Saturday, September 26, 2015

Boyce Mountain * Kirby Peak * Burnt Hill * Robert Frost Mountain: 9/26/2015

Desi was going to hike Mount Eisenhower with Becky. Brian was going to hike Mount Osceola and East Osceola with Jim and Cathy. So I would be going out solo for this Saturday, and where else would I head but into Vermont. While one day I will section hike the Long Trail, I am also making it a point (over time) to do all the side trails that lead up to the Long Trail. It is a rather ambitious endeavor with all the other plans and lists I am doing but one that will be gratifying over time.

Boyce Mountain - Kirby Peak - Burnt Hill

Mileage: 7.35
Elevation gain: 2345 feet
Trails used: Burnt Hill Trail/Norske Trail, Long Trail, bushwhack.
Highlight(s): Long Trail, register on the summit of Kirby Peak.

We were in the area not to long ago when we hiked Breadloaf Mountain and Mount Wilson so while the drive to get here was long, it was very easy to find the trailhead for the Burnt Hill Trail. It was actually on the cool side when I got to the trailhead so it was the first time in a long time that I wore a long sleeve shirt to hike. I was also the only person at the parking area so I would probably see very few people on today's hike, which is the way I like it at this time of year.

Boyce Mountain is located in Ripton and Hancock, Vermont. Kirby Peak and Burnt Hill are located in Ripton, Vermont. All three peaks are in the Breadloaf Wilderness, and all three are on or along the Long Trail. The Long Trail runs over the wooded, view-less summit of Boyce Mountain (the high point is slightly off trail in the woods). Kirby Peak was reached by Long Trail and a short bushwhack to the wooded, view-less summit. Burnt Hill was along the Long Trail with a short bushwhack to its wooded, view-less summit.

Boyce Mountain and Kirby Peak are on the Vermont 100 Highest List/Vermont 200 Highest List and the Vermont 3k List. 

The beginning of the Burnt Hill Trail/Norske XC Trail off of Forest Road 59. There is room for several cars at the trailhead.

From this point along the Burnt Hill Trail, you are crossing into the Breadloaf Wilderness. There is a register to sign into and a map of the area.

The Burnt Hill Trail breaks off of the Norske XC Trail after about 0.7 miles, then begins a steady climb up to the Long Trail.

From this section of the Burnt Hill Trail with these nice rock steps, it gets a bit steeper up to the Burnt Hill Trail/Long Trail junction.

The junction of the Burnt Hill Trail/Long Trail. I would head north on the Long Trail and hit Boyce Mountain first, and then double back and bushwhack to Kirby Peak.

The first sections of the Long Trail I used to reach Boyce Mountain were nice and level which made for a nice and easy woods walk.

The Boyce Shelter along the Long Trail, which is currently closed. It took me a minute to realize why: the wooden pylons holding the shelter up are bent at an angle so putting too much weight on the shelter will make it collapse.

The wooded summit area of Boyce Mountain (elevation: 3323 feet). The actual high point was slightly off of the Long Trail.

There is a short spur path, not a legal one by the looks of it, that gave me a slight view of nearby Gillespie Mountain and the Northfield - Braintree Mountain Ranges.

I began my bushwhack to Kirby Peak through open woods, which turned into some scrappy spruce towards the summit area, and then opened up again.

The register on the wooded summit of Kirby Peak (elevation:  3140 feet). I would then bushwhack south-southwest off the summit back down to the Long Trail.

Once back on the Long Trail, it was a quick hike back to the Burnt Hill Trail/Long Trail junction and then on to the summit of Burnt Hill.

With the name Burnt Hill, you would think there would be views but alas, there were none. The high point of Burnt Hill (elevation: 3040 feet) was slightly off trail in the woods.

This would probably be the toughest water crossing to do but with the low rainfall lately, it was extremely easy to cross.

Once I was back to the car, I found a good way to do one more hike. I had originally planned to do Gillespie Mountain which is near the Texas Falls Recreation area but it would take me longer to bushwhack than this next hike which was a bit further to drive to but easier to access.

Robert Frost Mountain

Mileage: 2.35
Elevation gain: 685 feet
Trails used: none. old logging roads, bushwhack, snowmobile trail.
Highlight(s)former fire tower peak.

Its highly doubtful if Robert Frost ever hiked this peak in Vermont yet it bears his name. I had looked at hiking this several times so upon finding an interesting route that people use to run to the summit, I decided to give it a go on this nice fall day. I forgot what awaited me on the summit of Robert Frost Mountain when I got there though, which made this a bonus to the day's hikes.

Robert Frost Mountain is located in Ripton, Vermont. There are a number of old logging roads (as well as an active one) in the area, and USFS road 95 is the main road that heads into the area. It is most likely gated in winter which would make this approach much longer. I used the logging roads, snowmobile trail and a small bushwhack to reach the summit of Robert Frost Mountain where there are slight views into New York. The fire tower that once stoods here has been removed, but the cement footings as well as miscellaneous debris remain.

I parked the car at a logging road off of USFS road 95/Dragon Brook Road.

I used old logging roads/snowmobile trails to a certain point, then bushwhacked up to a snowmobile trail that went to the summit of Robert Frost Mountain.

The summit area of Robert Frost Mountain (elevation: 2513 feet). The high point was either where the old fire tower was or a few hundred feet to the north.

There was an outhouse on the summit area of Robert Frost Mountain. It was placed here for the snowmobilers who come to this summit in the winter.

The cement footings for the fire tower that used to be on Robert Frost Mountain.

There were lots of old fire tower artifacts on the summit, including this steel cable tie down. There was also plenty of wood, the metal box spring of a bed and some wire scattered about.

The second potential high point for Robert Frost Mountain, which was about 200 feet away from the old fire tower.

This is possibly an old well on the summit of Robert Frost Mountain.

The views from the summit area of Robert Frost Mountain looking into New York. I believe it is the Macomb Mountain/South Dix area in the Adirondack's.

Slightly different views into New York of the Adirondacks from the summit area of Robert Frost Mountain. Unfortunately, my knowledge of peaks in New York is very poor so I am not sure what's what.

While I was walking down the snowmobile trail, I noticed this sign for the Robert Frost Lookout and decided to check it out.

Unfortunately, since this peaks probably see's a lot more activity in the winter, the views were not that impressive as they were blocked by tree's.

Once I was back on the logging road, I jumped on a fallen tree to hop down off of it and landed on a branch and twisted my ankle. I knew instantly that I hurt it as it was the ankle I had hurt years ago (bad sprain) so I was lucky I was only about a half mile from the car. The drive home was awful due to the pain. I hopped around Sunday but with lots of ice and advil, I managed to keep it from getting worse.

A couple of nice hikes with awesome weather. It was a bit cool to start the hike but it warmed enough that I managed to get back into my T-shirt. Too bad there were very few views for both hikes but I managed to get a few more peaks done before it starts getting worse outside (snow!).

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