I put the snowshoes on again right off the bat at the snowbank at the end of the road and started up the road. This part of the road climbs decently, and so I got warmed up really fast, and the legs were reminding me just how hard I worked them on Mansfield the day before in the deep snow. Here at least the snow was already packed out really well from various skiers, snowboarders, and snowshoers, and in reality I would have been fine without them on this hike. It did appear that I was the first hiker up the trail on this day, and I definitely was the first to sign in at the trailhead register.
The Monroe Trail is a pretty moderate trail, never getting overly steep, and the footing, even in summer, is good, so I was anticipating a nice easy snowshoe hike. The weather, however, was not quite as advertised. It was mostly cloudy, and there were even some stray snowflakes falling early. But, as I climbed, there emerged more and more blue sky. About 2/3 of the way up the trail it swings to the left under a large cliff face, before slabbing back up to the top of it. Here I saw a lot of blue sky, and I think my pace quickened, as I could sense the views awaiting me.
|Approaching the cliff|
|A view of the cliff from the trail|
|Up, up, up into the blue skies|
|Winter Wonderland high on the Monroe Trail|
|The Burrows Trail ahead to the left leads down to the West side of the mountain|
|More of the hut clearing|
|This thermometer read 0 degrees, but my pack thermometer and the weather forecasts said +10F. With the sun here and there, it felt a lot warmer!|
|First views from below the summit|
|Mount Mansfield hiding in the clouds|
|Sugarbush Ski Area to the South - on the side of Mount Ellen, another 4000-Footer|
|Summit pano to the East|
|Summit pano to the West|
|Looking back at the summit from just below|
The skies actually cleared up a bit more for a while during my descent, until they finally began to cloud up a bit around the time I reached the car. It might have been even nicer up there 30 minutes or so after I was there in fact, but that's OK. With a fast day on the trail, I actually got home just after dark, which was a nice treat too. I can't wait to do some more of these New England peaks in winter!
|Open glades, and even bluer skies during my descent|
Route: Monroe Trail out-and-back
Peaks: Camel's Hump (4083', NE4K)
Mileage: 7.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 2950'
Book Time: 5hr 25min (actual 4hr 30min)