Just before leaving my car it started raining steadily, but this only lasted a few minutes. By the time I hit the trail, it was mostly over, but I decided to hedge my bets against good old Murphy's Law and throw the pack cover on first. That worked, it didn't rain until 5:30 or so, when I was back in camp!
The day was another hot and humid one, and I wasn't feeling great. Shoveling a bunch of food down helped some, but this just was one of those days where climbing was going to be tough. Perhaps that colored my view of the trails, but looking back in hindsight, the Day Hiker's Guide to Vermont does say that this ascent route is a tough one.
It starts out innocently enough: the Monroe Trail is a gentle climb with good footing, though everything was damp from rain. Hitting the Dean Trail, it started to get "interesting". Interestingly, the spur trail to the Hump Brook Campsite a short distance down the Dean Trail was under 6+ inches of water. Hmmm. From there there were a series of serious mudpits, intermixed with sections of steeper trail where the water was pouring down the trail. Some of these mudpits did not have bridges or stepping stones through them, and one I probed was a minimum of 12" deep. There were a few nice views up to the summit above, however, though unfortunately there was a solid cloud layer above still.
|Bog/pond along the Dean Trail|
Eventually the trail breaks above treeline for the final climb to the open, rocky summit area, the only undeveloped 4000-footer in the State of Vermont. The views, while said to be outstanding, were pretty limited thanks to a cloud deck right near the summit elevation. But the potential was definitely there, and I can't wait to return to this peak on a clear day (perhaps even this winter)!
|View from the Long Trail during the ascent|
|Camel's Hump summit above|
|The Long Trail skirts this cliff to climb towards the summit - this was also the most blue sky I saw this entire hike|
|Climbing higher to near the cloud deck...|
|Final scrambles to the summit|
|I love these open alpine summits - great view potential on a clear day|
|Peek below from the cloud deck at the summit of Camel's Hump|
|Camel's Hump summit marker|
|Cloudy, hazy views today|
After a while, I decided to head down. The descent was uneventful, and in fact I saw evidence that the Monroe Trail gets much more maintenance than the Dean Trail I came up earlier in the day. There were tons of waterbars where needed to divert water off the trail, and in fact I saw a couple of freshly dug ones (and later saw the GMC workers responsible for these improvements). I made my way down with ease, enjoying the easy grades and good footing. Back at the car, it was off to get some dinner and relax at the campsite before the next 2 days of hiking. A nice change from the usual routine of driving home after day 2 of hiking!
This is definitely one to return to, however. I want to see what I missed!
|Cascade along the Monroe Trail|
Route: Monroe Trail, Dean Trail, Long Trail (up); Monroe Trail (down)
Peaks: Camel's Hump (4083', NE4K)
Mileage: 7.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2600ft
Book Time: 5 hours
|Bottom leg is the Dean Trail, the Long Trail forming the left side of the route. Monroe Trail goes from the right top left to the parking lot.|