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Trip Reports September – December 2014 (Updated 12/30/14)

12/28/2014 – Mount Hunger / Colchester Causeway
The hike was scheduled for Mount Hunger.  The forecast was that the rain would be light and would end before dawn.  By 7 AM, the drizzle had stopped, right on schedule.  We all headed for the meeting point – 9 people at Richmond, 2 at Waterbury.  As we approached Richmond, the rain started.  By 8:45, it was raining hard, and 40 degrees.  No one had any interest in hiking in those conditions, and it was clear that the trail would be turning into a slushy mess, even if the rain stopped.  So, we canceled, and the leader who had left phone-numbers at home, headed to Waterbury to tell those folks.  It was not yet raining in Waterbury, but, right on cue, it started pounding while he was informing those hikers that the event was canceled.  Back at Richmond, the group made a plan – Colchester Causeway at 1 PM – weather radar should the rain would have stopped well before then, and the causeway drainage is so good it would be dry.  So, seven of us showed up for a causeway walk and birding walk.  The only bird we found was a Canada Goose decoy that had washed up, but we did have a good stroll to the cut and back, about 6 miles total.  Participants – Chuck and Judy Bond, Marc and Peggy Faucher, Debbie Page, Sheri and Rich Larsen
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2014 Winter Solstice hike
After a couple of weeks of barely seeing the sun it made a glorious appearance for our winter solstice hike. Sixteen of us headed up the Butler Lodge Trail just before 3PM under clear and calm conditions with a blue sky. Every once in a while we had to stop and look behind us to enjoy the setting sun. As we went along the colors kept changing from a winter wonderland of white to a blue hue and finally some trees lit up in shades of pink from the alpine glow. We reached Butler Lodge as the sun was dipping below the Adirondacks with a sea of clouds out on the horizon. It created a magical moment for all to enjoy. Mary Lou delivered a few words of wisdom about the winter solstice then we enjoyed many delicious treats before donning our headlamps and heading back down the trail. IMG_8373c

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12/14/2014 – Stimson from Bolton Valley Access Rd.
Our group of twelve hikers faced a few obstacles. (12 was maximum capacity for this trip leader, who turned away a few late-comers – sorry!) First, we started unloading just as a hunter was about to start out for the last day of bow and muzzle season. The hunter knew his chances of finding his deer diminished with ever carload of noisy hikers that decamped. After a quick chat he decided to head farther north knowing that our goal was the Stimson summit to the south. The original goal was to depart from the new Rt. 2 parking lot at the north-end of the Winooski Bridge up the Bolton Notch road to the new Long Trail then up to Stimson to the abandoned airway beacon tower. But the trip leader learned that the trail is not quite ready, and not blazed, and who knows where we might end up. So, with the same goal in mind, we headed up Stimson from the other side. Ignoring the fact that this trip leader had never done this particular hike before and couldn’t even find the VAST trailhead from the parking lot (and several downed trees and many ice-laden branches leaning over the trail) the trip actually worked out! Heading up a VAST trail up Stimson from the parking lot off the Bolton Valley Access Road, we departed the VAST trail after 1/2 mile or so, and headed south-west, basically bushwhacking via switchback to the ridge in the general vicinity of the top of Stimson. Heading south we continued our bushwhack, and followed the ridge with the goal still being the airway beacon tower which finally came into view. Just past that, a south facing view towards Camel’s Hump somewhat opened up. The trip down was a breeze. The trip was not lengthy, and we were back in the parking lot within three hours for the obligatory group photo. Deborah and Steve Page, Don Dickson, Mary Keenan, Phil Hazen, Dean Wiederin, Mort Wasserman, Bill O’Neill, Lynda Hutchson, Ruth Hare, Holly Creeks, Jan Tobias, Ted Albers trip leader.

