Trip Reports, May – August 2015 (updated 8/30/2015)

8/29/15 Worcester Ridge
David, Wes, and Amanda met at the Richmond Park & Ride at 8:30 and drove together to the Middlesex Trail trailhead, where we met Phyllis around 9:15, left one car, and took the other to the Worcester Trail trailhead. We started up under partly cloudy skies around 9:45. We passed some mysterious old scrap metal objects on the way up Worcester, then took a break at the top to snack and look ahead at what we had yet to do. We continued along Skyline Trail past an unnamed peak and stopped for the rest of our lunch at a small lookout just before the Stowe Pinnacle trail junction. From there we continued to North Hunger and Mt. Hunger, which we reached around 3:30. We considered going over White Rock, but some of us were getting a little tired, so after another break we headed down the rocky slabs of Middlesex Trail. While the upper slabs (including the rope) were unchanged, quite a bit of trail work had been done on the trail a little lower, including two new ladders / stairs that made the descent a lot easier than it used to be. We reached the junction with the White Rock trail and continued down, reaching the car around 5:15. Participants: Wes Volk, Phyllis Rubenstein, Amanda Debruyn, David Hathaway (leader).
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8/22/15 Mansfield Ridge Via Butler Lodge
Wes asked David to take over as substitute leader for this trip, but his conflicting plans fell through, so we had two leaders plus Max on this one. We met at the Underhill Center commuter lot at 9 and took one car from there to the Stevensville trailhead. We started up the Butler Lodge Trail around 9:20, with pleasant temperatures and partly cloudy skies. We reached Butler Lodge around 10:35, where we noticed a freshly painted red door frame. Apparently a Harvard group had repainted it the night before. I didn’t remember it being red before, but looking through old photos I see that it was. We hung out admiring the views some of us had helped clear earlier in the summer, then headed up Wampahoofus. As we approached the visitor center we saw a group of people in 1800s garb (including women in hoop skirts!). We were told they were reenacting a painting done at Frenchman’s Pile sometime in the late 1800s. We continued along the ridge, stopping for a lunch break shortly before the Sunset Ridge junction, and reaching the summit around 1:30. There were a lot of people on the ridge and at the summit, and we hung out there for perhaps 20 minutes, then headed back along the ridge. The crowds of relatively slow hikers kept the pace pretty slow until we got past the visitor center. At the Forehead we met a group of UVM students who consulted with us on the possible routes back to Stevensville; they had come up Butler Lodge and taken the LT to the forehead, and opted for a zigzag route down Wampahoofus, back across Rock Garden, and then down Maple Ridge and Frost. We took a more direct route down Maple Ridge and Frost. Near the bottom Max had a slip and gashed his finger and elbow; it didn’t look serious but warranted breaking out the first aid kit for some disinfectant wipes and bandages. We got to the car around 5 PM.
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7/25/15 Mansfield Ridge
It was looking like it was going to be a solo trip, but the night before Kim emailed saying she and Larry would like to come along. So we met at 9 AM at the Underhill Center commuter lot and then carpooled up to the State Park. We got one of the last parking spots in the upper lot and started up around 9:30. It was sunny and pleasant with a little bit of breeze. We reached Cantilever Rock in about 45 minutes, where we stopped to admire the view, then continued up to reach the summit around 11:30. There were a lot of people, but not as many as I might have expected, and we spent about a half hour eating lunch and taking in the views. Kim had warned me she expected to hike at a slower pace than me, but she was in the lead the whole way, and I can only say that I don’t think I want to hike with her when she thinks she’s going fast! Hiking Mansfield wasn’t enough activity for her in a day, and she had tentative plans to go whitewater paddling that evening. So rather than do the whole ridge, we came down Halfway House trail and reach the car around 1:25. The line of cars parked in a line extending way below the state park gate gave evidence of the popularity of the mountain that day. Kim Farone, Larry Gagne, David Hathaway (leader).
