It’s been frigid lately in Vermont but today was the day we got above zero again, so combine that with a hiker friend in town, and it was time for a hike. It was -4° when we started up Mount Hunger on the Waterbury Trail. There were a couple of other hikers just in front of us so the trail was mostly packed down for the first mile and we started in spikes.
Once we were about halfway up, about the point where the trail crosses the stream, the snow became deeper and we started postholing so we stopped to switch to snowshoes. We passed a couple who were happy to follow in the trail we were now packing down and continued in their boots.
Just before Guthook and I got to the junction leading to White Rock Mountain, Nika caught up to us. We’d mentioned the hike to her yesterday and she ran up quickly before leaving for work. We all went to the summit of Mount Hunger at 3539′ together and enjoyed the views briefly before being chased away by the wind. It wasn’t super strong, but it was cold for sure.
Back in the trees at the junction, we stopped for a snack and to say goodbye to Nika as she ran back down the mountain. I still suck at eating and drinking enough in the winter but Guthook is good about taking breaks for it. Once I’d gotten a half-frozen Snickers down, we started on the White Rock Trail.
It was not broken out at all but Guthook has done the trail many times before and could follow it easily. He did all the trail breaking, for which I’m grateful. Some people like that kind of thing, and others, not so much.
It was especially cold between the mountains so I kept my large puffy on until we were almost there. Just a few minutes after I took it off, we came out of the woods into a clearing at the Bob Kemp Trail junction, which we then followed around to the summit of White Rock Mountain at 3194′.
It was still windy on this summit, but not as much and not nearly as cold either. Another hiker popped onto the summit just after us and took some photos as thanks for us breaking the trail out for him. He quickly left but I hated to leave the open area. There were great views all around. I’ll definitely have to visit this mountain again, which is much less visited than Mount Hunger.
We had to start the hike back to finish before dark, so off we went back into the trees, where it was immediately very cold again. But the ascent back up towards Hunger warmed me fairly quickly. When we got back to the junction with the Waterbury Trail, we again stopped for a snack.
Some snowshoers passed, heading down from Mount Hunger, and there must have been others since we’d been gone since the trail was much more packed down. I took the opportunity to switch back to spikes and put my puffy on. I kept it on since we’d be going downhill although I did eventually warm up a little too much.
Although the trail was much more packed down, it did still have some loose snow in the top layer, so walking was pretty wobbly for most of the way, as my feet were constantly sliding. It warmed way up as we descended, although the sun was starting to set by the time we got to the bottom. After a slow 6.2 mile hike, my car’s temperature now read 4°. Higher than zero – I’ll take it!