Summit Safari - Camel's Hump

Pre-dawn, falling snow, first tracks - a recipe for one of my favorite winter adventures. Hiking by wintery night flips every familiarity of the outdoors on its head, exposing the magic of a world that appears only once the lights go out. The forest becomes incredibly quiet and the view stretches only as far as your headlamp. The whisper of wind at the treetops, of snow gently touching down on your jacket, the 15 feet of trail ahead. When paired with an unspoiled trail, and your first ascent upon it, the experience becomes amplified by the excitement of the unknown. The trail narrows, your sense of terrain and its fluctuations vanish, time and altitude only guessed at by the size of the trees and the amount of snow upon their branches. 

I wanted to wrap up 2014 with a hike I've had on my list for some time - Camel's Hump in Huntington, VT. Camel's Hump is the 3rd tallest mountain in Vermont, and the only undeveloped alpine area in the state. My good buddy Arlin and I met at the trailhead around 5AM in hopes of catching the sunrise, but nature ended up providing us with one of the most ethereal morning summits I have ever experienced. The heavy cloud cover created a landscape in which land and sky seemed at once the same, interrupted only by the Red Spruce and exposed rock. On a peak that is rarely vacant, the small patch of summit seemed an obscure island amidst the sky.  

Mount Pemigewasset - January Full-Moon Hike

It was 4:30pm as we packed into the Outback to begin our short drive south into Franconia Notch. The sun was nearing its final descent and the afternoon clouds had socked-in the last remaining bits of blue. Behind us we left the Badass Outdoors nerve center - a two-story, no-holds-barred gear shop on the banks of the Ammonoosuc River and Main Street Littleton, NH. Badass employee Blake had agreed to batten down the hatches as we escaped to play - perhaps retribution for his upcoming snowboard trip to Jackson Hole.

On reaching the trailhead our headlamps were donned, micro-spikes secured and summit beverages buried safely within our packs. Our group of 6 counted off, formed a line and plugged into a polished pace, upward over the mountain. Within the first mile, frosty particulates began to fall and the hope of a moonlit forest all but dwindled. The magic, however, wasn't lost - as we found ourselves within bounds of a hillside snow-globe.

Once to the summit, Badass Outdoors owners Matt & Marie pulled out the Jet Boil and prepared the group a boiling batch of homemade, cayenne spiced hot cocoa. Accompanying the warm treat - a naturally chilled growler of Schilling Beer Companies finest. Warm and re-hydrated, we gathered amidst the falling snow over the small town of Lincoln.

Join us for next months full-moon hike.


More info at ::

Badass Outdoors

Schilling Beer Co.