Trip Reports for January – April, 2011 (updated 5/3/11)

April 30, 2011 – Wildflower Hike at Niquette Bay State Park
After a very dreary April, we were rewarded with a sunny day on the day of our hike. Our planned hike had to be altered, however, since the high water in Lake Champlain washed out the wood walkway across wetlands in two areas. Instead of a loop around the perimeter of the park, we went out and back on a few trails. The wildflowers were everywhere, plus we had some lovely views of the lake and mountains in the distance. We were able to check off 10 wildflowers on our list: Blood root, Hepatica, Large-flowered Bellwort, Blue Cohosh, Dutchman’s Breeches, Early Meadow-Rue, Miterwort, Early Saxifrage, Largge-flowered White Trilium, Purple Trilium and Trout Lily. Other flowers were just about ready to bloom. Everyone enjoyed getting out on a nice day and seeing such lovely signs of spring. Trip Leader: Sheri Larsen, Participants: Ormond Mongeon, Denise Mongeon, Bruce Gilbert-Smith, Joan MacKenzie, Wendy Savoie, Judy Goodyear, Joanne Mellin, Dot Myer, Patty Williams, Pete Saile
Photos: Some of the participants on a bench overlooking the Lake and Champlain Islands. Hepatica. Trout Lily. Purple Trilium. Blood Root.

Sunday April 24th – LaPlatte Mud Walk, Shelburne
Walked the LaPlatte River Marsh Natural area, parts of the Shelburne Bay Clarke Trail and some of the Ti-Haul trail, all in Shelburne. Perfect weather and great company. High water and there was some upstream current in the LaPlatte as the Lake Champlain level was 100.9 feet and flood stage is 100′. See NOAA for all the stats. Participants, Dot, Lee, Marge, Jennifer, Ted trip leader.

4/16/11 Shelburne Farms Walk
We had a nice walk around Shelburne Farms and enjoyed seeing giant carved musical sticks, as well as sheep, lambs, and chickens. People participating: Carol Hignite, Ruth and Charlie Magill, Joanne Mellin, Lue Moxhet, Patty Williams, Leader: Dot Myer

Sunday, April 10, 2011 – Jonesville Loop Bike Ride
What a beautiful day it was today! Great temps, nearly 70 degrees! Maybe it was 70. It was warm, that is all that counts. We met at the Essex Center P&R and started as five (5). Jenna (GMC staffer), her BF Ryan and their friend Matt, as well as Peter, who drove up from the Capital City area. Introductions, snacks and overview of the route to be ridden and we were on our way. Traffic was not too bad and the wind kicked up a bit. Route 117, headed into Richmond, proved to be decent roads. Right near the “old” fishing pull off, about 1 1/2 miles from the Route 2A intersection, Matt’s tire valve bit the dust. He and Ryan made a concerted effort to get air into the tube, but to no avail. It was decided Matt would stay put and Jenna and Ryan would head back to their car (the three of them arrived together) and Peter and I would forge on. We were back on our way into Richmond with no further adventures. Hit the Jonesville Bridge and the wind was now on our side (or to our backs, I should say). Stopped at Volunteer Park, next to On the Rise Bakery. Had a nice visit and as Peter and I were headed back on our bikes, who is unloading theirs, but the rest of our original group! I would say small world, but I wondered if we would see them again and there they were. Chatted for a bit and we separated once again. Had Peter make the decision to head up Sand Hill Road or head into Essex Jct. for a more leisurely route back to our cars. He opted for the latter and on our way we were. Beat the rain and a nice time was had by all, even though we were two groups!
Riders: Jenna Whitson, Matt Didisheim, Ryan Koloski and Peter Farber. Trip Leader – Robynn Albert

March 20, Sterling Pond Shelter
From the parking lot on Rt. 108 in Stowe, we walked on well packed snowbed up the road to the Sterling Pond trail. Being in the shade for the last 6 months the trail was hard packed snow and icy in spots – perfect for microspikes. The pond was spectacular. We visited the summit of the Smugglers Notch ski area (about 100 feet from the pond) then walked south west along Snuffy’s trail to the summit of Spruce Peak and went butt-sledding and walking down the ski trails. We decided against going down Elephant’s Head as the trail was not well broken and we wanted to enjoy the sun. It was a perfect day for spring skiing. Getting down via the trails took no time at all. I visited the massive lodge at the base. “Spruce Peak at Stowe stands poised to deliver a new era in luxury alpine living.” They got that right. Needless to say, it was not hard to find about ten different beer varieties and twenty post-hike cuisines in the massive dining palace. Ted Albers with Celia Ryker and Mary Keenan, photographer.

