4/12/09 Audubon Nature Center
2 participants. Dot and I went to the Audubon Nature Center today for the substitute April 12 hike. She was the only person interested in a ‘substitute’ hike so I let her pick where we went. Had a great hike – that is a beautiful area! Participants – Dot Myer, Kathy Williams.
Taylor Lodge via Nebraska Notch Trail, 6 participants, 3 dogs
Starting the hike, we debated at the trailhead whether or not we’d need snowshoes. We all decided against them. Not sure if this decision was based on the fact that we had Spring in our hearts and wishful thinking, or because we actually didn’t think we would need them. Regardless of our motives, our decision proved right on. The trail was mostly packed patches of snow, followed by long stretches of soft dirt trail. I must say, greeting the earth of the trail after a long winter of walking on snow, was a welcomed reunion. Every step was like a long awaited hug from the supple ground.
The energy of the group was high, especially for the dogs. It might have been the sunshine and 40 degree temps, or just the eagerness to explore the mountains. The hike flew by with engaging conversations, a couple of stops shedding layers, and the hilarity of the dogs chasing each other and exploring ice covered beaver ponds.
When we reached the Clara Bow Trail junction, the guys in the group ventured down the rough trail of Clara Bow and the ladies continued on the Long Trail. When the group reunited at Taylor lodge, we learned the guys had seen postholing up to their waist, but some pretty spectacular icicles. At the lodge, we had some cookies, of course , finished lunch and returned via the same route. Of course on the way home, the dogs wanted to revisit the same ice covered beaver pond. This time, however, with help from the sun, the ice had softened just enough that one of the dogs did break through. With strong will, shallow waters, and motivating fear, the dog was able to make it back to shore without any harm. Back at the car, and saying our goodbyes, I found myself wishing we could just pause time and continue hiking. It was a perfect day, with warm weather, clear skies, and an energizing group with exceptional compatibility.
Participants: Jan Grady, Mike Grady, Sarah Fijal, Scott Fijal, Joanne Mellin, Taylor Christie, and the dogs: Sheyenne (boxer), Trigger (Vizsla) and Buster (Golden Retriever).
Trip Leader: Kelley Mackison
3/15/2009 Butler Lodge Loop
8 participants. Fantastic day! We hiked to Butler Lodge. One participant commented that it was nice to bask in the warmth of the sun rather than huddling inside. We continued on the Wallace Cut-off to the Long Trail. We crossed the Underhill-Overland X-C Ski Trail. Then we took the Nebraska Notch Trail back to the parking lot. What was interesting was that we never saw another hiker on our entire route, except for our group of course. But, the parking lot was full – it was amazing. The temperature felt like it was 50 degrees. It was a great day. Participants – Steve Lightholder, Alan Finn, Heather Allin, Anneliese Koenig, Llyn Ellison, Mary Keenan, Jackie Liebman, Carlene Squires.
3/7/2009 Whiteface Mountain (VT)
9 participants. Who would have known we could have a 50 degree day in the valley in early March? Well, as we know, living in Vermont, anything could happen! Nine of us plus two four-legged creatures met at the trailhead for what was developing into a clear day. The conditions were just about perfect – warm, not mushy snow, but fairly well packed, no wind. All of us had snowshoes and wore them the entire trip. Anything else would have had us postholing and that would not have been fun! After hitting the meadow and beginning the ascent to the shelter followed by the summit, we were ready for a nice break facing Madonna Mountain. The top could not be viewed at this point due to cloud cover, but you could make out several skiers with the naked eye making their way down the slopes. A quick break for eats, then onto the top of the 3,715′ peak. The final 4/10 of the hike is not only steep in parts, but poorly marked, so much so that when this trip leader attempted it three weeks ago, she could not find it and due to timing, needed to turn around! Frustration to the max. The same proved true with this hike, which actually turned out fine, because it became a partial bushwack! We met up with the trail and made our way. The views were now becoming clearer and with a few minutes and a few pics at the top, we made our way back to the shelter, where it had completely cleared, so much so that now you could see the top of Madonna, the towers on the Nose as well as the Chin on Mansfield. Back at the Beaver Meadow clearing, we made our way over to the shelter, then looped back onto the main trail. A great day all in all! Participants – Christopher Morris, Bill Moore, Miguel Bosse, Phil Hazen, Tim Welsh, Lynda Hutchins, Chuck Bond, David Hathaway, Robynn Albert.
