Highpoint: Mt. Mansfield
: Vermont
Height: 4393 ft
Highpoint #: 5
Date: 6/1/2002
Trails: Sunset Ridge Trail (from Underhill State Park, west of Mansfield) up, Laura Cowles Trail down.
Distance: About 5.8 miles roundtrip.
Vertical Gain: ~2000 ft
Time Taken: 5 hrs
Weather: Partly cloudy skies. 70s. Cold and gusty at the top
Group: JO, BC and Jay

Comments: Once again we were blessed with a really nice day, although haze obscured our views from the summit. This was certainly our most fun hike to date. The trail was really cool, with lots of roots and soil rather than strewn rocks, and although it was wet in places, for some reason there was no mud. The bugs were out a little but were barely noticeable. We followed the road up a bit, crossing it a few times as it weaved up the mountain. The views got nice once we got to the ridge, and the last half of the hike was filled with great scenery. We took a detour to check out Cantilever rock, which is essentially a spike of rock that protrudes horizontally out from the side of the mountain for about thirty feet.  JO and Jay climbed up some treacherous rock faces to get to it and then walked out to the end. It's pretty damn cool, definitely stop over and check it out if you hike the same trail. From the top we saw Stowe Mt. ski area on the other side of the ridge. The top was rather windy since a storm was starting to move in, so we quickly ate our lunch and headed down. We decided to take a shorter trail down the mountain. This trail was very steep and very wet, and actually shared the same space as a stream that was cascading on down it. We tried to take it nice and slow, but this trail essentially went straight down the side of the mountain.

JO standing on top of Cantilever Rock, a 30 foot chunk of rock wedged into the side of the mountain.

Our first view of the “Chin” of Mount Mansfield.  The true summit is just out of view behind this false summit.

A view of the Stowe ski resort on the east side of Mount Mansfield.  This is the side of the normal approach in all of the highpointing books.

JO and Jay on the summit.

The trail we took down was less a trail as it was a river.