April 13, 2008
Outing Leaders Workshop
Richard Larsen and Paul Houchens
13 participants. We chose a day in-between winter and summer hiking seasons to have a workshop for outings leaders of many experience levels, as well as for potential outings leaders. The day consisted of a fairly short hike (about 5 miles round trip) from Stevensville Trailhead to Taylor Lodge. At the original meeting point of Essex Center, and at the trailhead, there were discussions about the steps the leader would take at each point to make sure participants had proper gear, correct expectations, and an understanding of what would happen on the trip. Along the hike, and then in a discussion at the lodge, there were role-play scenarios, shared experiences, questions, and attempts at answers. Some of the questions could not have good answers (e.g. – what do you do when you find out someone is missing), pointing out the need to reduce the chances of such a scenario. The day provided a chance for old and new leaders to meet each other and learn from each other – something we all hopefully did. Participants – Phil Hazen, Russ Kinaman, Kelley Mackison, Megan Daly, Sheri Larsen, Dean Bloch, Valerie Wilkins, Robynn Albert, Ted Albers, Bob Lang, Joel Tilley, Paul Houchens, Richard Larsen
Map and Compass. 9 participants. This was the 11th annual Map and Compass Course with many participants to go with the excellent weather. After a little orientation with the various compasses and some map reading pointers, the group was anxious to test their skills. The final destination – Colchester Pond. Of course, the first body of water we saw wasn’t even on the map – what do you expect for a map dated 1947. But this group was pretty intuitive and and after a little discourse figured out a new heading that took us through the woods, over and around beaver dams and ponds, a few cliffs, and finally to Colchester Pond. I think a few thought it would be easier to be a follower than a leader. I mentioned that there is a double your money back guarantee if you should ever get lost. (The course is free.)Participants:Ted Albers, Jill Ash, Noreen Cargill, Linda Evans, Cheryl Jenkins, Jane Pennline, Karl Riemer, Mike Sutliff, Phil Hazen(trip leader)
Wannabee Shelter Adopter Hike to Buchanan Shelter.
Field Director Dave Hardy accompanied us as we plodded along and pondered the dilemma of protecting the Long Trail from encroaching development. The pace was slow; the weather was cool and breezy. We found a small glacier of snow hidden in the swale between the rocky cliffs. The forest wildflowers were just beginning to show their pretty faces. Trail and shelter are in good shape. There was a quiz afterwards to identify Buchanan’s privy type – mouldering or composting? Participants: Rachel Moulton, Dot Myer, Dave Hardy, Phil Hazen, Karl Riemer, Jeff Bostwick, Joanne Mellin, Linda Evans (leader).
Pam Gillis and John Sharp
Spring Trail Work
12 participants. We did spring trail maintenance (clearing blown downs, clipping, cleaning water bars) on the Long Trail from Jonesville to Bolton Notch Rd (2 groups) and had enough people so we had a third group cover the Nebraska Notch Trail and the LT from that trail to Taylor Lodge. The trails are in good shape. There were a few trees to be removed, but not too many. Participants – Suzanne Daningburg, Joel Tilley, Scott Christiansen, Bruce Bushey, Ken Austin, Leo Leach, John Sharp, Pam Gillis, and 4 others.
Pam Gillis and John Sharp
Spring Trail Work
8 participants. We did spring trail maintenance (clearing blown downs, clipping, cleaning water bars) on the Long Trail above the Bolton Valley cross country ski trails. We split into two groups, one group going over Bolton Mountain, where they found deep snow and so did not continue far and then working north. The other group went north from Eagles Nest past the intersection with the side trail to Buchanan on to the next view, having heard a tree needing cutting. We didn’t find the tree and then went south, eventually meeting up with the other group. There were some trees to be removed, but not too many. Phil Hazen took a group photo. Participants –Phil Hazen, Christopher Morris, George Long, Joel Tilley, John Pennucci, and Kerry Shea, John Sharp, Pam Gillis.
Mad River Glen Ski Trails
10 participants. Russ, being a man of few words, says ‘nice hike, nice people, nice weather, nice to live so close in Vermont.’ We followed the work road up the mountain, among a lot of spring wildflowers. There were a few places with snow on the trail, but it was almost always avoidable – and never a problem. As we got higher up, there was significant snow in some places in the spruce. We went to Stark’s Nest, had lunch, and returned the same way we went up. Participants – Lynda Hutchins, Ed Blackwell, Phil Howard, Richard Larsen, Sheri Larsen, Anne Roth, Maddie Roth, Maryanne Kuitert, Russ Kinaman
Women’s Trail Workshop
4 Participants. Two new trail workers attended the workshop, plus an experienced one and the leader. The new workers were taught basic trail maintenance standards and techniques for clipping and cleaning waterbars. We also pulled down a tree that was snagged and could have fallen. We worked on the Butler Lodge Trail and the LT from Butler to Twin Brooks. The trail is in quite good shape. Waterbar cleaning was definitely needed. We used both the hazel hoe and boots and sticks (in case a hoe isn’t available). Participants – Dot Myer, Dawn Marland, Pam Gillis, and one other.
