Waitsfield, VT to Battell Shelter
October 8, 2007
LT Miles – 9.8
Total LT Miles – 119.6
Extra Miles – 0.6
The Monroe Skyline…
Never mind the trees… the climb out of Appalachian Gap is as steep as it’s depicted in the diagram above.
Areas are rocky with cave-like formations. Everything is wet.
a fine view to the north
Theron Dean Shelter sports some character.
I descend from the ridge down to Glen Ellen Lodge, just for something to see besides trees and clouds.
The slippery side trail parallels a bloated, rushing stream.
back up the side trail… watch me slip near the end.
See that footpath? The trail is muddy, water-logged, and riddled with slick rocks and roots – making for slow travel.
The fir trees (Think Christmas trees) have grown thickly into the trail, so I have to plow through their wet branches.
I reach Mount Ellen summit after crossing a northern boundary of the Green Mountain National Forest. It’s only a small bump on this long ridge called The Monroe Skyline. Ellen is the same height as Camel’s Hump. They’re tied for the third highest peak in the state, behind Killington and Mansfield. There’s a small memorial nearby:
My best “Gee whiz, another spectacular view,” face.
“The sign says, “Little Abe Elevation 3900.”
Approaching Mount Abraham…
According to The Long Trail Guide, it “Offers one of the best panoramas of the entire Long Trail.”
Descending the south slope of Mount Abraham is steep, precarious work. I have to be cautious on the slick rock.
Sunset swiftly draws near amid moist, chilly conditions.
The safest option is to perform the tried and true backpacker butt-slide.
Battell Shelter is gray and gloomy. After a lonesome afternoon I’m surprised to meet Brian, the GMC caretaker. He seems equally surprised to see me, and we talk.
He’s done The Long Trail end-to-end, and it occurs to me that today is the fifth anniversary of my climb up Mount Katahdin – the day I finished The Appalachian Trail.
Brian’s care-taking season ends in a few days. He has to do some maintenance before the end of his work term, so he asks about the condition of the trail to the south.
“Ah, the Balsam Fir Car-Wash!” he replies. This gets a good laugh out of me.
Night falls, and I finish my dinner in the dark. A moist cloud settles over the area. I pull my sleeping bag to the back end of the shelter to avoid the penetrating fog.