Trip reports – September-December 2016 (updated 1/1/2017)

12/31/2016 – Mt Mansfield ( but not the ridge)
We had help from high winds at the top of Mt Mansfield as we swept out the old year! Five of us met at 9 AM at the Underhill Center commuter lot, squeezed into one car, and headed up the state park road. The road was driveable with AWD all the way to the state park gate, where we parked. It was around 20 F and overcast with no wind as we started up at 9:30, reaching the Sunset Ridge trailhead around 10:10. The plan was to hike the Mansfield Ridge, and since this can take a while we opted to head up to the chin and down from the forehead, so if we ended up finishing by headlamp we would be on the easier to travel CCC road. It didn’t quite work out that way, but more on that later. Because it’s more direct and because it would be more sheltered from the forecast 30 to 40 mph winds, we went up Laura Cowles rather than Sunset Ridge, retracing the hike two of us had done three weeks earlier. Laura Cowles had a fairly thin layer of snow over a previously packed trail, so most of us stuck with microspikes until the snow got a little deeper and we all switched to snowshoes about halfway up. About this time the sun came out and we still hadn’t encountered any wind, so we were hoping that the forecast had been wrong, but as we approached the ridge the clouds closed in and the wind picked up. The last bit of Laura Cowles and the climb from the Sunset Ridge junction to the Long Trail was very icy, and even the claws on our snowshoes had a hard time getting any grip. As always, the blowing and drifting snow had recontoured the stretch from the LT junction to the summit, so we wandered up near, but not necessarily always on the trail, reaching the summit around 12:45. It was perhaps 15F, and the wind on the ridge was fierce. We guessed it was more in the 40 to 50 mph range than the forecast 30 to 40 mph range. Going up wasn’t too bad, as we had the wind at out backs, but coming down was rough, even with facemasks and goggles. Ted was playing with his new GoPro and captured some of the action near the summit in this video, but it doesn’t adequately convey the ferocity of the wind. The blowing snow also reduced the visibility significantly, and we opted to head back down Laura Cowles rather than doing the planned ridge traverse. On the way down we probably did as much sliding as walking, and reached the car around 2:40. Participants: Jill George, Ted Albers, Susan McDowell, Itai Klein, David Hathaway (leader)

12/18/2016 – Not-quite-solstice hike
To hike on the solstice is rad,
except when the weather is bad.
The temperature fell.
The rain it did gel
into ice and I cancelled. So sad.
– Poet and would-be trip leader: Mary Lou Recor

12/17/16 – Mt Hunger & White Rock
Brrr!!! was the word from the start for this outing. The two days previous were bitter cold in the NorthEast and VT which spilled into Saturday morning.  Great group of folks met at the Richmond P&R, and then we continued onto the trail head where we met the two remaining hikers for the day, 10 including this trusty trip leader.  Snowshoes were a MUST for the day, the entire day. Waterbury/ Stowe area had received some great white stuff falling from the sky every day, a few inches here and there, for several days.  Onward to Hunger where we gathered, some summited (big winds at the top!!), some did not and some decided it was a one peak day for them.  The father-daughter crew of 4 turned around here and 6 headed to White Rocks. Tracy turned around shortly as she was without snowshoes. So then there were 5….much thanks to Mark McLane for breaking trail the entire way to this mountain.  Not much for views the whole day as it was overcast and socked in but a big plus was the warm up in temps. Not sure exactly what it was when we hit the trail head on the return but it felt balmy compared to the morning.  Thanks to all for coming out for a leg stretch!! Trip Participants: Clare Albers, Ted Albers, Tom Smith, Tracy Sweeney, Jill George, Max Seaton, Katherine Seaton, Mark McLane, Phil Hazen, Robynn Albert (leader). Photo credit: Clare Albers.