February 27, Honey Hollow
We had a beautiful day with great snow conditions. We skied the lower loop and included a side road up and back. We completed approximately seven miles. Six hardy skiers joined me for a few hours of enjoyable skiing. The participants were leader Carlene Squires, Andy Squires, Wolfgang Hokenmaier, Linda Cooper, Margaret Benn, and Sparky and Sylvia Millikin.

February 20, 2011 Taylor Lodge Via Nebraska Notch
15 Participants and 3 dogs
As we drove toward the trailhead at Stevensville Road, my favorite view of Mansfield was hidden behind the clouds and blowing snow. The temperatures on my dashboard displaying a positive 2 degrees, reassured me that my decision to leave Trigger home was a wise choice. The predicted windchill of -19 can chill you to the bone, especially for a dog with short hair.
At the trailhead, with cookies in our mouths, we threw on our snowshoes or Kathoola Microspikes and started on the familiar winter hike. Everyone was intentionally working hard to ignite that internal heat to beat off the single digit numbers that were freezing our extremities. About 10 minutes into the hike, two people and their dog decided that their toes were just not warming up and made the decision to turn around to seek out espresso shots in a warm coffee shop.
The remaining group settled into a nice pace as we talked about our careers, family, and dream hikes we plan to embark on in the near future. Half of the group crossed over the Beaver Pond while the other half stayed on the trail up and over a knoll.
The descent into Taylor Lodge provided strong gusts of winds at an estimated 30 mph, bringing wind chill easily into the negative double digits. Taylor lodge offered refuge from the wind, with warm sun, warm drinks and of course my much needed desire to make this outing “educational” by playing my trivia game.
During trivia we learned, among other things, that Nebraska Notch separates Mt. Dewey and Mt. Clark, that the Clara Bow trail was named after the actress, Clara Bow, because like the actress the trail was “beautiful but tough” and ideas of where the name Nebraska Notch originated.
After a quick bite to eat, we prepared to face the stinging winds as we ascended out of Taylor Lodge up over the hill and back down to the beaver ponds. Once around the beaver pond, the woods protected us from the winds, and offered cheek warming sun, allowing the remaining 1.5 miles to be enjoyable and relaxing.
Participants: Phil Hazen, Kathy Adams, Taylor Christie, Walker Christie, Sarah Morten, Jake Morten and dog Pepper, Bret Hall, Lance and dogs Curry and Sierra, Bill, Mary Keenan, Mark, Larry Gagne, Lee Wrigley, and Andrea. Trip Leader: Kelley Christie

2/13/11 Beane Trail to Molly Stark Balcony
We had 3 people join on the Beane Trail Hike, Bill Moore, Katie Hill, and Kevin Donegan. It was decided that we do a round trip hike to Molly Stark Balcony. We arrived at the trail around 9:15 which started on Carse road in Hanksville. The weather was fair, cloudy. from there we followed up a X-C ski trail for about 0.3 miles until we met the Beane trail. We proceeded up the Beane trail and at the top we met up with a group of winter campers. They had camped the previous night in quinzhees near Birch Glen Camp. We said our hellos and moved on to the junction of the Beane trail and Long Trail. From there it took a couple of hours to make our way to the Molly Stark Balcony (about 30 minutes trying to find the trail even though it was partially packed). We arrived around 11:45, ate lunch, took group photo and made our way back to the road. Trip successful. About 5.6 mi round trip

2/5/11 Mobbs Farm Snowshoe.
Great day with great snow. We walked through Jericho Town Land Mobb’s Farm (easy) with 5 people and 2 dogs and then had lunch at Pam’s house. Leader: Pam Gillis. Participants Mark Smith, Dot Myer, and Tony and Nanette Wignall, all members.

