Trip Report: Vermont NEHH Peaks – Mt. Dorset, Mt. Equinox, and Stratton Mountain – 6/21/2013

It was earlier this week when I started thinking about getting back to Vermont for some peak bagging. The forecast for Friday looked quite promising, so I started to solicit hiking companions. I’ve never done much hiking solo, but I couldn’t seem to find anyone interested or available on a weekday, so I decided I would give it ago on my own. This initially was discouraging, but then I decided it’s OK, I can go at my own pace, and if all goes well, I can try and hit all three in a single day. I’ve done some long hikes in my time, but never have attempted 2 separate hikes, never mind three. My initial estimate was about a 15-20 mile day, and about 11 hours of hiking time with somewhere around 6700ft of elevation gains by the planned routes. It was an ambitious plan, but certainly doable, and while it’s nice to hike with a group, sometimes I like a good challenge. I was able to get some fantastic lodging at the Green Mountain House Hiker Hostel, providing a central location to all 3 peaks. Normally I would just hammock camp, but with the heat and bugs, sleeping indoors was quite nice. I started the day on Equinox, and made some really good time. The trails there are in great shape, I was able to do some trail running on the way down. On returning to the car, I ate some snacks and made my way over to Dorset. I was able to get my car to the end of “maintained” Tower Road, and headed out. Dorset really inst a bushwhack, the unofficial trail was in good shape except for a small bit thats seems to be a washout. On the way down I stepped into a big mud puddle and had to get creative on how to dry my shoes on the way over to Stratton. I was able to get a parking spot at the base of the ski area, and started my hike up under the gondola. The bugs really chewed me up and the sun was much hotter. The path from the gondola area to the fire tower is in great shape, it was nice to be back in the trees. Rumor has it there is a very territorial moose that has been charging at hikers, 3 different people warned me about it, but I didn’t have an encounter, although moose tracks were plentiful.

All 3 peaks in a day totals:
Distance: 18.94 mi
Time: 9:08:52 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 7,510 ft

eq1

stratton

dorset3

dorset2

dorset

eq

Mount Dorset:
Distance: 6.69 mi
Time: 3:08:43
Avg Pace: 28:13 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 2,440 ft
I was able to get some info on the trail to Dorset from my hiking friends, and set the GPS for the intersection of Lower Hollow Road and Tower Road in the town of Dorset, VT. A good address to get you to the trail head is: 315 Tower Road, Dorset, VT.
GPS/GPX Link

 

 

Mount Equinox:
Distance: 6.51 mi
Time: 3:08:31
Avg Pace: 28:57 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 3,090 ft
Again I got some beta from hiking friends and a guidebook, setting the GPS for 65 West Union Street, Manchester, VT to start this hike. The Equinox Preservation Trust has some fine information available for aspiring hikers including a great map!

GPS/GPX Link

 

 

Mount Stratton:

Distance: 5.74 mi
Time: 2:51:38
Avg Pace: 29:54 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 1,980 ft
Stratton is normally approached from the South side via the Long Trail, starting from the Stratton-Arlington Road trail head, I chose instead to hike up via the ski slopes. As a rule, I generally try to use trails and stay off ski slopes, but my reasoning for this approach was two-fold. I was to be hiking solo, and if something did go wrong, better chances of getting someone’s attention on the developed side, and by starting from the ski area, it would save me a decent amount of driving time. The Stratton Ski Resort website offers a map of the hiking trails from the ski summit to the true summit.

GPS/GPX Link

So I’ve now hiked 88 of the New England 100 Highest Mountains!

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