Trip Reports for January – April 2012 (updated 5/14/12 with photos galore)

4/28/2012 – Wildflower Hike at Niquette Bay State Park
We weren’t quite sure what to expect in the way of wildflowers since there had been spitting snow and temperatures below freezing in the Burlington area the day before the hike. Although it was still quite cold during the hike, we were delighted to discover over 20 different kinds of wildflowers in bloom. Participants enjoyed hiking the 3 ½ mile loop and identifying so many kinds of wildflowers. Trip Leader: Sheri Larsen; Participants: Warren Walker, Shirley Wolfe, Roy Neuer, Joan MacKenzie, Pam Cary, Anneliese Koenig, Maury Kost, Dot Myer, Jean Anderson, Sally Rice, Patty Williams, Cilla Kimberly, Jerry Lasky, Carol Hignite, Jeanette Ruffle

4/14/12 Snake Mountain
Perfect weather. Nice views, including the Adirondacks, the new bridge and soaring turkey vultures. Plenty of wildflowers, especially hepatica. Nine people. We went up the triail and down the road. The trail was dry. Joanne mellin, Peggy MacDonald, Maureen Cannon, Jean Cannon, Jeanine Buley, Jan Decoonan, Ross Decoonan, Mary Kost, Dot Myer – trip leader

4/8/2012 Camel’s Hump via Forest City
Nice stroll up the to the top of Camel’s Hump and down Burrows. Blustery on top but not too cold on this Easter day. Traces of snow on the Burrows, then none! Icy on the top; some wet trail then lower portions dry trail most of the way. Thanks to Lee Wrigley, Wesley Volk and Anan Wagner, who took the panorama photo below. Ted Albers trip lead.

4/7/2012 Bamforth Ridge Northeast Slope Bushwhack
The three of us departed the Richmond P&R, with two dogs, in two cars. We were headed to Duxbury Road, midway between the Bamforth Ridge trail head and Camels Hump Road. After getting over some apprehension as to what I meant by bushwhacking, we headed into the woods, devoid of snow. We followed woods roads, or made our way through an easy-going, open mature forest, following gps points, heading for an awesome view of the Winooski valley. The area abounds with cliffs and huge boulders, as well as huge piles of huge boulders, occasionally with tunnels, so you can go through, rather than over or around. We arrived at the base of the cliff we were heading for. Previously I followed the cliff for a while before finding a way up; before this trip, studying a map, I noticed a possible route around the corner. Up we went, soon to find ourselves on top, where we enjoyed lunch, and views down the valley, and of Camels Hump. We paid for the ease of getting up, by coming down a ravine, that was a jumble of huge boulders. From here the trip was uneventful back to the cars. Attendees: Darryl Smith, Lynda Hutchins, Scott Earisman.

Kelley Christie commented on Trip Reports for January – April 2012 (updated 2/26/2012 – see below – thanks Kelley!)

3/31/12 Mt.Philo
It was a gorgeous day with clouds lifting as we approached the summit. We enjoyed admiring the beautiful trail work on the hike up. Though a lower elevation peak, the steep hike had our hearts pumping and lungs working. The views from the top were refreshing as we saw early signs of spring. We enjoyed slices of banana bread, while Triggered mingled with other dogs & Piper Christie (3 months old) enjoyed her first hike with the Green Mountain Club! As did Jan and Russ Decoonman!
Attendees: Jan and Russ Decoonman, Larry Gagne, Taylor Christie, Piper Christie and Trigger. Trip Leader: Kelley Christie

3/23/2012 Stowe Pinnacle
We anticipated mud up to our ankles at the start of the trail and icy rocks and boulders at the summit, in this record-breaking warm season…and we were wrong! Conditions were book-perfect, with a dry trail (aided by puncheons at the start) all the way to the summit which provided a great lunch look out with 360 degree views. Participants were Margaret Benn, Tonya Howard, Mary Keenan, Joanne Mellin and leader Suzanne Daningburg, who brought along enthusiastic four-legged mascot Fanny. We all enjoyed the leisurely hike and camaraderie.