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12/7/2014 – Taylor Lodge
We met at 9 at the Underhill Center commuter lot, consolidated to two cars, and headed up to the Stevensville trailhead. It was sunny but cold (10 to 15 F) as we started out around 9:15, but there was little wind. Recent thaws and rains had reduced the snow depth so there was no question of needing snowshoes, but there was still a light coating of snow on the ground and trees to make the views pretty. There also wasn’t much underlying ice, but enough in patches that some opted to don microspikes or other traction devices. We made good time, reaching the Long Trail junction a little after 10, where the wind picked up a bit. We got to Taylor Lodge around 10:45, where we met another group with three dogs just leaving the Lodge after hiking up from Lake Mansfield. We sat on the porch of the Lodge and had lunch out of the wind. David lost the handwarmer from one of his gloves, but Cathy handed him one to replace it that she had picked up from the parking area before we started, intending to throw it away later (it was cold then but had heated up as we’d hiked). When we got back to the car we found it was one Marc had dropped at the start of the hike. After lunch most of us headed up the short unmarked spur next to the Lodge to the overlook above Lake Mansfield. Some tree cutting had improved the view since the last time David had been there. We then headed back to the cars, reaching them around noon. David Hathaway (leader), with Marc Gamble, Wes Volk, Robynn Albert, Rowena Albert, Mary Keenan, Sarah Bhimani, and Cathy Tilley.
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11/29/2014 – Mansfield Ridge
We met at 9 at the Underhill Center commuter lot. Since it hadn’t been plowed, Tracy opted to leave her Prius with no snow tires at the winter parking area instead of there. We then took two cars up to the State Park gate, giving a ride to two young French Canadian women from the winter parking area. It was cold (10 to 15 F) with fluffy snow on all the trees under a clear blue sky at 9:30 as we started up. We ran into the aforementioned women again a ways below the West Chin, where they had lost the trail, and Wes helped retreive microspikes one of them had lost and directed them back to the trail, at the cost of a near impalement from a sharp stick and some sore knees from a large jump. At this point it looked like we might have no views from the summit, as clouds had moved over it, but they had cleared by the time we reached it around 1 PM. We continued across the ridge, meeting a couple who planned to spend the night at Butler Lodge. They followed us to the Wampahoofus / Maple Ridge junction, where we parted ways. It was around 3 or 3:30 as we started down Maple Ridge, and we watched the sun set as we descended, losing the trail only briefly a couple times. It was almost dark at 4:30 when we reached the CCC road and broke out headlamps. From there it was fast and easy going to reach the cars around 5:30. David Hathaway  (leader), with Wes Volk, Robynn Albert, Max Seaton, and Tracy Sweeney.
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11/23/2014 – Madonna Mt. via Spruce Peak

Recently I became a GMC hiking leader and this was the first successful hike that I have organized since I started. Around 9 a.m. we all met at the southern point of 108 near the Stowe resort, where the section of the highway is closed for the winter. Cantaloupe was offered as a snack before we walked up 108 to the LT trailhead, where our hike began. The trail was covered in snow and the weather was just above freezing temperatures (35°F) Our first obstacle was a shallow stream with stepping-stones to safely cross without wetting our feet. Our accent was rather steep with quick elevation change. The trail was a little slippery for those without micro spikes and was completely covered in ice at some spots toward the top of spruce peak. On our way up, some parts of the trail had fresh fallen trees and were free of footprints, causing us to occasionally question our direction. However the trail markers were often enough, failing to get us lost. Once over Spruce peak our pace picked up as we hiked along our first ski trail, soon we passed a partly frozen Sterling ponds and skiers as we passed the ? top of the notch?. We reached the Shelter around 12 p.m., with clear sky ahead we chatted, snacked, rested and by 12:30 we were back on the trail on our last stretch upward to the top of Madonna.  As the noon sun rose, the air warmed but thick cloud and fog cover blocked the sunshine. Two hikers went ahead to the last ski trail and I slowed down to ensure the slower hikers were catching up.
We all grouped up again before the last uphill on the ski trail, leading to the peak beside a patrol hut and seat lift.  These obstructions seemed to take away much of the solitude often found on summits in the Green Mountains. It does however allow our local economies to rely on our forests and mountains in other ways than just, ?cutting it down?. After a brief paparazzi session and moment to appreciation of our accomplishment we were all ready to make out way backwards before the sunlight was gone. The snow cover made it much easier hiking downward, as it protected the soil and plants if one wanted to slide parts of the way. Two hikers went ahead as the four of us finished out the hike in a united pace. Instead of hiking back south on the LT we chose to hike down the Sterling ponds trail, a quicker descent to 108. Along said the trail, it was a shame to see a few large mountain/paper birches that were sliced bad with knifed graffiti and holes from the pocking of hiking/ski poles. As we approached the base of Spruce peak near 108 the absent foliage allowed the view of east side of Mt Mansfield to dominate the visible landscape. Once off the trail and back to the road we slowed out pace and enjoyed the last mile of the hike. Looking up at the steepness of the mountain sides from the bottom smugglers notch we were reminded in the difficulty of the steep climb up earlier that day and  how puny humans are compared to the complexity of the natural world. Adam Heckle (leader), Catherine Hinojosa, Dandy A., Melissa Bainbridge w/dog, Wesley Volk, Thomas Smith.
