Trip Reports – January – April, 2014 (updated 5/26/14) photos galore

4/27/14 Wildflower Hike at Niquette Bay State Park
Trip Leader: Sheri Larsen
Participants: Rich Larsen, Sally Rice, Jeanette Ruffle, Jean Anderson, Marlene Price
Description: In years past, the peak time for wildflowers at Niquette Bay State Park has been the last weekend in April. On previous hikes during this weekend, we have seen twenty or more varieties of wildflowers in bloom. This year, however, I knew that the season started late because of the cold and gray weather we’ve had. Even though I warned people that we wouldn’t see as many flowers as usual, I had about 15 people sign up for the hike. But, when April 27th rolled around and the temperature was in the upper 30s early in the morning and the forecast was for chance of showers, about 10 people opted out of the hike. But, five brave souls showed up to join me on the hike. By the start time for the hike, 12:30 p.m., the showers had stopped and it wasn’t too bad for a hike day. We did see several flowers in bloom – Dutchman’s Breeches, Hepatica, Bloodroot, White Trillium and Trout Lily – and many more kinds of flowers were just about ready to pop out. We also saw our first Red Eft of the season.
Sheri: Photos Attached (in order): Dutchman’s, Red Eft, Bloodroot
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4/27/14 Spring Bird Walk
A late winter/early spring bird walk was scheduled for March 23 – but nature decided March 23 counted as mid-winter. Faced with ice, sleet, snow and howling winds, the leader rescheduled for April 27. Nature was still thinking winter on that date also, with dark skies and a mixture of snow and rain. Nevertheless, everyone who signed up showed up! The group was enthusiastic and motivated from the first minute until the last. After watching birds from the fishing access parking lot on Bay Road in Shelburne, we walked the Ti-Haul Trail. One of the highlights was the last bird we saw. Just as we were getting into our cars to leave, a majestic adult Bald Eagle flew by.
The human participants: Maeve Kim (leader), Mary and Bob Dill, Molly Walsh, Tracy Sweeney, Pam Kupiec, and Terry Ranney.
Other mammalian participants: several dogs and one otter
The avian participants:
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Bufflehead
Double-crested Cormorant
Osprey
Ring-billed Gull
Great Egret
Ring-billed Gull
Bald Eagle
Turkey Vulture
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Merlin
Blue Jay
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch

4/19/14
Seventeenth Annual Map & Compass Course
Phil Hazen, leader
Five participants joined for this annual course to test their skills in the “vast wilderness” between Indian Brook Reservoir and Colchester Pond. Included were John Kowalski, Kim Mihan, Max Seaton, Lisa Sipsey, and Tim Welsh. After a couple of hours of intense instruction (the rain finally stopped) it was off to the edge of the wilderness to start our adventure.
Kim started us on our bushwhack by carefully avoiding the trail going in our same direction whenever possible. Eventually we had to traverse our first of many obstacles, a beaver dam, in our quest to follow our compass bearing to the trail on the edge of Colchester Pond. With John, Lisa, Tim, and Max taking their turns navigating us through dense forest, more beaver dams, raging water falls (see photo with Tim & Kim) and a major cliff, we were almost there.
At this point, I said to Kim, unless you join the Burlington Section, you may end up spending the night in the woods. She saw the light (the sun came out), so welcome to our newest member to the Burlington Section.
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4/13/14 Falls of Lana and Silver Lake
Leader: Dot Myer
Other Participants: Fred Royce and Bill Ross
In Vermont “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute” . This worked well for the three hikers who left Burlington in the rain for Silver Lake. When we got to the trailhead the rain had just stopped. We did the whole hike without a drop of rain. We made our way around or across patches of ice and soon heard the roar of the Falls of Lana. Without leaves on the trees we could see the great cascades of rushing water for some distance. We then turned and went on to Silver Lake which was mostly frozen. We ate lunch there. The sun came out a bit while we were eating and got brighter on the way back down.
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4/6/14 Mt Mansfield
Participants: Kevin Lynde, Wolfgang Hokenmaier (outing leader)
Despite more initial interest in the outing, Kevin was the only person I had heard back from by Saturday night. Given Kevin’s strong and recent hiking resume, and both of us being used to hiking solo, we decided to meet as planned at 8am at the end of the road in Stowe. Forecast was a high of 50 for this day, but in the morning it seemed far from it, being cold, overcast and with light snow falling. The Long Trail was hard and covered with more than a dusting of fresh powder from the night. Snowshoe crampons needed to be applied firmly on the steeper sections. We arrived at Taft Lodge just after 10am. The door was open and blocked by snow and ice piling up in front of the building, with just a small hole permitting entrance.
Further up there were definitely no signs of spring on this windy and cold morning. We ascended the North Ridge using full crampons, which dug in through the hard crust just the right amount. Snowshoe crampons would have been a challenge if not outright dangerous on this exposed section of trail.
The weather improved with every step, it seemed, and by the time we reached the summit the weather forecast seemed much more plausible, with the sun coming out and showing its April strength.
Somehow we missed Profanity Trail and descended more towards the gondola, which was a fun detour given the still excellent conditions for our crampons, which permitted us to choose our own path. We circled back and joined Profanity just uphill from the Lodge and descended in the now increasingly soft conditions, passing a couple dozen other hikers who had apparently chosen to sleep in much longer than us. A fun and rewarding hike, from a “mid-winter” alpine ascend to getting a tan on the way down.
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3/30/14 Snake Mountain
Burlington Leader: Dot Myer Middlebury Leader: Mike
The Burlington Section and the Middlebury Section both had hikes scheduled for Snake Mountain on March 30. We decided to combine and hike together. When the hike was planned near-spring conditions were expected. Instead we had pleanty of snow. It was hard packed and we used spikes. It was a warm pleasant day with a good view. We went up and back down by the trail instead of the carriage road. Particiants: From Burlington Carollee Reynolds (a member for some time but this is her first hike with us) and Dot Myer From Middlebury: Mike, Ralph, and Mary (sorry I didn’t get their last names)

3/22/14 Hike/snowshoe up Mt. Abraham via the Battell Trail
Participants: Rich Larsen, Judy Bond, Chuck Bond, Debbie Page, Peter Cottrell, Max Seaton, Lynda Hutchins, Kim Farone, Tracy Sweeney; Leader:Sheri Larsen (photos by Sheri)
With a forecast of cold temperatures and cloudy with a chance of snow, I was surprised to have a group of 10 people for the hike. We started up the Battell Trail at a fast pace to stay warm and stopped only for a quick snack at Battell Shelter since some of us were cold. At the shelter several in the group switched from microspikes to snowshoes since there was a lot of snow. Others continued up with just spikes on their feet. (Those with snowshoes seemed to have an easier time going up, but the steep section at the top was easier going down for those with spikes.) At the top, visibility was very limited and it was so windy that I had trouble standing upright. It felt like we were in the middle of a big storm in January and not doing an end-of-winter hike. We finished our lunches back at Battell Shelter and then headed back down to the trailhead. By the time we returned to our cars, the temperature had warmed up and we stood around chatting about the fun hike we all had.
For three of the hikers, it was their first time up on top of Mt. Abraham. I encouraged them to return to the peak on a nice day so they could see the great views from the summit.
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4/12/14 – Camels Hump via Monroe Trail
Trip leader: David Hathaway
Max Seaton, Mary Keenan, Phil Hazen: We met at 8:30 AM at the Richmond commuter lot and headed up to the trailhead in Duxbury. There was still a lot of snow on the road to the summer parking area, so we parked in the winter lot and started up around 9:15. It was sunny and not too cold, but the snow was still pretty firm after a cold night and the trail was packed. So nobody used snowshoes to start, though most donned spikes right away. We reached the hut clearing around noon and had lunch (or the first part of it) and then headed up to the summit. It was windy at the top, though less so than it often is, so everyone donned a shell. We hadn’t seen many folks on the way up, but there were a lot at the top, and even more coming up through the hut clearing as we headed down, including a couple of groups from the Dartmouth Outing Club. Another group of high school to college age kids even went up in shorts, and were seen butt sliding down to the hut clearing in the snow (brr…. and ouch!). The sun had softened the snow quite a bit, so on the way down one by one we all donned the snowshoes we’d been carrying to avoid postholing. We got back to the car around 2:45. On the way back to the Richmond commuter lot, we stopped to check out the progress on the Winooski bridge.DSCN1667

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March 8, 2014 Young Adventurers Club
Trip Leader: Kelley Christie and Piper Christie
Today brought the temperatures we’ve all been waiting for: 30’s with only a light breeze. Though cloudy it was a perfect day. We explored Red Rocks Park in south Burlington. Our first stop was at the “wolf” tree to peak inside and imagine what lived in all of the woodpecker holes, practice our tree climbing skills, roll in the soft snow and climb in the stick teepee. Then we ventured down to the lake navigating the icy trails and steep stairs building our confidence with each step. Once we reached the lake we discovered it frozen enough to run on. What a unique vantage point to be on the water looking back at shore. We saw birds fly above and dogs and squirrels run around the woods. It was a day of adventure, friendship and discovery. A perfect day for our children. Participants:
-Pam Gowland
-Raina Gowland
-Melissa Gara
-Camille Gara
-Michelle Stinnett
-Justin Stinnett
-Josh Stinnett
-Chloe Stinnett
-Jen Ayers
-Jon Ayers
-Amelia Ayers
Interested in joining a future “YAC” outing with your children? Contact Kelley:
kelleymchristie@gmail.com
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2/22/14 GMC Dix Mountain
Heading to the Adirondacks is always nostalgic for me, being from E’town and the trip on this day was no different. I have climbed Dix 1 and 1/2 times before, once in my late 20s, early 30s and the second time, the half time, last March which turned into a rescue operation (not for me nor anyone in our group….another story altogether). Originally I had planned this outing for Hopkins, Green and Giant. That was when we had just received a fresh dumping of fluffy, white powder. Then, when the prediction was for an all day rain to arrive the day before, that was no longer going to be an option. Hopkins to Giant is not a popular trail to begin with and the likelihood of it being broken out was little to not! So Plan B was Dix.
Group met at 6:30 am at the K-mart lot on the Shelburne Rd. Tracy hopped in Phil’s truck and we wished her well in her travels; Phil does not know reasonable speed when behind the wheel of his truck. We left her with big eyes, clutching the dashboard. All made it safely to the trailhead on Route 73 including a pit stop at the Stewart’s in Port Henry at 8:15 am. Jim met us there as he traveled from Saratoga. Luck was on our side as the parking lot was nearly full; we grabbed the last “legal” spot, parking end to end. Signed in at approx. 8:50 am and on our way we went. When we hit Round Pond, we headed across the ice…crunch, crunch, crunch…then Felix Adler/ Noonmark intersection, then lean-to. Made it to the first slide and instead of going straight up as we did last year, took the trail, which is a grueling 1,600′ ascend with no give in approx. one mile. You had to keep in mind that the butt slide down was going to be a blast….summit, and mostly clear skies awaited us, with much wind, too.
Summit was in stages and after all hit it, we headed down and yes, the butt slide was all and moreso than expected…fast, twisty and lots of smiles. I equate butt sliding on your pants or a sled with skipping….there is no way you can come out of this and not smile and laugh, I don’t care how young or old you are or your gender. It’s just plain fun!
Back to the lean-to, intersection and pond, where we all did head back across it again vs. trail. Cars, then into Keene Valley for eats at Baxter Mtn. Restaurant…a fireplace, cold beer and burgers/ sandwiches awaited us and a table for 5 with our name on it! (Jim headed back to Saratoga) A great day was had by all, return to K-mart lot at approx. 10 pm. You can always count on a long day when you head across the pond but it will be oh so fulfilling!
Trip Leader: Robynn Albert
Trip Participants: Phil Hazen, Tom Smith, Tracy Sweeney, Jim Schneider, Max Seaton
Photo Credit: Phil Hazen
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Sunday 2/16/14 Mt Abe
We met on a cold, clear, beautiful day for a hike up the Battell Trail to the summit of Mt. Abe. The snow from Friday’s storm, was mound up on the trees, and the views were outstanding. We were in luck, as the trail was packed out by hikers on Saturday. That made the outing that much easier to negotiate. Participants were leader Carlene Squires, Mary Keenan, Robynn Albert, Bill Moore, and Mark McLane.
Photos sent in by Mary & Carlene
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Sunday 2/9/14 – President’s Hike
The idea is to is to recover from the Burlington section annual meeting by taking an easy hike up to the Duxbury Window. Mission accomplished! This Long Trail hike starts at the LT trail head on Duxbury Road near the Winooski River at the lowest point on the LT. The trail follows Bamforth Ridge, one of the flanks of Camel’s Hump, for about 1.6 miles (one way) and gains about 800 feet. Phil and Ted made the trek in twice the time it should have taken, then checked out the Winooski Bridge project.