May 25, 2008
Little River State Park, substituted for Ausable Club hike that was scheduled.
3 Participants. Since there were not many people interested in the long drive to the Adirondack, the hike was moved to Little River State Park. We hiked the usual “history route” and looked at old foundations and cemeteries as well as wild flowers. We all enjoyed this easy hike and got home early. Participants – Carol Hignite, Lynn McNichol, Dot Myer
May 26, 2008
Mount Mansfield Northern Loop
5 participants. This hike was on Monday, Memorial Day Holiday, and early on seemed to generate a reasonable number of interested people – until the weather intervened. Sunday had been beautiful, so some folks had moved their hikes to that day. The outlook for Monday was thunderstorms, which caused some concerns and cancellations. After all the cancellations for various reasons, only 5 hearty hikers headed up the mountain a little after 9 AM. There had been a few sprinkles around 8 AM, but then things cleared as we headed up CCC Road and then Halfway House Trail, to the point that there was a lot of blue sky. But, on the Mansfield ridge, the weather changed again, and an ugly line of rain formed about 5 miles north of the mountain. Since it seemed to be heading northeast, we continued the last short distance to the summit, but quickly left when there was a long crack of thunder from the storm. We decided to retreat down Laura Cowles rather than risk the exposure of the planned Sunset Ridge descent, but rain had started, and Laura Cowles was becoming extremely treacherous. It seemed that the storm was moving away, so we changed the plan again, now heading back to Sunset Ridge. It continued to rain for a while, even with some hail, but the storm was clearly moving away, and everyone had good gear. We got to Sunset Ridge and went down that way. The weather improved significantly, to the point that people were coming up Sunset Ridge again. We were down at the parking lot a little after 2 PM. Participants – Jan Grady, Mike Grady, Jenny Lynch, Sheri Larsen, Rich Larsen
May 30, 2008
Burnt Rock Mountain
16 participants. As the announcer at The Vermont City Marathon said : “We’ve got a bluebird day here!” That’s just what all 16 of us humans and 3 dogs enjoyed as we hiked up the Hedgehog Brook Trail to join with the Long Trail after 2.0 miles. The trail was in great shape as very little rain had fallen. (Oops, it’s teeming out right now on Saturday AM as this is written, so fortunately we hit it just right.) Many trilliums and even at least 1 Jack in the Pulpit were spotted along the trail. As we topped out above treeline, the expansive views in all directions began treating us to: “Wow, look at that peak”, and “Hey, I can see Killington and Pico”, and not to be outdone, “Check out Mt. Washington and the famous Franconia Ridge” and “There’s Whiteface in the Dacks”!!!!! That’s what is so neat about this hike…….in 2.5 hours, you can literally see the length of Vt. and all from a peak with modest elevation of 3,168′ (966m). After lunch on top, and a little r & r, we headed back down. Everyone, especially the dogs seemed to be enjoying themselves. Nope, we didn’t see a hedgehog and the dog owners were glad of that. All present and accounted for at trail’s end! Thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm and interest in the Green Mountain Club. Participants: Carmen Trombley, Joanne Mellin,,Kelley Mackison (and loyal dog “Trigger), Mary Keenan, Lou Ann Nielsen, Wendy Savoie ( + “Sherpa” Maggie and Travis), Lee Ann Lee, Sheri Larsen, Rich Larsen, Russ Kinaman, Al Baker, Ed Blackwell, Tom Ruffle, Phil Howard, Peter Cottrell, Pete Saile (trip leader)
2 participants. Scott and David met at the Richmond commuter lot at 7:30 and drove via the back roads from the I89 Middlesex exit (they’re pretty rough, so it’s worth driving on to Montpelier and taking Rt 12) to the trailhead for the Middlesex Trail, where we left David’s car. We then drove on to the trailhead for the Worcester Mountain Trail and started up at 8:40. Rain was pretty steady most of the way up, but let up somewhat after we passed the Worcester Mountain summit. We encountered a lot of blowdowns and moose droppings (but no moose) between Worcester and Hogback (or Putnam, or unnamed peak, or whatever the high point in the range is called). The old guidebook David had said it was 9.2 miles from Worcester to Hunger, but the sign said 5.4 miles, and the latter seemed closer to correct. After a short lunch stop at Hogback, we continued on to Hunger, and encountered many (maybe 20+) Quebecois hikers (the only other people we saw). Since we were in the clouds the whole way we passed the many “Vista” stops. Descending from Mt. Hunger the rains started up again, but we made it down the rock slabs with no mishaps and reached David’s car round 3 PM. And, of course, as we drove down toward Montpelier and back to the Burlington area, the sun came out. It was a wet, but still enjoyable hike. Participants – Scott Barras, David Hathaway
June 1, 2008
Mount Mansfield the long way
I led a group of rugged hikers up Mt. Mansfield. The night before, I lay in bed listening to thunderstorms rage outside. I wondered if it would be safe to take people through the labyrinth of trails that was our planned route.
