Oct 30 2021

Profile Image of Walt

Up Bamforth Ridge

Posted at 6:29 am under Blog Post

After a round of writing early in the morning, I grabbed my rucksack and headed for the mountains. To avoid hunters, I went high. To avoid other people, I hiked the Long Trail south out of the Winooski River Valley towards Camels Hump. I figured few people would be trying to climb up that mountain from this approach: six miles, a roughly 3,500 feet base-to-summit rise. I planned on going only part way.

I was half right. I encountered a bunch of other hikers during the 1.5-mile section of trail up to a lookout called Duxbury Window, but hardly anyone after that. A young woman thru-hiking the LT blew past me. No one else was on the ridge. The trail becomes steep in places beyond the lookout, and was muddy after a couple days of rain. But I was happy enough motoring along, breaking a sweat in the cool air. It felt good to be away from my desk on a beautiful, clear sky day — what could be the last nice day before the snow flies.

From an opening in the trees, I saw a bump on the ridge well short of the summit. I set that as my goal. Years ago I had done this same hike and had stopped for lunch on a rocky outcropping with a nearly 360-degree view. I surmised that it was on that bump. But without a map handy, I wasn’t sure. I was hiking from memory.

Just short of 3 miles, I detoured to the Bamforth Ridge Shelter, wondering if I’d stopped here before. Upon reaching it, I still didn’t know. It didn’t look familiar. How long ago did I last hike this ridge? Before I had my dog Matika as a hiking companion. She’s been gone a while now. That means I last hiked this trail 14 years ago, at least. Whoa!

My knees were starting to complain by the time I reached the bump on the ridge. It felt more like a false summit as I climbed it. To my surprise, it was completely wooded. I pulled out my cell phone to check the time. Well into the afternoon already, hmm…. I sat down long enough to eat lunch and drink as much water as I could. Then I turned back.

Wet and covered with leaves, the steep sections of the trail were somewhat treacherous. I took my time, carefully placing my feet during the descent. I was glad to have a hiking stick to keep my balance. I was feeling played out by the time I got back to the lookout, but it was a pleasant walk through late autumn foliage from there. I got back to the trailhead with two hours of daylight left, no problem. But next time I go out, I’ll plan better and carry a map. Memory can’t be trusted.

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply