Trip Reports for September – December 2013 (updated 1/19/14) with photos

12/8/2013 Mount Abraham via Battell Trail
This was another well-attended trip, with twelve hikers and four dogs coming together at the Battell trail head. The day was clear, and the trail was dry to start. As we started running to patches of ice, a few microspikes were strapped on. After regrouping at the shelter and a bit of a snack, we all strapped on the spikes. The trail was very ice as we made our way to the summit. We enjoyed a long lunch before an uneventful descent to the trailhead.
Trip Leader: Darryl Smith
Attendees: Fred, Wes, Peter, Carlene, Wendy, Llyn, Tracy, Dean, Tom, Kim and Lynda.

12/14/2013: Nebraska Notch to Butler Lodge
Trip leader: David Hathaway
Max Seaton, Bill Moore, Robynn Albert, Wes Volk, Ted Albers, Phil Hazen
We met at 9 AM at the Underhill Center commuter lot under slighty hazy skies with a temperature around -5 F and headed up to the trailhead parking in two vehicles. It was too cold to stand around, so the first four of us started up Nebraska Notch Trail at about 9:15 while the last three finished getting their gear organized. The trail had a dusting of snow over a packed and tracked surface. We regrouped near the high point on Nebraska Notch Trail and then continued on, reaching the Long Trail junction about 10:30. We took a short break, and then headed north on the Long Trail, which was untracked except for some old faint ski tracks, but was still firm enough that no one needed or used snowshoes. We took about a 10 minute break shortly before the Twin Brooks tenting area, when the sun, which had burned through the haze, finally peaked over the edge of the ridge. The sun disappeared again before we reached Butler Lodge and never did much to raise the temperature, which probably peaked at about 0 F during the hike. There was only a little wind, but at these temperatures even that was enough to sting. Just before Twin Brooks we met a lone hiker who had started out from the trailhead between the departures of our two groups and who was doing the same loop in the opposite direction, and we followed his tracks the rest of the way. We reached Butler Lodge a little after noon, where we spent about 20 minutes having lunch sheltered inside from the wind. We then headed down Butler Lodge Trail and reached the trailhead around 1:15.

12/7/2013 – GMC Hedgehog (HH) and Lower Wolf Jaw (LWJ) Mtns.
Whenever there is a trek across the pond to hike in the Adirondacks, you can bet on a long day. The trek to Keene Valley on Saturday, December 7 was no different. We met in South Burlington at 6:45 am. On our way to the trailhead, we made a brief stop in Addison to pick up Cecelia, then the Stewart’s in Port Henry. We began our trek from the Roostercomb parking lot at approximately 9 am. The ground was pretty bare, little ice here and there, nothing serious. When we reached the intersection of Roostercomb and HH and LWJ, the decision was made to head to the latter, and then if we had time on our way back, we’d grab the Rooster! The ice became more prevalent as we climbed. Day was cloudy, therefore made the views (which are limiting anyway with tree coverage) a little challenging. Saw many of the Irene slides which are still amazing to see after two plus years. The summit of HH is pretty much a non-event, no sign, just a guesstimate that you are there! We reached the summit of LWJ around 12:20 pm and of course if you’re ever on a climb with Tim Welsh, he breaks open the celebratory bottle o’ red for toasting purposes! Headed back to the trailhead and once reaching the Rooster intersection, the unanimous decision was made to head into KV for eats, therefore skipping that summit. It’s always about the food and drink, right?! Returned to the trailhead at approx. 3:45 pm, then headed to The Ausable Inn, followed by the parking lot in So BTV around 8 pm, a good day was had by all! Trip Leader: Robynn Albert Trip Participants: Cecilia Elwert, Tracy Sweeney, Max Seaton, Wes Volk, Jay Strauss, Tim Welsh, Phil Hazen. Photos thanks to Hazen, Albert, Volk
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11/30/13 Mt. Hunger via the Waterbury side
Leader: Sheri Larsen
Participants: Robynn Albert, Max Seaton, Debbie Page, Steve Page, Kim Farone, Chuck Bond, Judy Bond, Scott Springer, Larry Gagne, Margaret Benn, Wes Volk, Phil Hazen, Rich Larsen
I was surprised with all the phone calls I got about the hike up Mt. Hunger, especially since the forecast was for a cold day with wind. We ended up with 14 people at the trailhead, where the temperature at the start was about 4 degrees. We all started off with microspikes or comparable footware and carried snowshoes just in case (but didn’t need them after all). As we hiked It did warm up some, but it was still cold and windy at the top. However, our reward at the top was blue sky and incredibly beautiful views.
On the way down, we split into two groups. Six hikers went over to White Rocks and back and then headed to Prohibition Pig for refreshments. The rest of us hiked down at a leisurely pace. From there, one car load went straight home and another made a stop for chocolate and cheese in Waterbury Center.
The group was very experienced so we all hiked at a fairly good pace. Everyone seemed to have a great time. From the trip leader’s perspective, It was a super start to the winter hiking season.
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11/23/13 Worcester Mtn.
We met and we conquered! Wearing our orange (Max had not one but TWO orange caps to be seen by any hunters), we arrived at the trailhead in Worcester at approx. 9:30 am. Met just three others on the trail the entire day (actually three humans and 2 canines). The trail started off a bit muddy, then snow covered (very little), followed by ice to the summit. At one point, we were all wearing our microspikes which were needed for the descent at least part way. The view, luckily, got better as we ascended with clear views of the range and the Adirondacks. Good day, good weather, good group! Trip Leader: Robynn Albert with Trip Participants: Tracy Sweeney, Max Seaton, Lynda Hutchins

