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Saturday, May 18th 2013

4:22 PM

Bear Hill VT 5/18/13

     This is a new trail in Grafton VT, courtesy of the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association.  From the trailhead at Ledge Road it is 5 miles roundtrip if you take the side trail to Lake Mtn and then go on to the Bear Hill lookout.

     Arriving at 11:03 AM, I was the only car here.  It was partly sunny and got up to about 68 degrees.  The trail goes uphill to a boulder formation that the map calls "Creature Rock".  After that there is a side trail to 1200 foot Lake Mountain which has a beautiful lookout.  I arrived here at 11:34 and had lunch. 

     The trail then goes on a long trek up to the summit of viewless Bear Hill, East Peak, about 1600 feet high.  Beyond that, the trail goes down and up two huge gullies.  The second and largest had a boulder that I called "Hamburger Rock" because of its shape.  There were also a series of about 8 smaller gullies to go up and down.  The trail descends from the East Peak and then reascends to the more well known Bear Hill, the one that is a cross country ski mountain.  I had actually skied up to a different lookout on this mountain in past years.  The lookout on the hiking trail is not, however, connected to any of the cross country ski trails.

     Unlike most of this hike, the lookout was buggy and I had to put on some bug spray.  There were some nice views and I think the ski mountains in the distance were Okemo and Ascutney.  I arrived here at 1:50, had some cookies, and left at 2:10.  On the way down I met a woman from Rockingham with her three dogs.  She was the only other hiker I met today.  She told me she had once hiked the Long Trail. 

     There is a side trail to a soapstone quarry but I didn't take it because I thought that this hike, with all of its constant ups and downs, was strenuous enough for an early season outing.  I saw some nice wildflowers including painted trillium.  There were many moose droppings in the trail but I didn't see any moose or any other wild animals for that matter.  I was back out at 4:40 PM.  It's a very pleasant trail and hopefully it will get more use so that the trail will be more well defined and easier to follow.

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