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  1. #1
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    Default Camel's Hump to Mansfield

    Two buddies and I are looking to do this route Labor Day weekend. Any tips/suggestions? None of us have hiked the LT before.

    I imagine bugs won't be an issue, what about crowds/shelters?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2

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    I would plan a stay at Taylor, Butler, or Taft lodges on Mt Mannsfield. I think Butler is the largest. Don't disregard the blue blazes/side trails on Mt Mannsfield either. IMO, they are worth the extra effort in terms of scenery.

  3. #3

    Default Camel's Hump to Mansfield

    That's a good hike Fishmonger, though I wouldn't want to have to hitch-hike back to Camel's Hump after you hit Smuggler's Notch without allowing at least half a day for rides. Bamforth is a nice shelter on the other side of Camel's Hump, the hike up to Bolton is a bit steep in parts.

  4. #4
    Registered User mirabela's Avatar
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    That's a wonderful bit of trail. You say Labor Day Weekend -- does that mean you have only three days to spend? If that's so, I would aim to hike up the Hump on Saturday using either the Forest City or the Monroe & Dean trails, picking up the LT at Wind Gap; that way you get the full traverse of the mountain's ridgeline. Head north, up and over, down down down Bamforth Ridge; do the road walk & cross the river, and hike the easy 1.5 or whatever up to Duck Brook shelter. Sunday, you have a tough bit of going to get over Bolton Mountain & down over Mt. Mayo and the slope of Mt. Clark, some of which can be fairly treacherous. Then it's fairly smooth sailing most of the way to Butler Lodge, though, which I would recommend over Taylor. That also allows you more time on Monday to explore side trails on Mansfield -- the Canyon/Canyon North/Extension/Subway side trail system is especially fun and doesn't involve much descent off the ridge.

    The shelters can get full on weekend nights -- more likely at Butler than at Duck Brook.

    These are longish days, by the way -- not something I'd suggest to casual once-a-year backpacker types, but inasmuch as this is a thru-hiker forum in general I'm assuming you've got thru-hiker chops when it comes to doing a solid day on trail.

    Have fun -- that's such a great trip.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies guys/gals. Mirabela, that sounds like a great itinerary. We are actually gonna be there Fri-Sun. And the three of us last year hiked the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway in 2 days (48 miles) so I think we should be ok.

    I think we're planning to go Camel's Hump to Duck Brook on Fri (15 miles), Duck Brook to Taylor (13 miles), Taylor to Mansfield. One thing I can't seem to find is info on fees for Taylor? Are they reasonable? Also, I'm planning on bringing a bug net, but do you think we'd be alright sleeping in the shelter at Duck Brook, sans tent? I don't mind the chill but the bugs eating at my face all night isn't cool

  6. #6

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    Most hikers blow by Duck Brook, so I don't think you'll have any problem with capacity there. Not sure there are any tent sites there at all. Bugs should not be a real issue this time of year.

    No fees at Taylor. If you still have daylight and energy when you get to Taylor, check out Nebraska notch - its pretty wild in there.

    BTW, this section of the LT will be a LOT harder then the Monadnock-Sunapee. Figure no more than 2 mph and 1 mph for much of it.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Most hikers blow by Duck Brook, so I don't think you'll have any problem with capacity there. Not sure there are any tent sites there at all. Bugs should not be a real issue this time of year.

    No fees at Taylor. If you still have daylight and energy when you get to Taylor, check out Nebraska notch - its pretty wild in there.

    BTW, this section of the LT will be a LOT harder then the Monadnock-Sunapee. Figure no more than 2 mph and 1 mph for much of it.
    Really, 1 mph for much of it? The stretch from Camel's Hump to Duck Brook looks pretty flat. I'm expecting Bolton to be tough but other than that the elevation doesn't look crazy.

    Am I missing something? Would 15 miles from the Camel's Hump parking lot to Duck Brook in 8-9 hours be unrealistic?

