Bamforth Has Struck Again

The Bamforth Ridge Trail has struck again, claiming two victims today: Mr. Mutha from Danville, and Mr. MadDog from Richmond (or is it Jeffsonville? or Underhill? or Allah knows where?).

Did we have to turn back shy of the summit of Camel's Hump? Not a chance. Rather than intimidate us into turning back after demanding a sacrifice of blood, the Bamforth trail used another tactic today: evasive maneuvers. It went away. We were about 10 minutes into the hike and that was the last we saw of it. Worse still, we ended up on a small mini-summit one ridge over. When we finally got a look around after a bushwack reminiscent of Hell Brook, we saw the view shown in the pic at right. We were over two hours into an aggressive bushwack and we wanted to be on the ridge in the distance. Between us and that ridge was classic, contorted, snowy, rugged Green Mountain topography. We dropped into the little valley and had lunch on a big beaver pond and then turned around and followed our trail back to the car.

Of course the conversation was great, the weather was bitter cold (low wind, but biting, bitter, sapping cold - I think it was below 5°F) but the sun was bright and the company excellent. There were song birds out, really large, fat chickadees and woodpeckers. To give an idea of the cold, note that I normally ascend in light windstopper or nylon/lycra gloves/liners like we all use. On this day I wore my insulated gloves - on the ascent! And that was while bushwacking in steep, deep snow.

And best of all, at the beaver pond, Mad Dog pulled out a large thermos filled with hot tea, sweetened and with milk. Man, in that bitter cold sunshine it was the greatest thing. I had started to get deep body-trembles from lowering core-temp and that tea kicked ass. Even though we stood in the full sun in dark clothes, it was a toss-up between whether the cold or sun would win. Hot, sweet tea. I'm hooked.

I'd also like to point out that while the air was cold, the snow was colder, and we were breaking trail. We both noticed our feet were getting cold, in spite of the insulated boots and the hard work.

We'll try Bamforth again another day.

For anyone with a topo map out, the height-of-land where the picture was taken is a feature with an elevation of about 2,360, located at a bearing of 10° west of true north of the Camel's Hump summit. I'm going to find it on Google Earth and get an annotated pic up. This place was out of control. Pics coming later tonight.

[Update 2/16 18:31] Found our bushwack on Google Earth. Click on lower pic on the right to zoom. Pic of MadDog (above right) was taken on the little mini-summit w/ exposed ledges.

What can't be seen in this picture is how steep this hike was and how rugged and beautiful the terrain is. It reminds me how extraordinary the Green Mountains are. I can recall several conversations with people from other states who have hiked in the Greens and commented on how unprepared they were for the beauty and challenging hiking.

tMail and g-$$$: we'll drag you up here soon.

We got back to the car pretty early (I think it was around 2:30 after a 7:45am start) so MD got to his 5pm party and with the bright sun and blue sky, I got home in time to take a nice 50min cruise on XC skis with Spanky. I had my fast skis out on some groomed trails and got a little overzealous on some tight turns and crashed into some brush/tree/snow stuff. My hip hurts. Ow.

I don't know about down south, but this cold snap is about to end with temps in the 40's by Monday and snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain in the forecast for Sunday night and Monday.

Yay winter.

[Update 2/17] Pics are posted at Picasa [Link].


  1. MZ, thanks for a real treat out. The summit can wait. I especially enjoyed winter's treating us to the off trail beauties that in non-winter seasons would not be possible/accessible. My fav discovery was the moose interstate system we stumbled up and the fav pic is "West edge of little pond".

    Molto grazie!


  2. Looks like an awesome day I focused on my long run yesterday over 2 hours in Boston it was a really beautiful day sun was fully out...grabbed lunch...spent a fortune at Wholefoods and ate like a pig last night.....YUM YUM...and slept on the deck...

  3. tmail, you planning to run Boston this year?

  4. Looked like a great day out. If I hadn't had to educate then I woud have educated my self with you two yokels...

    I ended up doing a "3 hr" (read 3.5hr) trail run with Roland, Ray Greco and a few other cats. The trails were in good shape but I'm sure after all thsi new rain theyll be as swampy as a hut-2-hut grundel.

    Looking forward to the next poke North.