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11/22/2014 – Abbey Pond

The wind was a bit brisk but the tree cover provided some relief.Further up on the trail we encountered some snow and ice but didn’t need the micro spikes. While we did hear shooting we did not encounter any hunters. Wes Volk,  his sister Lindsay Volk, Joannne Mellin, and Carollee Reynolds (leader).

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11/16/2014 – Camels Hump via Monroe Trail
We met at 9 at the Richmond Park and Ride and took two cars to the trailhead, since Wes had to be back in Burlington by 2. There was a little snow on the ground, but the summer parking area at the Duxbury trailhead was still open, and we started up the trail from there at 9:30. It was overcast and around 30 F, and the footing was a little slippery, so although we’d started off without them, was all put on microspikes a little ways past the Dean Trail junction. Of course Dean’s dog, Sophie, had no trouble, and had so much energy that she probably went 3 miles running back and forth for every one we hiked. We made good time and saw only one other person on the trail before reaching the hut clearing just before 11:30. We debated whether he had time to make it up and still get down when he needed to, and decided to go for it. He raced ahead, reaching the summit and passing us on his way back. It was very windy at the top, and we didn’t stick around for long. We got back to the hut clearing to have lunch as Wes was finishing his, and saw several other people, some with dogs for Sophie to play with. Wes raced down ahead of us and we left the hut clearing right around noon, arriving back at the car (with Wes long gone) just before 2:30. David Hathaway (leader), with Wes Volk, Dean Weiderin, and Sophie (Dean’s dog).
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11/15/2014 – Hunger Mt. and White Rocks
The day proved to hold to its forecast of mid-30s and bright blue sky with brilliant sun! Nearly the same crew as last Saturday with a couple of minuses and pluses and Dean and Sophie once again joined us mid-way, once again at lunch time….a pattern is forming here…..!!! Hit Hunger summit first, where the wind found us but we found clear skies awaiting and sites for miles and miles.   Never met another soul until the summit of White Rocks, then upon the descent, encountered many.  Quite icy and muddy, too. Wes fell into a mud hole but managed to stay upright and only got his boots wet.  (He was riding with me but I threatened that if he were too dirty, he was then headed home with Phil!) We hit the trailhead around 2:15, 2:30 pmish, then headed for post-hike entertainment at the Reservoir in Waterbury, the bricks and mortar location, not the large body of water Rez! Robynn Albert (leader), with Melissa Bainbridge, Rink Tacoma, Wes Volk, Max Seaton, Phil Hazen, Ted Albers, Dean Weiderin, Laurelae Oehler, Lenore Budd. Photo credit: Phil Hazen with Ted’s camera and  Wes Volk
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11/8/2014 – Mt. Mansfield via Halfway House / Sunset Ridge
I had been keeping one eyeball on the weather for a few days ahead of time as we were to get rain, rain, rain at week’s end which did occur but the Saturday forecast sounded outstanding. Eight raucous souls met at the Essex Center P&R at 8:45 am.  This was my first lead hike of the Fall 2014 season, taking my usual hiatus for the summer from the club to road ride.  It was great to be back with “the old gang”! From here, we headed to the Underhill State Park and the trailhead where we met Melissa and Rink and Rink’s dog Kiwi, who ended up being the perfect hiking pooch.  The ladies are UVM grad students and immediately fit right in with all others who mostly knew each other from previous outings.  Now we’re 10 and headed up, up, up. Snow met us at the parking area and increased with the elevation.  We were not sure what we were in for re: views but the weather Gods were on our side – we hit it just right at the summit with a bit of wind but mostly clear skies.  Up to this point, we had only met folks at the parking gate and then again at the “second” trailhead.  Then the flood gates opened where, for the rest of the day, we met lots of folks from summit to descent.  