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Monday, November 2, 2015

Mount Abraham & Sunset Ledge(Vermont)

Took a nice road trip to Central Vermont today to hike a small section of the Long Trail at Lincoln Gap.
The drive up was beautiful as always!  Here is a view of Lake Champlain near Crown Point.
Lincoln Gap is a high elevation trail head at a beautiful mountain pass, which provides easy access to 4006 foot Mount Abraham, the 5th highest peak in the state.  The drive itself can be quite an adventure, as the road travels steeply up to the pass where parking is available on each side of the road.  The trail to Mt Abraham starts on the north side of the road.
The first .4 mile meandering through November woods before starting to climb.

 The trail splitting these two huge boulders as the climbing begins.
 After crossing two small streams, at around 1.7 miles, you will arrive at a trail junction with the Battell Trail, coming from the west.  This is another popular approach to Mount Abraham, with slightly more distance and much more elevation gain(about 800 feet).  The trail widens and ascends from there on a rocky slope.
 Only .1 mile past the trail junction, you will arrive at the Battell Lean To, complete with a picnic table and outhouse just up the trail.
 A thermometer at the lean to(about 3300 feet elevation).

Once past the lean to, the climbing becomes significantly tougher.  

Looking back down at a steep section, with the first substantial views opening up.
The following shots are part of the steep, mostly rocky climb towards the summit.

As you get closer to the summit, panoramic views begin to unfold to your south.  This is the view south and east.
The trail climbs 1700 feet over the course of 2.6 miles.
 A final push up the steep slopes.
The trail soon opens up to great views to the south over the spine of the Green Mountains.
A very large quartzite rock that looks a lot like a giant egg sits just below the summit.
Just yards away from the summit, you will see signage regarding fragile vegetation and asking all(pets included) to stay on the trail.
A rather large rock pit is found at the summit.  Perhaps a wind breaker?
The view north towards Mount Ellen.
 South facing views.
The incredible vista to the west over the Champlain Valley is a real treat, but leaves you completely exposed to the strong west winds.
A panorama to the west over much of Addison County all the way to Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks.

A panoramic view just to the north of the previous shot.
Rope is laid down along the summit to ensure nobody wanders off the trail.
Sunny but cold due to the strong winds on the mostly exposed summit.  Here is another view to the south.
Champlain Valley farmland near Bristol.
After lingering at the 4006 foot summit for about 20 minutes alone, I finally began to retrace my steps off the mountain, where I captured one more panorama to the south and east.
Arrived back at the car, completing 5.2 miles RT and feeling good.  With about 2 hours of daylight left, I decided to continue on the Long Trail south for 1.1 miles to a nice lookout known as Sunset Ledge.  This trail climbs steeply at first then remains mostly level to the ledge.  Here is the view north, with Mount Abraham clearly visible.
 A panoramic view from Sunset Ledge.  Unfortunately the sun was shining bright in the west sky, obscuring the view a bit.
There is ample room on the open rocks for many to enjoy the views, but there is a significant drop off from the ledge so care must be taken.
Retraced the last 1.1 miles back to the car for a total of 7.4 miles RT for the day.  Only saw a a handful of other hikers out on this very popular trail.  A cool but sunny November day.

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