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7/11/15 Laraway Loop
We met at the Cambridge Park & Ride at 9:30, consolidated into one car, and made one stop at Johnson Farm and Garden for David to pick up some deer fly strips. On a 2012 hike of the same loop he filled a strip with deer flies (see photo in 7/12/14 trip report). But on this trip the bugs were barely noticeable, and perhaps the insect repellent was working, because he got none. After that stop we wound our way through the back roads of Johnson to the Cross Road trailhead for the Davis Neighborhood trail, and started out around 10:10. The day was sunny and warm, but with a slight breeze keeping it from being very hot. We walked up and over Codding Hollow Road and the washed out route that used to be the rest of that road to the Long Trail crossing, and then headed up the Long Trail. We passed one person along the long stretch of overhanging rock wall, and reached the lookout around 12:15, where we saw several people and dogs, including two groups of LT end to end aspirants. After having lunch we continued on to the summit, and then down the LT to Corliss Camp. We met another end to ender there, then headed down Davis Neighborhood Trail, reaching the car around 3:10. Anneliese Koenig, Mary Keenan, David Hathaway (leader).

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6/6/15 Trail Work near Lake Mansfield 
Four of us went to clear the trail between the outer and inner lots at the Lake Mansfield Trout Club.  The outer lot is the only one that can used for overnight parking by hikers and we had a report of many trees down on this trail.  We clipped and cleaned waterbars, as well as clearing the downed trees.  Some were small, but there was one place where a jumble of trees blocked the trail, including a pretty large solid white birch.  Using the club’s new chain saw, we cleared the trail.  We used hand saws on other trees (new ones our section just purchased).  Then we continued just a little ways up Lake Mansfield Trail and cleared the one big tree we hadn’t been able to get the previous week.  Weather was great and we accomplished quite a bit in the morning outing.  Workers were Melissa Bainbridge, Bob and Joan Britt, and leader Pam Gillis.

5/30/15 Trail Work on Puffer to Taylor 
We had a great turn-out for our 5/30 trail work.  John Sharp and Phil Hazen started early and hiked from Stevensville to Puffer, cutting the trees they encountered on the trail (just a few).   Eleven others drove to Lake Mansfield Trout Club.  We split up and worked on the Lake Mansfield Trail and the LT from Taylor Lodge to the top of Mt. Mayo.  We clipped and cleaned waterbars and partially cut a large tree of the Lake Mansfield Trail.  The trails were in pretty good shape.  The predicted rain again did not come, but would have been a welcome relief from the hot temps.  It was a pretty long day with the last of the folks getting to the cars at 4:40 pm.  This group had Max Seaton, Tom Joslin, Scot Albertson, Ted Albers, Tom Candon, Sarah and Chris Sussman, Jas Smith, Jeffery Trubisz, Sarah Sherrill and trip leader Pam Gillis.
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5/25/15 Memorial Day hike on Camel’s Hump
Although the weatherman predicted some rain, the weather held for the four intrepid hikers who followed the Forest City Trail and LT the summit of Camel’s Hump then descended via Burrow’s Trail. We heard plenty of bird songs along the way and spoke briefly with a group of UVM ornithology students working with their professor to identify the different birds. Although we did not see the sun at the top, we were able to eat our lunches before light rain came across the trail. The 66-degree temperature made for a pleasant outing experience. Having begun hiking around 9:15, we were back at the Burrows Trail head by 2:00. It was an enjoyable hike with Sheri and Rich Larson and Lynda Hutchins (leader Max Seaton).
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5/23/15 Trail Work on Bolton, &  5/25/15 at Butler Lodge
John Sharp reports: On Saturday I led Lisa Hardi, Jeffery Trubisz and Max Seaton up the ski trails to Eagles landing and then south to the Buchanan shelter trail junction.  There were number of blow downs, used the chainsaw at least 12 times.  Turned around and headed north.  Stopped to eat at Harrington’s View.  From Eagles landing north to where the old long trail joins the current trail had to use the chain saw about six times.  Met up with Phil’s group here.   Phil Hazen led Ted Albers, Tom Joslin and  Paul Beliveau went over Bolton to Puffer.  Phil said trail was in good shape and the view from Puffer much improved.  Phil’s group passed a hiker going from Taylor to Buchanan and he indicated that were a number of blow downs between Mayo and Puffer.  Wonderful cool sunny day with no bugs. Overall the trail was in good shape.   Reached parking lot around 4:15. On Monday Phil led a group to Butler lodge to open the view.  Dave Hardy had received permission to take down 10 trees.  The removal of the trees significantly opened the area.