Everyone, of course, was in a great mood and why not? The day was nearly perfect.A few memorable events always take place that are trip report worthy during an outing and this one did not disappoint either….Rink grew up in New Zealand so there are a few phrases that do not translate from us to them and vice versa such as “pulling your chain” (when you have the pleasure of meeting her, ask her what this means in her world; she laughed like crazy when she heard this and we laughed in reverse of the NZ meaning…), Phil received a new nickname from Melissa, that being “the guy with the alcohol” (mind you, we had not reached the summit yet and I am pretty sure we were this side of high noon!), Wes was so proud to have seen someone, a male, leave their name in the snow (he didn’t see this occur, just the outcome of it!) and the highlight was stopping at the Cantilever Rock intersection, where a young couple had just made their descent from the outcropping, the female telling us there are lots of rocks up there and then jutting out her left hand to show us her brand new rock!  WOW! Surely a first for us all.  (When I later saw them at the sign-in area, I asked the male of the duo if he had planned a VT engagement.  He proudly said yes!)  And lastly, Dean and his four-legged girl, Sophie, were able to join us as we were basking in the sun for lunch at the top of the Sunset Ridge trail after hitting the summit. Robynn Albert (leader), Melissa Bainbridge, Rink Tacoma, Wes Volk, Mark McLane, Laura Seman, Max Seaton, Phil Hazen, Mark Blanchard, Lynda Hutchins, Dean Weiderin. Photos: Phil Hazen, Wes Volk, and Melissa Bainbridge.
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11/8/2014 – Wind Gap
Only two people showed up for the Wind Gap hike, but we had an interesting conversation and cooperative weather. The sun even shown a little as we made our way back down. We took the connector from the Burrows Trail to the Forest City trail, and followed the latter to Montclair Glen Lodge. After a little debate, we decided to hike the Allis Trail from its north end. However, there were no tracks in the snow and we came to a place where we could find no blaze ahead. So we decided to turn around and save the Allis Trail for another day. There was some snow accumulation since the Mount Ethan Allen hike on Sunday. Trip participants: Carollee Reynolds, Fred Royce, leader.
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11/2/2014 – Mt. Ethan Allen
Even though, we had to set our clocks back an hour the night before the hike, everyone showed up on time at the Richmond  Park and Ride. The best part was everyone could get another hour of sleep. We carpooled to the Burrows trail head. Upon our arrival at the parking lot, there was some evidence of snow. We soon gathered for cookies and drinks at Montclair Glen Shelter before continuing to the summit. In another mile, we reached the summit of Mount Ethan Allen with great views to the east under partly sunny skies. I estimated a good inch of fresh snow fell the night before, which made for good traction for our return trip down to the shelter for lunch and more cookies and chocolate.  The wind was very cold and we were thankful to be in the woods and shelter and not on an open mountain top today. It was a good day. Participants were: Anneliese Koenig, Fred Royce, Mary Keenan, Margaret Benn, Mary Lou Recor, Laurelae Oehler, Ruth Hare, Dean Wiederin, Lynda Hutchins, and Cathy Tilley kneeling. Two dogs – Callahan and Sophie. Photographer and leader Carlene Squires.
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11/1/2014 – Tillotson and Belvidere
Our first semi-winter hike of the season! We met at 9 AM at the Cambridge park and ride and took a single car up to the trailhead in Eden, getting close up views of the huge piles of mine tailings along the way. It was overcast with low clouds and hovering right around freezing as we got on the trail at about 9:40. The trail was very well blazed, with what looked like brand new directional signs at the trail junctions, which was convenient, since the heavy leaf cover made finding the trail more difficult. We made good time, reaching Tillotson Camp in perhaps an hour and 15 minutes. We probably woke up some Quebecois who had been staying there for the night when we poked our heads in to look at the camp. We proceeded north on the Long Trail, reaching the summit of Tillotson around 11:25. The snow was just beginning to fall at this point. We then headed back south on the LT, passing Tillotson Camp and continuing on to Belvidere, which we reached around 2. By this time the snow and wind had picked up, it was getting colder, and there was noticeable snow accumulating. David was the only one to climb the tower on Belvidere, and the visibility was so bad that he could barely see Max and Tracy at the base of the tower. It was also VERY windy up top. We headed back down to the Foresters Trail junction where we had lunch, being careful of the slippery rocks that were just beginning to ice up. Heading down the Foresters Trail, the trail was pretty wet and muddy much of the way but we made it without incident and reached the car around 3:40, for a 6 hour complete trip. Leader David Hathaway, with Tracy Sweeney and Max Seaton.
