Orange County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: April 29, 2007
Author: Chris Gilsdorf

We took advantage of a drizzly weekend to tackle what are often considered Vermont's two most unpleasant highpoints: Butterfield and Signal Mountains.

We arrived at the locked (of course) gate at the forest road around noon and proceeded to walk the 2+ miles along the main tract of road without incident. Previous directions were good. I will refer to three bridges in this report, the first of which is crossed along the north-northwest-trending portion of the road after the steep uphill stretch of climb beyond the second junction. From here, we walked about 15-20 minutes, past the grassy pullout area and to bridge #2, which crosses the main drainage between Butterfield and Signal.

We took a 220-degree bearing and plunged into the forest up the mostly obvious northeast ridge up Butterfield. Even with my limited bushwhacking experience, this really was not that bad; the worst part was navigating the patches of 2-foot deep snow (a remnant of our freakish late-season snowstorms this year). Once the ridge became less steep, the flora changed into mixed pines and we followed the surprisingly open ground and numerous game trails uphill to the stand of thicker pines on the summit. We signed the register, hit the few highest bumps, boulders, and snow drifts (all within 20 feet or so of the register) and called it good. The summit was in the clouds but there were some surprisingly decent views just lower on the ridge; I believe the Whites would be in view on a better day.

We plunged down the ridge, reached the steeper portion and somehow ended up trending to the left, despite my perception and goal of heading slightly right. One trudge along the stream through 3-foot snow and a painful fall onto my side later, we emerged back at bridge #2, just feet away from where we'd entered the woods.

Our time to the top from the road had been 70 minutes, our return 60.