Monday, October 12, 2015

Camel's Hump

This weekend I got to experience two wanderlust firsts- visiting Vermont and hiking a mountain! 

Camel’s Hump is Vermont’s third highest mountain and its' highest undeveloped peak at 4,083 feet. It is called Vermont’s best mountaintop because on a clear day you can see Mount Marcy, the highest in New York State; Mount Washington, the highest in the Northeast; all of Lake Champlain; Burlington, Vermont’s largest city; and quite a bit of  Vermont's countryside. Camel's Hump is also situated on the famous Long Trail which stretches from the Appalachian Mountains to the Canadian Border.
Native Americans use to call this mountain, “Tah-wak-be-dee-ee-wadso”, which means the “mountain like a seat.” The French navigator Samuel de Champlain and his  exploration team from the 1630’s named it “lion couchant” or resting lion. “Camel’s Rump” was assigned on a historical map made by Ira Allen in 1798 and in 1830, the mountain became known as “Camel’s Hump." Camel’s Hump is the largest park in the state and one of the oldest pieces of public land. It was given to Vermont in 1911 by Col. Joseph Battell,who didn’t want to see the summits logged.  In October 1944 during World War II, a B-27J Bomber plane on a training mission crashed into the side of the mountain near the summit. Most of the wreckage has been removed, but parts of a wing still exist on the Alpine Trail just about 0.4 miles from the summit. 

Fun fact: Camel's Hump was featured on the 2001 Vermont state quarter. 

Camel's Hump is a popular destination for hunting, hiking, Nordic skiing, and snowmobiling. It is also not uncommon to find researchers here as some of the most important studies detailing forest damage due to acid rain have been conducted on this Huntington mountain. 

On Saturday, October 10, I hiked along the Burrows Trail, the oldest trail on the mountain. It was a 4.8 miles roundtrip, and its degree of difficulty ranges from moderate to strenuous. I was up in Vermont to meet my boyfriend's parents and since we started dating in August, hiking has become one of my new favorites. Walking has always been my favorite form of exercise, so picking up hiking was a natural evolution for me.  

I would recommend hiking to anyone because life is a hike. It wasn't a walk in the park climbing my first mountain. As my veteran hiking boyfriend promised, there were times along the five hour journey that I loved hiking and other moments not so much. As with life, hiking can be disorientating at times, but what blew me away the most, besides the breathtaking view from the top, was how encouraging all the other hikers were! Words of 'don't give up, you're almost there' were as constant as the sounds of our feet crunching down on crisp, burning leaves (Vermont is famous for having the best foliage in the world!) This support helped me especially during the descent, when my hands were numb from the cold and I just wanted to cry. I never felt judged for my lack of mountain hiking experience, even when I had to do some crab shuffles or get on all four. In fact, hiking gave me confidence because it made me admire my body for how strong it is! 

I think every couple should hike at some point in their relationship. Hiking not only helps you connect more intimately with nature and yourself, but with your other half as well. It reinstalls three of the most important traits necessary for a healthy relationship- communication, patience, and support! 

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