Photo by Dave and Phil
3/6,7,8/09 Wiezel Cabin Week-end
16 participants. Didn’t I mention somewhere before: we never know what surprises await us on this Adirondack week-end. This year proved to be no different, with boiler plate ice along most of the lowland trails and chills and some nasty spills by one of our regulars. (Get better soon, Clem!) The snowshoeing up in the higher elevations was excellent. A few of us tackled a high peak. Food and camaraderie were also excellent. The wine tasting tour seems to have become a Saturday afternoon thing! There were 16 participants, organized by Linda Evans and her trusty computer.
3/1/2009 Mount Mansfield
The trip had been planned to go up the Laura Cowles trail, since that provides more protection than Sunset Ridge in the wind, but Laura Cowles is steep, and disliked by some. We had a good day, little wind, and there had been deep snow a few days before, so we decided we would take whichever trail had been stamped out by previous hikers. The existing footprints led to Sunset Ridge, so we went that way. In general, the snowpack was deep but firm. Once on the ridge, the weather was about as benign as it can be in winter, but on the ground we were greeted by large stretches of ‘water-ice’ – bare rock that had been covered by water, now frozen in solid, flowed sheets. Micro-spikes or some other type of crampon were needed to handle this ice, so we all put them on and continued up. The trip to the top took 3 _ hours from the winter parking lot. There were high, thick cloud layers building from Camel’s Hump south, but we had clear weather above Mansfield, and great views to the north. After a short lunch break, we headed down, again using Sunset Ridge, and arrived back at the cars 5 and 3/4 hours after starting.
2/21/09 Hazen’s Notch Cross Country Ski Center
4 participants. Once again Rolf Anderson and company treated us club members by giving a generous discount for our skiing day pass. We are never disappointed by the conditions (it’s either “a bit of snow” or TONS of snow!) nor the friendly smiling faces. It was a small group but we had a wonderful day. Participants – Michael Banks, Lee Ann Banks, Sara Burghoff, Linda Evans (leader).
2/16/2009 Snake Mountain, Perfect Weather
Five if us enjoy a great view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks as we had perfect weather. We walked up in well under two hours on a hard-packed snow and ice trail; everybody had ice-grips or snowshoes for traction. This climb has about a 900’ elevation gain and is 1,287 ft. at its summit, sort of like a Mt. Philo on steroids. Snake Mtn, is south of Vergennes in Addison. Jean Anderson, Lee Ann Banks, Mike Banks, Lori Marriott, and Ted Albers trip leader.
2/15/2009 Wind Gap
3 participants. We had beautiful weather and a trail packed so hard we didn’t need snowshoes all the way to the beaver pond. Just beyond there there was little packing and I immediateluy I sunk in over my knees. I said “We put on snowshoes or we turn around.” The group decided to turn around. We stopped at Hump Brook tent area for lunch. We all enjoyed the hike. Participants – Peggy, Maureen and Dot
2/7/2009 Nebraska Notch Trail to Taylor Lodge
4 Participants plus 3 Dogs. The sun was actually shining and started at about 15 degrees and warmed up to the high 20’s low 30’s. We definitely took advantage of it. We soaked in the sun as it filtered through the trees on our walk up to the lodge, having to stop a couple of times to adjust our layers as we were getting hot. When we arrived at Taylor Lodge, we enjoyed some hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies for our early lunch. Though a leisurely hike, roundtrip including our lunch stop, it took only about 3 hours. I had the opportunity to talk with Dot Myer about her approximate 50 years with the Green Mountain Club. She offered fascinating stories that help me appreciate all of those who make our trails as beautiful and well maintained as they are. And it was fascinating to hear how hiking has evolved over the years: From all wool to now polypropylene and packbaskets to Camelbak’s. All in all, it ended up being an all ladies hike on a beautiful day on a beautiful trail with inspiring conversations.
