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16 November 2014

Wright's Mountain, VT: A Series of Unexpected and Pleasant Surprises

What a series of unexpected and pleasant surprises I recently had when doing a first-time hike on the trail network at Wright's Mountain located NW of Bradford, VT.  Oddly enough, this hike was done purely on a whim upon realizing that I still had about 2 hours of good daylight remaining after having completed a hike to Sawyer Mountain (Fairlee, VT).

My pleasant and unexpected surprises began as soon as I arrived at the trailhead.  Rather than being just a wide spot in the road, as is the case for some trailhead locations, the parking area is off the road and quite large.  And to top it off, there was a huge banner to welcome me!  Of course, this banner is only a transitory fixture, but it was still another pleasant surprise!
Composite photo showing the parking lot for the Wright's Mountain trail system, and the welcome banner at the trailhead
Unfortunately, due to my late afternoon arrival, there was only enough time to do a short (under 2 miles round trip) trek to the cabin and open ledges near the 1,822 ft summit of Wright's Mountain.  At this location, there are pleasant westward views toward the Waits River Valley and surrounding mountains.

I ascended to the cabin/open ledges via the Wright's Mountain Trail, and then continued along this same trail for about a tenth of a mile to another outlook.  For my descent back to the trailhead, I hiked a combination of the Appreciation Way and Wright's Mountain Trail (see map below).
Please be advised that this map ONLY shows the portion of the Wright's Mountain trail system where I hiked.  The complete trail map can be found at the Upper Valley Land Trust's website (click HERE)
Yet another pleasant surprise was the excellent signage and blazing along the Wright's Mountain trail network.   This is an amenity that is sometimes deficient, especially at some of the smaller trail systems.
The Wright's Mountain trail network has excellent signage and blazing
The streak of pleasant surprises continued when I arrived at the summit cabin.  It is a very attractive structure and is very functional for overnight camping, or just as a place to escape from unpleasant weather.
Summit cabin on Wright's Mountain, VT
Inside the cabin was yet another surprise!  Posted on a wall are photos of the many volunteers who make this trail system possible.  What a nice touch!
Posted on a wall inside the summit cabin are photos of the many volunteers who make this trail system possible
Adding to the list of surprises are the many unexpected trailside outlooks.  Shown below is an outlook that is outfitted with a bench where you can comfortably sit and enjoy the vista.
One of many unexpected trailside outlooks where you can comfortably sit and enjoy the vista
At the junction of the Wright's Mountain Trail and Appreciation Way, there is an outlook which provides a nice view of Mt. Moosilauke.  Unfortunately, I was unable to do a good job of capturing this view in a photo.  The shadows and overcast conditions worked against me.
View of Mt. Moosilauke from outlook at the junction of the Wright's Mountain Trail and the Appreciation Trail
It's worth mentioning that the Wright's Mountain trail system is located on a 443 acre parcel of conserved land administered by the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT).  Trail maintenance and construction are the responsibility of the Bradford Conservation Commission (BCC).

To sum it up, as stated at the beginning of this report, this trek was done on a whim toward the end of the day.  Although the hike was short, it was very enjoyable and full of pleasant surprises from start to finish.  It's unfortunate that there wasn't enough time to fully experience more of the Wright's Mountain trail network.  However, I definitely intend to make a return visit for a more thorough exploration.