11/02/2013 Camel’s Hump via Monroe Trail
David, Ted, Max, and Wes met at 9:00 at the Richmond commuter lot and headed in two cars to the Duxbury trailhead. Diane was a little delayed, and we’d written her a note saying we had headed up just as she arrived. We got started at about 9:45. The day was overcast and cool, but not cold. Several folks brough microspikes, but the rains in recent days appear to have melted any early seasons snows, as we never saw a trace of snow or ice. The rains had left the trails somewhat wetter and the streams somewhat fuller than usual. The high winds a couple days earlier had also left a number of downed branches and trees. David was leading and cleared a lot of the smaller branches, but several required saw, which we didn’t have. We reached the hut clearing around 11:30 and stopped for lunch, some group pictures, and, for most of us, to add a layer before heading to the summit. There were several other folks at the summit, and while the wind wasn’t as strong as it often is, it was strong enough to keep us from hanging around for too long. From the summit we took the Long Trail south to the southern end of the Alpine Trail, which we took back to its junction with the Monroe Trail, taking a side trip to view the remains of the 1944 wreck of a World Ware II B-24. We headed back down the Monroe Trail, reaching the Dean Trail junction at about 1:30, where we had the rest of our lunches. Just as we were finishing, the forecast rains that we’d so far avoided finally started. We finished the last leg of the trail in a light rain, getting back to the trailhead around 2:30. leader: David Hathaway; Diane Linehan, Ted Albers, Wes Volk, Max Seaton.

