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 splitting the TRs up by day. This is for Monday.

Mount Putnam doesn't get any respect. It's the high point on the Worcester Range, and the sixth most prominent peak in Vermont, but it's not labeled on the GMC dayhikers' guide, and it's not mentioned on any of the trail signs I saw.

I first became aware of the Worcester Range when I through hiked the Long Trail. I kept asking people, "what's that range over there?", and eventually got an answer. A few years after that Poison Ivy and I made plans to hike it together, but that never actually happened. I finally got up on the range Labor Day.

This hike was along real trails, with blazes and water bars and everything. It seemed a little like cheating. At least the final little bit of road before the trail head was barely drivable. The weather was scattered cumulus clouds on a warm day. There were no bugs to speak of, though, which had been true all weekend. There were a lot more people on these trails than I'd seen Saturday or Sunday, but still not what I'd consider crowded.

I did an out-and-back from Worcester Trail, at the northeastern end of the range. Worcester Trail starts fairly flat, and then gets very steep. Near the end it opens up, with scrambles over granite and quartz amid short trees and views of northern Vermont. It ends at Worcester Mountain, which had the best views of the hike, not only of the flatter parts of northern Vermont to the east and north, but also of the rest of the Worcester Range to the south and southwest.

The rest of the hike was on Skyline Trail. This doesn't have a lot of good views, but it's a beautiful trail, especially if you like moss. According to the map, I should have gone down to a col, up over West Worcester, down to another col, and up to Hogback/Putnam. In actuality, West Worcester consists of about five peaks, and I kept going up and down and up and down. Eventually I got to the intersection with Stowe Pinnacle Trail, and after that in quick succession summited Hogback and Putnam. Hogback is really just a false summit for Putnam.

Putnam summit is off on a little spur trail (like about ten feet). I followed Skyline a ways further to make sure I was really on the highest point. I'm sure I was, because not only did I see that there was nothing higher before Hunger, but a guy I'd been talking to before who was obviously very familiar with the range came by while I was on the summit and confirmed it for me.

After a while I returned the way I came. I estimate I did about twelve miles total, with more elevation gain than I'd been counting on (because of all the puds around West Worcester), so I felt I got my exercise in for the day, even though I never had to push through any conifer groves.

Putnam was number 40 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