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2/2/2014 – Mt. Mansfield Sunset Ridge Hike
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2/8/14 Camel’s Hump via Forest City and Burrows
What a great way to start annual meeting day….with a GMC outing! Super day albeit a bit of wind….six of us met at the Richmond Park and Ride and then met two at the trailhead to round out our group of eight. Made the sharp right at the trailhead to ascend Forest City, nice and sunny walk up and thanks to Mark for breaking out the path for us! Very, very windy at the summit so the time there was quite limited; headed to the clearing for eats and hot drinks, then descend via Burrows and our cars. Great time had by all, super group!
Trip Leader: Robynn Albert
Trip Participants: Mark McLane, Kim Farone, Tracy Sweeney, Denise Davies, Tom Smith, Max Seaton, Lynda Hutchins

Saturday, January 18, 2014 — Hunger Mtn. and White Rocks
This Saturday in mid-January proved to be a spectacular day in the weather department. Nice blue sky, no wind in the valley, mid-20s for temps to start the day. Five of us plus Sohpie the Wonder Dog met at the Richmond P&R and headed south to Waterbury. Pulled in at the trailhead and had the place to ourselves. Luckily, Sheri Larsen had mailed me the night before to make me aware that she and Rich had done the same route minus WR on Friday and it was very icy, so beware! Indeed it was in many spots. We made good time on the way up, great views of Stowe Mtn. and the ski hills/ trails. A bit of wind at the summit, eats and warm drinks, then headed over to WR, where we met three others, the first humans we saw on the trail, on our way down. Great views, highly recommend for those who have not made the trek there. Then the flood gates opened with hikers on the ascent as we were headed down from the Hunger intersection. Lots and lots of 4-legged creatures and their human caretakers so Sophie had company. Nice day, nice group, great to get some fresh air in the Greens! Trip Leader: Robynn Albert Trip Participants: Dean Wiederin, Bill Moore, Mark McLane, Wes Volk Photo Credit: Wes Volk 008-2

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1/12/14 Camel’s Hump
With heavy rain the previous day, conditions were icy. We started out down the Forest City connecter until we got to the Forest City trail. It was fairly easy going until we got to the first two steep sections on the Long Trail. After that we ascended to the last steep climb before the summit. A small group of us had trouble finding the trail in one spot, but the route was quickly found. Halfway up the last steep climb, some of us stopped to eat lunch. After, we finished our climb to the summit where it was fairly windy. We stopped on the summit for a quick drink then descended to the clearing below the summit. There we took a group photo before we finished our hike down the Burrows trail. The Burrows trail was very icy, it was a slow descent to the bottom. Successful Trip! Kim Farone, Fred Royce, Jay , Erica Spiegel, David Mccolgin, Paul Houchens, Phil Hazen, Larry, Wes Volk.
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January 5, 2014 – Belvedere Mountain
10 participants. Six of us met at the Essex Park and Ride, and 4 joined us at the trailhead on Route 118. The forecast was for highs in the 20s on the mountain, a welcome relief from some of the earlier ice and cold. We debated at the trailhead about bringing snowshoes, and ended up deciding to leave them in the cars, which turned out to be a marginal decision. We all wore some version of microspikes, either Kotoola or Hillsound. There was a bit more soft snow on the ice than we expected, maybe 5”, but someone on snowshoes had been ahead of us. Those tracks, however, disappeared after about ½ mile. The lack of snowshoes made our feet lighter, but breaking trail provided a small chore for the first people. ‘In the old days’, it was a tradition to wander ‘lost in the wilderness’ for an hour on Belvedere winter hikes, until eventually reaching the ridgeline and getting sorted out. About 4 years ago, however, illegal spray painted red blobs appeared on trees, and did make winter travel easier. These are now a dull orange, but still visible, so there were very few short lost periods. We stayed pretty much on track, and reached the top in about 2 hours 45 minutes. We grabbed a quick lunch or snack, and left in less than 15 minutes because of the wind. The trip down was totally straightforward, since we now had a tramped trail. We reached the cars in about 1 ½ hours from the summit, and all were home in time to watch the kickoff for the NFL playoff games that day. Participants – Sheri Larsen, Chuck Bond, Judy Bond, Peggy Faucher, Marc Faucher, Fred Royce, Scott Springer, Wes Volk, Tracy Sweeney, and Richard Larsen, who was alleged to be the leader of this gang.
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