2/5/11 GMC Snowshoe Festival Outing:
Sterling Pond via Smuggler’s Notch Road (Rt. 108) and the Sterling Pond Trail
A group of six finished as a group of four due to equipment problems. The problem was, a participant wore a snowshoe that was too large and not snug-fitting and that could not get a grip on the unpacked snow. The Sterling Pond Trail from Smuggler’s Notch Rd. is steep in many places, and we were afraid he would slide right off, which he actually started to do on two occasions. Despite a foot of new show the trail was somewhat broken, and crisscrossed by skiers from Smuggs and Spruce Peak (part of Stowe) blazing their own trails through the woods. Sterling pond was spectacular and sunlit. The four of us watched with great interest a group of climbers on the opposite cliff (part of Mt. Mansfield, just south and below ‘Old Smugglers Face’ and above the ‘Smuggler’s Cave’.) While we were about the only climbers on the trail itself, Rt. 108 was busy with college and high school outing clubs practicing their ice climbing and snow survival techniques. Dozens of snowshoers of all ages were on the road, with skiers and snow boarders emerging from the woods to head back to the lifts. It was a fun atmosphere and overall a great outing. Photos by Cynthia Landrum. Co-trip leader with Ted Albers was Jake Carlton. Jake is a Lyndon State College student in the Adventure Leadership major. He is a Maine Registered Guide.

1/23/2010 Mansfield West Side Loop
January 23rd was announced as the coldest day of the winter so far, and the tentative sign-ups dropped seemingly in synch with the temperature during the week leading up to the hike. Only two people remained curious enough to meet in Richmond’s Park&Ride lot that morning, Mike Laross from Bellows Falls and trip leader Wolfgang Hokenmaier from Burlington. Snowshoeing along the CCC-Road was beautiful and calm, the temperature, although certainly below zero, seemed tame in this windprotected area. Maple ridge trail had not been used since the last storm, so we got even warmer breaking trail in the steep section leading up to the ridge. We had some difficulties finding the trail, but got rewarded with first rays of sunshine once we reached the lower end of the ridgeline and the upper end of Frost Trail. With most of the blue blazes now hidden under the snow, we had a very difficult time finding our way. A downed tree and apparently missing junction sign led us down Rock Garden Trail a ways. We eventually got on the right path, but by the time we met the Wampahoofus Trail junction time had advanced more than we liked. The brief sun earlier on had long since given way to low visibility and increasing wind and snow. Mike had a small thermometer on his pack whose alcohol had retreated into the reservoir at the very bottom. The last 0.3miles to the forehead were brutal, with very strong wind and drifting snow. Continuing on towards the Chin would have been dangerous in these conditions. The summit picture showing only a forced smile instead of the usual ear-to-ear grin on Wolfgang’s face is proof enough that things were a bit dire at this point. Another hasty 0.3miles back down to the Wampahoofus junction – this time with the wind in our face – and we felt safe again. The rest of the trip down was enjoyable, quick and warming. We ran into a few skiers along CCC-Road, one of which had been solo up high near the ridgeline and seemed equally impressed by the conditions encoutered there. While not finishing the route as planned, it was certainly an adventurous outing and a beautiful day to be out in the snow.

1/17/11 Hike/Snowshoe up Mt. Abraham, Martin Luther King Day
Nine people, including the trip leader, signed up for this hike and nine people actually showed up for the hike and made it to the top and down. That may not seem all that surprising, expect for the fact that the temperature at the trailhead when we started was minus 10 degrees below zero. It did warm up a bit as the sun moved higher in the sky, so that by the time we got to the top of Mt. Abe it was a balmy 6 degrees above zero. And, by the time we made it down to the cars four hours later, the temperature had risen to an amazing 10 degrees above zero.
Participants wore a variety of face masks or neck gators in order to be able to breath without freezing their lungs. Six of the nine opted to wear snowshoes the whole way while three of us carried them but decided they were not necessary since the trail was pretty well packed.
Although we were all grumbling a bit about the cold, we were all delighted with the clear blue skies. The views of the snow-covered trees along the way up and the mountain views at the top were simply stunning. Also, we lucked out because there was not a great deal of wind at the top. We were able to stand around for a few minutes and take pictures and then descended a short ways down out of the wind and had lunch in the full sun.
All in all, everyone felt it was a great hike. Hopefully, the photos will tell the story….
Trip Leader: Sheri Larsen with Chuck Bond, Judy Bond, Holly Sullivan, Don Dickson, Bill O’Neill, Jeff Wehrwein, Christopher Morriss, Richard Larsen

