Mt. Abraham VT
Long Trail out and back
Distance: 9.953 mi.
Elevation Gain: 1,641 ft (overall) 2,869 ft (total)
Time: 1:54 (Mt. Abraham) 3:41 (Turn aroud) 5:57 (Mt. Abraham) 7:43 (total)
For this hike I started on Lincoln Gap Road and took the Long Trail out and back. The plan had been to tag both Mt. Abraham and Mt. Ellen, but it didn't quite work that way.
Today there was plenty of parking at the trail and I was able to get one of the closer spots. It was much busier in the afternoon, but there was still more room. The trail starts off quite easy as you are already pretty high up on the range. It goes back and forth some without gaining or losing much elevation to start. It was a nice warm up and there were still some wild flowers in bloom next to the trail. After a while the trail does start to get steeper and rockier, but it's not too bad. The rocky sections are also not that long or the rocks aren't very big most of the time.
Painted Trillium... if you look at the one on the right you will see it actually has 4 petals
After some gradual climbing, the trail levels out for a section before the Battell Shelter. It's pretty easy through here with some small rocks and only minor brook crossings. The shelter is right next to the trail so you can't miss it. From here it's less than a mile to the summit of Abraham. The trail starts to get a little steeper and eventually goes over some larger rocks and exposed rock. The steepest section of trail all day would be a short scramble just before the summit as you come out of the trees.
Mostly level section
With the short distance and elevation to this summit, it's no wonder it is so popular with families. The views are pretty great too and unobstructed in almost every direction. There is a small foundation style pile of rocks at the summit which I couldn't find any information on to know if there use to be a structure here or if hikers have just progressively made it. Knowing I would be back here, I didn't linger too long before continuing up the trail.
View from the summit of Abraham towards Ellen
Leaving the summit the trail stays pretty easy on the way over Little Abe (you wouldn't know it if there weren't a sign) and over to Mt. Lincoln. In this stretch of woods there had been lots of recent moose activity in the form of piles of droppings. On the way back I counted 44 distinct piles in this 0.9 mile section. Mt. Lincoln has a nice platform on the top with good views. It is right next to the top of the ski trails, so it could see lots of use (as evidenced by trash as the base).
Mt Lincoln view
The trail heads steeply down off of Lincoln briefly and then further up the range with plenty of PUDs. Some of these seem to be named, but not all are labeled. So it isn't easy to tell which one you are on. The walk up the ridge is pretty easy with gentle ups and downs. There are a couple view points along the way, including the top of one ski trail where you actually follow the trail briefly before going back into the woods. There isn't much for signs here, but bear left and it will get more obvious.
Trail side view
These ups and downs seem to keep coming and would be what kept me from getting to Mt. Ellen. I knew the summit of Mt. Ellen was supposed to be wooded (with a ski trail and view past it). So when I got to a high spot with a colored post at it, I figured I was there. Like I said, most of the humps weren't labeled. I stopped for a break and took a few pictures. I tried looking through the trees up the ridge and it didn't look like it went much, if any, further or higher. Not caring about another ski lift view, I turned around here. For how popular Abraham is to hike, it seems few hike between the two and there wasn't anyone I saw I could ask.
NOT the summit of Mt. Ellen (possibly Cutts Peak)
So I started hiking back down the range to Abraham. The trail was easy and familiar since I had just been over it. So while hiking I was thinking about things. And the more I thought, the more I started to believe that I hadn't gone far enough. Not wanting to turn back and try again, I decided I would just find out when I looked at my GPS data later (my gps no longer shows contour lines for some reason when in use). At one of the chair lift stations I stopped for a brief break and dry socks. And again at Mt. Lincoln I stopped for more pictures and the view.
Hiking along the ridge
As mentioned earlier, between Lincoln and Abraham I decided to count the piles of moose droppings. While there were so many, I never saw or heard a moose. Just before Mt. Abraham there is a sign talking about no camping and protecting the vegetation. Near this there is a noticeable, but not large, side path with a small cairn. There was some cut brush along it, but I figured it was just a boot leg tent site. For the second time today (first being Mt. Ellen summit), not doing my research enough before hand caught up with me. I found out later that this path leads a short distance to the remains of a plane crash. Now I have another reason to go back I guess.
The summit of Abraham was much busier now than the first time, so I stopped for a snack, some more pictures, and then headed off. The hike back to the car was uneventful except for stopping at Battell Shelter. Here I talked with a hiker who was doing the Long Trail. We had a good talk and he gave me some good info about some products he was using on his hike. Almost back to the car I met another LT hiker who asked if I had seen the first hiker. When I told him he was at the shelter, this hiker was very happy since he was looking forward to catching back up with him. Soon after I was back at the car opening the windows since it was so hot inside of it. Going down/up the Lincoln Gap Road reminded me of the Mount Washington Auto Road. It's narrow and steep, but just doesn't have the rocky drop offs next to it. Why it is posted as a 35 mph road though I will never know since 20-25 mph seems pretty quick on it.
View south from Mt. Abraham
All in all this was a good hike even if I did end up kicking myself for missing the summit of Mt. Ellen. It just means I need to drive to VT one more time this year. It also taught me to do more research when going to an area I haven't hiked before.
An added bonus... On the way home I went south on Rt 100 to start. I should have come up this way, but missed a turn and came in more from the east. After coming around a corner, I saw a boardwalk and thought "that's a dumb place for a boardwalk." But then 100 feet later I could see the boardwalk was in a great place as I passed Moss Glen Falls right next to the road. I found the first place I could to turn around and went back to check it out and take pictures. Another reason to come back again.
Moss Glen Falls
For all the pictures from the hike, just go HERE