1/31/2009 Stowe Pinnacle
5 participants. This was a picture perfect winter hike to this popular peak. Our group got off to a planned late start, with three participants meeting at 10 a.m. and two others joining the group at the trailhead. We took it easy, enjoying conversation, stillness, admiration for the twig tepee and snow-covered cairn along the trail, the sunshine and, well, being in the woods on a beautiful day. We paused for photo ops and snacks at the rocky outcropping of the summit. Views in all directions were spectacular, and headed down with lots of daylight left to savour. Participants: Mark Blanchard, Suzanne Daningburg, David Hathaway and his four-legged friend Bailey, Mary Keenan, Robert Riversong.
1/24/2009 Mount Abe via Battell
4 participants. The day started out a bit on the chilly side and pretty much stayed that way, but the plus for this group of four was what was forecasted to be a cloudy day was anything but. The sky was as blue as blue can be as we made our ascent and stayed that way. Against the whitest snow, it was just “exceptional” as Robert stated in a message this morning. Stayed for just a bit on the summit as the wind kicked up but made our way back down to the shelter and had a bite before we headed to the cars. Running down was the theme for three of us and the one sane sole walked at a healthy stride and we all made it in one piece. Great day all the way around! Participants – Phil Hazen, Robert Riversong, David Hathaway, Robynn Albert
Photos by Phil Hazen
1/18/2009 Camel’s Hump / Monroe Trail
4 participants. It seemed that a lot of people had done a lot of Camel’s Hump hikes this winter, so turnout was fairly low for this event. We had a good day, with very light snow and temperatures around 10 degrees at the start and on the summit. The trail was packed snow, but never ice, so it was relatively soft. Most used snowshoes from the start. We headed up about 9:20 AM from the winter lot, and reached the top almost exactly three hours later. The top was cloudy, with a wind probably 20-25 mph, but generally benign weather for a mountaintop at mid-winter in Vermont. The trip down was quicker, being made in two hours, including a 15 minute lunch break in the trees at the Alpine Trail junction. Some would have run down in probably an hour, but the leader’s knees would never survive going down that fast. We were back in the cars around 2:20 PM, and heading home. Participants – Phil Hazen, Phil Howard, Bill Moore, Richard Larsen.
Snowshoe hike on Nebraska Notch trail to Taylor Lodge.
Six people and one dog.
The morning started off snowy, but all the cars made it up the steep road to the trail head. As soon as we stopped Nitika was in heaven running, rolling, and swimming in the snow. She brought excitement for all of us. The weather was perfect on the Nebraska Notch trail with hiking in the sun with little wind. The sights of snow covered trees with reaching shadows in the sun were postcard perfect. Once we turned onto the Long trail and crossed over our last hill approaching Taylor lodge, we experience the other side of winter. The wind picked up, it seemed much colder, and the suns rays no longer brighten our way. Most of us actually went inside the cabin to avoid the bone chilling wind. Ted Albers was generous to offer some hand warmers to those who desire them. Unfortunately it was too cold to wait for Dot Myers to make it all the way to the lodge. So we quickly took a group photo and headed back. The wind felt like it picked up even more on the hike back up the hill from the lodge. Blowing snow, encourage most of us to bundle up with and use our hoods. We met Dot who was about four tenths of a mile from the lodge. She was high in spirits and is always willing to turn around when the rest are headed back. Dot is a long time hiker who is always welcome on my hikes. Soon after getting over the hill and back to the Nebraska Notch trail, the sun was out once again warming our souls. The winds disappear like someone just turn off a switch. It was strange how once side could be so nice and the other so stormy. The hike down was as pleasant as going up. Nitika kept stealing my mitten and running. A form of play we learn to do to help keep warm. Tabatha and Heather commuted together, so they left when they finished the hike. Ted, drove himself, since he had to stop over in Essex on the return trip. He too was headed out when he finished ahead of the balance of the group. Soon after I arrived back to the parking lot, Mary noticed Ted was out with a shovel. It turned out someone parked on the side of the road, forcing others to go around their parked car. Ted, with his super Subaru must have decided he did not need to stay on the other tire tracks and could make a wider pass. Unknowing to him the snow covered a deep, and I do mean deep ditch. Lucky for Ted, there were lots of eager helping hands. Unlucky for Ted, all these hands could not push him out. Also unlucky for Ted, another Subaru and tow rope could not pull him out. After much swearing about the owner of the car that left his car parked along the side of the road and the thought of rolling the park car over on its side, Ted’s luck changed. A person with a four wheel truck came to the rescue. Lucky for all of us, if Ted’s car could not be moved, then most of us would not be able to get by with no place to go. Thanks to all the participants for a wonderful hike.
