Climbing Mt. Abraham on the Long Trail in Vermont

Elevation Range: 2424' - 4006' MAP

May 23, 2016 - After finishing a challenging World's End 100K in Pennsylvania a mere
29 hours before, and an all-day drive to the Green Mountains of central Vermont, I
was rolling after a much-earned night of rest shortly after 0500 with ambitious
dreams of running north across the Monroe Skyline from the Lincoln Gap TH.  The
only obstacles in my path on this beautiful orange-sun morning were the untenable
fact that I was still worn out from my race effort and the indisputable point of fact
that you just don't run the Long Trail - it's hard enough just to walk it.

Since my legs showed no lingering effects of my racing effort I hit the trail running,
immediately starting the climb of 1600 feet to the summit of Mt. Abraham.  The
Long Trail is rocky, gnarly, and was quite slippery from the intermittent rain of the
two days prior.  While a couple toes on my left foot were still a bit tender I paid
them little attention until it became obvious that there just wasn't a whole lot of
umph left in my tank.  For safety's sake I gave in to the only logical alternative -
I would have to hike.

When it comes right down to it, I probably enjoy walking up mountains like this
more than running trails.  It affords me more time to stop and take note of little
things, really taking in the scenery with every sense.  Given my condition I decided
to hike in the 2.6 miles to the summit, then backtrack to the start to call it a day.
I just didn't have the juice to tackle more.

The entire 5.2 miles would take me about 3 hours and 10 minutes, but it was an
enjoyable day that afforded me the opportunity to knock off early and rest, eat, and
recover.  The Battell Shelter was 1.7 miles in from the TH and, really, provided
the only place to spend the night along this part of the trail.  There is literally no
level, cleared areas to set a tent.  A potable stream was nearby with an elevated
compost latrine off to the side.  This is the first lean-to shelter I have ever come
across that had a platform nearby designated for a host.  Apparently, the shelter is
close enough to the road that a host is necessary through the busy summer months
to prevent nonsense and vandelism.  It is a shame not eveyone respects the
privilege of using these shelters.


The final push to the summit of Mt. Abraham was slabby and steep.  The granite 
in these parts is trecherous when wet, especially when it rarely sees direct
sunlight under the sub-alpine fir trees that carpet these elevations.  Perhaps the
thing that is always most memorable for me when climbing is the smell of the
fir trees just before you break out into the open on top.  It doesn't matter whether
one is on Mt. Rogers in Virginia, high in the Catskills, or in the Pacific Northwest.
The fragrance is the same and always returns me to some wonderful memories.


This is one of the few peaks on this part of the 272-mile Long Trail with an open,
exposed summit.  From here you could clearly see the White Mountains to the
east in New Hampshire and the Dacks across Lake Champlain to the west in NY.
The morning was perfect for visibility.  I only wish I had the vim and vigor to
continue north according to my original plan.  At the least it was a most excellent
short day to enjoy a new peak in beautiful country.