  8. #8
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    Story sounds very familiar. My wife and I planned this same hike for this past summer. It was also our very first time on the LT. As a frame of reference, we average anywhere from 2 - 4 mph depending on terrain. Let's say about 2 mph over Greylock on the AT and 4 mph over flat terrain like some parts of southern MA on the AT. I only bring these places up as maybe you hiked them as well and can gauge your speed.

    Anyways, we started on Rt. 109 and did a SOBO. First day over Mansfield was slow...it was raining and very windy. We stayed at Taylor Lodge that night, which was an excellent shelter. Day 2 was better weather, but we did not want to miss out on Buchanan Shelter which was also very nice. We only had three days out and knew we would never make it up and over Camel's Hump on the third day so we stopped at Rt. 2.

    I would say that three days, at least for us, was very ambitious considering it was only our second trip of the season. I still don't know if we could do it in 3 days, but I'm sure it can be done.

  9. #9
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    Well I would say that's comparable to our speed, we averaged about 3.5 mph over flat terrain on the M-S.

    Going over Camel's Hump does look a lot harder SOBO, long, steady incline. Did you think the going was so tough because of the up/down, rock, slippery terrain, etc? In general is this section much harder SOBO?

    Thanks everyone for the input, really appreciate it!

  10. #10
    Registered User mirabela's Avatar
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    It's the footing that'll slow you down. The treadway tends to be rocky and slippery through the majority of this section. 15 and 13 mile days are quite doable if you're in shape and used to hiking hard, but most people are somewhat surprised by how slow the going is on the northern LT. It's comparable to the Mahoosucs on the AT, except the rocks, being metamorphic instead of the nice grippy granitic stuff you get in NH and ME, are slipperier. Basically, I'd look at how you do with a full pack among the high peaks of the Whites -- places like Kinsman Ridge or Garfield Ridge or the Carters or the Mahoosucs, say -- and then add maybe 10 or 20% to your time estimates.

    The descent off of Camels Hump will be slower than you expect in places; it's pretty rough. The climb from the river up to Duck Brook looks like nothing on paper, but it's rugged. It used to be easier, but they relo'ed a chunk of this trail in recent years, and the new one involves a lot of dinky-doo ups and downs on terrible footing that will wear you down. The descent from Bolton Mtn. into Nebraska Notch, while all downhill, involves lots of treacherous rocks & roots. Et cetera.

    Taylor Lodge has no fee. So far as I know, I was its last resident caretaker ... that was in the summer of 1988! It has space for 15 or so, and at least one (maybe two??) tent platforms nearby. Duck Brook has bunks for 8 or 10; I'm not aware of any tent platforms, but the woods nearby are open and flat, a very easy place to find an impromptu LNT tentsite. Bugs this time of year should not be much of a problem.

    All in all, I prefer to hike this section northbound. It's nice either way, and it has difficulties either way. If you go southbound, you have the grueling Camels Hump climb all the way up from the river ... and you have to descend the Forehead on Mansfield, which can be tough going downhill with a pack.

  11. #11
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    Thanks Mirabela. Well I think we're gonna make a go of it. The good thing is we have 4 days so if we run into any major problems we can adjust from there. I'll be sure to post a trip report when we return.

    Last question (for now): is there a reliable website for weather reports for that stretch? As an aside, I haven't found the GMC website very useful.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishmonger View Post
    Thanks Mirabela. Well I think we're gonna make a go of it. The good thing is we have 4 days so if we run into any major problems we can adjust from there. I'll be sure to post a trip report when we return.

    Last question (for now): is there a reliable website for weather reports for that stretch? As an aside, I haven't found the GMC website very useful.
    Local news stations (wcax.com, www.burlingtonfreepress.com) and weather.com are the best bets. Tend to be more detailed about the Champlain valley and less accurate about the mountains tho. Probably due to more unpredictability as weather systems hit the green mountain spine.

    For example, I shuttled a hiker to journeys end on Sunday and gave him the morning weather report of mostly rain Sunday thru Thursday. Well it did rain Sunday, but it's been sunny and dry since and they're now saying sun tomorrow too. You can't win.

    And I agree the GMC site is generally lacking in details about everything. Most of it hasn't been updated in years. In there defense, it's better to be vague, than give the wrong info.

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