Trip reports – May-August 2017 (updated 9/21/2017)

8/26/17 – Lincoln & Lafayette, NH
We met at 8 AM at the park & ride by Joe’s Pond, at the junction of Rt 2 and Rt 15. Jim had to be back in Burlington by 6, so he took his own car, but the rest of us carpooled from there. Parking was full at the Lafayette campground so we joined many others parking on the grass along I-93 after the entrance. It was sunny but cool (in the 50s) as we started up at 9 AM, along with many, many other people. We hiked as a group for a while, but Jim went on ahead and we last saw him about halfway up the Falling Waters Trail. We reached the summit of Little Haystack around 11:20, Lincoln around 11:50, and Lafayette around 12:30. After a break for lunch we headed down, reaching Greenleaf Hut around 1:55, and the car around 3:40. Participants:  Jim Watkins, Rob Gordon, Phyllis Rubenstein, David Hathaway (substitute leader)

8/19/17 – Worcester Ridge
Dan, Mattie, Jim, and David met at the Richmond park & ride at 8:30 and took one car to the Worcester trailhead, which we reached a little after 9:30 after only one wrong turn (better than usual for this trip leader). There we met Diane and, leaving her car there for shuttle, drove to the Middlesex Trail trailhead. It was a little cool but very humid as we started out around 10 AM, with clouds obscuring the summits. The trail was still wet in places from the last night’s rains, but most of the steep slabs going up Hunger were dry. We reached the Hunger Summit around 11:30 and hung out long enough for the clouds to start to lift, giving us a view of White Rock. The clouds continued to lift as we continued along Skyline Trail, and when we stopped around 1:30 for lunch we had nice views including Mansfield, Camels Hump, and Waterbury Reservoir. We continued along Skyline and reached Mt Worcester around 4:20. The steep rock going down Worcester was again mostly dry, and we reached the car around 5:40. Participants: Jim Watkins, Dan Scheidt,
Mattie Scheidt, Diane Sherman, David Hathaway (leader).

8/13/2017 – Prospect Rock
Six people signed up through meetup, and five of those plus one extra showed up at 9 AM at the LT crossing at Rt 15, giving us a good group of six for the trip. There were a few clouds leftover from the previous night’s rains as we started out, but those soon dissipated, leaving us with a beautiful sunny day with pleasant temperatures. We wandered through the woods and scrambled down the bank of the almost dry south channel of the Lamoille, then carefully avoided the profuse poison ivy on the short stretch to the suspension bridge. After admiring the view from the bridge for a bit, we continued across the road and up the LT to Prospect Rock where we hung out for quite a while, enjoying the views and sun. We heard and saw a couple folks in climbing gear below us who were there doing some vertical “trail maintenance,” removing a dead tree hanging over a climbing route on the cliff below. We eventually retraced our steps to the parking area, getting there a bit after noon. Participants: Jan Weyant, Reid Willis, Chenling Wang, Deb Forcier, Prasoon, David Hathaway (leader).

8/13/2017 – YAC: Isham Farm, Williston
Despite threatening morning clouds, the weather cleared and our group loaded up with sunscreen to enjoy a cool, sunny hike at Isham Farm. From the pick-your-own berry patches inhabited by roaming chickens, we trekked up the hill and down to the pond. We spread blankets and shared our snacks with the minnows (who eagerly tried Cheerios and goldfish), then turned back up the ridge for some bug hunting and rock climbing. Our three families – with little ones ranging from infants to 3.5 years – enjoyed scenic views as we headed back to the parking lot (detouring to ‘ride’ the tractor on the way) and off to naps!

8/6/2017 Shelburne Bay and LaPlatte
A group of 8 took advantage of spectacular weather to paddle north from the Shelburne Bay boat ramp to the yacht club then turned around and headed up the LaPlatte to the Rt. 7 bridge and back. A great paddle, but it showed the need for Ted to return this week with a hand-saw to clear some branches ‘sort of blocking the river’ as can be expected on the LaPlatte. Photos from Kim, Sheri, Ted.
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8/5/2017 GMC Trail Magic Day
Tom Candon, Nancy McClellan and Ted Albers managed to endure pounding rain at the Long Trail crossing on Rt. 108 in Smugglers Notch to greet through hikers for Trail Magic Day. It was actually fun – especially the part where we realized that we were not the ones about to hike up to Sterling Pond on a rocky and steep part of the LT. We greeted 37 hikers, many of them end-to-enders and others on day hikes (six from Montreal), and a Farm to Wilderness group of 8 as well. Others were from Silver Spring, MD; NYC; “Dog Foot” from Portsmouth, NH (see his photo, below); Plainville, MA and Boiling Springs, NC, where I learned there are no boiling springs but a just a bubbling-up stream. 

