Mts. Breadloaf and Wilson

Submitted by Pat

Mountains: Mts. Breadloaf (3,835) and Wilson (3,790)
Date: September 1, 2007
Time: 7 hours
Weather: Mostly sunny, windy, low 50's to mid 60's
Miles: 10
Elevation Gain: 2,045
Steps: 30,985
Trails: Skylight Pond to Long Trail and back
Holy Shit Factor: Relatively low
Picture Gallery

I spend a lot of time planning this hike. We decide to hike in Vermont and we still have all the hundred highest so I research all the mountains, look at profiles, trail options, distance from Keene, views, and finally end up with Breadloaf and Wilson up in the Green Mountain National Forest near Middlebury, VT. Thinking we can stop at Noonie's deli in Middlebury to buy one of their famous sandwiches for our trail lunch, we head over to Route 7 via Route 4. Well, that slows us down and we end up buying a much lesser quality sandwich somewhere along the way and quickly head north on Route 100. When I had my motorcycle, this was one of my favorite roads - some great scenery and nice twists and turns. We hit Route 125 and head west and easily find the trailhead on Forest Road 59 - plenty of parking and out in the middle of nowhere.

At 9:21 a.m., Nancy, Dejah (her yellow lab) and I start up the Skylight Pond trail that will take us up to the Long Trail. The trail is very humane, gentle and with good traction for its 2.3 miles to the Long Trail intersection. We spend the hour and a bit talking and enjoying the beauty surrounding us. There is a definite fall nip in the air - the light is different and the beech trees shed yellow leaves that dot the trail. All the green plants and shrubs are finishing their growth and turning brown. While the air is invigorating, seasonal change is often hard for me. There is a melancholy when summer growth starts to die - and so soon.

We take the path over to the Skylight Lodge and to see Skylight Pond. Gorgeous in the morning sun - Dejah takes a dip and sits grinning and dripping on the bank while I take pictures.

We travel the Long Trail along the ridge to Breadloaf where we meet and start leap frogging a man and his son who are spending the weekend backpacking on the Long Trail. The summit of Breadloaf is unsigned on a curve where the Long Trail makes a hairpin turn to the right. There is a herd path out to a view spot that makes the moment worthwhile. We stand and look out over the hills of Vermont, all the while anxiously trying to keep Dejah from wandering too close to the edge of the cliff. We walk back to the summit proper and sit down with our sandwiches for a quick break. I barely taste mine - nothing like a wrap from the Mountain Bean, let me tell you. I am also really cold. I never get cold - well, rarely - but I am struggling with temps in the low 50's and not enough steep terrain to keep my heart rate up. I zip my pants back on and put on a short sleeve and a long sleeve Techwik and my wind breaker before finally warming up. It is close - I almost succumb to putting on Nancy's fleece, but I hold out.

Once again we meet the backpacking father and son on Wilson when we arrive at 1:10 p.m. A short herd path juts off the summit to a view spot - perfect! We take some pictures and stand there soaking in the view for a few minutes before starting our journey back. This isn't a killer trail with huge boulders and scrambles and steep terrain. The summits aren't breathtakingly beautiful with views for days. And it is absolutely perfect.

The walk back to the trailhead is relatively quiet - I am not thinking any really deep thoughts, just concentrating on moving my body down the mountain with the least impact on my knees. Nancy's knee starts complaining about half way down and her low back has been giving her pain for some time now. Despite chiropractic treatment, it hurts on the way up and by the end of a hike the ache is definitely noticeable. I feel it too, but I think mine is due to age and the fact that my pack really doesn't fit me very well anymore. As always, the first glimpse of the parking lot is such a happy moment, knowing we are close to taking off our boots and pulling a cold drink out of the cooler. Dejah is tired and happily jumps into the back of the car for a snooze.

Another great hike. We are so lucky we can do this and find such depth of passion in every adventure.

62 out of 100 Highest in NE