Perfect Hiking Weather for Camel’s Hump

Peak Summited2019 Camel's Hump
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadMonroe Trail
EncounteredWildflowers blooming, Fall foliage, Ripe berries
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a group
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusBugs were not too bad
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

We were on Monroe Trail by 7am. We set a decent pace and didn't need many breaks on the ascent. The weather was 70's, mostly sunny with some clouds, and a good breeze. Lots of birdsong early in the morning. The trail was a very gradual grade, and it felt quite good. It came out into a clearing where several trails converged; this would be a good rest stop, but it was very crowded, so we moved on to the steeper section to the summit. This trail has been one of my favorites so far.

The summit was cloudy, and the breeze quite stiff, we were happy to throw on our layers. We didn't stay at the summit long, as it was quite cool and getting very crowded. A group came raucously up to the summit wearing blue T shirts that proclaimed “Grampy's 80th Birthday Hike”. We cheered for Grampy and his posse, and many pictures were taken. I've been struggling with these hikes as a 63 year old, but I decided then and there that I want to have a family hike for my 80th birthday, too! Go, Grampy, and may you have many, many more hikes with your family.

My group had decided to descend on the opposite side of the mountain, and complete the loop. We first went down the Long Trail, which was very steep and required some sliding down sheer, bald rock faces. I was very glad I had my poles, but in many places had to hand them off and use all four limbs to descend. A climber coming up told us we were done with the steep part, which pleased me. Then, after some steep and rocky trail, we actually had several more steep, bald rock face segments, so I was irked that he had set up false expectations there. A number of families with small kids passed us. Nothing makes me feel old and decrepit like watching these sprites slide down sheer rock with glee, as I pick my way carefully in hopes of not breaking a hip! There were some magnificent views on this side of the mountain; the Monroe Trail side was mostly tree cover blocking the views. We took a nice long break at one such area, sat on the cliff rocks and hydrated and snacked, enjoying the sun after the clouds and mist at the summit. We were joined by a retriever dog, who brought my daughter a stick. She tossed it, as she was eating her snack. I had just said “He's a retriever. You know he's going to bring it back to you!” when out from the trees he came, stick in mouth. He dropped it before her. When she didn't pick it up immediately, he politely picked it up and politely placed it immediately at her feet, and went into full pointer pose. Everyone was laughing as his owner came into view and whistled, and off he went.

Dean Trail was less precariously steep, but still quite rocky. Going slower on the descent, we really took the time to enjoy the forest. Old growth and moss-covered logs, all manner of forest plants, and in some areas the leaves had turned brilliant orange already. At one point, we walked through a section of newly fallen, bright orange maple leaves as if it were a brilliant carpet in the dim, filtered forest light.

I was happy to catch up to Monroe Trail again for our last segment. My group had gone ahead, so just my daughter and I for the last mile. I took a break to rest my knees, sitting on a fallen log propped in the joint of a tree. We were joined by a handsome lad of about 10, who sat to wait for his family to catch up. There were two large maples with massive trunks beside us, which had initials and dates carved into the bark. We tried to find the oldest carvings, one was from 1960.

The remainder of the hike was quiet and peaceful. I couldn't believe how many hikers were just going up so late in the day. We got down to the parking lot at about 4:30.

It was a beautiful day.

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