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Mount Mansfield, VT (4,393) - September 6, 2010

Leaving Massachusetts behind, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery in Vermont, passed through the home town of our friend Kieran McGuire, and on to Burlington. Kieran had gone to college here and was excited to provide us with a wonderful what to see list. First stop, Magic Hat Brewery to refuel the engines. :) My friend Mike Wilson had turned me onto this brewery, particularly their #9 - a not quite pale ale with a delicious and unusual flavor. Much to our surprise samples were free and unlimited. I think I am going to like Vermont! :) After we bought Mike a thank you gift for letting Stephenie borrow his backpack, we were on our way to Kieran's next stop.

Pitstop! Free wine tasting...

Back on track and we soon pulled into the downtown area. Next up was walking around the historic downtown area and on to Kieran's old place of employment, Vermont Pub and Brewery. Vermont Pub is Vermont's oldest craft brewery. It was delicious and highly recommended. I am loving this state more and more. We enjoyed some delicious appetizers, a beer sampler and then strolled through the historic downtown area.

We definitely needed some food at this point, so we visited another Kieran recommend spot, American Flatbread for dinner. A great pizza place with a unique twist, wouldn't you know it they also brew their own beer too. Now I am definitely in love with this town.

After a good nights rest, we got an early start and headed out to climb Mansfield. The mountain gets its name because when viewed from the east its summit ridge resembles the profile of a human face, and the names of its prominent features reflect this: Adams Apple (4,060'), Chin (4,393', highest point), Nose (4,062') and Forehead (3,940'). Mount Mansfield is the most frequently visited mountain in Vermont with nearly 40,000 visitors walking its upper reaches every year. This use has severely affected its fragile ecosystem. It is one of only two places in Vermont where an Arctic Tundra can be found.

The Sunset Ridge trail is considered one of the most scenic trails in Vermont, with the amount of time spent above tree line, water crossings and scenic outcroppings it is hard to disagree. It is not a huge challenge, but the biggest Stephenie faced so far on the trip. At 6.6 miles roundtrip and a vertical gain of 2,600' it would be a good test to see if she could handle Mount Marcy in New York.

The trail starts as a wide road in a crowded state park. The crowds would prove impossible to avoid and persisted throughout the climb. Personally I enjoy a bit of solitude on my hikes, but I sure couldn't blame them. The hike is incredibly beautiful. The real treat is the amount of time you get to spend above the tree line, surrounded by amazing countryside in all directions. After a nice lunch on the summit it was time to head down. We still had to catch a ferry across Lake Champlain and drive to the trail head in NY.

Next Stop NY -->


Map of US HighPoints
KEY: States: Green - summited, Yellow - attempted, White - Not visited
Dots: Green - State Lowpoint, Red - State Highpoint


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