My first hike as a Vermont resident had to be good. Luckily, I live close to Camel’s Hump! Shepherd was passing through and stopped to help me move furniture and hike, of course. We drove to the Waterbury Trailhead and headed up the Monroe Trail. We had to park at the winter lot further down the road so we knew there were a lot of people ahead.
It was 3.1 miles to the Long Trail junction. The Monroe Trail is steep in places, rooty in places, and rocky in places, but altogether not a difficult trail as far as Vermont ruggedness goes. When we turned south onto the Long Trail at the Hut Clearing, it immediately got harder. Oh, Long Trail.
Luckily, it was only .3 mile from there to the summit of Camel’s Hump at 4083′.
There were a ton of people on the summit – the caretakers I talked to had already counted 361 people that day. It took some strategic composition to get photos without people in them.
The summit is home to alpine vegetation so it had several signs and lots of string marking off areas that people are not supposed to walk on. Wouldn’t it be nice if people actually paid attention?
It was super windy up there too. Although hot and sweaty walking up, I had to put my jacket on at the top to keep from cooling off long enough to hang out. I tried, to no avail, to find a sheltered spot to have a snack in, and eventually just pulled my hood up and turned my back on the wind.
When we could no longer stand the crowd and the wind, we headed back down the way we came.
Camel’s Hump was home to an Air Force plane crash in 1944, which took the lives of nine crewmembers. There are apparently still a few pieces of the wreckage not far from the summit but we didn’t go by them. There is a memorial at the bottom of the Monroe Trail.
There is also a small, interesting graveyard near the trailhead. In it are buried Will Monroe, who developed a fifty mile section of the Long Trail, and his sister Katherine, and nine of their dogs. The dogs have such epitaphs as “A Noble St. Bernard,” “A Beautiful Collie,” “Always a Smile,” “An Adorable Pup,” “Jolly Collie That Never Lost His Play Instinct,” “First Great Pyrenees Born In America,” and “Among The Stars A Star.”
It was a lovely hike at 7.4 miles, and a beautiful re-entry to Vermont trails.