Mt Ellen and Abraham in Vermont

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Another great day in the hills. This Sunday I drove out solo to catch Mt Ellen and Mt Abraham. Since I despise out and back style hiking and being solo, I planned a nice loop going up Jerusalem Trail, across the ridge and summits, then returned to Battell Trail. Going this route requires about 6.5-7 mile road walk back to the start trail head. Not a bad day.
The summit weather per Mountain Forecast showed rains in the morning, then ‘Some Clouds’ as the day progressed. As I have personal issues with MF forecasting, in general, particularly ‘some clouds’ usually doesn’t yield promising results. Additionally it reported about 55 F and 20 MPH winds. I have become to know better.
I had packed up the night before and made sure to bring a light rain jacket(Frogg Toggs). I left out the hat and gloves and lay out my trail runners (Raptors). I got up and hit the road. Stopped at Dunkin Donuts and ordered a large for the 2.5 hour trip. The roads were dry and fairly empty this early. I set the cruise and headed on route 93 to route 89.
The trip went very smooth all the way through route 100B in Vermont. I was pleasantly surprised to reach Mad River Glen on route 17 which twisted and turned over a pass and down the other side. It was a nice wake up after a long ride. Route 17 offers views to the ridge and I could now see what ‘Some Clouds’ was going to be for the day. GPS led me right to Jerusalem trail head on Jim Dwire Road, a decently maintained dirt road in a small neighborhood. The trail head had road side parking, adequate for about 8-10 cars, maybe more.
At the trail head my car thermometer showed 54 F. Seeing this at the base, I knew it would be a chilly, and possibly damp, hike. I layered my sweater and secured my pack and hit the trail. The Jerusalem trail is a beautiful trail. It meanders through some low levels and thick hardwoods. Some of this is private land and had visible maple collection lines. A portion follows a some old carriage road. The gain is mild and eases you deeper into the woods. The final .3 mile to the ridge is a bit steeper but still not too rough.
The Jerusalem trail reached the junction of the Long Trail. I took a left(north) to check out the Glen Ellen Lodge. After only about 50-100′ there was a beautiful lookout called Orvis Lookout. This was a cut tree clearing which offers views back down the trail. This is definitely worth making the short deviation from your trip to Mt Ellen. I continued beyond to the junction for the spur to the lodge. The lodge is .3 mile down about 400-500 feet elevation. The lodge was in great shape and looks to sleep 10-12 comfortably. It is perched on a ledge looking out over Sugarbush. It has water and toilet and all the necessities. On my return back to the Long Trail junction I chatted with a couple nearing the end of 7 days camping. They did about 57 miles from Mt Killington area and seemed to be enjoying themselves.
From the junction, I hopped on the Long Trail south. The ridge walk turned out to be very nice trail through typical Vermont damp mossy greens. There was, of course, some mud and plenty of blowdowns. Some blowdowns were cleared meticulously, but there were some heavy sections to test your limber. Everything was passable, but some required some extra effort. I’m certain the trail maintainers will be along to clean them up in short order.
I caught up to a group of 4 I had passed earlier, before heading to the lodge. I chatted with them for a few as we traveled. They were a couple who met some years ago and eventually married in the mountains of Colorado and have continued hiking together. They were chipping away at their lists of summits in New England and nearly done. He stopped to wait for the rest of his group but I continued to hike on.
Popping out of the trees for a bit and then ducking back into the woods and climbing, it led up to the open ski trails. Continuing a short stretch to the top of the lift, the trail ducks into the woods again to the actual summit of Mount Ellen, a discrete cairn on the side of the trail. Just as I was leaving the slopes, I met up with another nice couple and their pup. The pup was a bit excited to be on the open slopes and was darting around blowing off some energy. He darted at me a couple times, in a playful manner, but never jumped or even brushed me. They continued back down as they only needed to tag Mt Ellen and return the way they came.
At the summit, I stopped and chowed down a granola bar, reset my snacks in my pack and pocket. I also pulled out my rain jacket as the cloud was sitting on me at this point. It was also quite windy on this side of the ridge which brought a chill. Before I left the summit, another couple came up. Another couple working on lists. She had completed Vermont 4ks, but he, with Mt Ellen now, only had Camels Hump to go which he intends to do the next day. Hopefully the weather holds out and they are successful.
I continued on the longer stretch to Mt Abraham. Again, this ridge has a few minor PUDs(pointless ups and downs) but overall the trail is well maintained. I crossed quite a few more nice folks going the other way. Apparently the popular route is up from Lincoln Gap. I asked a few people about Battell trail down to gain some intel. Most did not know anything about it until I came across this one group. A gentlemen was very knowledgeable about the area trails. He shared the trail is likely to be a quiet trip down switchbacks through beautiful hardwoods. I was very grateful for the information. He seemed concerned about my desire for road walk and hinted he might swing by in his car after they were done to see if I wanted a ride then. I mentioned it wasn’t necessary and not to make a special trip out of his way, but thankful.
As I type this, I guess I chatted up quite a few folks on the trail. Everyone was so nice and appeared social today, or I just provoked them all into conversation. I stopped another couple, to ask about their Arc’teryx Jacket. I think it was about fourth person I saw wearing Arc’teryx Jackets. The woman said it was the best jacket she ever owned, functions flawlessly. Her friend said he owned many of them for the very same reason. They both said worth every penny, but hold out for a sale. After I saw a couple more different groups with similar jackets. I felt like a hobo in my Walmart Frogg Toggs rain jacket.
After several ups and downs, a couple of different smaller peaks, I eventually made the open summit of Mt Abraham. It was completely socked in and winds were whipping. I took a video and a few photos and started off the summit. The descent off of Mt Abraham south toward Battell shelter is quite rocky with some slabs to negotiate. There was one section which was a bit of a bottleneck as it was a narrow rocky channel which requires some scrambling. There were folks waiting to come up and several of us waiting to descend. A couple young girls encouraged me to pass as they felt they were holding me up so I thanked them and scooted down and kept going. With the cloud mist and the scramble it required care, but was not really difficult.
The descent to the shelter went quick after the couple scrambles. I sat down on the edge of the shelter and ate some lunch. There was a large family at the picnic table and some kids playing inside. They wrapped up and moved along. I finished lunch and snapped a few pictures of the amazing destruction all around the shelter. There seemed blowdowns all around the Battell Shelter, but the shelter appears untouched.
Just south on the Long Trail, the Battell trail splits right. Expecting solitude I started to cruise down the nicely cared for trail. Not long I crossed several small groups heading up. I was slightly surprised to see anyone given the intel I had earlier. Once past those 3 different groups, I didn’t see anyone else the remaining 1.5 miles to the trail head. The trail meanders through mature hardwoods and is a wonderful grade which made for a speedy descent.
I reached the trail head and was looking at my GPS to figure which way to head down the road. The couple I chatted up about jackets were there. They had positioned cars at each end of the same loop, just going in opposite direction. The woman saw me and we chatted for a few. I mentioned I was heading back to Jerusalem trail head via road walk. She offered (strongly encouraged; THANK YOU Gina) a ride saying they were heading back that way on route 17 anyway. I was very thankful for the ride. As we chatted along the way, they are from New York and are well accomplished hikers having completed Catskills, Adirondacks, White Mountains to name some. Really nice folks and I’m grateful for their kindness. After some directions mishap, we made it back to my car. I thanked them and they took off and I started my return trip home. Perhaps it’s endorphins from a ‘Hiker High’ or simply those who hike are kind and generous, to me it seems nearly all hikers are the nicest folks.
With the exception of the cool cloudy weather, the trails and trip went smooth and was a nice relaxing day.

