Pico Peak, VT (3,957') via Sherburne Pass and Pico Link Trails October 26, 2013
Elevation gain: 2,100'ish
Trailhead: Trail begins at height of land at Sherburne Pass, across the street from the Inn at Long Trail, 709 Route 4, Killington, VT (past Killington Road and before Pico Mountain Ski Resort).
Lesson learned: Don't lock yourself in the cabin!
Hiked with Rich today. Pico Peak is not the smallest peak on the New England Hundred Highest list but it just may be the easiest with just over 2,000' gain on a mild 2.9 mile route.
This was my last "listed" peak bag for the calendar year; #85 seemed like a good stopping point. We arrived at the parking lot around 10:30, surprised and delighted to see other cars in the lot (always nice to meet others on the trail).
|Parking lot is well marked, can't miss it!|
|The Inn at Long Trail across the street.|
To the right of the Inn is the entrance for the Long Trail northbound. At one time the Sherburne Pass trail was the Long Trail southbound but now hikers must travel .8 miles west on Route 4 and cross the road to pick up the trail (which at the time of the reroute must have really been depressing for the owners of the Inn!).
Most hikers we saw today were wearing orange - lots of it. Since New Hampshire's hunting season doesn't get rolling until the first of November we weren't too worried about it and half-heartedly brought an orange hat and red jacket. Good thing we did. We found out later that this was Vermont's opening weekend for hunting.
Pico ski resort has a webcam which we viewed the day before so we knew there'd be some snow. We headed up the blue blazed trail.
|First half of the trail is quite mellow.|
|The snow cover thickened as we traveled.|
The trail is well established and ascent gradual; we barely broke a sweat. Trail maintenance crews were out (in orange vests) digging run-off channels. One asked if we saw the sinkholes; limestone has been washing away for years in one area by the trail called Sink Hole Brook - at 1.1 miles. We would check this out on the way back
At about 2 miles we came to the ski slope with the beautiful views.
|One moment we're in the woods, the next we're on a ski slope!|
|Some hikers go no further, enjoying the view from here.|
After a few photos we walked the few hundred feet up the slope where the hiking trail re-enters the woods - on the same side (the trail does not cross the ski slope).
|Up the ski slope.|
|Duck back in (same side).|
Some people avoid this next section of trail, opting to go straight up the slope toward the summit which cuts .4 mile from the trip. We decided to continue on via the hiking trail which I can only describe as uninspiring. The path follows the contour of the mountain (no up, slight down) and it's rough and rooty most of the way to Pico Camp.
|This ho-hum section of trail does have some cute "spruce-let" fields!|
|Cabin sleeps about 10.|
Once we realized we were locked in, we became two crazy people yelling, "help! get us out of here!" from inside the cabin.
The nice couple hiking down the mountain who opened the door for us must've wondered how we got locked in!
Once outside - and feeling pretty foolish - we made our way to the summit. Directly behind the cabin is the Pico Link trail. Thinking this trail is really steep I put on my microspikes and I was getting cold too so I put on my ski mittens.
The trail does steepen and pops out onto a maintenance road and it's clear where the trail crosses the road and ducks back into the woods. Soon it pops out again, this time on the Forty-niner ski trail. As recommended in Day Hiker's Guide to Vermont we noted where we came out of the woods to find our way back easily.
After traipsing around the summit, taking a few photos and giving up on the fruitless attempt to find that blue blaze, we started back down by way of the Forty-niner trail.