Trip Reports for January-March 2008

Richard Larsen
Laura Cowles Trail to Mount Mansfield
9 participants. We had an excellent day for the trip. There was deep snow on the mountain, but it was somewhat settled, and the day was relatively warm with moderate wind. (This contrasts with many previous winter trips with colder temperatures and / or high winds from the north.) Most of us met at the commuter lot in Essex Center, and then on to the winter parking area at Underhill State Park. (This parking lot gets a lot of use these days, especially with snowboarding and skiing down the tear-drop trail to this trailhead.) We went up the CCC road, and onto the Sunset Ridge Trail for a short distance before heading up the very steep Laura Cowles Trail. We all had to use snowshoes, since the trail was not yet compacted. Some made it to the top in under 3 hours, and all were there by 12:20PM, a little over three hours after we started. The top was in full winter regalia, with trees and signs plastered with snow and hoar-frost, and the wind blowing pretty strong from the southwest. In the actual summit area, the gusts were very strong, so we all ducked back below treeline quickly. We made it down in a little more than 2 hours. For Aileen, this was her third attempt at doing Mansfield in winter, so we were all glad that the conditions were OK this time. Participants – Chuck Bond, Judy Bond, Marc Faucher, Peggy Faucher, Aileen Genett, Lynda Hutchins, Phil Hazen, Sheri Larsen, Richard Larsen

David Hathaway
Camels Hump via Monroe Trail
7 participants. After meeting at 8:30 at the Richmond commuter lot, we took three cars
(one with dog, two without) to the winter parking lot at the Couching Lion Farm site, and started up the Monroe Trail around 9:15. Given the freezing temperatures that day and the recent warm weather and rain, all but David opted to leave snowshoes behind (and he carried but never used them). Many (but not all) were using crampons. Up to about the Alpine Trail intersection the snow had a significant ice crust, but not so icy as to prevent traction. Near the top there were some icy patches, but always interspersed with crusty patches, so the hike was quite doable without crampons. With his lighter weight, Bailey (the dog) slid around on the crust a lot, but seemed to enjoy it. We reached the hut clearing around 12:30 and had lunch and summited in shifts; Marc and Peggy went up first and then came down to eat, while the rest of us ate first and then went up. There were at least three other groups passing through the hut clearing on their way up or down while we were there. Rich was wearing his bear hat (doesn’t that mean he should be hibernating now?), which got its share of comments from the other parties, and a very curious stare from Bailey when Rich set it down on the summit . The recent rains had left an interesting ice layer over many of the rocks and trees at the top, and it was a little cold and windy, but very nice for a January day atop a Vermont 4000 foot peak. We then retraced our steps, reaching the parking area around 3:15. Participants – Marc and Peggy Faucher, Jerry Lasky and Cilla Kimberly, Rich and Sheri Larsen, David Hathaway – and Bailey Greene, the dog.

Dot Myer
Smugglers Notch Snowshoe
Participants: Bob Chaperone, Lourdes Bielsa, Joanne Mellin, Barbara (I don’t know her last name, member at large), Dot Myer, and two dogs. We all had a good time. There were excellent snow conditions and the weather was just right – not too cold and not too warm. We ate lunch at the top of the notch and then returned; we did not go down the other side. There were many skiers, snowboarders, and walkers on the trail, as well as other snowshoers. The hardest part of the trip was getting there. The roads in Burlington were fine; the roads in Stowe were fine. Parts of the interstate in between were glare ice. We saw dozens of cars off the road, even one overturned. Police and fire trucks gave plenty of warning. We went slowly and carefully and got there all right, but were really glad to get off the interstate in Waterbury.

Sadie Hawkins Day Hike. No men were brave enough to sign up so we three women went for a hike on the Little River State Park network of trails in Waterbury. We followed the Dalley Loop Trail to the Stevenson Brook Trail, two of us on snowshoes, one on skis. We took a couple of wrong turns which added to the mileage, but all in all it was a success as we made it out by suppertime. Participants: Rachel Moulton, Robynn Albert, Linda Evans (leader).

Dot Myer
Abbey Pond
10 participants. We had people from Addison County and Rutland as well as from Burlington. We had very nice weather and a nice view from the pond where we had lunch. Even though parts of the trail were very icy, we all had a good time. Participants – Barbara Georgi, Sue Cousino, Myong Barrows, Fern Wyman, Bob Lang, Mary Keenan, Deb Lane, Joanne Mellin, Abbie, Dot Myer

Snowshoe – Honey Hollow. 11 participants. We changed the routing which was originally to Taylor Lodge. With so much snow, no one wanted to drive Stevensville Rd. It was a perfect day, enjoyed by all, with deep snow. We shoe’d up the ski trail to the intersection with the HoneyHollow Road and then broke trail going down the Hollow Road. Dot Myer, Carol Hignite, Donna Leban, Patty Williams, Rachel Moulton, Theresa Gabert, Mary Keenan, John Mitchelides, Andrea Choug, Ted Albers, Jean Anderson.

