Abbey Pond Trail, VT | 12/10/22
Back when I did Wilson and Breadloaf, a particular trailhead caught my eye and I’ve spent the last 9 weeks trying to carve out the right time to do it. Eventually, I think I forgot about it but thankfully Ryan hadn’t. So on his very first day back in Vermont after returning from Antarctica (yes, the 7th continent) we drove about 45 minutes south to the Abbey Pond Trailhead to see if it would be worth months of hype.
Knowing pretty little about the hike except for the elevation profile and distance, we got going from the trailhead in Middlebury off of 116 and immediately had sights to see. Right out of the lot, there were two separate bouldering areas off the trail, covered in chalk tics and well cleared out for pads at the bases. After the boulders, there was a bridge over Abbey Stream which gave way to views of the Lower Abbey Cascades. Though we didn’t get too close for any clear picture, there were already really great views of the Cascades from within half a mile of the trailhead.
With a little bit of gradual incline after the bridge, we crossed the bridge, we came upon a water crossing that nearly ended me at about 0.65 in. This year, my water crossing ability was my big project but I foolishly left my trekking poles in the car, so I was not comfortable traversing over the icy rocks even though I had micro spikes in my bag. After watching Ryan cross back and forth like three times and then getting a nosebleed, I finally said screw it and straddled the damn log. My mind went to the video of Little Foot doing the same thing and I took that inspiration and scooted across while chanting that fear wasn’t real.
Beyond the log crossing, the trail felt like an old road and ascended somewhat steeply until it flattened out once the sky was more in sight through the trees. On the plateau part, there was one more water crossing that didn’t prompt nearly as much drama out of me. After that, we popped out at the pond for another 10-15 minutes.
At the pond, there was a nice clearing out to the almost frozen pond that looked out towards Robert Frost Mountain. There wasn’t much room for crowds up there, but it didn’t matter all that much. It’s nice to get off those list hikes now and then.
Final Stats: 4.34 miles | 1,150 gain | 1 fear gotten over