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Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Dome(Vermont)

 Went for a very nice hike up to the Dome, a peak just north of the Vermont/ Massachusetts state line in southern Vermont.  Access to the trailhead is from Williamstown but the trail itself is located in the town of Pownal.   The trail starts at a small parking area near a tributary of Broad Brook and then briefly enters a wooded area before entering a large open field.
The trail basically follows old woods roads and is very rocky in many areas.
 A warm, sunny Sunday afternoon.  Nearly the entire walk is under a canopy of northern hardwoods.
 About 1.3 miles in and just after passing a junction with the Agawon Trail, you arrive at a giant boulder known as "Meetinghouse Rock".  This is a perfect place to take a seat and relax, and also marks the halfway point of the hike.
 The wide woods road slowly becomes more of a foot trail as it continues to climb. 
 At a major intersection there are muddy four wheel drive trails going in all directions, so you must carefully follow the red blazes and signage.
 A muddy section surrounded by ferns.
 The trail, while never steep, is a continuous climb the entire time.  Total elevation gain from beginning to end is 1720 feet, which is a bit surprising because of the lack of steepness.
 After a couple more wet areas, the trail enters a boreal forest area, a very rare site for this elevation and latitude. 
 This is a truly unique area and is much more likely to be found in northern New England.
 Red spruce and balsam fir dominate the summit area.
 The trail winds along the white rocky areas, called quartzite, to the rounded dome at the summit.

 Arriving at the summit of the Dome, elevation 2748 feet.
 Looking at the true summit, a large white rocky area, which makes a pleasant spot to relax.
 Lingered at the summit for about 20 minutes or so.  There was a true sense of solitude up here.  While there are no scenic vistas to be had, it is a very rewarding spot after a nice hike up.
 Pine cones everywhere.
 Looking through the trees down towards the Greylock Range.
 Views are impeded by the surrounding trees but it is still a magical spot. 
 Surrounding forest at the summit.
 Beginning the descent along the white rocks that make up this section of trail.
 Looking back at the summit of the Dome.
 Descending further though the boreal forest.

 Hardwoods quickly begin to dominate the forest again, once you leave the summit area.
 The hike was a very nice 5.2 mile RT with a consistent ascent and descent.  Stopped by the nearby Broad Brook Trail which follows the banks of the stream and eventually meets up with the Appalachian Trail.
 Pristine Broad Brook.
 Only walked up the trail for a short distance, admiring the picturesque brook.

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