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10/25/2014 – Camels Hump from Monroe/Dean/Long Trail
The Saturday began with Ted arriving at the wrong parking lot on Duxbury road, at precisely the same time that Emily and I did. After a short conversation with, and reconnoissance mission by Ted, we headed up the road to the Long Trail parking lot to meet Phil and Kathy. The ascent up Camels Hump via the ridge, as was the original plan, was decidedly too slippery and arduous for that wet day. We instead headed for the Monroe Trail head just up the road. Just after 9:30 am we started on our way. At the intersection with the Dean Trail Ted ate part of the trail sign, then we headed for the Montclair Glen shelter. Once Ted, Emily and I shed some weight from our backs, and had a much needed snack we made our way from the shelter up the Long Trail to the summit of Camels Hump. Over our heads was a blue and clouded sky, and the promise of chilling wind at the top. We were not disappointed in the least. There was an abundance of dogs and humans lounging on the sheltered side of the peak, enjoying a beautiful view. Having no intention of staying over night, Phil and Kathy continued down the mountain back to their car. Ted, Emily and I turned around and ventured back down the way we came. We spurred onto the Alpine Trail, stopping briefly to gander at the wing of the B-24J bomber left there 70 years ago. The night at Montclair Glen was a rainy one, but luckily we had four walls and a good roof over our heads. The hot coco helped too. The morning dawned grey and cold, but we ate our oat meal and got on our way around 9 am. We hiked back down to our cars in fine spirit, despite the rain and slick trail. We arrived well before noon and called it a weekend well spent. With Ted Albers, Phil Hazen, Kathy Hazen, and Emily Young. Trip Leader: Jacob Hinsdale.
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10/12/14 -Snake Mt
Dot Myers, Carol Gallent and I car pooled to the trail head at about 1 pm. It was an absolutely gorgeous day weather was  sunny and in the 60s. Since there was only three of us we connected up with another hiking group from the Burlington area. Many people with their dogs were hiking that day so the trail was very busy. We hiked up the carriage road to enjoy the great view then looped by the beaver pond. Afterwards we all went to a diner called the Pink Squeeze and ate excellent comfort food. Carollee Reynolds, trip leader, with Dot Myers, Carol Gallent.

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10/12/14 – Mt Hunger and White Rock
We met at 8:30 (OK, maybe 8:35 – David was late) at the Richmond Park and Ride and took Ted’s car to the Waterbury Trail trailhead, where we got almost the last parking space. It was cool, around 50 F, but mostly sunny with a few scattered clouds that disappeared as the day wore on. We got on the trail about 9:15 and talked about nerdy stuff like 3D printing and management of the Burlington section website on the way up, but still made good time and reached the south summit of Mt Hunger around 11. After a brief photo op and a chat with some neighbors of Ted’s we went back to the White Rock trail junction, made our way over to White Rock, had lunch there. We had seen a several people and dogs on the way up, but could see looking up at Mt Hunger that there were now a lot more people there. We saw a few more people and dogs as we returned to the Waterbury Trail, and probably saw over 50 more people and a dozen or more dogs as we headed down it. We reached the car around 1:30, and as we drive off we probably saw over 30 cars lined up along the road in overflow from the small parking area. David Hathaway (trip leader) and Ted Albers.
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10/5/14 – Camel’s Hump
With… Phil Hazen, Cathy Tilley, Dave Hathaway.