1/16/11 Birch Glen
A perfect easy snowshoe hike. The weather was great: some clouds, some sun, warm enough to be comfortable but not warm enouh to make the snow sticky. Wonderful new beautiful fluffy snow. Four friendly snowshoers, both old members and new. A shelter to eat lunch in. Even the road and parking space, which I was a bit worried about, were no problem at all. Rachel Moulton, Carolyn Elliot, Roseann Barra, leader Dot Myer

1/15/11 Mt. Hunger
Great day to be in the mountains, any mountain! Today happened to be Hunger. Five of us in total and four of us met at the Richmond P&R at 8:30. Took two cars to the trailhead, where Mark from NH met us shortly after we arrived. Can you believe at 9:00 am on a Saturday morning this parking area already had five cars??!! Surprise of surprises for all of us. Headed out and nice, uneventful ascent and descent. A bit breezy at the summit, and our timing could not have been better. We were able to see the Presidentials, or the Prezzies, as Mark calls them. They were just sticking up as white as can be. Just gorgeous. (Can you see them in the photos??) Another 20 minutes or so and we would have missed them altogether, as it was getting cloudy. Ran into three guys who were geocaching near the summit. They each had their own sled and were having a great time. Ran into them again on the descent. The plastic red sled guy apparently had a tremendous crash, as he was thankfully in one piece, but his sled was now in about 25 pieces. He put the two ends together to make one shorter sled than he originally had and off he was!! Of course, the day ended in Waterbury at The Reservoir, the home of the leg lamp, not the Waterbury Reservoir as I needed to clarify…. Outing members: Dave Hathaway, Jeff Wehrwein, Jeff Clements and Mark Blanchard: Leader: Robynn Albert

1/9/11 Worcester Mountain
Strange day in the weather department….but hey, this is Vermont, right??!! There were five of us who met at the Richmond P&R at 8:30 am. A bit of snow was falling as we headed south to Worcester to hit its mountain namesake. As the season is winter, the plow pushes approx. enough footage to fit 3 cars, lucky for us with our 2. Headed up the trail around 10:00 am. Steady climb, a bit of wind, made it to the summit around 12:15 pm, a bit of lunch under a nice pine, as the wind had kicked up a bit, too much so to dine at the summit. Down by 2 pm and then home. A nice, uneventful day for us….
Lynda Hutchins, Bill Moore, Mary Keenan, Tim Welch (and his four-legged friend, Aspen, who is extremely well behaved), trip Leader: Robynn Albert; photo credit to Tim Welsh.

1/8/11 Belvedere Mountain
11 participants. Rich was out of town the preceding week, so Sheri Larsen pulled together the hike and communicated with all the participants. Most met at Essex Park and Ride, while we joined others at Cambridge P+R and at the trailhead. There had been a few inches of snow overnight, so the driving was slow, but the parking lot was well plowed, and the trail was fine. We started up around 9:45, with some wearing snowshoes, some in microspikes, and some just using boots. Any footwear worked, and it was mostly personal preference that dictated what was worn. The trip is always advertised as ‘6 hours – 3 hours up, 2 hours down, plus one hour thrashing in the woods lost’, since this portion of the LT has historically had deep snow and been difficult to follow in the winter. This year, however, the snow depth was low, the trail was better cleared and better marked (some by inappropriate red spray-paint splotches), and the party was strong. We never got lost, and hiked to the summit in about two hours, just in time for lunch. The summit area was reasonably ‘warm’, so some climbed the tower while some just ate – but we did not have to rush off the top to avoid the cold. After hanging around for 20-25 minutes, we walked down in about 1.5 hours, so the whole trip was 4 hours rather than the advertised 6. We all got back home in time to watch the NFL Playoffs, if anyone was interested! Participants – Wes Volk, Jenny Lynch, Marc Faucher, Peggy Faucher, Tim Welsh, Peter Cottrell, Chuck Bond, David Hathaway, John Ferrario, Sheri Larsen, Richard Larsen trip leader; Photo Sheri Larsen

1/1/11 Babcock Loop Snowshoe
On an unusually warm 2011 New Year’s Day, co-leaders Mary Lou Recor, Chris Hanna and five other GMC members braved the elements. The plan was to
snowshoe to the Lookout on Laraway Mountain. Icy back roads made us detour to the Babcock Trail just east of Belvidere Corners. There was a revolt by
the group near Devil’s Gulch. It was easily put down with chocolate and oatmeal cookies. We hiked back to the cars by way of the Long Trail making for a nice loop of three and a half miles.

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