7/29/2017 – YAC – Mills Riverside Park, Jericho
Summer has finally arrived, and six families (including nine little ones from infant to eight-year-olds) got out to enjoy the beauty of Mills Riverside Park on a sunny and 70-degree morning with the Young Adventurer’s Club.First we raced to the pond, three-year-olds in the lead, to gently catch and hold frogs, dip our feet and have a snack. The group then walked along the woods trail and back down to the Browns River. Kids enjoyed splashing rocks into the water, wading in and moving rocks around. Adventure leader: Michelle Connor

7/28/2017 – Lincoln Gap to Appalachian Gap

We grouped up at Lincoln Gap at 0830. A perfect morning weatherwise ……little to no humidity, temps cool….everyone in high spirits. A light cloud layer, which promised to move out late morning. We reached Battell Shelter , had a snack, H2O and headed up Abe. There we were heartily greeted by Marla Davidson, the summer Green Mountain Club caretaker for that area. Her ” BoO ” is her tent platform adjacent to Battell Shelter. Immediately, she impressed us all with her enthusiasm and knowledge of the area, even though she had been in residence for about 3 weeks. Her appointment to that area is to provide stewardship duties as well as trail maintenance on the summit and trails in the North and South directions of the Long Trail. She asked us if she could join us……..bien sur !!!! She added an excitedly , educational and very positive bent to out hike North. Thanks Marla for all your efforts. A break and view break @ Lincoln Peak , we headed for the ski shack @ Castle Rock. Snacks, H2O and a few stories had us headed off again. By this time we were experiencing full sun and nice temps. Never did get too hot as , except for the summits, we were largely sheltered from the sun by the welcomed overstorey of the trees. Lunch @ Mt. Ellen……..on the ski lift near the bullwheel. A great view North up to Starks’ Nest , top of the single chair @ Mad River Glen, Camels’ Hump, Burnt Rock, The Allens’……just a great view……oh, the Dacks too. Was a bit too hazy to see Mt. Washington clearly, but we could make out The Franconia Ridge and Moosilauke!! Marla headed back after our break @ Starks’ Nest. We readied ourselves for the push down to App Gap. With all the rain in the previous weeks, the trail was mostly in great shape. Thanks GMC, for the ladders and REbar steps!! We all arrived @ App Gap around 1730. Had lemonade , beer ( Long Trail, of course !!! ) and pretzels as apres. As usual, what a great, diversified group. Thanks everyone for coming! Participants: Sheri & Rich Larsen, Tom Collins, Bill Reese, Ruth Hare, Alan Finn, Pete Saile (leader).

7/16/2017 – Belvidere Mountain

This hike up Belvidere via the LT originally was scheduled for Saturday, July 15. However, since the weather report was for scattered thunderstorms that day, the leader moved the hike to Sunday, July 16.  Sunday turned out to be a lovely day, but the trail to the top of Belvidere was very wet and muddy from all the rain we’d been having.  Almost everyone in the group ended up slipping on the wet rocks and falling, with the trip leader falling into a mud hole and getting covered with mud.  (That fall was documented with a photo by David Hathaway.)  In spite of our spills, we all had a fun time.  On the summit  we enjoyed a leisurely lunch and then climbed up to the top of the fire tower, where there were great views.  On the way down, we checked out some of the mushrooms growing in the wet ground.  On the way home, we stopped in Jeffersonville for ice cream.  All in all, a good day! Participants:  Sheri Larsen (leader), Rich Larsen, David Hathaway, Phil Hazen and Scott Springer.

7/4/17 – Sterling Pond
This was a nice walk up to Sterling Pond up the Sterling Pond Trail (a little over 1 mile – up! – to the highest trout pond in VT) thanks in no small measure to the great company and moderate temps. We enjoyed views of Smugglers’ Notch and parts of the Lamoille River Valley and played on the Smuggs chairlift too. After reaching the pond, we decided to take the Elephants Head trail around the pond for fun, to make a loop – exiting at Snuffy’s trail (the trail that connects Spruce Peak and Sterling Pond.) However we managed to walk a good distance on the LT north towards Madonna accidentally, having missed the trail cut-off. This despite a cadre of experienced hikers, up to date maps, GPS and many eyes looking for the trail cut off! It actually made for a nice diversion. On the way down around lunchtime the trail was busy with people walking up – many distinctly not well prepared. This is a very accessible trail that starts from a parking lot on Rt. 108 in the Notch and is on every visitor’s list of things to do. With Dave Hathaway, Greg Bostock, Gianetta Bertin, Andrea Folds, and Ted Albers trip ‘leader’ who eventually found the trail down. Photos Dave Hathaway.

