|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Cushman, Rochester Mountain, VT|
||Snowmobile/ATV trail, woods road, bushwhack|
|Date of Hike:
||Friday, November 24, 2017|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I parked at the bottom of the side road to the trailhead, shown on Google Maps as Rochester Little Hollow Road. This is just before the end of Rochester Hollow Road at a four way junction marked with VAST signs. Room here for a few cars. High clearance can make it up the side road 0.4 mi. to a small parking area, but beware of one icy stretch. Detailed driving directions are available in the GMC Day Hiker's Guide. Rochester Hollow Road was frozen solid in the morning and soft, wet and muddy in the afternoon. |
||Dry Trail, Ice - Black, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Wet Trail, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Four large blowdowns between Randolph Gap and the summit of Cushman, all with herd paths around them. |
|Lost and Found:
||I threw a dart at this one in the GMC Day Hiker's Guide, knowing very little about it (thanks to Becca for her report), and was pleasantly surprised! Mostly easy grades and good to excellent footing the whole way. All trails and roads on this route were a sampling of shoulder season conditions: dry ground, wet ground, some mud, patchy frozen snow and patches of ice. I carried spikes but they were not necessary.|
From where I parked, I walked up the side road, which is a VAST trail. Past the trailhead, it gently climbs up to the ridge at Randolph Gap and a four way intersection. I turned right and walked up the ridge on an old woods road, passing through a gate prohibiting vehicular traffic. This ridge walk is through beautiful hardwoods, really nice up here. The trail gently climbed up to the remains (footings) of the former fire tower, and just before that, what I presume to be the location of a former warden's cabin (parts of a stone foundation, old well / spring, ancient fire ring, metal artifacts). The tower remains are not on the summit of Cushman, but are on the south knob (the unnamed 2670' bump depicted on topo maps). This is 0.4 mi. south of the summit. There's also a cleared easterly outlook here.
The old road ends at a westerly view clearing on the summit of Cushman, just below the high point. Here there is an old bed from a pickup truck. From the clearing, I did the very short and open bushwhack to the recognized summit. The last person to sign in did so in 2014. The register needs a new notebook.
From Cushman I backtracked to Randolph Gap and made the stiffer but shorter climb up to Rochester. The road on this side is more eroded from ATV use. Rochester's summit is very interesting, with a wide cleared view east, an old viewing platform, an American flag, a bootleg sign ("BUNK-er Hill - Elev. pretty high 2955 ft.") and memorials / gravestones for two ATV enthusiasts. The highpoint appears to be just a few feet off trail and is not recognized. The old road ends here, but a faint footpath appears to continue past the summit along the ridge, and I assume it descends to Rochester Gap.
All in all a really neat hike. Super quiet and remote feeling out here. I saw no one and could barely hear any sounds of human habitation.
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.