Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spruce Mountain - Plainfield, Vermont

Quick Facts:
Easy to moderate incline, 4.4 mi round trip, summit elevation 3037 ft.

360 degree views from the fire tower at the summit, caves and crevices galore, beaver pond, stone-raised trail bed.

Heading east through Barre, take US 302 up the hill towards it's intersection with VT 110. Continue east on 302 about another mile and turn left onto Reservoir Road (which turns into Brook Road once it enters Plainfield). In nearly 5 miles, the pavement turns to dirt and you'll continue another 1.5 miles to a junction where you'll take the right onto East Hill Road. Keep going up the hill until reaching Spruce Mountain Road on the right. Follow Spruce Mtn. Road to the end, where obvious signs mark the trailhead and parking area.

I am SO excited about this hike! By far my favorite, this trail offers everything that makes hiking fun: amazing views, various terrain, incredible flora and fauna lurking around every corner, and some special side-of-the-trail treasures - CAVES!

If you suffer from acrophobia (fear of heights), the fire tower at the summit probably isn't for you; then again, it's a great reason and opportunity to face your fears! Once atop the high platform of the tower, something deep inside begs to be let out, be it a "woohoo", a "yeehaw", or even just an "Oh my God." This image doesn't do the view justice, it is something you've got to experience for yourself to fully appreciate.

Another surprisingly enjoyable experience from this hike was the raised-rock pathway that serves as stepping stones through some wet areas. I rather enjoyed playing hopscotch along them, but when the stepping stones graduate into sheer exposed boulders, the sheer ice along some places forced me to tread more cautiously.

There are a couple spurs on the right of the main trail, one of which I discovered is really just a bunch of moose footpaths. You can't get lost on this hike, unless you take one of these spurs...just stay on the obvious main trail and if you get curious, go wandering only on the way back. Trust me, the views at the summit are worth bypassing any other adventures until later!