The drive up the Mountain Road did not fill me with confidence in the sanity of my planned activity. The air was cold, the wind a little biting, and once I got a view of the summit, I thought: hmmmm, is this a good idea?
|The Jay Cloud still exists in the off-season! Or, maybe it’s winter up there.|
|Yeah, hiking, that’s what we came here to do!|
It sure seemed like longer than 1.7 miles. Must have been something to do with the elevation gain, yes, that’s it. The route was easy to follow, with shiny white blazes and a well-defined path. As we gained height, the trail steepened and patches of snow appeared. I adjusted layers and stopped to rest more than once or twice. A side trail led out to the lower Vermonter, which came in handy on the descent. Utah was overjoyed to find snow and expressed his exuberance as only a dog can.
|Dog rule: when you encounter the first snow of the season, roll in it|
|Utah enjoys the view on the Vermonter|
|Approaching the top, the trail gets a little rugged|
|Yes, the trail goes over the water pipe on the Vermonter|
|I am standing on unbreakable crust, on top of a snowboard track|
|Good thing Sky Haus was open, the weather was not the best for a summit picnic|
|Looking towards Mt. Washington from the top of Jay Peak|
|Big Jay with Mt. Mansfield in the distance|
|Someone had to climb up there in the Jay wind to put in a new window!|
|Utah ponders the wisdom of dropping into The Saddle|
|Nice view of Owl’s Head, Mt. Elephantus and Lake Memphremagog|
|It was tricky walking along the summit ridge|
|The real pump house has seen better days|
|Gnarly, for certain, but Pumphouse sure looks like an official run|
|The Green Beret, closed as usual|
|Looking down the twiggy face of the Green Beret towards Northway|
|Utah decides that Valhalla is a no-go situation|
This hike is well worth doing if you find yourself at Jay Peak in the non-snow season. Going up took me a little more than two hours, going at a steady but relaxed pace, with several rest and picture-taking stops. The trail is easy to follow with some tricky steep sections just below the top exit on the Vermonter. If you had more people and two vehicles, a nice variation would be to park one car at the base lodge, then drive back to the 242 and hike up and over the mountain, coming down the ski trails. Finish off with refreshment at the Tower Bar or Alice’s Table and you would have the makings of a pretty fine day.
|Utah scans the horizon for catamounts|
|For the optimists, there is a good base up there|