Last weekend was another trail work weekend for the Connecticut Section of the Green Mountain Club. I hiked up Friday night, trail worked on Saturday, and on Sunday drove north to climb Mendon Peak.

The Conn. Section of the GMC is responsible for maintaining the Long Trail in between Glastenbury Tower and Kelly Stand Road. On this trip we did the northern half of that, based at Story Spring Shelter. I came in after dark on Friday, hiking the secret trail by headlamp. On Saturday I worked south with a couple of Jims, clearing blowdown, draining puddles, and fighting the neverending war against hobblebush. Another group went north.

On Sunday I hiked back out the secret trail, drove north, and parked at the Bucklin Trailhead. This is the trailhead for the Bucklin Trail which goes up to the LT near Killington, which I have previously hiked as a route to Killington. This time, however, I took the dirt road which leaves just to the south of that.

The basic strategy for this hike was to more or less follow Eddy Brook upstream (east) a ways and at some point turn south up Mendon, the high point on the ridge which parallels the brook. I was using a USGS map. This has snowmobile/ATV/dirt roads marked on it, but not all of them, and includes a few which don't actually exist. On my way out I followed dirt roads which followed the lines on the map well enough, until I crossed the brook and the roads didn't seem to be anything like on the map. There should have been a trail following the brook and one soon after going southwest. Instead there was only one trail, headed southeast. I went a tenth of a mile or two, turned around back to the brook, and turned back ahead again, because there was no other trail. After a while I realized that the brook I'd crossed wasn't actually Eddy Brook. When I did get to Eddy Brook the trail to the southwest was there, but the one which follows the brook, which was the one I'd intended on taking, wasn't. Once again I went a ways, turned back to the brook, and then turned back the way I first went, since it was actually a more direct way to the peak than the one I'd planned, and I didn't really have any better choice there.

The first intersection on the map was just as the map said, but then it became harder to reconcile the trail I was on with the line on the map. I was climbing the mountain, though, so on I went. I passed one herd path, but when I got to one with a cairn with an iron hook, I took it.

Then I followed the old bushwhacker's strategy of: Follow herd path. Lose herd path. Bushwhack. Find herd path. Repeat as necessary.

The woods I was hiking through were pretty open, although steep, until right before the end, when I had to push through some nastily dense evergreens just before finding myself at a summit.

That summit didn't have a canister, and I could see a higher summit just to the west, so I knew I was on the eastern false summit. There was a well-beaten herd path between the summits, though, with a spur to a great outlook on the way.

On the true summit I found the canister and took a long break looking through the log book and snacking.

On my way back I started whacking north at the low point of the path between the peaks. Very soon I found a well defined herd path. I followed this down the mountain. I only lost it once, and then picked it up quickly again.

This herd path was taking me further west than the path I'd gone up, and it soon became clear I wasn't going to hook up with the way I'd come up soon, if at all, but it was a good path and it was taking me down into the Eddy Brook Valley and also to the west, so I followed it. After a while it got to the bottom of the valley and started heading pretty much due west, still south of the brook. At one point it turned south, but there was a sketchier path to the west, so I took that, since I was already south of where I wanted to be. Not long after that the new path got better, and I went a long ways on this driveable fairly straight dirt road headed west. This was fine with me, since I knew if I kept heading west I'd hit Wheelerville Road eventually. After a while it forked and I took the northwest fork. Then it turned north, crossed Eddy Brook finally, and forked again. I took the northwest fork again and soon came to the road. Then it was just about a quarter mile road walk north to my car.

It was a fun hike. Despite some things I'd heard about Mendon there was very little difficult whacking, and while I often didn't know exactly where I was on the map, I always knew where I was generally and never deviated too much from a fairly direct route.

Mendon was number 89 of the New England Hundred Highest for me.

Here are the pictures.



NE111 in my 50s: 115/115 (67/67, 46/46, 2/2)
NE111 in my 60s: 56/115 (44/67, 11/46, 1/2)
NEFF: 50/50; Cat35: 39/39; WNH4K: 40/48; NEHH 89/100
LT NB 2009; CT NB 2017

"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