Yesterday was Easter and what better way to celebrate than to go for a hike. My friend Ben and his wife Chrissa have recently had some car problems and were currently without a car. So, after a short trip into Burlington to pick them up we turned around and made our way towards the town of Stowe. Our objectives were The Pinnacle and Hunger Mountain… because, with the whole day in front of us, one hike just wasn’t enough. It probably should be mentioned that the Pinnacle and Hunger Mountain can be done in one hike by linking the two using the skyline trail. However, because we only had the one vehicle, we decided to do them both as out-and-backs.
The Pinnacle and Hunger Mountain are part of the Worcester Range which includes Hogback Mountain, White Rock Mountain, and Worcester Mountain. They are located in between the towns of Waterbury and Stowe east of Rt 100. Additional information about hiking these two peaks can be found here – Hunger Mountain, The Pinnacle.
The Pinnacle was a great warm up in the morning. From the parking lot to the top was a little over 1.5 miles and a gain of ~1200 feet. At no point did the trail ever feel very steep and in many places there were very well built stone steps making upward progress quite enjoyable. Near the top we encountered some snow, but nothing significant and no ice. The view from the top was pretty good and I would definitely recommend this hike if you don’t have a lot of time or don’t want something too complicated or adventurous.
While our hike up the Pinnacle was quite nice and fun… our experience on Hunger Mountain was less enjoyable. Now, it wasn’t the hike’s fault. We weren’t as prepared as we could have been and as it was our choice to do this early in the season we should have expected the ice. Anyway, Hunger Mountain is another really great hike here in VT. Its almost exactly 2 miles from the parking lot to the top and you gain ~2200 feet. Again, I did not feel that this was an overly strenuous hike. Everything was really well marked and the trail was in great shape. Our only real issue came a little over a mile into the hike… ICE!
Picture this… water flowing and cascading down over rocky steps and ledges… now freeze it and dust it with snow just incase it wasn’t slick enough. Something worth the best camera for trekking Kilimanjaro shot, not less. This is what we ran into. However, I think the real issue was that the trail cleared up pretty good right after our first encounter sort of lulling us into a false sense of security and teasing us to keep going… and we did. Eventually we were so close to the top that the idea of turning around seemed ridiculous. Eventually, we did make it after some slow and deliberate hiking. When we arrived at the top we found it to be quite cold and windy and beautiful. Unfortunately, we did not stick around for too long as it was cold and we knew we were going to have a long hike out.
The way down was probably the worst part of the hike. It’s always harder to go down something than it is to go up. It’s harder to control your speed and you tend to “fall” down the trail with every step as opposed to placing your foot on the ground. When it’s icy this becomes problematic. Fortunately, no one got hurt but I do think we all intend on going out and purchasing some micro spikes for hiking at this time of year. That little bit of additional traction on the icy bits would have made all the difference and would have increased the safety level immensely.
I’m definitely going to have to go back, and maybe next time we will use the Skyline trail to link the two peaks together. Till then enjoy some of the pics from the trip.