February 15, 2010

Alaskan in Vermont

Camel's Hump lived up to its reputation. A fresh 4" fell yesterday on a soft base and created an exceptional backcountry ski trip.

The trip started in Williamstown, MA with a 4-hour drive to Waterbury, VT via a quick visit at Montpelier. These little VT cities are enchanting. After one wrong turn, I arrived at the Camel's Hump Monroe Trailhead and started my ascent through a hardwood forest. The gentle Monroe Trail did not really require heel elevators for the first two-thirds of the skin. Hemlock and spruce took over above the hardwoods, and lichens populated the blustery, treeless summit. Monroe Trail traverses below some huge cliffs with frozen waterfalls, prompting a mental note to avoid wandering too far skiers' left on the descent through the spruce zone.

Below the spruce zone, the descent enters the hardwoods with exceptional glades. The snow today was perfect powder. Boot top with hoar crystals was the perfect recipe for the mellow gradient in the glades.

Bluster prevented my reading the summit landmark. The wind nearly blew me over. And with powder below, the landmark inscription didn't seem important.

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