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 bushwacking a NEHH peak 
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Mountaineer
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Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:11 am
Posts: 101
Location: Phillipston, MA
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 bushwacking a NEHH peak
Dugan and Amicus were planning a trip to Mendon Peak in VT on Saturday so I decided to tag along. I'm not really working on the NE Hundred Highest list, but I figured it would be fun.

We had several trip reports of other hikers ascent of this peak so were confident we could manage. Well wouldn't youknow. We screwed up at the very first split of the old woods roads that all over this peak :oops: :lol: . We had come to a clearing with a road bearing off to the left with red blazes for the Forest boundary, and looking carefully at the maps we decided to follow that road. Turns out we should have gone into the clearing to find another old road heading out of the far end.

Well, we wandered up the 'road less travelled', dithering at every split in the road, trying to figure out if we were going the right way. Eventually, after consulting Amicus' altimeter, Dugan and I concluded that we were heading up a shoulder of Killington by mistake. We could see there was a valley between us and Mendon so we knew we had to be off track. So off into the woods we went, downhill and steep occassionally until we soon found the very obvious dirt road we should have been on 8)

The dirt road was a snap to follow from then on and the stream crossings were pretty easy to deal with as well. It got steep after the 2nd crossing, and kinda slide-like with loose rocks to tread. We hit a cairn in the road at a corner which might have been were the true bushwhack was to start, but Amicus soon decided to head further on to a higher elevation. Dugan and I followed and we were all soon at another cairn with a good herd path heading off into the woods.

We stopped for a quick snack and to feed the local wildlife (if you can call mosquitos and black flies 'wildlife') and then it was off into the woods. With all the fresh spring growth, the herd path wasn't too obvious at times and the huge amounts of blowdowns we encountered were pretty intimidating, but we kept to the open woods as much as possible, skirted to the right of the worst of the blowdowns, and kept an eye out for the occasional glimpse of our goal (or was it the 'false summit' known as East Mendon?).

Luckily as it got steep and the spruce got thicker and thicker we stumbled upon a great herd path that we were able to follow the rest of the way. Over East Mendon, down to the col and up to Mendon peak. Nearing our goal, Amicus sped ahead and easily spotted the cannister. We signed in and read a few of the entries, but the flies were so numerous we weren't about to stay for long :evil: . We followed a short herd spur to an awesome viewpoint south, snapped some pictures and then hurried back.

Following the herd path was much easier coming back off the peak, though we did lose it a couple times. Reaching the dirt road again, we discussed our options. I havn't been to nearby Killington (a 4K) or Pico (another NEHH) yet, but with the amount of blood we were donating, I felt happy enough with just bagging Mendon and suggested we call it a day.

Heading back we speculated on where we had made the wrong turn and were looking forward to finding it on the way out. We had a couple more stream crossings to contend with on the way out (so maybe our route is a good alternative for high-water hikes :wink: ) and I was happy to splash through the last one - my sore feet loved the cold water. The other two managed to cross carefully only getting slightly wet in the process.

Exiting at the clearing we had seen at the beginning of the day (one of the higher odds speculations) we weren't really too bothered by our mistake. We had enjoyed some lesser-seen parts of the woods and the correction had been quite easy to deal with.

Arriving back at my car we were somewhat sickened by the huge number of large flies that were clinging to my car, as if in wait for our return :twisted: . We quickly stowed our gear, jumped into the car (with only one large fly managing to sneak in) and had a snack - including slices of Dugan's amazing pumpkin pecan praline cheesecake before heading to Amicus' car and home.

If not for the HUGE numbers of bugs I would have given this hike an A. It was alot of fun and while I'll admit the 'bushwhack' aspect of it wasn't too tough, it's given me a taste for more hiking to trailless peaks.


Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:44 am
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Flatfoot
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:06 am
Posts: 4
Location: Freedom, NH and Cambridge,MA
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For someone "tagging along," rocksnrolls did more than his share of leading the way (which each of us did by turns).

The bugs didn't bother me too much, probably because I was wearing longsleeves, trousers and a hat I'd sprayed with permethrin.

We found (and left) a curious three-pronged device on the first (as I recall) cairn. It turns out to have been a "triple screwdriver" left there by albee - an energetic bushwhacker who posts on VFTT - on his May 13 hike to this summit. (He took what sounds like the same wrong turn as we did on the logging road, and made a similar correction.)


Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:23 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:13 pm
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Location: Mt Lafayette Winter 2009
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Just look at it as "we took the road less traveled". :wink:

The way I see a bushwhack is that whatever way you made it to the summit was the way you intended it to be.....no set path.

Welcome Amicus!
I've aldo found Albee to be a great resource for bushwhacking and you'll find his name in a lot of canisters.

Sorry about the bugs but as long as they stay in VT.......

BTW, has mud season ended and trails are open in VT?

Peace,
Bill

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Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:12 pm
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Flatfoot
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:06 am
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Location: Freedom, NH and Cambridge,MA
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Pucknuts61 wrote:
The way I see a bushwhack is that whatever way you made it to the summit was the way you intended it to be.....no set path.


Well said. My sentiments exactly.

Pucknuts61 wrote:
Welcome Amicus!
I've also found Albee to be a great resource for bushwhacking and you'll find his name in a lot of canisters.


Before he started posting frequently, I met Albee on the trail at a propitious moment. I was standing on the summit cairn of Sugarloaf, after just completing my NE 67, when he came steaming up from the SW, on that spur trail from the AT. I was happy to share the moment with a fellow hiker.

Pucknuts61 wrote:
Sorry about the bugs but as long as they stay in VT.......


They won't. :lol:

Pucknuts 61 wrote:
BTW, has mud season ended and trails are open in VT?


"Mud season" in Vermont ended last Friday (or was it the Friday before?), although I'm not sure it would even have applied to anything we hiked. As to mud, we encountered very little - just a few short stretches of the main logging road, including one around the "second cairn" jumping-off point for the 'whack.

Happy to be here, Mike


Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:49 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:51 am
Posts: 136
Location: NH
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Loved the TR. I was up there in December and saw a big moose crashing through the dead branches!!!! Its an interesting peak with really good views amazingly. I'm a fan of the herd path up there between the two peaks -- very well defined! :)

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Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:40 am
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