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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Grass Mountain(Vermont)

While looking over some satellite shots of 3109 foot Grass Mountain, just east of the New York state line in Arlington, Vermont, I noticed a large clearing near the summit which looked like it would provide some good views.  A closer inspection revealed that there is public access all the way to the top, so my buddy Jim and I decided to hit this peak on a pleasant spring day.  We drove to the very end of the driveable portion of Shaftsbury Hollow Road and parked on the side of the road at a fork where a private drive leaves left.  Right beside the car, we were treated to Little White Creek, a gorgeous brook that runs beside the road.  Elevation at the start of the hike was 1300 feet, and the peak sat 2.9 miles away almost due north.
We turned right and began our hike following Shaftsbury Hollow Road.
This section of the hike was easy-breezy as it follows Little White Creek further into the hollow.
A short distance into the road hike, we encountered a large field and abandoned(?) hunting camp.
I have read a couple of trip reports where people follow the road further up, but we left the road a short distance past the hunting camp, cutting left, heading up toward the the southern edge of the ridge.  The climb up to the ridge was pretty steep, but straightforward.  Once we gained the ridge at an elevation of about 2300 feet, we passed through a series of beautiful meadows.
We were both very impressed with the large, wide open meadows at this high elevation.
We followed the long ridge northeast gaining elevation the entire way.  Most of the bushwhack was very easy, but there were the usual sections of thicker beech and birch.
As we continued north, we found another small clearing which provided a nice view of Grass Mountain's summit ahead.
From a small opening in the trees, we found this pleasant view to the northwest.
Our GPS indicated that the summit was near this small clearing, but it is tough to tell because the entire summit is a fairly long, flat area.
We had to continue northeast a couple hundred yards to find the summit canister.  It sits beside an old ATV trail.
Crossing back over the summit to the south and dropping down a bit(roughly .2 of a mile), we found the clearing that we were looking for. 
A very unique, bald, meadow like field provided some very good views south.  West Mountain's long ridge line can be seen, but a bit of haze obscured the more distant peaks.
Stunted trees atop the summit.
Dropping back down off the summit, we basically retraced our steps back down the long ridge, hugging the west side of the mountain, in search of views.  We did manage to find a pretty nice view to the west.
A zoomed view down into the valley near the NY/ Vermont state line.
Bushwhacking through a field of ferns.
We picked up an ATV trail and followed it off and on for a bit, then dropped steeply down to Shaftsbury Hollow Road once again.  Back down on the road, we moved right along.
Arriving back at Little White Creek and the car, where we washed up, feeling quite satisfied.
Hiked about 7.5 miles RT with a little over 1800 feet elevation gain.  A very interesting and easy, pleasant bushwhack.

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