Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vermont's High Point, August 4

Most of you know I love to hike but I've been a little lazy lately, trying to do all of the touristy things near the areas we are camped at.   I keep telling myself as I tour different states I should find the high point and hike it.  I've hiked the high point in Nevada and California so I decided Mt. Mansfield, Vermont's high point at 4,393 feet would be part of my itinerary(with a little encouragement from my friend Nancy) while in the area.  There is a toll road that goes almost all the way up to the top of Mt. Mansfield  and then a short 1/1/2 mile hike with a 500 foot elevation gain to get to the top. From a distance, Mt. Mansfield looks like a mans head.

We joined up with friends Nancy(I think Nancy has about 20 high points under belt) and Maynard early in the morning for the hour drive to Stowe, Vermont and then took highway 108 to the toll road.  The toll road opens at 9:00 and we wanted to beat the traffic, which was a good plan.  The toll road is a steep price to pay for a 4.5 mile dirt road at $26.00 per car, but since there were four of us our pocket books didn't suffer hugely, besides, Nancy treated all of us. (Joel had helped Maynard install a new cooling unit for Nancy's refrigerator and I think this was her way of saying thank you).  The price of the toll also includes a CD, bumper sticker for your car and a map.  The toll road is a ski trail in the winter and is in the middle of a huge ski hill which seemed to me rivals Aspen or Squaw Valley.  There are three different sections to the ski area.

We were ahead of most of the cars  and there was only one other car  parked   at the visitor center when we arrived.  "Visitor Center" is a loose term for the structure at the trail head ..there really isn't one.  There is a volunteer from the Green Mountain club that greets you and gives a little spiel about staying on the trail because this is only one of three areas in New England that has tundra.  If you step on it it will die. The Green Mountain Club maintains the Long Trail and other trails in the area.

The visitor center is at the base of the Chin, at the bottom of trees.
The trail follows high tundra and rock and is well marked with painted cairns.
 The views are gorgeous.  It's too bad that the clouds didn't lift.  they say on a clear day you can see the Adirondacks on one side and Mt. Washington on the other.
 We made it to the top and we were in the clouds.
 We all stepped on the marker to prove we had been there.
 The trail to the top is part of the Long Trail which goes from the Canadian Border to Massachusetts, so there were a few hard core hikers already on the top when we got there.
 Some of the terrain we walked over:
 The trail head is way in the distance where you can barely see the towers.

You can see some of the ski runs.  There is a gondola that you can take but it is more pricey than the toll road and you still have to hike aways before reaching the top.
 When we got back to the visitor center the parking area was full.  So, it was a good thing we got an early start.  We stopped at a few touristy places on the way back including a cider house, candy factory,Von Trapp Lodge and Green Mountain Coffees but our final will deserved stop was:
 What a fun place to visit.  It was a little crowded, but fun.  We took a short tour of the factory and visitor center.  You get free samples and they are just a sample, not even 1/4 of scoop, but good.

Probably the most fun part was the grave yard where all the "laid to rest" flavors are buried.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures, but if you ever get to Waterbury, VT to see Ben & Jerry's be sure to visit the grave yard and get a good laugh.

What a fun, but busy day.  We are suppose to leave tomorrow and head over towards New Hampshire, but we all need a day of rest, so we'll probably stay one more day at Groton Forest Road Campground.  Oh, one other thing: my camera finally arrived!  No more IPhone and no more borrowing cameras.

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