7/12/2017 – Meetup: Bamforth Ridge Camels Hump Loop
After canceling my last several scheduled trips due to rain, I took advantage of a good weather forecast to schedule a meetup trip for Bamforth Ridge. The plan was to go from the Winooski River to the summit and down Monroe Trail. Since no one else joined me I brought a bicycle so I could park at the Monroe trailhead, bicycle down to the LT trailhead by the Winooski, and walk back to the car. I started bicycling down around 10 AM, but unfortunately my tire blew out 1.8 miles down the road. So I stashed my bicycle in the woods, walked back up, and switched to plan B. I started up Dean Trail around 11 AM, did a loop of Allis trail and the LT, headed up the LT to the Camels Hump summit, and then went down to the hut clearing. Along  the way I met a lot of other people taking advantage of the nice day, including a rare Montrealer whose English was worse than my very poor French, to whom I was able to haltingly give some information about the trail. Since I’d never hiked the northern end of the Alpine Trail in my 40+ trips up Camels Hump I decided this was a good day for it, so I went down Bamforth Ridge to the Alpine Trail junction and took it back to the Monroe Trail junction. The Alpine trail is one of the rare LT side trails that is not blazed in blue; it’s blazes are yellow. The northern portion is obviously lightly traveled, but had some nice stretches of open rock with some views of Camels Hump above. I then headed back to the car, getting there a little after 4 PM. Leader and sole participant: David Hathaway

5/21/2017 – Niquette Bay State Park
From the parking area at Niquette Bay State Park we made a loop going down the Ledges trail and returning by the Allen trail. Wild flowers were still abundant, but not as many as on a scouting trip 10 days earlier when all of those on the list below were seen. Wildflowers seen: (wood) anemone, baneberry (wild — dolls’ eyes), bellwort (large flowered), bluets, bishop’s cup (miterwort), bloodroot (not in bloom), buttercup (small flowered), clintonia (not yet in bloom, columbine, cucumber root, Dutchman’s breeches, ginger (wild — flowers hidden at ground level), hepatica (no flowers — probably past bloom), jack-in-the-pulpit, periwinkle, pussytoes, rue (meadow), sarsaparilla, saxifrage, Solomon’s seal (smooth), (false) Solomon’s seal, spring beauty (claytonia caroliniana), spring beauty (claytonia virginica), trillium (white), trillium (purple) Wake Robin, trillium (white), trout lily (dogtooth violet, adder’s tongue), violet (purple – long spurred, and yellow). Participants: Martyn Allen, Jean Battelle, Beth Ruskai (leader).

5/21/2017 – Young Adventurers Club – Shelburne Pond
We started at the Fishing Access, startling frogs and watching the fishermen on the beach. As we tromped up through the woods, we checked under logs for salamanders — finding one — and staring down the steep cliff drop-offs into the water. We took a break in the “chair tree” (a cedar branch with two 90-degree turns for a seat) and saw a water snake swimming away in the pond. The weather was beautiful — 60s and partly sunny with a nice breeze. Participants for our hour-long adventure: Aaron, Michelle (trip leaders) and Brendan.

5/20/2017 – Trail Work Outing
Great turnout for our 3rd trail work!  Three folks (John Sharp, leader, Phil Hazen, and George Long) met at 7 AM at Stevensville trail head.  They did a lot of cutting on the way to Puffer and also did some other trail work.  Ten of us met at Richmond Park & ride and drove to Lake Mansfield Trout Club.  Four cleared the trail back to the overnight/winter parking lot (some handsaw cutting and light trail work).  The other 6 of us headed up Lake Mansfield Trail and cleared downed trees, water bars and did some clipping.  We took a break at Taylor Lodge and the other 4 caught up.  We then headed towards Puffer, clearing the trail but leaving the chainsaw at Taylor.  After going most of the way to Puffer, the group met the 3 coming down from Puffer, as they had spent a lot of time chainsaw cutting.  A few of our group hiked on to see Puffer with everyone else heading down.  The group of 10 regrouped at Taylor before the final decent.  They were Carol Irish, Peter Kassel, Mike Arthur, Lisa Hardy, Bill Kruesi, Dave Hathaway, Ted Albers, Kevin Burke, and Jeffrey Trubisz.  There was definitely more chainsaw work than in the typical year.

5/13/2017 – Trail Work Outing
Joined by 7 folks from AmeriCorps, we split our 16 trail workers into three groups: 1) Frost, Parts of Maple Ridge, and Rock Garden, 2) Butler Lodge, Wallace Cutoff, and LT to Twin Brooks, and 3) Nebraska Notch and LT to Taylor Lodge, Clara Bow Trail, and LT to Twin  Brooks.  Lots of water bar cleaning on Nebraska Notch and other trails.  a number of trees were removed and some clipping done.  Participants were leaders Pam Gillis and John Sharp, Phil Hazen, George Long, Dave Hathaway, Scott Albertson, Jeremy Gerber, Carol Irish, and from the AmeriCorp:  Kelsey Durr, Sierra Passero, Rhianna Kline, Alex Smith, Shane Wall, Jordie Hope, and Olivia Stoker.

5/6/2017 – Trail Work Outing
We had a good turnout of 9 folks for our first of the year trail work outings. We cleared the Long Trail from Rt. 2 to Buchanan Lodge plus the old LT from Bolton Notch Road up to the current LT.  We split into 2 groups and both ended up going down together.  There were a few trees to cut along the trail, water bars to clear, and brush to clip.  Luckily, the rain pretty much held off while we were working, coming before and after our work!  The group included leaders John Sharp and Pam Gillis along with Ted Albers, George Long, Phil Hazen, Paul Beliveau, Scott Albertson, and 2 others.

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