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11/2013 – Ethan Allen Summit
As we began to gather at our meeting place, it started to rain. We wondered if this was going to be a cold wet hike. By the time we reached the Burrows trailhead, the rain had stopped. We took the crossover to the Forest City Trail to Montclair Glen Shelter for a quick snack. The ground was covered with snow and snowflakes began to fall. Some folks decided to try out their micro spikes. We took the Long Trail to the summit of Ethan Allen Mt. with limited views as there was snow in the air. We gathered again at Montclair Glen for lunch. It turned out to be a nice day with our first signs of winter. Participants were: Leader Carlene Squires, Andy Squires, Joey Corcoran, Wendy Savoie, Fred Royce,Wes Volk, Mary Lou Recor, Jan Tobias, Lynda Hutchins, Jeff Shelby, Cassandra Corcoran, Mary Keenan.
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10/27/13 GMC Mt. Mansfield Loop
Checking the weather on and off a few days prior to this outing, it looked like possible rain so I was on the fence for canceling. As the week wore on, the rain possibility diminished, so the trip was a go. Nine of us met in Essex at the P&R and headed to the Underhill State Park trailhead. We got as far as the gate and stopped as it was down…headed to the trailhead where we were met with patches of snow. By the time we hit the trail intersection of CCC Road, Sunset Ridge, etc. the snow on the picnic table likely measured 5″. Halfway House was not broken out with the new snow accumulation so it was not too tedious. (I say this but I was not at the front of pack!) Reached the top of HH at 10:15; here we lost Mark B. as he needed to head back to NH. The excitement then began with high winds (one prediction was 35 mph, another was 40 mph….regardless, it was windy, windy, windy!), hail pelting in your face, little visibility, etc. I love an adventure like this, and totally unpredictable! We spent little time at the summit (except for Phil and Larry who braved it for lunch while the rest of us found shelter in trees), then re-routed down Laura Cowles rather than the intended Sunset Ridge (to get out of the howling winds and pelting hail). Reached the cars at 1:30 pm. A good day was had by all! Trip Leader: Robynn Albert
Trip Participants: Mark McLane, Diane Lineham, Max Seaton, Mark Blanchard, Wes Volk, Lynda Hutchins, Larry Gagne and Phil Hazen; Photo Credit: Phil Hazen, Diane Linehan (apologies for the sideways photos upon enlargement!)P1040913

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Lunch Break

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Mansfield Summit

Summit Group 1

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10/21/13 Snow Goose Trip
Last year’s Snow Goose trip turned into a sparrow walk because the geese had decided to hang out in NY rather than VT. This year we got lucky! The planned Friday 10/18 trip was postponed until 10/21, but Corky Magoon went to Addison alone on the original date and saw several hundred of the beautiful white birds. The following Monday, six of us spent an hour watching over a thousand geese as they fed in corn fields close to the Viewing Area along Route 17. In the flock there were at least six “blue geese” (gray-blue bodies, white heads), a variant of Snow Goose that used to be considered a separate species. There were also many grayish immature Snow Geese.
Three Snow Geese had bright yellow collars, indicating that they’d been caught and banded. A website allows people to check on the travels of banded geese. We found out that one of “our” geese, #TC75, was banded in August 2011 on Bylot Island, which is at the northern end of Baffin Island, 900 miles north of the Arctic Circle! This goose was also seen 3/6/12, 2/12/13 and 2/14/13 at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Pennsylvania.
After ogling the geese, we went for a walk on a dirt road and had lunch at The Bridge Restaurant. In addition to the Snow Geese, we saw two unexpected birds: a female Ruddy Duck that everyone got to look at through a spotting scope and a Tree Swallow. (Poor thing! There are very few bugs left for it to be eating!)
Other species:
Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Greater Yellowlegs
Ring-billed Gull
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
American Robin
European Starling
American Pipit
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch
Human participants were Corky Magoon (10/18) and, on 10/21, trip leader Maeve Kim, Leslie Nulty, Wendy Savoie, Bruce Gilbert-Smith, Linda Thompson and Tom Jiamachello.

10/20/13
LaPlatte River Marsh Natural area, Shelburne
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This group of 11 knew a good thing when they saw it. Clearing sky and no rain! We Walked the LaPlatte River Marsh Natural area, a small part of the Ti-Haul trail, then the Shelburne Bay Clarke Trail and Allen Hill trail, including a bold summit of Allen Hill (250 feet, maybe??) with its great views of Shelburne Bay. The Nature Conservancy and Green Mountain Power have cleared years worth of invasive undergrowth from the Ti-Haul trails leaving open viewing into the LaPlatte. We had out lunch on the rocks of Shelburne Bay – a few sailboats are still in the water. Thanks to all who made it! Lynda, Robynn, Rowena, Dot, Don, Don, Max, Carolyn, Jennifer, Mary and trip leader Ted. Photos by Mary and Ted.
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Zebra Mussels…everywhere!Zebra

10/19/2013 Camels Hump via Burrows Trail
I thought a slow easy trip up the Burrows Trail to Camels Hump would bring out a few hikers. The weather cooperated, so we had quite a group, 17 happy hikers. We all made it to the trailhead, except two; we waited around for awhile, but I figured they’re young, and will catch up. I brought up the rear for awhile, then headed for the front to ensure everyone stopped at the hut clearing to regroup. We got rather spread out, and was thirty minutes before everyone arrived. The missing two also showed up, having come up the Monroe Trail. The peak was cool and windy, though we hung out there for quite awhile. We headed down and out without incident.
Trip Leader: Darryl Smith
Attendees: Anne, Fred, Max, Lynda, Patty, Margie, Judith, John, Carol, Cathy, Lisa, Marshall, Thomas, Rick, Svetlana and Clem.

