Long weekend – I had a couple of days of vacation time planned for the end of July in the event I’d be heading out west for some peak bagging. That trip is now scheduled for August so I thought I’d do some local hiking and biking. Albee was up in the northern part of Vermont and he invited me to meet up with him for some hiking.
Day 1 (Thursday) – I got up at 3am and hit the rower and bike in the basement getting in 30 minutes and hour respectively before the 2 hour drive up to Lancaster NH where I met up with Al. We headed to Guildhall Vermont and our first hike of the day. Stone Mountain had a fire tower on the summit in the past and now has just a couple of abandoned cabins. We completed the 3.4 mile hike with 1,100’ of climb in about 90 minutes with a little exploring at the cabins.
Next up was a drive to Buzzell Gap in Granby. This was a short half-mile bushwhack in the woods to the top of Buzzell hill (1,880’). We didn’t find any fire tower remnants on the top but we did visit an old crumbling house on the way back down. In all the hike was less than 20 minutes and climbed 100’.
Our next hike was a longer bushwhack to the summit of Bluff Mountain (2,789’), this was on Al’s list of “The thousand highest peaks in New England” which he has almost completed. We parked on a logging road and hit the woods. Al is really good at navigating and my job was to every once in a while say “too far east” or “we are drifting west” or something like that. We had no trouble climbing the 800’ to the top and Al brought us down through some more open woods than we had on the climb, dropping out on the logging road within 100 meters of our start. In all the 2.7 miles took us 1:51.
Before our final climb of the day we headed to Brighton beach for a swim and then caught an early dinner.
I was getting pretty tired from the long day and messed up a little on navigating us to the next trailhead. We arrived in Ferdinand on a very sketchy road with a bit more than an hour to hike up West Mountain (2733’) before sunset. After a brief chat with a guy on a motorcycle who was thinking of riding to the top (!!!) we headed out. 38 minutes and 929’ of climb later we were on the top checking out the fire tower and the warden’s cabin.
We had plenty of time to set up camp and then catch sunset from the cabin of the fire tower. It was a bit breezy and even on the verge of being chilly up there. We got treated to a spectacular sunset and later I checked out the night sky which was blazing with stars.