Monday: I had initially hoped that we would be able to climb the five highest peaks on our first visit to Vermont, but we had to cut short our hike at Camel’s Hump (third highest peak) due to rain and hail. We then successfully climbed Killington Peak (second highest) and Mount Mansfield (highest peak), but Batya’s new boots were causing her foot pain, so we had to abandon plans for a hike to Mount Ellen and Mount Abraham (fourth and fifth highest) and find an easier hike. [Mount Ellen shows the same elevation as Camel’s Hump, so I’m not sure why it’s listed as fourth highest instead of tied for third. Perhaps Camel’s Hump is a few inches higher.]
Our backup hike was to climb Laraway Mountain, a hike of only 4.8 miles round-trip, climbing and descending about 1600′. From Highway 109, one follows Codding Hollow Road to a parking area at 44.708, -72.713 (or about 0.2 miles further down the road, at 44.708, -72.710, though this requires driving over a rough patch of road). Once again my GPS had trouble directing me there. When I typed in the coordinates, it led me to Highway 109, but then passed Codding Hollow Road and directed me on Laraway Mountain Road and would have had me driving through streams, etc., so we backtracked to Highway 109 and made sure to turn onto Codding Hollow Road. From the second parking area, follow the Long Trail north.
11:47 a.m.: The trail starts at around 1200′ elevation and immediately crosses Codding Brook, and then begins climbing Laraway Mountain. There are a few small streams along the way:
A few areas of the trail are rocky or wet, but for the most part the terrain is easy. Of course, as I mentioned, there is a climb of 1600′, so the trail is not flat.
Parts of the trail were clearly an old logging trail, while other parts were footpaths. The transition points from one to another were not always clear.
A fallen tree:
1:24 p.m.: One distinctive feature of this section of the Long Trail is a cliff that extends 100 yards or more. The trail passes right beside it, and it’s difficult to get a photograph that properly presents it:
The trail then runs along a streambed. It is quite deep in places, but perhaps this is through eons of erosion, and there is never deep water in it.
Batya posed by the side of the streambed:
2:01 p.m.: We soon came to the highlight of the hike, the Laraway Lookout, which afforded us with about a 180-degree view. Looking southwest, Mount Mansfield is about 13 miles away:
My zoom lens brought Mount Mansfield into closer view. This isn’t the best angle to discern features of a face, though even the best angles require much imagination to identify a forehead, nose, lips, chin, and Adam’s apple:
View toward the west:
While the trail wasn’t exactly crowded, we also didn’t have it all to ourselves, even though this was a workday. One couple, who live nearby, visited Laraway Lookout while we were having lunch there, and agreed to take our photo:
After spending 45 minutes at the lookout, we pushed onward toward the summit, 0.4 miles further and 100′ higher.
3:09 p.m.: There were even wet areas up here, with logs or rough timber set down as puncheon:
3:14 p.m.: At 2796′, Laraway Mountain is far from the tallest of peaks in Vermont, but it still made for a nice hike. The summit features a geodetic survey marker and sign:
The sign says 2790′ elevation, but the datasheet of the National Geodetic Survey says 2796′.
We then retraced our steps to the south. Here Batya hikes by the cliff:
5:14 p.m.: We completed the hike, returning to the parking area. There were wildflowers at the end of the hike, growing near Codding Brook:
After this hike, we drove back to Stowe. We noticed a small park very close to the hotel, and pulled in to investigate. The park gave us access to the Stowe Recreation Path, a hiking/biking path.
6:34 p.m.: We walked along the path for a while, which passed by a corn maze owned by Percy Farm. The maze was already closed for the day, but I marveled at the fact that we had driven to the eastern part of the state to visit a corn maze there, when there was one within a mile or two of our hotel:
The Percy Farm also had two pens, one with two baby calves, and one with two goats. If we had only had a quarter, we could have bought some pellets of food from a dispenser at the above corn maze admission booth. As we didn’t have a quarter, we fed the goats a few blades of green grass that had been just outside their reach:
The pathway included this sign (with two misspelled words). I don’t know if there are any beavers in the area, but if there are, I am fairly confident that they cannot read. Therefore, I do not know the purpose of the sign. A search online does not reveal any proof that there is a Stowe Rodent Regulation Board. I guess someone was just having fun.
Tuesday: Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and we had to leave Vermont behind. We don’t know if we’d enjoy the state in the winter, but it was fantastic in the summer, and we hope to see it again, perhaps to reach the summit of Camel’s Hump (without rain and hail), and to hike other mountains in the state.
On the way home, we stopped in Massachusetts at the Yankee Candle Company‘s flagship store:
We spent an hour or so inside, admiring the many sizes, shapes, and scents of the candles:
Afterward, we continued our drive home, stopping in Hartford to visit my mom’s cousin Mickey, and then continuing back to New York.