10/13/2013- Worcester Ridge
Dan, Joshua Molly, and David met at 8:30 at the Richmond commuter lot and headed in two cars to the Middlesex trailhead, where we left one car and continued in the other to the Worcester trailhead. We got on the trail at about 9:50. The day was cool and partly cloudy, but dry. We reached Worcester summit around 11:15, where we took a short break for a snack before continuing along the ridge, reaching the unnamed peak 2 miles farther down the trail around 12:40, and on to the junction with the Ridge Trail (to Stowe Pinnacle) at around 2:00. There we had the rest of our lunches and continued along the ridge, taking in the views of Mansfield and Stowe to the west, and reaching Mt. Hunger at around 3:45. We then headed down Middlesex Trail over the steep (and fortunately dry) slabs on the east side of Mt. Hunger, reaching the care we’d left at the trailhead around 5:25.
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10/12/13
A great day for a hike on ‘Crouching Lion.’ (Winooski bridge progress photos)P1040885Mary Keenan, Mark Mclane, and Lisa Sipsey joined me for this picture perfect fall day on the Monroe Trail with mild temperatures and beautiful foliage at the lower elevations. After navigating the Alpine Bypass trail to the south side of the mountain, the winds started to pickup. At the summit the winds were quite brisk at an estimated 40 to 50 mph. We found some shelter in the rocks, had lunch and enjoyed the fantastic panorama. On our way back we stopped at the south site of the new Winooski footbridge to check out the progress. See river photo below. Trip leader- Phil HazenP1040877

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9/28/13 – Abbey Pond
Five people enjoyed a perfect sunny fall day on our hike to Abbey Pond. We had heard that the trail was improved and were very happy to see good stepping stones at both brook crossings. We also found that the trail had been rerouted around the wet area just before the pond. We ate our lunch on a sunny rock on the pond shore and enjoyed the fall foliage. The attached picture was taken by Debbie Manning. Participants: Fred Royce, Deborah Manning, Steve Barrett, Daniel Wright, Dot Myer.Abbeypond92813

9/8 Sterling Pond / Smugglers Notch
Seven left, and seven returned – one sure sign of a successful hike 🙂 We left the picnic area parking lot on Rt. 108 just south of the Notch, and headed up a wet Long Trail seeing only one other set of hikers. A contingent took a look up and down the Notch from Elephant’s lookout. Temps headed down on the way up as we became exposed to the northeast wind. We arrived at Sterling Pond to find other visitors many with dogs enjoying the pond, and gradually more sunshine. We headed back down via a busy Sterling Pond trail and then back to the parking lot via the road, which before you know it will be closed for the winter! Thanks to all who took a good part of their day to make this a great hike. Lynda, Heather, Brittany, Fred, Jennifer, Marion; trip leader Ted. (click photo for larger version) Sterling_Pond_2013_09

9/1/2-13 – Whiteface from Smuggler’s Notch
David and Kim met at the Cambridge commuter lot at 9 AM and took one car up to the top of Sumggler’s Notch where we were fortunate enough to find a place to park. We walked through low thin clouds, damp woods, and consequently slippery trails, which slowed progress in places. We saw a few folks at Sterling Pond and as we descended from Madonna, but had trails to ourselves from there to Whiteface. We went up to the top of Whiteface around 1:30 before returning to Whiteface Shelter, where we had a late lunch. On our return we again saw a few people as we passed the ski trails, including a friend of Kim’s out walking her dogs, and found around 20 people at Sterling Pond. We finally got back to the car around 5.Kim Freitas with Trip leader: David Hathaway.DSCN1592

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