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9/28/2014 -Whiteface from Smugglers Notch
Attempts to carpool to the notch to reduce our parking footprint failed, as Dean was concerned he might have to turn around early because of heel problems, and Jacob and Emily missed an exit and ended up coming the long way through Stowe. Nonetheless, we joined up and got on the trail around 8:45. It wasn’t hot, but it was a pretty warm day for late September, partly cloudy, and with just enough breeze to keep it pleasant. We made good time, getting to Sterling Pond around 9:20. After hanging out for a few minutes we continued to Sterling Sterling Pond Shelter and on to reach Madonna around 10:15, where we admired the vivid red foilage views across the slopes below and the Lamoille valley. We reached Whiteface shelter around noon, then headed up to the summit and back down to the shelter for lunch. On the way back Jacob and Emily were running low on water, so they charged ahead to Sterling Pond, and then Jacob headed back to Sterling Shelter to get water from the spring there while the rest of us hung out talking to the caretaker and watching (and in Sophie’s case playing with) the many people and dogs at the pond. We join the throngs headed down to the notch, and reached the cars around 4 PM. And neither Dean’s heel nor Emily’s ankle, which she’d hurt recently, stoppped them from completing the whole trip. With Jacob Hinsdale, Emily Young, Dean Wiederin, Sophie (Dean’s dog) Trip leader: David HathawayDSCN2030

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9/7/2014 Stowe Pinnacle to Mt Hunger
Max and David carpooled from the Richmond Park and Ride to meet Kim in Waterbury. After leaving Kim’s car at the Waterbury trailhead for Mt Hunger we drove David’s to the Stowe Pinnacle trailhead and were on the trail around 9:15. It was a cool, breezy, and pleasant day, perfect for hiking. We reached the Stowe Pinnacle around 10:15, and after admiring the views, continued up toward the Skyline Trail. We reached the junction around 11:15 and then followed the ridge to the rock outcrops on the north summit of Mt Hunger, where we had the first part of our lunch. After the short trip to the open and signed summit of Mt Hunger, we had the rest of our lunch relaxing and looking at the views to the east. We then headed back down to the Waterbury trailhead, which we reached around 2:45. Trip leader: David Hathaway with Max Seaton, Kim Farone.DSCN2021

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9/7/14 – Wind Gap and Allis Trail
[Editors Note: this was the last hike Dot formally led for the GMC, after over 50 years as a GMC trip leader.] We had perfect weather, sunny but cool enough to know fall was coming. We had 11 people including both old timers and new people.  We ate lunch on the rocks in front of Montclair Glen Lodge. Then most of the group hiked the Allis Trail by going south from the Lodge and doing the Allis Trail from the south end.  This is the opposite direction from the way we usually do it.  It was Pam’s suggestion to do it this way and it was a very good suggestion.  The great view of Camel’s Hump was in front of us instead of in back. Three of us went back down from the Lodge. Afterward we all enjoyed refreshments at the parking lot.  Thanks to everybody for coming and for bringing food (and root beer). Leader:  Dot Myer and Corky Magoon, Llyn Ellison, Sally Rice, Carollee Reynolds, Kim Mihan, Dimi Currey, Carlene Squires, Pam Gillis, Ted Albers, Patty Williams.IMG_2930

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9/4/14 – Pyramid and Gothic, Adirondacks
The trip was cancelled on it’s original date of August 31 due to a forecast featuring a 70% chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms. But when David told Max he was thinking of doint the hike later in the week, Max said he’d come along. David picked up Max at home in Essex Junction around 7:30, and we reached the St Huberts parking area by the Ausable Club a little after 9:30. It was a perfect day for hiking; cool and breezy under a partly cloudy sky. We started the long road walk to Lower Ausable Lake at 9:45, and started up the trail toward the Sawteeth / Pyramid col around 11. Upon reaching the col around noon, we decided to skip Sawteeth, since the trail up to it is even steeper than many of the others on our route, and the one mile round trip side excursion offered no views or other enticements. Instead, we headed directly up to Pyramid, taking about a 20 minute break there for lunch and to take in the views of Gothic and the Adirondack Great Range. After a short, but steep, down and up we reached Gothic, and then continued to the col between Gothic and Armstrong. From there we headed down the trail to Beaver Meadow Falls, with a number of ladders and a lot of steep bits along the way. There we rested, cooled off, and rinsed out shirts and hats before continuing along the West River Trail and then out to the road. We reached the car around 6:15. We didn’t see any other people between passing the ANR gate on the way in and out, probably because it was a weekday after school has started. David Hathaway, leader and Max Seaton.
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