3/10/2012 Hedgehog Brook Trail to Burnt Rock Mountain
I met Ted, and unexpectedly Lynda at the Richmond P&R. Margaret was to meet us there, so we waited around, before leaving without her, to meet John at the trail head. Here we found Margaret, adding to my confusion. As everyone knows, the Hedgehog Brook Trail starts with a difficult brook crossing, and in this case, too difficult. And in spite of my confused manner, I was believed, that according to the map, there was a bridge a couple hundred feet further up the road.
We soon hit the trail, loosely packed, which found us outfitted in a mix of
snowshoes, microspikes and boots. It was a bright sunny day, and the trail easy
going. We ran into another group of GMC’ers, at the junction with the Long Trail,
that had followed our tracks across the bridge, but somehow came out ahead
of us, apparently having taken a shortcut. The final ascent was very slippery.
We gathered atop Burnt Rock under calm, still sunny skies. After a couple of
exhilarating slides down, the remainder of the trip down was uneventful. Except
for Ted repeatedly postholing; we pulled his club membership.
Attendees: Darryl Smith, Margaret Benn, Lynda Hutchins, Ted Albers, John Predom.
(Editors note – Ted was fined for postholing at the GMC’s minimum mandatory rate of $5 per posthole, which set him back $1,225 on this walk ;)

3/4/2012, Butler Lodge
We met at 9 at the Underhill Center commuter lot, took three cars to the Stevensville trailhead for the three groups into which we later split, and started up the trail a little after 9:30. The weather was cloudy with light snow and temperatures close to 30 F. David and Rachel wore snowshoes from the start, but the rest started with microspikes. We hike together for a while, but Chuck and Dan let us know up front that they might not go all the way to Butler Lodge and that they might take a slower pace, so we should not wait for them, and they did get left behind after 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, Robynn and Brad had planned to continue on from Butler Lodge to the Forehead, and they charged ahead, with David, Karen, and Rachel in the middle. As we approached Butler Lodge the snow got a little deeper and softer and those who hadn’t started with snowshoes put them on. David and Karen caught up to Robynn and Brad at Butler Lodge a little after 11, where we all hung around outside in deference to a couple of hikers who were sleeping inside after a long hike the day before (we later found they hadn’t gotten to bed until 3 AM). Robynn and Brad then took off toward the Forehead just before Rachel reached arrived, and Rachel and David went into the Lodge where the sleepers had obviously awakened, and were met by their fierce sounding but actually quite friendly dog. Karen, who didn’t want to shed her snowshoes, wandered in the vicinity. David, Karen, and Rachel then started sown just before noon, reaching the cars around 1 PM. Subsequent calls and emails confirmed that the Chuck and Dan got down OK, as did Robynn and Dan, after almost but not quite reaching the Forehead.
Trip leader: David Hathaway
Participants: Dan Hildebrand, Chuck Newsham, Brad Bauman, Robynn Albert, Karen Boushie, Rachel Moulton

2/26/2012, LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area
A pretty walk over ice and a some snow (perfect for microspikes!) A short loop along the Laplatte trail, back on the Ti-Haul trail, then out the Clark Trail on Shelburne Bay Park. Thanks to Robin Lessoss and Holly Creek for the company. Ted Albers, trip leader.

2/12/2012, Taylor Lodge
Holly and Tam Tam met David at the Underhill Center commuter lot at
8:30, and we all drove to the Stevensville trailhead in David’s car.
It was a very cold (close to 0 F) and overcast morning. We got on the
trail by about 8:50. The trail was well packed, so no snowshoes were
needed. Tam Tam’s winter equipment was pretty marginal, but with some
toe warmers in her shoes and hand warmers in her gloves she managed to
stay warm enough. Holly and Tam Tam used traction (micro spikes and
Yaktrax), while David carried snowshoes and micro spikes, but used
neither. We held a pretty fast pace for the whole hike. The wind
started picking up a bit as we reached the beaver ponds, and we were
all bundled up with our faces at least partly covered from there to
Taylor Lodge and all the way back. We stopped for a brief early lunch
at Taylor Lodge, but the cold weather didn’t make sitting still much
fun, so we started back pretty quickly. We got back to the car at
about 11:20, making the whole hike a short 2 and half hours.
Trip leader: David Hathaway