The morning dawned dry and sunny- a good day for a hike. We met at 8 a.m. at the trailhead at Stevensville Rd. in Underhill. As we ascended the Butler Lodge Trail, clouds moved in and kept the temperature cool. We covered the first 2 miles quickly and arrived at Butler Lodge shortly after 9:00. The view was somewhat obscured by the thickening clouds. We hung out at the shelter for a few minutes assessing the weather and determined that the clouds were moving quickly to the southeast.
We continued up the Long Trail to the forehead. The Needle’s Eye was entertaining and a good preface to the obstacles yet to come. Soon we got our taste of adventure. We climbed precariously positioned ladders fastened to the rocky mountainside with cables and bolts. An exposed ledge proved challenging and got our hearts pounding in our chests as we made our way across the gap (some slithering across on their bellies) to safety on the other side.
After reaching the Forehead, the hike mellowed to a casual jaunt over the rocky-topped ridgeline. We summitted amidst the clouds, only able to see those rocks within twenty feet of us, and found the summit marker. Woo-hoo!
Based on the minimal slipperiness of the rocks on the way up and the competence of the hikers, I decided to take the group down Subway and Canyon- a challenging descent requiring bouldering and bravery to overcome fear of falling and exposure. I think it’s fair to say that we were all ware of the danger and executed accordingly careful moves as we climbed, shimmied, crawled, and crept through the mass of massive rocks.
We all enjoyed the challenge of our twistedly interesting descent to the intersection of the Canyon and Halfway House where there was also a spur trail that led back to the LT. Our route had become very stream-like, and the going was slow. Upon Rich’s suggestion, we altered our course and hiked back onto the ridge (Long Trail South) to the Maple Ridge Trail which was still quite rocky but hikeable…no climbing required. Although, there was a little matter of a jump across a gap big enough to make a short person look twice before leaping. Then we noticed dark clouds and a rain line moving across the Champlain Valley and kicked up our pace. We made it to the Frost Trail, down off the rocks and under the canopy just as it started to rain. Luck. After a short mile and a half, damp, jovial, and happy to be alive and well, we headed home. I think I can speak for the whole crew and say that we call carried away that special feeling the mountains give us…one of excitement and adventure…one of connection and camaraderie. Thank you to those of you who followed me up and down Mt. Mansfield for enjoying a good adventure!
Trip distance – 9.5 miles; Trip time – 8 hours Trailhead – Arrive and depart from the parking lot at the top of Stevensville Rd. Trails used – Butler Lodge, Long Trail North, Subway, North Canyon Extension, Long Trail spur connector, Long Trail South, Maple Ridge Trail, Frost Trail
June 7, 2008
Pam Gillis and John Sharp
National Trails Day Trail Work
6 participants. The turn-out was much smaller than on most National Trail Days. Hot, muggy and buggy day! But the violent thunderstorms predicted never came, and a nice breeze kept the bugs away at the very end of the trip. A crew of 2 went through to Mt. Mayo with the chain saw, cutting trees and clearing waterbars. The other 4 of us clipped and cleaned some brush and small trees out of the trail. It was long day, but we got the major trail work done. There were a lot of trees to cut–took more than one tank of fuel. If we had more people, we would have also clipped the south side of Mayo, as the adopter had not been able to do that due to all the trees he cut. His work meant we didn’t have to go all the way to Bolton Mt. Participants: Joel Tilley, Christopher Morriss, John Penuncci, Nancy McClellan, Pam Gillis, John Sharp.
