Sunday, July 3, 2016

Today we hiked Burke Mountain in Vermont...

This is going to be a longer post than what I normally write because I hope to educate others who might be interested in hiking this mountain. It's always hard to find good information on hiking trails and I love it when I do find a good blog that clearly explains where the trail-head is, how difficult it is, etc.

I have also found that there is some misinformation out there regarding this one. This is the review that I pulled up and helped us decide to do this hike:
While I will agree that the views are SPECTACULAR, the hike is anything but easy. We didn't feel the least bit guilty about enjoying the view! I was not physically ready for this hike, but I'm not one to back down or give up, so I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, (or kept pulling myself up) and we made it to the top after a steady, steep climb. My sons have hiked several of the toughest trails in the Northeast with their father, and they thought it was one of the most difficult climbs that they had encountered. I may not have impressed them with my speed, but I think I impressed them with my perseverance. Turning around did not occur to me!
Here are 2 screenshots from my gps tracker - the first was taken at the top of the mountain, and shows how far & long we had hiked so far; the second was taken when we reached the car, and shows the elevation map of our entire hike:

Now, back to the beginning of our day - you will be looking for the Red Trail. The parking area is located at the far end of the lower parking lot at Sherburne Base Lodge.
(Follow Mountain Road out of the village of East Burke and turn right at the sign for the Sherburne Lodge Road.)

It's a beautiful trail through the woods and we were fortunate enough to have perfect weather for this hike. You may want to consider packing a long-sleeved shirt though, because even though it was a very warm day, it got quite cool at the top of the mountain.

 The trail is well-marked, but it converges with a couple of others, particularly mountain biking trails, so you'll want to keep watching bicyclists(although they are not allowed onto the hiking trail), and also for those 'Red Trail' signs... 

We didn't see any wildlife, but we did find some pretty special plants. Oxalis is one of my favorite houseplants, but I've never seen the wild version until now! 
And, of course it's always great to find one of these rarities: Lady Slippers

 Amber's skills at following directions (left, right, stay focused, forward, etc.) helped to keep her on track...she insists on being in front at all times. She got tired, but she loved every minute of this adventure!

  About 2/3rds of the way up the mountain the trees open up and you start to see the view behind you. It's incredible!

There are 2 shelters on the trail for those who might like to do the mountain as an overnight camping trip. 

We made it to the fire-tower! My younger son was the only one in our party who was brave enough to climb it, so he took my phone and captured these amazing images for me: 

Once he had climbed down from the tower, we followed the trail over to the actual summit of the mountain and found the 'official' medallion at the tippy-tippy top. These are always so cool to find...

We saw on the map that the auto road is just on the other side of the fire tower, so we walked over to check it out. This road makes it so that less mobile individuals can experience this view too! How cool is that? (Follow Mountain Road out of East Burke, drive past the lodges and Burke Mountain Academy, and turn left onto the Toll Road.)
 Then, we cut across the top of the ski trails to get back to the hiking trail down the mountain, (this shortened our hike by .2 miles on the way down) and checked out where the mountain biking trails start. Even the boys, who love trail riding on their bikes, admitted that those riders are crazy!
This was how we all felt by the time we reached the campground...
But, we had a really fun day hiking together, and also felt like we had accomplished something. The bonus? Now I feel strong enough to tackle any challenge that comes along!

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