2/11/2012 Wampahoofus and Rock Garden Loop
The winter being as it has, the six of us headed up the Frost Trail, with microspikes on, and snowshoes strapped to our packs. We continued up the Maple Ridge Trail to the adventuresome Wampahoofus Trail. Dropping down onto the trail, we ducked under the wampahoofus, and enjoyed the sun, now shining brightly. This trail was also packed, though treacherously icy in places. After enjoying lunch at Butler Lodge we started across the Rock Garden Trail. We complemented David on the well-blazed trail, as he is the maintainer. He then impressed us with the
ease of crawling through a summertime tunnel, clogged with snow, in only three tries. Although more or less a traverse, this trail is actually more difficult than it’s moderate rating. A rapid descent of the Maple Ridge and Frost Trails soon had us back at the trailhead. Attendees: Darryl Smith, Margaret Benn, Jeff Wehrwein, John Predom, David Hathaway, Peter Cottrell.

1/28/2012 Hopkins Mtn.
When I have signed up for GMC lead hikes across the pond (meaning the Adirondacks), I never know what kind of a number it will attract. In looking at past sign-in sheets, I think I am “stuck” with the # 10….Giant via the Ridge Trail in October 2008 10 people were on the outing, then Gothics and Pyramid in May of 2009, 10 were on that trip. And for this latest hike, Hopkins Mtn., I struck it rich with 10 again!
Anyway, the VTers met the NYers a bit past 9 am at the trailhead. (Another couple arrived at the trailhead just as we were headed out and I have to think they must have been shocked to see other cars there, esp. from VT. This is a little used trail and an alternate to Giant but not a popular one.) The forecast was due to be low 30s in the valley and overcast. We headed out about 9:20 am and right off the bat encountered a lot of ice. It pretty much was this way the entire trail. This truly was the only negative the whole day except that due to a back injury, Mike was not able to summit, but enjoyed his time in Keene Valley while waiting for us. The best part was everyone had some kind of grippers on their feet, either spikes or crampons. I do not see how anyone could have made it up (or down) without something. Either a serious injury would have occurred or it would have been incredibly frustrating. Fortunately, all bones and attitudes stayed in tact the entire trip!
Temps were warm all day to the point when we hit the summit, you almost did not need to “layer up”. The sun was shining brightly and the view was clear – a true bonus based on the forecast of clouds! The Noonmark Diner in Keene Valley was a must stop for eats and 9 of us were able to make this part of the trip. And it is Dad’s birthday on Wednesday, so a piece of cake and a candle were in order for him while most of the rest of us enjoyed their famous pies!
All in all, a super day! Thanks to Dad for joining us, as well as cousin Jason and his friends from the Albany area!
Trip leader: Robynn Albert
Photo Credit: Wolfgang Hokenmaier
Trekkers: Bob Albert, Jeremy Kassel, Michael Seereiter, Jason Farrell, Paul Demers, Jeff Wehrwein, Wolfgang Hokenmaier, Lynda Hutchins, Larry Gagne, Eric Hanson

1/14/2012 Mt. Ellen Trip Report
Well, the first thing I will say about Saturday is it was darn cold! There were several originally signed for the outing, and with the dip in temps, came a decrease in original numbers. We ended up being four for the day, meeting at the Hinesburg P & R. Off to the Jerusalem Trailhead where the Breadloaf section was also meeting for their outing that day, same trail but to the lodge. Having just received a dumping of the fresh white stuff the night before made for nice and fluffy snow conditions. I would say we were breaking between 6″ to 2′ of snow at any given time, the higher amount being the drifts. We lost the trail several times, even before getting to the LT. Not a well marked trail in some spots, but it is so fun to lose the trail temporarily! I love searching for the blazes; when we lost them, we spread out and found them all pretty quick. You could not stand around more than a few seconds at any given time. But when we veered to the lodge, it actually felt warm in there. The Breadloaf section was just a few minutes behind us arriving at the lodge, so we chatted with their group of five for a few minutes, then headed to the summit. Just a few minutes there and back down. The sun was now streaming through the woods at day’s end, bringing with it blue sky which was so pretty against the winter white. A good day overall. The Breadloaf folks were the only ones we saw the whole day except for the few folks getting off the chairlift! Trip Leader: Robynn Albert; Shoers: Richard Dabal, Bill Wooden and Tim Welsh. Photos: Tim Welsh.

