Mount Mansfield is Vermont’s highest peak, at 1340 metres (4395 feet). After climbing up through beautiful forests on a rocky path, we reached the Butler Lodge, with its fantastic views out through a gap in the trees. Directly after the lodge we entered the Wampahoofus Trail, a few kilometres of sometimes very entertaining scrambling – at one point the trail passes through a tunnel created by a pile of massive boulders.
We stopped on the first summit, Forehead, for lunch, with great views out over the Stowe valley. It was pretty windy so we moved on relatively quickly, soon meeting up with the masses of people that either drive up to near the summit or take the gondola. This was a nice ridge walk with stunning views to the east and west, but somewhat overfilled with non-hikers. Likewise on the summit, the groups of walkers were pretty big, and, in part due to the wind, we only stopped long enough for a hot drink.
Descending down Sunset Ridge with views towards Lake Champlain was rewarding, if tiring due to the often steeply sloping granite slabs which made up much of the path. After Johanna had a little slip on this tricky surface, I performed one of my most impressive feats of acrobatics of my adult life. Slipping on a large boulder and falling forward onto both knees, my momentum carried me forward and off the boulder into a somersault. Sounds painful, in actual fact I landed on my bum on the next boulder below and only had a couple of scraped knees to show for it. The two ladies I was attempting to overtake at the time spoke of an elegant and controlled roll and seemed to be quite impressed!
The rest of the descent was uneventful and we were glad to reach the car after a good 8 hours hiking.