mt. Mansfield, then hike across the alpine ridge to the summit. It was windy and chilly but very clear with great visibility.
Before heading up onto the mountain we took a drive up Rt. 108 to craggy Smugglers Notch.
Wild cliffs on the Mansfield side of the notch, seen from the trailhead for Sterling Pond. The pond is a popular destination for a short hike, judging by the number of people we saw heading up.
Narrow and winding is an understatement concerning the road through Smugglers Notch. Busses and tractor-trailers are not allowed.
Warning sign on the approach to Smugglers Cave.
We followed a short path to a jutting ledge with a view over the north side of the notch.
Then we made the steep, winding 4.5 mile drive up the Toll Road to the parking area at the base of The Nose, with its imposing cliffs.
The Chin (highest summit) and Adams Apple from the top of the Toll Road.
We had lots of company on this relentlessly scenic section of the Long Trail. But unlike Mt. Washington, Toll Road riders still have to earn the summit a little bit with a 2.8 mile round trip hike.
After a brief stint in scrubby woods, the views were nearly continuous the rest of the way.
Looking back towards The Nose.
Nearly the entire walk across to The Chin was in the open.
Cotton grass in an alpine bog.
Looking south along the Green Mountains. Camel's Hump is the sharp peak left of center, with Bolton Mountain in front on the L.
On the eastern horizon: the Presidentials, Twin Range and Franconia Ridge.
Approaching The Chin.
There were several intriguing trails branching off on either side.
A rugged mountain!
The Adirondacks on the western horizon.
The final approach to the summit. The string is intended to keep hikers on the trail treadway and off of the fragile alpine vegetation.
A triangle on the summit presumably carved by the U.S. Coastal Survey in the 1870s.
No, it didn't "count" for Mt. Mansfield, but what a great little hike today!
Long Trail thru-hikers getting ready to head north to the Sterling Range.
Lake Champlain and the Adirondack High Peaks beyond the West Chin.
Looking down the Mansfield ridge.
The high point, looking north.
Peering down on trailless Bear Claw Ridge - cool name!
Sterling Pond and Madonna Peak.
Spectacular Sunset Ridge Trail, the route we'll take when we come back to climb Mansfield to count for Carol's New England 4Ks.
View of Mansfield from the Toll Road.