This is a guest blog by Bruce. Dickens is scheduled for surgery July 5 to remove the calcium stones in his bladder.
In 2010 Dickens and I hiked to the top of West Jay, the first mountain on the long, toboggan shaped ridge. From there I could see the main peak of Jay Mtn, and it had impressive cliffs on it. It looked like an interesting climb, but I only had one container of water for Dickens and there would be no water on the ridge, so I had to leave it for another time.
My friend Gary Kling and his son Steve decided to try to reach Jay Mtn with me July 2, 2011. I arrived early at the trail head, the first person there. Not long after, four Russians from Montreal arrived. After them, Gary and Steve drove up. We started the hike at 9:35 AM. Two brown dogs who live in the neighborhood climbed up after us, but they went ahead of us to accompany the Russians. No doubt the dogs were looking to mooch snacks, but I don't know how they could climb the mountain alone, since it has no water sources.
The trail up to West Peak is very steep. Just below West Peak we came to the first lookout and saw some flowering harebells. It was warm, humid and partly cloudy. Initially there was no wind but when we got near Jay Mtn a very welcome wind blew up and helped keep us from getting overheated. The sky also cleared up some later in the afternoon. We arrived at the top of West Peak around 11:45 AM and had lunch. There are great views up here of the High Peaks to the west. You can also see the ridge and the main peak of Jay Mtn. which has a very impressive slide. Off to the east you can see Lake Champlain and the Green Mtns. Closer at hand there is a view of Death Mtn which if you use your imagination has a resemblance to a skull.
While we were having lunch a local citizen and his family came up, along with their dog Ziggy. We talked with the man briefly and then left at 12:30 PM to traverse the ridge. The ridge goes steeply up and down over a series of rocky knolls, then traverses a mountain which I have named Toboggan Mtn, then comes up to the steep rocky summit of Jay Mtn. The trail is called a "herd path" and is very overgrown. Some of the parts of the trail are very ingeniously routed over difficult terrain. It is a beautiful area with many interesting viewpoints. There is one very scenic spot with a huge cairn which reminded me of Tibet because the shape of the rocky summit of Jay in the distance resembled Mt Kailas. We arrived at the summit of Jay Mtn at 2:05 PM and had snacks on a ledge facing Lake Champlain. We could clearly see Mt Mansfield, Camels Hump, and the city of Burlington. There was a very welcome breeze here.
We were back at the West Peak at 4:15PM. The views here were improved somewhat by the sky getting sunnier, and it was comfortable sitting in the strong wind. After a rest and some snacks, we started back down. We were back out at 6:30 PM. It was a challenging and very enjoyable hike, but due to steep climb and the lack of water I don't think it is a good place to bring dogs.