I volunteered to cover a caretaker shift on Camel’s Hump today and also used it as an excuse to finish up my side trails there. This made my third ascent this year, and sixth ever. Since it’s my home mountain, I really should climb it more.
This morning, I parked on the Duxbury side and started up the Monroe Trail. The temperature was in the 30s for the first time this season so I regretted not bringing gloves at first, but I knew I’d warm up shortly. I didn’t even make it to the first junction before stopping to remove layers. Once at that junction, I took the Dean Trail for the first time.
The trail had a very gradual ascent and definitely seemed less used than the normal Camel’s Hump summit highways. I also stopped to check out the Hump Brook Tenting Area since I’ve never been there before. It’s nice – private tent platforms but also a communal cooking area and fire pit.
Once I reached the Long Trail and turned north, the trail started getting steeper. There were a few views along the way and I got to catch a bit of an undercast, where the clouds are lower than the mountains. I’ve been on this stretch of trail before and knew what to expect so it didn’t seem quite as steep as it originally had.
I got to treeline and started climbing over the slabbier rocks up to the summit. There were surprisingly only a couple of hikers when I got to the top, and the stream of hikers was thin until about noon, when it exploded. I eventually counted over 300 hikers on the summit in the four hours I was up there talking to folks about not stepping on the alpine vegetation and where to find the old plane crash. But despite the cold morning and iffy forecast, it was an absolutely gorgeous day. There wasn’t even any wind at first, and I’ve only been up there in very strong winds before.
Once my shift was over, I packed up and continued north on the Long Trail, through the hut clearing and still north until I reached the junction with the Alpine Trail and turned back onto it.
The Alpine Trail is apparently so little used that moss grows on the stepping stones in the path. I bet it’s the least used piece of trail on Camel’s Hump, which is a shame because there’s a really great view of the summit from one of its open ledges.
The Alpine Trail took me back to the Monroe Trail, which I then made quick work of going down, despite the crowds of day hikers also coming down. With this 8.8-mile hike, I have now hiked all the trails on Camel’s Hump.