You will probably want to bring the real USGS Killington quad with you on the trip, I am including a pointer to a Topozone map of the area for your convenience while you read the description.
We met at the Information booth at exit 28 in Campton, and drove off to Vermont, stopping in Woodstock for an excellent breakfast. We reached the Bucklin Trailhead around 9:30, and at 9:40 we were hiking up the logging road that follows Eddy Brook. The road crosses the brook three times (plus a tributary), the crossings should all have been easy as they were shallow and the water was flowing quite slowly. In spite of that the first crossing was difficult, as there were few convenient stepping stones. I got one foot completely immersed on the way in, Mike did the same on the way out.
The road has a very sharp hairpin turn at around 3,080 feet, marked by a cairn. I had gone up from there a few years ago, and found the climb rather steep. So we continued on the road for an additional 300 vertical feet, doing that steep section on the road rather than through the woods. We reached that point at 11:20, taking 1:40 to do the road walk. From there we followed a course towards the east peak of Mendon (the real summit is on the west peak).
The bushwhack fell into three clearly defined stages. First we covered the rather flat area, which had wide open woods with a wonderful carpet of wood sorrel, moss and ferns. The combination of excellent footing, few blowdowns and open woods made that walk easier than a trail walk! It took us 20 minutes to get to the place where the terrain became steeper (base of the peaks).
Climbing to the east summit was much harder. The trees were very dense and solid, and though we stumbled on a rudimentary herd path the going was tough. It took us 20 minutes to climb the steep 200 feet to the summit, assuming that we reached the actual east summit. The reason I am not sure that we reached the east summit is that last time we had found an excellent trail between the two summits, this time it was nowhere to be found.
So we started bushwhacking across the short col between the two summits, and eventually came across the connecting path. From there it was easy going to the real summit (west) and to the cannister. It took us 20 minutes to get from one summit to the other, for a total time of one hour bushwhacking. There were hundreds of flies at the summit, and no good rocks or trees to sit on, so we decided to have lunch later.
The start of the return trip was much easier. The path that we had found took us back to the east summit and down through the first 100 feet of dense growth with little difficulty. The lower 100 feet of steep and dense terrain were a bit harder, but quite manageable, then the flat part was as easy as it had been on the way in. It took us 40 minutes from the west peak back to the road.
The trip down the road was uneventful, we stopped for a 15 minute lunch at the first (highest) stream crossing, and reached the car in 1:35 (including lunch stop), for almost exactly five hours total time. An excellent dinner at the Italian Farmhouse in Plymouth was a fitting finish to a wonderful day!
Comments or Suggestions? Have you done Mendon Peak and do you wish to share your experiences? That is what the Peakbagging Forum is for!