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5/17/15 Bird walk in Essex
Eight of us showed up before 7AM to look for birds at Woodside Natural Area in Essex Junction – and we were well rewarded. The mile-long loop took us over three hours because of the astonishing abundance of birds: 43 species in all! Highlights included great looks at:
• Spotted Sandpipers along the Winooski
• many Gray Catbirds so involved in their own interpersonal affairs that they completely ignored us
• four fluffy yellow goslings following their parents off a beaver lodge into the water
• a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers feeding their noisy begging young
• brilliant Yellow Warblers
• a gorgeous Chestnut–sided Warbler kindly staying put in a tree right beside the trail.
We also saw many turtles, including at least one that appeared to be a Spiny Softshelled Turtle.  Along with wildlife, a big highlight was the energy and enthusiasm of the group – lots of laughter and great conversation! There are many more photos here. Participants were Fernando Corrada, Corky Magoon, Betty Navin, Josette Noll, Bernie Paquette, Dorene Quesnel, and Julie Soquet. The leader was Maeve Kim.
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5/16/15 Trail Work on the Butler-Taylor Triangle
Nine folks went on the section’s second spring trail work.  We divided into a group of 4 to do the Butler Lodge Trail and the LT south and a group of 5 to do the Nebraska Notch Trail and the LT to Taylor Lodge and then north until meeting the other group.  The group of 5 subdivided to do different parts of the work.  Each of the 2 groups had a chain saw and used it, but not much.  The trails were in pretty good shape.  Lots of water bars and drainage cleaning on the Nebraska Notch trail.  We did some diverting of water running in the trail near the intersection with Clara Bow Trail.  Also had a massive tree down right by the trail with its root system blocking the trail, so the root ball was knocked apart to clear the trail (see a couple of the photos).  Plus we again saw some very nice wildflowers.  The predicted rain again did not come.  Max Seaton, Mary Keenan, Tom Joslin, John Pennucci, Paul Beliveau, Scot Albertson, Dave Hathaway, and trip leaders Pam Gillis and John Sharp.
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5/9/15 Trail Work on the LT in Bolton
Eight of us showed up for the section’s first spring trail work. We divided into a chain saw group of 3 (with 2 saws) to do the large number of trees down mostly north of Duck Brook Shelter. The other 5 of us cleared the LT from Bolton Notch Rd. to the Buchanan cutoff.  It was a very hot day.  We did find a couple patches of snow for relief (and had lunch by one). There were several trees down and we used a chain saw on this route, too.  It got stuck once, but got freed after some handsawing and other efforts (see photo).  Plus we saw some very nice wildflowers.  The predicted rain did not come.  The LT Jonesville to Bolton Notch Rd. had been mostly cleared at a GMC Trail Workshop, leaving the big trees.  That crew had LOTS of cutting to do! We managed to meet up afterwards.  Ted Albers, Mike Arthur, Max Seaton, Mary Keenan, Phil Hazen, Tom Joslin, and trip leaders Pam Gillis and John Sharp.
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5/3/15 Wildflower Hike at Niquette Bay State Park
In the week before the hike, the trip leader had visited Niquette Bay State Park twice to see whether any wildflowers were in bloom and hadn’t seen many.  But, with a few really warm days just before the hike, the wildflowers cooperated. The group saw 15 different kinds of wildflowers: Dutchman’s Breeches, Spring Beauties, Blood Root, Large-flowered Bellwort, Blue Cohosh, Wild Ginger, Hepatica (purple, white, pink), Early Meadow Rue, Miterwort, Early Saxifrage, Large-flowered White Trillium, Purple Trillium, Common Blue Violet, Wild Oats. Some participants just hiked the Ledges Trail loop, while others continued on and walked several loops along the perimeter of the park. Everyone enjoyed the nice warm weather. Attached are two group photos, a photo of one of the participants taking a close-up picture of some flowers, and three photos of wildflowers (Purple trillium, Purple hepatica and Blood Root). Participants: Sheri Larsen (leader), Rich Larsen, Mary Keenan, Kevin Kelley, Cathy Tilley, Peter Velasquez, Joanie Mallory, Amanda Debruyn, Linda Shaw, Patty Williams.
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