Griffith Lake Hike

Having a couple of days off Faith, Zeke, and I decided to go on a little backpacking trip in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Everyone donned a backpack, including Zeke (dogfood, dish, biscuits, leash, playing cards) and headed out for Griffith Lake via the Lake Trail (trailhead off route 7/South End, 2 miles south of Danby, VT).

It's a moderate four mile uphill hike, part of which parallels McGinn Brook which has small waterfalls and good dog cooling pools. Since it was mid-week there weren't many folks around, in fact we got first dibs on a tent platform at Griffith Lake Shelter. The Lake trail joins up with the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail about a tenth of a mile from Griffith Lake. Around the lake they've put down wooden walkways to help minimize the impact from hikers.

Trailside at Griffith Lake

The weather was fantastic. Highs in the 70's with a light wind. No bugs to speak of except a few deer flies at the trail head and a few mosquitos around the tent. A backpacking trip without blackflies is a beautiful thing! We saw quite a few toads and frogs on the way up, including this well camoflouged specimen:


Oh, that frog...

Griffith lake is a beautiful spot and the shelter (six tent platforms) is nice and quiet, as you'd expect. Another half mile south on the trail is Peru Shelter, your basic lean-to style, open ended sleeping shelter.

Griffith Lake

After setting up our tent and lightening our load we headed out for a hike up to Peru Peak to see what we could see (not too much). Along the way we met a solo hiker who turned out to be an AT through hiker. He'd started in Georgia on April 15th and was planning on finishing by September. He had started with two other folks, but they dropped out. He was travelling light, fast, and far...a sixteen mile hike planned for that day alone. We heard from another hiker that his trailname is "Cupcake" and he needs to finish in September to attend a wedding. Five months is a pretty quick hike of the Appalachian Trail, which normally takes six months to travel the 2,168 miles.

We didn't get to talk too long, but I managed to grill him a bit on the logistics of the trip. He'd ditched his tent and opted for a hammock to sleep in. Weight is everything, he said, some folks even cut the tags off their clothing. At first he was getting regular mail drops, but since hiking alone he was travelling faster and lighter, picking up quick supplies from towns and relying on mail drops mostly for maps. Most the hikers use priority mail since the Post Office will forward it to another post office for free should you miss a drop.

After hiking to Peru Peak and back it was time for dinner and some well earned relaxation. Ok, we only hiked eight miles and gained a couple thousand feet, half of Cupcake's daily trek, but it was a good workout and we ate heartily in celebration.

Dinner? Uhm, sure...just one more wink...

We met one other hiker who was hiking the Long Trail from Rt 9/Bennington to Camel's Hump. He'd been out almost a week so far and seemed to be enjoying himself and taking it easy. The AT hiker's he'd seen usually start early and stop late, often they'd show up at a shelter long after he'd gone to sleep. That was our experience, we woke up the next morning to find a couple more tent pads taken than when we'd gone to bed and they were already packing up. I wonder what AT hikers become afterwards...logistics specialists at Fedex?

The next morning, after a leasurely breakfast, we took our time on the hike back. We then took the slow, scenic route over Mount Tabor (east out of Danby), driving by the trailheads for the AT/Long Trail and a number of other side trails. A really nice hike and drive should you be looking for a weekend get away in Vermont.

Some objects may appear to be smiling...


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© Copyright 2002 Jerry Halstead.
Last update: 8/10/02; 11:08:24 AM.