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Burnt Rock Mountain and Mt. Ethan Allan

  • Start: Stark’s Nest
  • End: Montclair Glen Lodge
  • Approx Miles: 12.6

We set off into another gray, foggy Vermont morning, aiming to make it to the base of Camel’s Hump tonight, so we can begin tomorrow with the climb up. But first we’ll have to ascend Mt. Ethan Allan, which is deceptively difficult. It’s not a particularly high peak, but this is a rough section of trail. Lots of ups and downs, rock scrambles, and even some ropes and ladders at times.

We had a hell of a time getting Ella down this ladder.

We soon cross Route 17 at Appalachian Gap.

Appalachian Gap

And onwards, passing through Birch Glen Camp.

Someone found the world's most strangely shaped Frito.

Camel’s Hump comes into view in the distance. It looks shockingly far away, knowing that we’re going to walk over it tomorrow.

Camel's Hump is the distinctively pointy peak in the top right corner.

We arrive at Montclair Glen Lodge in the early evening.

Montclair Glen is one of the most nicely decorated and maintained shelters. It also has a remarkable innovation near the privy—two wooden walls set up at right angles labeled “The Pee Palace: A Private Place to Pee”. You see, you’re supposed to pee in the woods rather than in the privies1 because liquids make it harder (and grosser) for the caretakers to compost sewage. But this can be more or less awkward depending what genital equipment you’re working with, so the Pee Palace is well appreciated by some members of our group.

We’re staying the night with a couple two older section hikers. Friends who retired after years of working for Cisco. There’s also an unfortunate update in the logbook, dated a couple days ago, from Bugbait, who’s been ahead of me since Killington. He’s having some serious pain in his quads and is getting off-trail. You’ll be back buddy! There’s also an entry from yet another non-me person who saw a moose 😔.

The caretaker introduces himself, he’s named Ian. Friendly and interesting guy. He has a slight, almost European-sounding accent, but it turns out he’s from the States. He got it by living in Turkey for the last 10 years, where he taught English. Apparently he’s lived all over the world teaching. There, Tokyo, etc. He came back to the US without much of a plan recently and decided to “come out of caretaker retirement” as he put it (he used to work as a caretaker, I think on the AT maybe, when he was younger).

We had an interesting conversation about his mixed feelings on the AMC’s White Mountains Huts. On the one hand, they’re very useful for funding the organization because a lot of the rich people who donate rave about their trips to the huts. On the other hand, it’s kind of wack that a nominally conservation-focused organization is running basically full-service hotels in the middle of the wilderness, using helicopters to supply them (wildly unsustainable).

Not much else to say about today except that it was hard! We’re firmly out of the “green tunnel” and into the challenging, interesting hiking now. Tomorrow we plan to go over Camel’s Hump and get off-trail in Stowe.

You can just barely make out the walls of the 'Pee Palace'

  1. Virtually all of the privies have signs to this effect. You can see one on on the door of the privy in the photo above. ↩︎