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Monday, June 26, 2017

Mount Ellen/Cutts Peak(Vermont)

While New York has its 46 4,000 foot high peaks and New Hampshire has its own 48, Vermont has only 5.  These five peaks all offer incredible views and are fun to climb any time of the year.  My goal was to hike 4,083 foot Mount Ellen(tied for the 3rd highest in the state) from the Jerusalem Trail today.  This would be my fourth Vermont high peak, leaving only Mount Mansfield left to climb.
To access the Jerusalem Trail I took Route 7 north to New Haven, then turned east onto Route 17, following it all the way to Jerusalem Road in Starksboro.  Turn right onto Jerusalem Road and after .8 mile, turn left onto Jim Dwire Road.  The trailhead is located about a half mile on the right, with parking available on the shoulder of the road.  Elevation to start the hike is 1465 feet.
The Jerusalem Trail travels through private property so it is very important that you stay on the trail.  There are maple syrup lines that can be found throughout these woods and beside the trail.
The trail climbs about 1900 feet in 2.4 miles but is never especially steep.  It is pretty muddy however.
The last quarter mile push to the Long Trail is the most strenuous part of the Jerusalem Trail, and enters a deep spruce forest.
 Once on the Long Trail, I turned right(south) and quickly came to a small opening in the forest canopy, providing a glimpse at the ridge north.
 Continuing south, there are many peek a boos along the way, some good, some very good.
 I found this nice westward view just off trail along the way.
 Entering the Green Mountain National Forest.
 A rocky, steeper section on the way towards Mount Ellen.
 At a rocky clearing along the way, there are very good, open views towards the west.
 Northwest views towards Lake Champlain.
Arriving at the very top of the ski run, just below the summit.
 After 1.8 miles south from the trail junction, and 4.2 miles from the car, I arrived at the 4083 foot summit of Mount Ellen.  Elevation gain is 2618 feet.
 I continued on a half mile south towards 4022 foot Cutts Peak, a sub summit of Mount Ellen, that doesn't have enough prominence to count as its own peak.  Here is a view of Cutts Peak summit bump ahead on the trail.
 After turning around just past the summit of Cutts Peak, I headed back towards Mount Ellen to enjoy the ski slope views to the east just below the summit.
 West views from the ski slopes.
 The north facing views towards General Stark Mountain and beyond.
 West views again.
East facing views down to the Sugarbush Ski Area and Central Vermont.
Headed back north on the Long Trail to the Jerusalem Trail and back to the car.  Mileage for the day was about 9.5 miles RT.

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