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12/11/16 -LaPlatte and Shelburne Bay
There were three, then five then ten!  A nice chilly day for a walk along the LaPlatte nature trail strewn with freshly beaver-gnawed saplings downed here and there, then a 2+ mile or so walk north along the paths of the Shelburne Bay Park hiking area to the ‘summit’ of mighty Allen Hill (altitude, maybe 250′ above lake level…?) and back the Shelburne Recreation Path. Then to Ted’s house for hot chocolate. Several new club members joined us! With Andy & Linda Sunup, Beth Ruskai and Jean, Lynda Hutchins, Le Ann and Mike Banks, Lee and Katie Wrigley and Ted Albers, leader. web-laplatte1

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12/10/16 – Mansfield via Laura Cowles
We met at the Underhill Center park and ride at 9 AM and took one car up to the gate of the Underhill State Park. It was cold (around 10 F) with low clouds as we started up at 9:25. Only one of us started in snowshoes, but all were wearing them by the time we were 1/3 of the way up the trail. The snow wasn’t too deep, but  deep enough to cover almost all the ice and loose enough to slide a little as we climbed, making it a little slow going. There were a couple of sets of boot tracks ahead of us, and we ran into Ryan and Chelsea from PA who had made them just below the Suinset Ridge junction. It was their first time on the mountain, and they were coming back down after having been unable to find the trail to the summit, as the visibility was pretty low and everything was coated with rime ice and snow. But they turned around and joined us on the last bit of climb to the top, which we reached around 1 PM. The descent was a lot faster, and we got back to the car around 2:50. Participants: Jill George, Jay Strauss, David Hathaway (substitute trip leader).

12/3/16 – Devil’s Gulch loop
There were three, then two, then one, who had contacted me (the substitute leader) about the trip, and about an hour before the scheduled meeting time, the last one cancelled. But since I was all packed and ready, I headed up anyway. I reached the trailhead on VT 118 around 9:40 and headed out on the Babcock Trail extension. I’d never hiked that trail before, and missed a turn where it leaves a road, so I wandered the wrong way down 118 a ways before backtracking and finding where the trail crossed it and turned into Babcock Trail. From there on route finding was easy. There was fresh snow, still falling, but the trail was still very wet. There were some downed branches small enough for me to move, but it still needs some drainage work. After passing Big Muddy Pond, I reached the four way intersection of BabcockTrail, Long Trail north and south, and an unmarked trail that seemed to head down to Ritterbush Pond around 11 AM. I followed that a ways and found an old “Babcock Loop Trail” sign that I think is a spur off the old Long Trail, since I seem to recall it going on the other side of Ritterbush Pond when I hiked it in 1996. Returning to the intersection, I headed south on the LT through Devil’s Gulch, which had snow but no ice on the rocks. From the tracks, one other person had been through that day. I had lunch at Spruce Ledge Camp around noon, then headed back north on the LT, reaching the car around 1:30. Substitute trip leader and sole participant: David Hathaway.

11/27/16 – Cantilever Rock
We met at the Underhill Center park and ride at 9:30 and proceeded in 2 cars up to the gate at the Underhill State Park. We got on the trail about 9:40 under overcast skies. The trail was rough snow and ice, and David did without spikes, while Ted and Phil wore HillSounds. We saw only a few people and dogs, but the trail had been well packed. We made good time, reaching Cantilever Rock around 11:10, where we stopped for a snack and some pictures. We were just at or above the bottom edge of the cloud deck, so our views were down and out of the clouds toward the portion of the ridge below us. This made it difficult to identify features like Sunset Knob, whose top was in the clouds. We then headed back down, reaching the cars around 12:30. Participants: Phil Hazen, Ted Albers, David Hathaway (leader).
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11/19/2016 – Mansfield via LT
What a difference a week makes!  If you read my last Saturday’s trip report (November 12 of same mountain, much overlap in trails), then you know how crazy the conditions were, so much ice.  Well, this outing, compared to the week before, was similar to going from winter to late winter, early spring conditions.  I’d guess about 10% of the ice we ran into compared to the week before and it was not as thin nor dangerous but more identifiable chunks and very random.   And lo and behold (I love when this happens!), we ran into my Namibian hiking friend Rob Gordon at the summit!! He and I’d communicated days before, he mentioning that “maybe” we’d run into each other at the summit as he was ascending from the Underhill side.  And it could not have been timed better!  He and his friends Mark and Dave (who I’d hiked with previously) and our group lunched together at the LT / Profanity junction.  Oh, the summit was windy, windy, windy….so much so that it would have been nearly impossible to sit and eat.  Let’s put it this way….putting your face into the warm wind, made it tough to breathe…really!  So we stopped where we did and had a great eating and visiting time, the 7 of us.  Picture perfect day sitting in the sun with friends, old and new. Down Profanity we went and ran into a huge group of Canadians.  I’ve never seen so many ascending this trail before.  Back to the lodge for a quick stop and then back to our cars at 2 pm.  Great day, great group!

