Richmond, VT to Montclair Glen Shelter
October 5, 2007
LT Miles – 11.3
Total LT Miles – 99.2
Extra Miles – 3.5
The awareness of my location at first light has me up and packing quickly, before anybody wonders “What’s that tent doing in the park?” Everything is wet from overnight condensation.
I walk about a quarter mile to the center of the small town of Richmond for breakfast at The Bridge Street Cafe. Breakfast includes four eggs, four orders of toast, three pancakes, and about twelve gallons of coffee. They serve Green Mountain Coffee, so I have some Original Blend, Vermont Country Blend, and Autumn Harvest Blend. The great breakfast and first infusion of caffeine in two weeks sets the tone for the day.
The distance along the roads from Richmond to the trailhead is six miles. The trail then leads south to Camel’s Hump. It’s early in the morning and I feel ready to hike through a brick wall, so I choose to walk the roads rather than hitchhike. I figure it will also give me an opportunity to see more of the Vermont countryside.
The old country store in Jonesville is closed.
…but the flea market is open.
After six miles of the early morning roads, I reach the trailhead.
Bamforth Ridge Shelter is virtually brand new. It has a high ceiling and I can stand on the floor without ducking.
The sun shines bright on the varied foliage.
Somebody had a little too much coffee this morning.
The majority of the day’s hike takes place along the spine of the Bamforth Ridge, a rocky path with numerous spacious views.
I meet a northbound hiker on a steep section near treeline, and describe what’s ahead of him along the Bamforth Ridge.
There’s a great tasting spring nearby. I drink as much as possible and fill my bottles, so I can cook dinner on the summit. A number of day hikers are in the area via a side trail. I hadn’t seen anyone all day.
Camel’s Hump is the finest mountain in Vermont.
As opposed to Mount Mansfield there’s no development – no auto road to the top, no television transmission towers, and no ski areas. It’s simply hiking trails and wilderness.
There’s a handful of hikers on the summit, as well as the GMC caretaker.
“I basically live on this mountain,” she says, “You’re only the second person I’ve ever seen cook a meal up here!”
This evening on Camel’s Hump is likely my single most memorable experience on The Long Trail.
I continue for a mile in the dark under clear skies. Boulders are cool to the touch as I scramble. Lights twinkle in the valley below.
Conditions provide for excellent night-hiking.
I approach Montclair Glen Shelter by headlamp and meet a man lying on the rocks, looking at the stars. Three 15 year old boys are inside the shelter. They burn candles and joke about obscene things, as teenage boys do.
The interior is smoky, so I set up outside under the stars. Those who live in the city never get to see a sky like this. Before dozing off I count three shooting stars, two satellites, and one Milky Way.