The Glastenbury West Ridge Loop is a classic backpacking route that ascends Bald Mountain and follows the West Ridge to Glastenbury and then returns on the AT in SW VT worthy of some fkt attempts. I could only find a record of Scott and Debbie Livingston doing the loop in 5:28. However, they did not do the out and back to Glastenbury's summit. In my first attempt last summer I struggled with the heat and humidity and my GPS died and I covered the loop in 5:50. Today on 5/4/17 I ran the loop in 4:37:47 including the out and back to the summit tower. It was nice and cool in the morning and it stayed comfortable throughout the day. There were numerous branches down and muddy spots. A few patches of snow remained at the summit. Here is the strava data:
I forgot to mention that because of the nice cool weather I was able to get by with a small handheld water bottle and only food in my hydration pack. I refilled at the beautiful cold spring right by the Goddard shelter so I never had to stop to filter water for the whole run.
I ran the loop counter-clockwise yesterday in 3:57:21. This one offers lots of gradual climbing and steady descending, major solitude, some really sweet singletrack (especially around Bald Mountain), a cool fire tower at the top, and plenty of Vermont mud. I parked in the AT/LT lot and took a beauty bath in the river upon completion. The route is well-marked but I did wander around near Goddard shelter trying to find where the West Ridge trail went. Also, I had to lead my dog through a pack of rabid ones on the top of Bald, which took a little while. My time includes a trip to the top of the firetower. Please see my Strava link for more information!
I ran the loop in 3:39:47, including a trip up the tower; it is a great route. The difference between the LT/AT and the West Ridge trail is striking, the West Ridge is very primitive by comparison, with thick foliage right now. It is difficult to follow at times. Trying to find the trail around the shelter is quite hard, you need to go around the back of the shelter and then down and to the left. The fact that the route is so runnable makes it challenging towards the end; there are no hiking breaks.
Went back to run the loop with much drier conditions today in 3:31:57. West Ridge trail was still all bramble for a middle 3-4 mile stretch. However, I just love the overall runnability of this loop! If that section was trimmed, 10 minutes could easily be taken off the time, but I think I'm just going to accept the bramble bushwhacking as a part of the unique challenge of this route. Went up the tower while my dog tried to escape a cat that belonged to a thru-hiker up there. Neat stuff...