Burke Mt

August 7, 2016.

A short weekend in Vermont with Carol at her condo in Burke. The next morning I got up early while the girls slept in to hike with the intent of redlining Burke Mt. It only has a few hiking trails but a ton of biking trails and of course in the winter skiing is the thing to do. I didn't have any good info on the trails nor a map so kind of winging this one.

First a sunrise look from the balcony over to Willoughby Notch where Mt Hor and Mt Pisgah separate Lake Willoughby. At the bottom of the hill in the lower lot the Red Trail leaves the complex on an old woods road.

 

I wasn't sure how popular the trail is but knew there is a left turn off of this road at some point. There were a couple of suspect "paths" leading off to the left but too grown in for my liking so I continued on the certain path.

 

Thankfully the turn was quite noticeable even with all the summer vegetation as there is a small sign directing me in the right direction and the road ahead looked less traveled. Once off the road the woods became a beautiful open area where the biking trails intersected with the hiking trails but luckily all were well signed.

 

After passing the last major intersection with the biking paths the trail begins the climb up Burke Mt. About an hour into the hike and I come across the old CCC road that was built back in the 1930's. Not sure if I am supposed to turn onto the road as the sign on the opposite side is confusing with the arrow. Through the trees I can see something so I take the path into the woods and it leads to a shelter with some overnighters still there.

 

The trail continues the climb past the shelter crossing a dry streambed and then through a fern lined section. Thirty minutes past the shelter and the trail crosses a ledge with the first views to the south.

 

Just a minute or two past the view ledge and there is another shelter. This is where the trail network really confused me. One trail went to the left of the shelter and continued which I thought was a dead end trail to some views. Back at the shelter another trail leads down a hill to a junction with no trail signage. I wasn't sure if this was an old ski trail that intersected or what it was. At the bottom where the four way junction is there is an old remnant of a chimney off in the woods. Maybe it is from an old CCC camp or the shelter that is up the hill was relocated from this spot. Whatever the story it is nowhere to be found on the Internet as the documentation of the history of Burke Mt is certainly lacking.

 

A short five minutes up and I break onto one of the ski trails and then the upper parking lot for the summit road. Across the road the trail re-enters back into the woods and soon comes to a junction. Heading to the left first for the Summit Trail and a couple minutes later I am at the foot of the fire tower.

 

There is one other person up there as I head up the stairs to the top. Being in new territory and I was quite out of my element as I looked around trying to figure out the different peaks on the horizon. I really had no clue as I was rushing through just snapping pictures to get back down at a reasonable time. What I guessed were the Vermont mountains and perhaps my first peek at the Adirondacks were not even close. What I actually got were pictures of "home"...the NH Whites. The Pilot Range is on the horizon with The Horn, The Bulge, Cabot and Terrace Mts off to the east.

 

To the northeast is a mountain with some structures on it and I wonder who is the lucky person to have that view everyday. Turns out it is an old Air Force base on top of East Mt that closed over 50 years ago. A good description and history with recent pictures can be found at this site.

 

The Presi's are unfortunately in the clouds today so no different perspective for them. To the right of Mt Pisgah is a curious looking hump which turns out to be Haystack Mt. I can see that being added to my future list of things to do. I head down to the high point of Burke Mt and sit down for a few minutes to just refuel.

 

All that is left is to get the Profile Trail and the parallel trail down to the first shelter. The Profile Trail loops around the backside of the summit and passes underneath an overhanging cliff that actually has a profile looking feature when looking up at it. Curiously the trail leads back a different way as I missed the spot where it crossed the parking lot. For whatever reason I did find an odd sign out along this route which made absolutely no sense.

 

But when you look to the right where the arrow is pointing all there is...well the picture explains it all. I'm sure this is a very old relic from the past but a back story would be nice. Back at the four way junction just below the shelter and I am still confused as to which way to go. I came down the hill straight in front of me. A sign on my left points to the shelter and is labeled the West Peak Trail. To my right there is no signage and not sure where it goes. The guy on the tower meets up with me here and decides to go right so I go left. Left just leads back out to the trail I took earlier and headed back to the shelter rather than continuing. It is a small loop back to the shelter rather than coming down the short, I guess, bypass path down the hill. Not sure where the right handed trail would lead I just head back the way I came up towards the other shelter by the CCC Road. As I arrive at the lower shelter the overnighters have packed up and left. As I get closer I am shocked and appalled by what I see. There is smoke coming up out of the fire pit. The bastards left a smouldering fire behind! To top it off all the material from the old roof is sitting right next to the fire pit. One spark is all it would have taken and poof... As I am pouring water on the smoking ashes the guy from earlier is coming down the hill behind the shelter. Damn that is the rest of Red Trail that I needed to redline this mountain. We comment about the idiots who left this as we part ways and I have high hopes of catching up to the careless knuckleheads.

 

Only problem is it has been two hours since I first came through here so who knows how much of a lead they have on me. There was only one car in the lot when I started so I am pretty sure it was them. Nevertheless I move quickly through the forest but never see them. Lucky for them because I would have gone on a rant for their stupidity. Oh well I got down and back to the condo and a bit disappointed I missed one section of trail. Hey just another reason to come back another day.


Final numbers: 6.5 miles, 3 hours and 55 minutes.

Redline Miles: 0, Total to Date: 1160.8