Hikers: Dot Myer, Tabatha Small, Heather Allin, Ted Albers, and Mary Keenan
Leader: Robert Chaperon and his American Eskimo dog Nitika
1/4/2009 Buchanan Snowshoe
4 participants. We met at 9:30 at the Cambridge commuter lot, piled into Phil’s truck, and drove up to the Long Trail crossing at Rt 242. The sky was cloudy and Phil’s car thermometer was reading around 10 F when we got on the trail at 10:30, and I don’t think it changed much during the day. David had done a preview hike almost to Domey’s Dome on the previous Wednesday, and this kept us from spending too much time route finding on that part of the hike, but the subsequent snow and wind still meant we were breaking a fresh trail. The sun came out around the time we got to the first summit (Gilpin south), and continued for the rest of the day. The trail blazes along this trail section are very faded and difficult to see, except for an extremely occasional (maybe 2 or 3 per mile) white plastic strip nailed to a tree. Despite this, we didn’t get lost too often and reached Buchanan summit at 1:30. At this point we decided to forgo the extra mile to Bruce Peak, as it would have certainly meant finishing the return trip by headlamp (we had them, but weren’t anxious to use them). On the return Robynn and Phil set out at a fast pace, and David and Miguel lagged behind, meeting up back at the trail head at around 3:30. Participants – Phil Hazen, Robynn Albert, Miguel Bosse, David Hathaway.
Mount Mansfield via Sunset Ridge Trail
5 participants, 1 dog
The day started off early with a nice surprise of seeing about 10 inches of fresh fluffy snow on our drive up. Feeling adventurous, we decided to park in the Underhill State Park parking lot, right by the trailhead. We love to hike, but don’t necessarily prefer road walking. : ) Amazingly enough, the cars were like the Little Engine that Could…they just kept trucking right up to the lot despite the road conditions. In the process of getting the cars turned around we did have to dig one out. It was more of a team building exercise than anything else. Everyone got involved. After our warm up of digging snow, we started up the Sunset Ridge Trail. The temperature was in the mid teens at the base and was fairly cloudy as we couldn’t see the summit. About 15 minutes in we did have a tragic loss of coveted hot chocolate as it began leaking out of one of the hiker’s pack. But not to worry, Trigger the only dog attending, surely ate the snow where the hot chocolate leaked. She apparently also practices “Leave No Trace”. Onward we pushed through fluffy snow with a couple of surprises of the snow collapsing underneath us. The trail was gorgeous with heavy snow on the trees that worked its way down our necks as we brushed underneath them. As we hiked just above treeline, we were greeted with icy rocks and windy conditions. A couple of us decided at this point, that it might be best for some to turn around and let the dog warm up as she was shivering. Others bravely pushed onward to face more wind and more ice. Given the conditions, they wisely also turned around before the summit. At the base, we enjoyed some gingersnap cookies and a nice view of the mountain as the sky had cleared and left brilliant blue skies.
Participants: Phil Hazen, Robynn Albert, Robert Riversong, Lynda Hutchins, Taylor Christie
Trip Leader: Kelley Mackison and her dog Trigger.
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