1/8/2012 Mount Mansfield Loop from Underhill State Park
Wolfgang Hokenmaier’s qualifications as trip leader were challenged right in the parking lot by both participants, Jeff Wehrwein and Phil Hazen, for two apparently obvious reasons:
A) He had never heard of Microspikes before, and
B) He had the trip all backwards, as the descent should be via Maple Ridge instead of Sunset Ridge.
The route change was accepted, along with Wolfgang’s almost certain slippery faith on the mountain, and off we went.
The weather was warmer (relatively speaking) than last year’s uncompleted attempt of the same hike, so this time there would be no turning back. Plus, the small group was determined to give Phil Hazen the maximum training effect before his impending departure to conquer South America’s highest.
It turned out to be cold enough, with temperatures in the single digits and a howling wind along the summit ridge. But it was also beautiful to see some “real winter” with all of the Champlain Valley lower elevations still snow-less. We used Lower Teardrop instead of the CCC-Road on the final descent, a nice and easy shortcut to the lower elevation winter parking lot.
Phil Hazen with “Flat Stanley”, Jeff Wehrwein and trip leader Wolfgang Hokenmaier

1/7/2012 Davis Neighborhood Trail to Laraway Mountain Loop
In two Subarus, the four of us, with two dogs, hit the road, for the hour drive to Waterville, near Johnson. Arriving at the trailhead, we found a minimal amount of snow, which lead to a discussion of whether to carry snowshoes or not. We finally agreed to lug them along. We headed southeast, down the snowed-in Coddling Hollow Road for two miles to the Davis Neighborhood trail head. Turning northeast, up the Davis Neighborhood Trail we went, to Corliss Camp. At this quaint and comfortable camp, we enjoyed brunch. Continuing to lug our snowshoes, we headed northwest on the Long Trail. As the snow deepened, we were quite pleased with ourselves, for having brought our snowshoes along. We soon encountered fresh moose tracks, repeatedly crossing the trail, and then a big bull moose. We turned south at Laraway Mountain, for the two miles back to the cars. After a lunch break, we continued down pass the Laraway icicles. The icicles never fail to impress, particularly those seeing them for the first time. We arrived back at the cars with daylight to spare. Attendees: Darryl Smith, Candice Huber, Margaret Benn, Jeff Wehrwein

1/1/2012 – January 1st 2012 – Burrows Trail on Camels Hump
The forecast had the potential to be somewhat bleak – cloudy and foggy – but at least it was not supposed to rain or be really cold. So, off we went as one of the first groups up Burrows Trail on Camels Hump for 2012, going up in the fog. The trail was hard-packed, and no one carried snowshoes. Everyone used micro-spikes, or a close relative of such, as their foot gripper. As we approached the ‘hut clearing’, the sky was suddenly bright above us, and that continued to the summit. The summit was totally clear, but everything below about 3800’ was covered in clouds. While we were on the top, some of the neighboring areas also started to clear, and Sheri took a picture of the icy Camels Hump summit with a ‘fog-fall’ along the ridgeline to the south. This picture was published on the front page of the Burlington Free Press a few days later. The thermometer near the summit said that the mid-day temperature was 30 degrees, really warm for Camels Hump summit on January 1. Everyone made it back to the parking lot about three hours (or a bit more) from when we started up. It was a great hike to start 2012. 16 participants – Phil Hazen, Kathy Adams, Kim Farone, Mike Rosner, Mary Keenan, Robynn Albert, Scott Springer, Lynda Hutchins, Ursula McVeigh, Bill Moore, Peggy Faucher, Marc Faucher, Bernie Tolmie, Beth Tolmie, Sheri Larsen, Leader: Richard Larsen
Here are Sheri Larsen’s great photos!

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