Photo: On the Honey Hollow Trail; the Round Church, Richmond, VT
trail.jpg2/9/08 - Snowshoe - Honey Hollow

Richard Larsen
Belvidere Mountain via the Long Trail
6 participants, more or less. We had a reasonably seasonable day for the trip, with high temperature in the 20s on the trail. We started off with 7 people at the parking lot, but one did not feel well and decided to stay with the cars. So, 6 of us headed on up the mountain. There was some snow on a pretty hard crust. By the time we reached the spruce line, everyone had gone to snowshoes. Our tracks were very obvious, since no one else had been out since the most recent snow. Shortly after reaching the spruce, one elected to lag behind, following the tracks, while the rest went up ahead. The trip had been advertised as ‘3 hours to go up, 2 hours to go down, and one additional hour for thrashing around in the spruce when we get lost’ – which is exactly how things went. Once we got into the spruce, the blowdown was extensive, and the markers were near the snowline and covered with snow. We lost and re-found the trail multiple times before losing it a final time, and just heading up to the ridge, and turning east. After we reached the summit, we had lunch and then headed down, following our tracks, to make sure we would find the following hiker if he had continued up. We did not immediately find the person, but we found writing in the snow marking his turn around, so we knew all was well. Eventually we caught up with him shortly before reaching the cars. We finished in almost exactly the predicted six hours – and with the same number of people that had started! Participants – Peter Cottrell, David Hathaway, Barbara Mentzer, David Mentzer, Mark Lamphere, Richard Larsen.

Wiesel (Weizel) Cabin Week-end.
Nobody is really sure how to spell it, but we always have a great time at this so-called cabin in the Adirondacks. A select group of 16 enjoyed gourmet meals, great hiking and skiing, and Saturday night musical entertainment at the ranger’s station next door. Look for my report in the summer edition of the Long Trail News for even further incriminating details. Linda Evans

Hazen’s Notch XC Touring Center, Montgomery
6 participants. This little pocket of Vermont never disappoints us with its copious snow pack. Even when the rest of the world is thinking spring, Hazen’s Notch is still stuck on winter. We had a lovely day skiing the groomed trails, greeting the one or two other skiers (who all seemed to be from Canada, eh?) and listening to the black capped chickadees singing their spring songs. As one participant succinctly put it: You couldn’t ask for a better day. I wouldn’t think of it. Thanks again, Rolf Anderson, for the discount given to GMC members. We’ll be back! Participants: Lee Ann Banks, Michael Banks, Sara Burghoff, Marshall Breakstone, Karl Riemer, Linda Evans

Basin Harbor Bird Walk
Nine of us met for a GMC bird walk on a cold but beautiful Easter morning. A report of bald eagles at Basin Harbor led us to abandon our original destination, turning a well-planned walk into an outing full of exploration and adventure. Every trail and every walkway at Basin Harbor was glacial: huge curved slabs of clear ice, long slopes of ice-covered snow, flat skating rinks of thin ice covered with water. There was butt-sliding. There was crawling on all fours. There were some brave upright descents that built up surprising speed and ended with full-body tree hugging. AND there were eagles! At one point, we were watching six adult bald eagles lined up on the ice like beads on a necklace. In all, we estimated that we saw at least eight adults and one immature eagle. Maeve Kim, trip leader.
Other birds sighted:
Robins, with their breasts incredibly bright
Tufted Titmice, singing their loud “PEEEur” over and over
Black-Capped Chickadees
White-Breasted Nuthatch
American Crows
Ring-Billed Gulls
Possible (very distant) Greater Black-Backed Gull
Common Mergansers
Common Goldeneyes
Red-Tailed Hawk
Mourning Doves

David Hathaway
Butler Lodge – Nebraska Notch
2 participants. After a last minute cancellation due to a cold cut our expected trip size
from 3 to 2, Bill and David met at 9 AM at the Underhill Center commuter lot, by the Underhill Historical Society and took David’s car up to the Stevensville trailhead parking area and were on the trail by 9:15. Although the underlying snow was pretty firm, we opted for snowshoes from the start, and were the first up the trail since the recent snows. The sun was bright, but the air was very cold for the end of March. We made good
time up Nebraska Notch Trail and north along the Long Trail to a little past Twin Brooks. Once we got up into the spruce, however, we slowed down, as the heavy ice and snow still on the trees made the trail harder to find and follow. But with only a couple brief wrong turns, we made it to Butler Lodge, where we stopped for lunch and met a party who had just come up the Butler Lodge Trail. We then continued down Butler Lodge and were back down to the car by about 1:15. Participants. Bill Moore, Bailey Greene (dog), David Hatahway (trip leader)

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