This is an account of a rugged bushwhack of the Cold Hollow Mountains High Point located near Belvidere, Vermont and is a P2K/NEFF peak. It is trail-less and seldom visited although apparently more well known to hunters of moose, deer and sheds more than hikers.
|Cold Hollow Mountains, as seen from Belvidere Pond, I believe|
Continuing on with my quest to climb the NEFF, I headed out towards the Cold Hollow Mountains HP. This would be my last "listed" mountain in Vermont as I've climbed all the other 4kers, NEHH and NEFF mountains in Vermont. This isn't to say that it is my last mountain I want to climb in Vermont!
Overall, the Cold Hollow Mountain bushwhack was more difficult than the 'whack up Signal Mountain
but still through mostly open woods and occasionally deep ferns. The way up and down is made to be pretty obvious with the ridgeline descending almost all the way down to the road. Nevertheless, a GPS and topo map are necessary to hike this one.
View Hiking/Bushwhacking Cold Hollow Mountains, VT
in a larger map
Beginning at the gated road near the bend in Rt 109, I walked up the road about 0.5 miles to a large clearing. Logging equipment was everywhere and I wouldn't have been surprised to run into some folks on the clock. However I was on my own today. Others who have hiked this area note that the workers are friendly to hikers and hunters. (If this changes, let me know.)
After that first 0.5 mile of road-walking and coming to the clearing, I ventured off into the woods. I must have come across a half dozen deteriorated logging roads that really didn't make a difference. Sometimes I would chose to use one of those old roads as a trail but most of the time I just took a direct line up to the ridge. As you can see from the map above, the ridgeline is almost perfectly oriented N-S which makes the orienteering very nice.
|A brief view though the trees|
While not a particularly difficult bushwhack, the hike up the ridge line was a bit of a slog. Certainly the fact that it had rained hard for a few days made it this way, but I imagine this is just a wet hike, regardless of the summer month. I suppose it would be more accurately referred to as a "fernwhack"
I made good progress up the mountain at a reasonable pace. There was an abundance of evidence of moose and deer which is probably why more hunters hike this mountain than hikers. I came across a few bones here and there, but no sheds this time of year. Perhaps I'll return during shed season and get a rack of my own. Thus far I've been unsuccessful in the popular shed areas, but there's a science to it
that I'm not accustomed to.
It might not be evident from the map above, but towards the top, you come to a small false summit and then descend to its col. Just below the true summit, there's actually somewhat of a cliff that requires circling around. I skirted around it with a combination of scrambling and getting stuck in the little swamp between the two peaks. After this, I was on the summit without any trouble. I didn't even have to spend too much time looking for the canister.
|There were some famous-in-the-world-of-peakbagging names in the register but for the most part it was moose hunters and shed hunters. Sounds like a great spot.|
The summit had a few directional views which was nice. There's actually now 3 summit canisters but one of them is completely rusted shut. Its unfortunate to think of all those names lost! Half the fun of bagging wilderness peaks is seeing who else is crazy enough to make it all the way up there. There are many names that I've seen on P3Ks, prominence points and county high points that I've never met but I've seen on almost all my hikes. We're a rag-tag bunch of hikers, that's for sure.
Coming back down wasn't very difficult but I had to carefully make sure that I didn't come down from the ridge line too soon. Bushwhacks, unlike hikes, seem to be more difficult when you're coming down, rather than going up.
: the nameless highpoint of the Cold Hollow Mountains has a terrific appeal to wilderness seekers and P3Kers for being a summit that is rarely traversed and retains its solitude. It is also a good "first bushwhack" as the North-South summit ridge and lack of thick spruce allows for an unencumbered whack. It is very straightforward and can be done in about 1/2-3/4ths of a day. Others have said that it is one of their favorite bushwhacks in New England. As for me, it was nice, but I enjoyed Signal Mountain more. It was a great summit, none the less and a fitting way to end my recent travels in Vermont.
Read. Plan. Get Out There!