Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mendon Peak, VT
Trails: ATV roads, herd paths
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Friday, October 1, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Coming from the east, I took Wheelerville road from Route 4. You can approach from the other end of Wheelerville (from Rutland side) as the road and bridges are all in good shape. First arrival at 7:45, but someone pulled in a minute after me. Returning at 2:30, there were at least 12-15 cars (about 3/4 full). Since I only saw 1 other hiker on the Mendon trails, everyone else must have been on Bucklin. I used 27 Wheelerville Road (Rutland) on my GPS and it took me right to the parking entrance. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Only two significant water crossings on route I took (high road v low road). Both had partially submerged or wet/mossy rocks, but no problems with care. Water levels in this area had just returned to levels prior to significant rain about 4-5 days ago. This is my first visit to this area, so no point of reference for "normal". Several other minor water flows crossing trails, all easy step overs, walk-throughs or rock steps.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: As with many unmaintained trails, several blowdowns (none troublesome), some vegetation encroachment, particularly in summit area, significant debris on trail, primarily wet leaves and small branches. Several wet areas with no mitigation. There are several key junctions marked with orange blazes or cairns on the "road" sections, and several other markings (assume these relate to ski trails as they had no bearing on the hike to the summit). The herd path I took to the summit had its starting point marked with orange ribbon with several other (very small) ribbons marking the way. Most of these were unnecessary, but helpful. A few are at critical turning points where it is easy to lose the trail. (See comments for more details.) 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: This trail has access to the brook from several spots along the lower portion. Once the trail passes the last crossing, there are a couple of spots where runoff crosses the trail or standing water, but these might not be reliable. Nothing technical on this trail. Mostly easy footing for the paws. 
Bugs: None today.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Found a nice and easy to follow herdpath to the summit. Happy trails. 
Comments: Almost every segment of the trail has several wet spots with various levels of water and mud. Many of these can be navigated without getting too wet or muddy, but some areas of significant mud involve praying to the mud gods to not take your shoes. The worst areas are on the descent of the high road to the upper junction with the low road and the next .1 mile after the junction.

The lower portion from the trailhead to the split with the high road is about 1.2 miles. You need to go past the cabin for about 200 feet (past woodpile today) before the road turns sharply to the left. The road is grass covered near the cabin so stay to the right and you will pick it up again. There are a couple of trails that branch off to the left. You need to wait until you hit the clearing where the road turns sharply right and continue straight ahead (the left fork) at about 1.0 miles.

The split for the high road is another fork left, marked by a double orange blaze on a tree just before the split. The upper blaze is offset to the left, indicating to take the left fork. About another .1 mile there is another fork left. At this fork, stay right. Single orange blaze on tree on right side of road and a cairn on the left shoulder of the right hand fork. Generally, stay right at any other possible forks or intersections. The entire high road section is 1.1 miles and it starts to descend to rejoin the low road at about the .8 mile mark. There is a cairn right in the middle of the road at the junction to make it easy to take the high road on the return if you so desire, but there is a steep .2mi climb, then another .1mi of easier grade.

The next section follows the road uphill and crosses the north branch of Eddy Brook at about .6 mile. The trail is now narrowed to a footpath in spots and a little wider in other spots. The last brook crossing (south branch) is about another .5 mile. The path is now rougher, steeper and more steady. Also covered with thick wet leaves, but still easy to follow, just slippery. Two cairns mark some turns for switchbacks and some have chosen to bushwhack to the summit from various points along this section. I continued on to look for the so called third cairn, which is simply a single rock along the trail. I saw several possible rocks, but none were near a clear summit path, so I continued on until just a few feet before the sled hanging from a tree. At this point there is a very clear path heading up, with a small orange ribbon attached to a branch at the junction.

This summit herd path is relatively easy to follow, but meanders and switchbacks several times, so attention is required to keep on the path. There are several alternatives visible and some of the tricky turns are marked with small bits of orange ribbon. The trail climbs for a bit and then rolls through a col area before getting very steep and rough near the summits. You need to pass up, over and down two knobs, with some rough footing, before the final brief climb to the official summit with sign and canister. There are at least two other paths that join this path on the way up, one junction flagged in blue and another in pink. I wasn't curious enough to try these on the descent. Also, very close to the summit, there is a piece of white ribbon that marks the final ascent path for all the alternatives. The total length of this section is about .6 mile, but seems longer with all of the ups and downs.

There may be alternative paths, but 1. I didn't have any tracks for these and 2. I have an aversion to fighting through thick underbrush, spruce traps and multiple blowdowns.

This hike compares to Dorset (see last weeks post), 9+ miles v. 6+ miles, less elevation gain from trailhead to summit, but more reverse elevation gain in both directions. Steep sections on this trail are similar to Dorset, but there is not as much of it, with more moderate and easy grades. Both have some significant wet and muddy sections. Brook crossings are more difficult on this trail. Dorset trail is easier to follow. A strong hiker with good trail finding skills could probably do both of these in the same day.

All Vermont "bushwhacks" are now done (did Big Jay a few years back), so mission accomplished for this year.  
Name: SpartyHikerfromME 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-10-01 
Link: https:// 
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