Driving toward the trail head, I catch a glimpse of the ridge buried in clouds
The Jerusalem trail head from Jim Dwire Road just off of Vermont RT 17. Road side parking available
The Jerusalem trail wanders through private land where they tap and channel maple for syrup
A lone Red Eft along the trail
One of the pitches covered in moss and mud
Reaching the ridge where Jerusalem Trail meets the Long Trail
My only decent view of the day, from Orvis Lookout. Definitely worth the 50-100 feet detour north on the Long Trail
I took a side trip to check out Glen Ellen Lodge, a .3 mile spur from the Long Trail
Perched on a ledge, Glen Ellen Lodge sleeps 8 (to 12) offers a great view on a clear day
My view today from Glen Ellen Lodge was a bit overcast and worsening
Glen Ellen Lodge is a solid log cabin tucked into a ledge .3 mi from the Long Trail
Set up to sleep 8, the Glen Ellen Lodge has your basic shelter needs
Back on the Long Trail to Mt Ellen, the blowdowns were scattered about
Another beautiful mossy pitch
The Green Mountains are … green
Atop one of the ski lifts, in the low cloud cover today
The summit of Mt Ellen tucked into the woods just beyond the ski trails
Some lovely patches of Vermont mud and muck
Another brief exit from the woods onto the ski slopes for a short climb
This summit lodge thermometer proves Mountain Forecast wrong (again)
Making tracks toward Abe
Still in the clouds, but can clearly see the trail maintenance throughout this route. There were so many blowdows cleared, and some not yet.
On a clear day, this would be a fine lookout from a shear cliff
A minor peak along the way, Nancy Hanks Peak
Another minor peak on the trail, the sign at Lincoln Peak shows my GPS off by 10 feet today
One of the worse sections of blowdowns on the trail. This took a couple minutes to figure out
Looking back from the other side, this required a couple duck under and few step overs.
Little Abe, one more minor peak on the trail, holding strong in the section of blowdowns actually resting on the summit sign
A few steps further, more uprooted trees, but easier to go around.
Looking up at a couple taking their summit photos on top of Mt Abraham. I didn’t stay long as the clouds were thick and the winds strong
A tricky single track scramble caused a minor delay. All made it through safely with care.
During the descent toward Battell Shelter, the clouds tease with a few breaks
Looking back up a fun granite scramble. A bit of crab walking down to be safe.
Approaching the Battell Shelter, the remote facilities just uphill from the shelter
The Battell Shelter, a small Adirondack style lean to, tucked in a small clearing
The carnage of blowdowns surrounded the small Battell Shelter
Blowdowns on the other side of Battell Shelter
Veering off the Long Trail onto the Battell Trail down the fire road
Tree versus trail sign. The tree appears to be winning
Beautiful hardwoods line the Battell Trail as it switches back and forth and over a couple level stretches
The Battell trail head and parking. This is where I was fortunate to receive a ride back to my car.

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