Trip Leader: Robynn Albert

Trip Participants: David Hathaway, Kate Harris, Laura Seman

Photos courtesy: Kate Harris, Robynn Albert, David Hathaway
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11/12/2016 – Mansfield via Haselton
The Monday before this outing, there was no one signed – then folks started trickling in daily.  This seems to be the case the last couple of years, at least for my hikes.  I love seeing who signs up, whether it’s going to be GMC hiking/ shoeing friends or newbies to me.  This time it was 11 folks and I knew them all and many knew each other, too.  So that was a great start to the day.  Round Robin (Robynn!) introductions when we were all gathered at the base of Stowe Mtn. Resort before heading off to the mouth of the Haselton trail….tell the group your name, where you live and something fun that happened to you this week….Lynda misunderstood Tom who’d stated he’d been go-karting..she thought she heard goat-karting!  That set the tone for the day!!  Onward until we popped out on the ski hill and then blue blaze searching we were…found a marker on the rock as we ascended, then headed to the First Aid station not that we needed it but it was open and warm and most were ready for lunch!  The two ski patrol folks working inside said, “Sure, come on in and have your lunch” after we asked…little did they know 12 GMCers were to ascend on them not just the one or two as they may have suspected!  We also made a brief stop at the Stone Hut (right next door) to see the new construction after it partially burned last winter….very nice and some photos are attached.  Presidential history trivia continued (as it started with intros) with Peppermint Patties being handed out to the “winners” of the questions.  As we left the station, there were a handful of skiers and boarders who’d hiked or skinned up to the top to enjoy the ski or ride down as far as they could. The snow guns were going at full tilt around some trails.

We continued our journey to the toll road, Welcome Center, then the summit.  To the Halfway House junction, we’d hit mostly snow (not much) and bare rock then the ice made its appearance and one by one, folks started to put their spikes on; at the summit, we were met with clear skies to the west, with great views of the Adirondacks and to our east, the Presidentials.  Hunkered down, had our group picture taken by a man from Montreal who was overnighting at Taft Lodge. He had come up the LT from there and said it was very icy but he had no grippers other than his boots.  We made the executive decision to head that way rather than Profanity so we stuck with the trip route as advertised. It was indeed pretty slick.  The unfortunate part of the day came when Robin took a tumble on the ice at the LT/ Profanity junction.  Ultimately it was indeed a broken wrist and she’s in recovery mode now, very grateful to many who assisted, co-hikers on this trip and others who stopped by to assist if needed.  Kudos go to Mark, David, Wes and Phil who assisted with wrapping her arm, making her comfortable and getting her safely off the mountain before she was met by her daughter back at her car and then the ER.  Minus Robin’s injury, it was a good trip and we wish her a speedy recovery.

Lynda..if you ever see any goat-karting, be sure to send us pictures!

Trip Leader: Robynn Albert

Trip Participants: Mark Blanchard, Rob Gordon, Phil Hazen, Jill George, Lynda Hutchins, Tom Smith, Robin Lesoff, Gary Kupperblatt, Wes Volk, David Hathaway, Larry Gagne

Photos courtesy: David Hathaway, Phil Hazen

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11/6/2016 – Mt Hunger
We met at the Richmond park and ride at 8:30 and took one car to the trailhead. It was overcast but not raining or snowing as we started out around 9:10. After passing the brook crossing around 9:50, we started to see some snow and ice on the ground, but even on the rocks it was thin and soft enough that microspikes wouldn’t have been useful. We reached the summit around 10:45, but it was pretty windy and there were no views, so we headed right back down. We saw only two people on the way up, but saw several groups headed up while we were on our way down. We reached the car around 12:15. Participants: Seth Bortz, David Hathaway (substitute leader).

