Jay & Big Jay
Submitted By Michael Virdone
The Mountains & Stats
People On The Trip
We left the NH house and drove back to VT to continue our vacation. We didn't encounter any major issues getting up to the Jay area other than some construction/repairs. VT242 was closed at the ski area, but we were told we could drive up a ways to access the LT. The construction staff was very friendly and let us pass (on foot) when it was safe. Despite gaining 1700' in 1.7 miles the climb up to the top of Jay didn't seem all that steep (I attribute this to the excellent trail building on the LT). It was quite amazing seeing the damage from the storm. There was not a single blowdown on the trail (which was impressive) but there was a lot of erosion. It was really interesting to see where the trail had washed out because you would be walking along and the trail would become almost like a sidewalk (hard packed sand/silt/soil) then it would become all pea-gravel, then larger gravel, then large rocks (baseball sized) before you finally reached where the trail had washed out and carried all the materials from.|
We were both hiking somewhat slow as driving 3 hours in the car doesn't really give your legs much of a pick-me-up, but eventually we were at the summit. Although the ski area does put a bit of a damper on the experience it is still a very beautiful summit ridge. We took in some views before beginning our descent to Big Jay. I was very concerned with finding the herd path to Big Jay but it wasn't too bad. The LT leaves the ski area at a big fence (meant to keep the wannabe slackcountry skiers in-bounds) where there is a ton of signage regarding BC safety, ethics, rescue cost, etc... After you go through the fence the LT begins to descent, within 40-50 paces (probably a little less) there is the herd path on your left, this is the trail to Big Jay. It was muddy and there was some blow down, but we've certainly been on worse paths. We made our way across the ridge (which kinda reminded us a little of the traverse from Hough to Dix) and eventually arrived at the summit (after a few false bumps). There is currently a ski patrol sled at the summit near the jar (which we didn't open or attempt to sign in because it appeared to be full of crumbled up paper and we didn't want the drama of trying to get it all back in there), I'm assuming the sled made its way down there during the winter as some sort of retaliation between the skiers and the resort or something?
After re-climbing Jay the views had cleared a little bit and we were able to see parts of Lake Champlain, Mansfield, and we could just barely make out the outline of the whites in the distance. The descent was nothing to write home about and eventually we were back at the vehicle ready to make our way to camp for the evening.
The Good and The Bad
Epic mud on the way to Big Jay (easier once you give up)
|We were dealing with road closures, so the drive was an adventure|