Over Labor Day weekend, armed with helpful information from the Manbearpig and gleaned from the web, I climbed four peaks on the New England Fifty Finest list in Vermont. I'm going to split the TRs up by day. This is for Saturday.

Signal Mountain is an untrailed mountain in Groton State Forest. The bushwhack I did starts on a dirt state forest road. The road (Gore Rd. on some maps) is accessed from US Rte. 302, where there's a state forest sign. It's a two rut dirt road which was drivable with my Civic, although the road quality varies and at its worst was a little dicey. It forks a couple times, although that wasn't mentioned in my research. I went left at the first fork, which I think was a mistake, and right at the second, which was correct given my initial left. Not long after the second fork my car started digging a hole in the road instead of going uphill, and I had to try several times to get past that point. Later I came to a small turnaround / parking area and could see a mountain ahead of me so I decided that was a good spot to get out and walk. After I walked around a little bend I met the only people I would see on the hike, a man and two women camping. I talked to them, and they didn't know Signal Mtn., but the man told me the road was a loop (hence the first fork) and that it soon crossed a brook and turned right. So I walked on, crossed the brook, turned right, and soon came to another turnaround, which is where I should have parked. At that point I walked into the woods and headed uphill.

It started out very steep. I headed straight uphill. Whenever I checked my compass it showed I was going almost due north, which matched my earlier sighting of the mountain. The whack was not bad at all, other than being steep. Eventually it rather suddenly got a lot gentler. I kept going up hill through easy forest, which kept taking me due north, until right at the end where it tended northeast. I walked right up to the canister.

In the canister's log book I found entries by the Manbearpig (twice), Pamola, and Whichway.

After hanging out on the summit a while I tried to retrace my steps. I headed southwest a little ways and then due south. It soon became clear I wasn't retracing my steps. I was hitting even more open forest, with a lot of fern fields. When it got steep I went straight down, which was bringing me a little to the east of south. I passed through some conifers here, but even they weren't bad. Eventually I came to some streams running west, with the downhill slope also tilting west. I was starting to wonder where I was, not being able to figure it out from the map, when I popped out onto the road. I turned right, and after about 100 feet passed the place where I had stared the whack. Then it was just a walk to my car and a careful drive out.

From there I drove to East.

East Mountain is a roadwalk.

I drove over a lot of dirt road to get to the closed gate where I started my walk, but this was much better dirt road than what I'd encountered in Groton State Forest; I had no trouble at all.

The road past the gate is still dirt at first, and moderately steep. I heard a lot of gunfire at the start, but not later. During this section a car with N.H. plates drove down, which I thought strange since they didn't seem like maintenance workers. The dirt road eventually becomes paved, passes some old abandoned buildings, and then starts steeply uphill. This steep section includes some switchbacks and is actually fairly nice; it's a narrow gap between well packed conifers. Eventually it gets to the top, where there are a lot of old abandoned buildings. These are from an old USAF radar installation.

I explored the site a bit and then headed back the way I came. At the lower ruins I saw three people and a car. When I got to the gate it was wide open. Probably it had been unlocked when I started; I didn't even check.

If I had known that I could have driven all the way up would I have done it? Would it have counted for the New England Fifty Finest? There's no governing body for the NEFF, so I guess it's hike your own hike, but I don't think I would have driven. It doesn't seem right; it's not really peakbagging to me.

Signal and East were numbers 37 and 38 on the New England Fifty Finest list for me.

Here are the pictures.



NE111: 115/115 (67/67, 46/46, 2/2); Cat35: 32/39; WNH4K: 32/48; NEFF: 40/50
LT NB 2009

"I don't much care where [I get to] --" said Alice, "-- so long as I get somewhere," ...
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
- Lewis Carroll