11/5/2016 – Tillotson & Belvidere
We met at the Cambridge park and ride at 8:30 and took two cars to the trailhead at the end of Tillotson Road in Lowell. It was overcast and just above freezing, and the ground was pretty wet from recent rain and snow as we started out at 9:30. After about 15 minutes we reached the junction of the Frank Post and Forester’s trails, and continued up the Frank Post Trail, reaching Tillotson Camp around 10:45. As we climbed we started to encounter snow on the ground, but never saw more than a couple inches on the whole trip. David Stoll opted to wait at Tillotson Camp while the rest of us took the side trip up the Long Trail north to Tillotson Peak, with only four of us taking the little off trail jog to the viewless summit. We returned to Tillotson Camp around noon, had lunch, and then continued on the Long trail South. This is an area where numerous animal tracks have been seen in past years, but the dripping snow and rain from the trees erased any tracks we might have seen. David Hathaway and Amanda Debruyn did see a snowshoe hare racing across the trail at one point, but it was gone before any of the following folks could see it. We also saw another group of hikers from UVM doing the same loop we were in the reverse direction, with plans to stay overnight at Tillotson Camp. We reached the Belvidere trail junction around 2:20, where four of us opted to head up to the Belvidere summit and the other four headed down Forester’s Trail. The trail up was, as usual, a little icy and slippery, but not enough to break out microspikes. Only two of us climbed to the very windy top of the fire tower, then we headed back down. The summit group caught up with the other group near the trail junction, and we all reached the cars around 4:10. Participants: Rob Gordon, Reza Ramazani, David Stoll, Max Seaton, Amanda Debruyn, Holly Creeks, Robin Lessoff, David Hathaway (leader).

Oct. 8-9 2016 – Bondcliff/Twin Traverse, White Mtns. NH
We met at Kimberly Farone’s house in East Calais taking 2 cars and headed to Haystack Rd in NH. We dropped a car off at the North Twin Trailhead. Then we headed over to the Lincoln wood Trailhead off the Kancamagus Highway and started our 2 day adventure. It was a beautiful clear and sunny Autumn morning. We hiked a very flat and long Lincoln Woods Trail to the Bondcliff Trail. This trail traverses along the Pemigewasset River. As we approached the Bondcliff Trail the Black Brook forked off of the Pemi River and we followed that for most of the way scrambling across various sections of that. The grade at this point becomes moderate and the footing is rocky in places. We got to a section where we climbed a rock staircase and then the trail becomes steeper. We continued to do a bit of scrambling until we could see the cliffy flat-topped summit of Bondcliff. After about 10 miles, we reached the summit. The Fall foliage was breath-taking and Heather commented on how it looks like a massive bowl of Fruity Pebbles. I think we all felt like kids at Christmas time with such a beautiful sight. There is a 360 degree view on Bondcliff. Standing on the cliff atop Bondcliff can bring on a bit of an adrenaline rush. It’s like standing on top of a skyscraper looking down into a bowl of brilliant Fall colors with the wind blowing through you. We stood there a while taking in this beauty then headed onward towards Bond Mtn. which was a little over a mile further away. On summiting Bond, at now about 5:30 in the evening, the wind started blowing a bit stronger and we decided it was time to start thinking about making camp below treeline. We camped just above the Guyot Tent site, for it was full of over 100 people that evening. We set camp and had dinner. It rained through the night but we all managed to stay dry.  The next morning Wes got up early and summited West Bond. Nancy and Kimberly followed shortly after. Wes and Nancy are working towards their 48 4,000 footers of the Whites and West Bond is one of them. The views on West Bond that morning were stunning with fog settling in the mountains. We all regrouped at camp, packed up and headed onward towards the Twins. It was a cooler morning, foggy and no clear views the rest of the day, unfortunately.  We summited South Twin where it was spitting some sleet and continued toward North Twin, summited, again with no clear views, and then continued on the North Twin Trail where we had to traverse over several large brook sections. We all managed to stay dry for the most part. Even though we didn’t have summit views the second day, the colors all around us and along the brook was absolutely beautiful and refreshing. This was a really great group of people that made for a wonderful weekend hike trip in the Whites. We ended about 4:30 Sunday evening.  Three of us decided to head over the Woodstock Inn for some burgers before heading back to VT. Participants: Wesley Volk , Nancy McClellan, Heather Mayes, Kimberly Farone (leader).
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9/25/16 – Mat Mansfield
This hike started out as a warm up to “our regular hiking season” . . .  hikers we only see from October to March.  (They are biking, on the lake, on the waterfront, the Skinny Pancake, whatever).  Along with Robynn Albert, Tom Smith was present, Jill George, Peter Hewitt whom we haven’t seen in years, Wes Volk, we picked up on the trail, and MichaelChing,  traveling three hours wanting only to bag another 4000 footer.  First up the Frost Trail to check out a recent helicopter drop of materials to improve a few sections of the trail.  Then the Maple Ridge Trail where we found Wes.  And someone mentioned solar energy and nuclear  fusion was tossed in that led to E=MC2 and then we had to enlist Michael (a mathematics professional) to explain it.  Peter got it and went to wrap speed.  And so it went up the Whampahoofus Trail, The Chin, back to the Visitor Center, Butler Lodge, and finally back to the Trailhead leaving a few hikers on the trail slightly dazed with all the babble.  A  time warp experience it was. We completed with pie at the pie store thanks to Wes. Thanks to all that joined this hike and hope we can repeat it in a year or two.  It will take that much time to recover! Trip leader: Phil Hazen.
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9/3/2016 – Camels Hump Loop
We met at the Richmond park and ride at 8:30 and took one car to the Burrows Trail parking area in Huntington, which was already full, with cars starting to park on the side of the road. As we started up the trail at 9:10 it was overcast and warm for an early October morning, but just cool enough for some of us to start with long sleeve shirts. We took the link over to Forest City Trail, paused to look at the gorge under the bridge, and quickly delayered to short sleeve shirts as we headed up Forest City. We reached the Long Trail junction around 10:40, made a brief stop at Montclair Glen Lodge, and then took the short bit of Long Trail south to the Allis trail, where we met and gave directions to some hikers who’d come up the Dean Trail and were trying to reach the Camels Hump summit, but made a wrong turn. From the Dean / Allis / Long Trail junction we started up the Long Trail north. The fall colors were abundant but a bit muted with the overcast. Fortunately the cloud deck was high enough not to interfere with the views. It cooled and the wind picked up as we climbed, so we added layers just before the last little climb to the summit. We saw very few people until we reached the summit around noon, where we had lunch, but we encountered a lot more people at the summit and along the descent on Burrows Trail. We got back to the car around 1:40. Participants: Jill George, Peter Hewitt, David Hathaway (leader). Photos: David & Peter.
10/1/2016 – Camels Hump
The fresh autumn colors were coming out, but those crystal clear blue skies were not to be seen.  Welcoming new member Valerie Riss to her first hike and summit in Vermont and  also joining us on their first GMC outing were Baptiste Delvalle. and Hannah Miles.  Max Seaton and Phil Hazen rounded out the group.  Besides enjoying a wonderful hike up the Monroe Trail, the Dean Trail, stopping off at Montclair Glen shelter and then north on the Long Trail to the summit, we did some research into  human brain development and how it may apply or not to some current politicians.  After a very brief stop at the summit (the wind chill factor was a bit low) we headed back down the Monroe Trail.  Unbiased scientific discussions continuing!
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9/17/2016 – Three ferries bicycle
Across on three ferries eight went.
For time on a bike is well-spent.
Got splashed on the boat.
The south wind’s no joke.
We bucked it all the way to Port Kent.
– Trip leader and poet, Mary Lou Recor

