Have you ever been undecided as to where to hike? On 21-August-2012, I was having trouble making a decision about a hiking venue. Having just completed a trek to Camel's Hump a few days prior, I still had Vermont on my mind. So, after considering several options, I decided that a trip to Mt. Hunger would be a great way to satisfy my lingering appetite to experience more of Vermont hiking! Plus, it would be another adventure that was new to me!
As to how Mt. Hunger got its name, one explanation is that it comes from a legend about a group of hunters on the mountain who came home very hungry after having killed only one quail to share among themselves.
Mt. Hunger is located in the Worcester Range, which is the impressive wall of mountains that parallels Rt. 100 from Waterbury northward past Stowe and up to Morrisville. The map snippet presented below shows some of the many peaks in this range that can be reached by hiking trails. Included on this map are: Worcester Mtn. (3,293'); Hogback Mtn. (3,505'); Stowe Pinnacle (2,651'); Mt Hunger (3,538'); White Rock Mtn. (3,194').
Map showing some hiking trails and peaks in the Worcester Range
Don't let the relatively small size of these mountains fool you! Some trails to these peaks gain over 2000 feet of elevation in 2 miles. And such was the case with my Mt. Hunger trek via the Waterbury Trail which gains nearly 2,300 ft of elevation over about a 2-mile distance. Plus, there were a few hundred more feet of elevation gained during a side-trip I took to White Rock Mountain. My route for the entire trek is highlighted in pink on the map shown above.
The Waterbury Trail was generally in good shape. However, somewhere at about the midway point of the trek, there is evidence that Tropical Storm Irene might have been responsible for deeply eroding some short segments of trail. There are a few short re-routes at some of the more heavily damaged areas.
The upper part of the trail has some ledges that are moderately challenging. And the summit of Mt. Hunger has much more exposed rock than I thought it would. The next photo is looking upwards toward the rocky summit.
Rocky summit of Mt. Hunger
There is a 360 degree vista from the summit of Mt. Hunger. And, along with other peaks in the Worcester Range, Mt. Hunger is well-positioned to allow for terrific views of Camel's Hump, Mt. Mansfield and many other high peaks in the Green Mountain Range. The next series of snapshots show some of those westward-looking vistas.
Far left (ledges on White Rock Mtn); Center (Camel's Hump); Right of center (Waterbury Reservoir)
Mt. Mansfield in center of photo
Yet another view toward Camel's Hump (center of photo) from Mt. Hunger
Besides the nearby westward views of peaks in the Green Mountains, there are more distant views to east looking toward the White Mountains of New Hampshire. However, on this particular day, the viewing conditions were hazy. Therefore, in the next photo, you can just barely see the White Mountains on the horizon.
Eastward view toward White Mountains of New Hampshire
At the outset of this hike, I was uncertain if I'd take the time to do the side-trip over to White Rock Mountain. However, even after a long visit atop Mt. Hunger, there was still plenty of time left in the day. And so, off I went to White Rock!
I don't know the exact amount, but there are several hundred feet of elevation that are lost on the short trek over to White Rock. And, to return to your awaiting car back at the trailhead, you must regain that elevation, regardless of whether you do an out-and-back (as I did), or do a loop back over Mt. Hunger (see map at beginning of this report).
The trail over to White Rock is lightly traveled, and in many spots there are "enchanted woods" such as shown below.
Enchanted woods along the trail to White Rock Mountain
I was unaware that the final sprint to the top of White Rock involved hiking a 0.15 mile spur trail. Although I used the word "hiking", it's more like one humungous scramble up steep ledges and a few other challenging (but fun) rock structures. Regardless, the next photo shows the trail junction where the spur trail begins. Also visible in this photo is the rocky summit of Mt. Hunger.
Starting point for spur to White Rock, plus rocky summit of Mt. Hunger at upper right
My main concern was negotiating the steep scrambles up and down White Rock Mountain, and as a result, I totally forgot to take any snapshots. However, even if I had done so, the photos likely would have lacked all sense of drama without the perspective of a human body climbing them!
From the summit of White Rock, I did remember to take a snapshot looking back at Mt. Hunger (next photo).
Mt. Hunger as seen from White Rock Mountain
The trek back to the trailhead was uneventful. However, as I was coming within view of the parking lot, I saw an obvious side-trail heading northward. Since I still had plenty of time, it simply had to be investigated! The trail didn't go very far. It led to an old quarry where there was an interesting overlook. Shown in the next photo is the bottom of the quarry where there is an intriguing placement of rocks. As to the purpose of these rocks, your guess is as good as mine!
Old quarry with interesting placement of rocks
After my brief foray to the old quarry, I jumped into my car and headed down the gravel road leading to the trailhead. I hadn't gone too far when I caught site of Camel's Hump starring me in the face. And so, I pulled to the side of the road and took the snapshot that is shown below.
Camel's Hump as viewed from the road to Waterbury Trail
(The round-trip mileage for this trek was probably about 5.5 miles. That number includes the trek to Mt. Hunger, plus the side-trip to White Rock Mountain, and to the quarry.)