Yesterday was hike day. For our first hike, we chose the Stowe Pinnacle, which to some of the locals, who do it regularly, is probably nothing more than a casual afternoon stroll (I come to this assumption based upon the few of them we saw on the trail, wearing pretty much everyday clothing), but for those of us who do not hike regularly, turned out to be a moderate hike.
We started off simply enough, walking through some semi-swampy fields on wooden planks and leap frogging from one boulder to the next, but once we hit the woods, we found ourselves climbing almost the entire time, sometimes gradually, sometimes incredibly steep, but always climbing.
The path seems to follow a dried river/stream bed up the mountain which makes me wonder what it would be like in the spring. There’s also an area of fallen pine trees that looked as if they were toppled by waves of rushing water, again, that left me wondering. But other than a muddy patch at the bottom, the climb was dry.
About twenty minutes from the pinnacle, there’s a “vista” off to the left of the main path where you can get some decent pictures, and if you don’t feel like climbing up the boulders at the end, could be a good turn-around point (though it does come after some other steep climbs, so if you’re not in decent shape), you may want to turn around earlier. It was also about this time that my camera somehow reset from large file sizes to small for photos - so I apologize for the small shot.
Estimates to the top varied from 1.4 to 1.6 miles and I wasn’t wearing my pedometer nor did we bring Chris’s GPS device so I can’t confirm or deny those estimates. It took us about 90 minutes each way, give or take. I found going uphill, I got a good heart-pumping workout that left me dripping in sweat, coming down, worked my muscles and today, my calves are a bit sore (though nothing compared to when I hiked High Point, NJ, two years ago).
Another thing to note, once you pass the vista, you sort of crest over the mountain, and begin to head down, which threw me off for a bit, but then you turn back up the mountain for the last climb to the boulder, covered pinnacle.
It’s a good hike and I’d say most kids could definitely handle it but it’s not a gentle walk through the woods; I’d recommend at least having hiking boots/shoes, though we saw a couple of people with sneakers.
The only issue I had with it overall, and it may be only me as a relatively novice hiker, is that since I was climbing the entire time, and picking my way through root, and rock strewn paths, I had to remember to stop and look around to enjoy the scenery, it didn’t come naturally because I was so busy looking at my feet. You don’t get many views until the top because you are in pretty thick forest, but within those woods are some interesting sites, like the rock “alters” we came across and the teepee made of long wooden branches.
Lastly, we arrived early, about 9:15 or so. There were three other cars in the parking lot. As we climbed, we met one father with two children, one lone hiker and at the pinnacle one couple and their dog. On the way down (we started down about 11:20 or so), we met dozens of people (and a couple of dogs) going up. When we returned to the lot, it was full (about 8 or 10 cars) and the road leading to the parking lot had cars parked along the side. So if you’d like some solitude, go early.