GLASTENBURY MOUNTAIN backpacking on the AT/LT in Vermont

Glastenbury Mountain from Rt. 9 in Woodford VT.  Green Mountain National Forest.  The parking area (1,380') has a good privy with TP, sometimes there is "trail magic".  The Appalachian Trail/Long Trail heads steeply north, gaining 600' in the 1st 0.6 miles, passes between split 12' boulders before mellowing in steepness.  FR 274 & a couple of other old woods are crossed (you can shorten the walk to the shelter by starting at the spring on Rt.9 halfway up Woodford Hill at 1,900' - it is ~1.1 miles & a 550' gain this way - best route if skiing, strong skiers could ski from the spring to well north of Little Pond Mtn).  Melville-Nauheim Shelter is reached at 1.6 miles after a gain of 1,100'.  The old shelter has 4 double-wide bunks, a picnic table & outhouse (will get a moldering privy in the future); you do hear some road noise.  Chipmunks, juncos.
Continuing N, a power line is soon crossed with view down to Bennington & its monument plus Haystack Mtn to the E.  Soon reach the top of Maple Hill (2,690') & enter the Glastenbury Wilderness.  Downhill to Hell Hollow Brook (2,350') which I crossed on stepping stones (after heavy rains it may have to be waded) - there is no longer a bridge here.  There is no water available for the next ~6 miles.  Uphill, gaining ~500' in a mile to Porcupine Lookout (2,820') which has a view S & E - mostly wild lands except for the Searsburg Wind Farm.  Down to junction with trail to Little Pond, then up past Little Pond Lookout (trees obscure the view of the pond except in winter).  The AT/LT passes near the top (3,300') of Little Pond Mtn (3,331') before dropping, then goes over another couple of bumps before going steeply up to the Goddard Shelter & paralleling a snomo trail after leaving the Glastenbury Wilderness (this accommodates snomo trails).    
The Goddard Shelter (3,500') is reached after 9.8 miles - it's a nice newer (2005) shelter with front porch, moldering privy, good spring water & a small view to wind farm on the old Brodie Mtn ski area - it was hard finding any dry firewood.  From there it was 0.3 miles to the fire tower on Glastenbury Mtn (3,748') - there is no window glass so can be windy up there - got up there to watch the last sunset of summer. 4 ATVs came up the snomo trail - the riders were a bit loud & left some trash at the foot of the tower.  The temp never rose above 52F all day.  Most of the route is in hardwoods: beech, yellow birch, sugar maple but at the shelter & up to the summit is all balsam fir & red spruce. 
Got up early the next morning as Orion hung in the S sky & climbed back up for the 1st sunrise of fall - 35F & still windy but views were spectacular.  Fog hung in the valleys & over Somerset Reservoir.  Decided to explore the West Ridge Trail (back in the Glastenbury Wilderness) - went ~2 miles to former beaver ponds/meadows then back up to the shelter.  Hiked S & made camp at Porcupine Lookout - no water & a bit too windy but did have a fire.  Out the next day.  ~25 miles total.
Interesting note: you can get free rides to Bennington or Wilmington from the Rt.9 trailhead - the MOOver bus stops twice in the early morning to Bennington & returns twice in the late afternoon - thru-hikers, especially, like this.  

 August 2018 - GLASTENBURY MOUNTAIN hike. Finally, a 3-day forecast with no rain. Parked at height of land (a bit under 2,800') on Kelley Stand Rd at trailhead for Branch Pond Trail. Immediately S of the BPT is an obscure unmarked path which I believe used to be the route of the Appalachian Trail until it was rerouted over Stratton Mtn & Pond. Up this path for 0.6 mile to the AT/LT then S & soon reached the Story Spring Shelter (2,800') at 0.73 miles from the start. Basic lean-to style shelter with 3 bear boxes, picnic table, tent-sites & moldering privy. Half mile further passed beaver pond on W side then a large beaver pond/meadow seen to the E, S Alder Brook, saw moose scat 100' off the AT. Trail then goes uphill, crosses a ferny snomo trail, out of hardwood forest & into spruce/fir, topping out at over 3,200', passes a lookout W of Grass Mtn (3,109') & NY & drops to Kid Gore Shelter (2,800'). Kid Gore, in area of headwaters of the Glastenbury River, has a view E to Somerset Reservoir & the hills N of Mt Snow, NH in distance - good for sunrises. 4 bunks with table in middle of shelter, picnic table outside. A flagged path off the privy (basic outhouse) trail heads SE, maybe to FR 325 near Ricker Dam. Grouse, chipmunks. 5.3 miles backpack, 3.5 hours. Lots of mud.
Day 2 - Hiked S, more uphills than downhills. Crossed a snomo trail at 2.8 miles & reached the flat summit (3,748') at 3.7 miles. Great views from the fire tower - incl. Greylock (MA), Adirondacks (NY), Killington (VT), NH; counted 26 turbines at the Searsburg Wind Farm. 2 hawks dove nearby. Dropped 200' to Goddard Shelter, a nice big lean-to with front porch. There are several campsites between the shelter & fire tower. Back to Kid Gore for the night (& sunrise). 8 miles, 6 hours. Day 3 - backpack out. Lots of bluebead lily, indian pipe & mushrooms; some raspberries & blackberries.
18.6 miles total.


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