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9/3/2016 – Whiteface from Smuggler’s Notch
One participant cancelled due to a last minute family issue, and Jill decided to turn the trip into an overnight, staying at Sterling Pond Shelter. So David met Jill at the Long Trail crossing on Rt 108 around 9:20, where she left her truck, and then headed back up to the Sterling Pond trailhead, getting on the trail about 9:40. It was a sunny but cool morning, so we started with long sleeve shirts, but de-layered to T-shirts before reaching Sterling Pond. We talked to the caretaker at the pond and continued on to reach Sterling Pond Shelter around 10:50, where Jill left her overnight gear. With her load lightened, we continued on to reach Madonna Peak around 11:40, where we took in the views before continuing. We reached Chilcoot Pass around 12:30, and headed down the very steep side trail to Beaver Meadow Lodge, where we had lunch before heading up to Whiteface Shelter. We stopped there around 2 PM to talk for a while with a through hiker, then headed up to reach the Whiteface summit around 2:40. We then returned via the Long Trail, reaching Sterling Pond Shelter around 5:30. We parted there, and David headed back down to reach the car at the Sterling Pond trailhead on Rt 108 around 6 PM.

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8/27/2016 – Nun-da-ga-o Ridge

We hiked the ridge Nun-da-ga-o.
No rain, but clouds in the sky-o.
Not sure where we were
on this adventure.
So glad to see the old car-o.

Seven participants, trip leader and poet: Mary Lou Recor

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