June 8, 2008
Dean Bloch and Valerie Wilkins
Emily Proctor Trail to Breadloaf Mountain
4 participants. We ventured out into the Breadloaf Wilderness on one of the hottest days so far in the summer – with temperatures approaching the 80s by 9:00 a.m. The weather report was calling for thunderstorms after 2:00, so we were eager to get to the top of Breadload Mountain and back before then.
With lots of water in our packs, the four of us started out on the Emily Proctor Trail. The tree canopy and a slight breeze helped keep us reasonably comfortable as we made our way up the trail. About a half hour into the hike, a few of us took off our boots to cross the New Haven River – the cool water was quite refreshing on a hot morning!
We traveled 2 more miles up the trail and reached the Emily Proctor Shelter where we stopped for a short rest. The black flies were plentiful at that elevation, so we didn’t linger for too long.
We joined the Long Trail at the edge of the shelter clearing and hiked south for a half mile to Breadloaf Mountain and a short spur trail that led to a westward vista. Although the haze was pretty thick, we could make out the outline of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks to the west and the ski trails at the Middlebury Snow Bowl to the south.
Hiking along the ridgeline, we felt like we had stepped back a few weeks in time, as the trillium were in bloom and the ferns had yet to unfurl. As we headed back down the Emily Proctor Trail, the heat reminded us that we were indeed in the month of June and not May!
After wading in the New Haven River again on the descent, we returned to the car around 2:30. As we drove down the Lincoln Road towards Bristol, the sky darkened and large drops of rain pattered on the rooftop. Participants – Dean Bloch, Dave Prodell, Bob Robbins, Valerie Wilkins
June 15, 2008
Mount Mansfield Traverse
9 participants. We started with 10 people, but one turned back almost immediately, and caught a ride back to Richmond, so we only had 9 on the hike. We ascended the trail on the Haselton Trail to the Toll Road, and then took the Long Trail north to the Chin and eventually to Smuggler’s Notch. At first the mountain appeared cloud covered, but when we reached the ridge it began to open up. Snow was noticed along the Toll Road. It was a beautiful walk to the Chin, and then 50 yards north for a quieter spot for lunch. (Many people were at the summit, some having come from the Toll Road parking lot, others having ascended one of the trails.) After the challenging 500’ drop from the summit and then a brief visit to Taft Lodge, the long descent to the notch made for a very nice day. Views, ferns, and alpine plants seemed to be the highlights of the day. It was a great group of people with whom to share the day. Participants – Carmen Trombley, Llyn Ellison, Rich Larsen, Sheri Larsen, Rudy Meiracker, Steve Mahera, Vicki Beliveau, Robert Riversong, Carlene Squires.
June 22, 2008
3 participants. The trip was advertised as Bamforth Ridge, but at the last minute had to be changed to Monroe Trail. The weather forecast included rain starting in the morning, and a strong likelihood of lightning in the afternoon. (On Bamforth we would be in the open on the ridge, headed down, at 1 PM and 2 PM. So, we made the change to Monroe.) We had set a fairly early start, so we summited by 10:30 AM in ‘not terrible’ weather – we could see as far as Bolton Mountain, but could not see Mansfield or Burlington. We had been rained on a bit as we went up, and then a bit more as we neared the cars on the way down. As we headed back to Burlington, we saw that the summit had become clear, and the sun had come out. So much for the forecast. The predicted lightning and strong storms did come, but much later, around 8 PM. We could have done Bamforth, but this was obvious only in hindsight. Participants – Robert Preisser, Scott Barras, Rich Larsen
June 27, 2008
8 participants. We had a good-sized group for a Friday hike with uncertain weather. Five of the participants were locals who had hiked Mt. Abe before. We were joined by three out-of-staters (one person from South Carolina and two from Kansas) who learned about the hike via GMC’s website.
When we started out at the trailhead at Lincoln Gap, the top of Mt. Abe was in the clouds. By the time we made it to the top, the clouds had lifted so we had a view. We enjoyed lunch on the top and started down just as we heard some thunder rumbling in the distance. But, the rain held off and we made it down without getting wet.
As we were driving back to Chittenden County, the rain started coming down in buckets. But, then it stopped just as we pulled into Papa Nick’s in Hinesburg, where we had packed cars. It was sunny as we stood in line for our maple creemees at Papa Nick’s. The creemees were a nice ending to a good day. Participants: Sheri Larsen, Rich Larsen, Bob Lang, Barb Capan, Kay Garrett, Susan Allen, Carmen Twombley, Rudy Meiracker.