Trip reports – July-September 2018 (updated 10/1/2018)

9/23/18 Camel’s Hump via Monroe Trail 
A hearty group of 11 made the round trip with a quick stop at the B-24 crash site off the Alpine / bad-weather cutoff trail. The weather was spectacular – a rare treat. We were greeted by Kristin the GMC Membership Coordinator at the summit. She had counted about 125 summit visitors by about noon. There were dozens more headed up as we headed down. Everyone hiking today seemed like they had a dog. This was a great outing! With Kelsy, Navafn Jim, Robynn, Kelly, Tom, Greg, Kristen, Karyn, Dave, and Ted Albers trip leader. 

9/22/2018 – Birding at Delta Park in Colchester
We had full attendance for our monthly bird monitoring walk! We started on the shore and found 16 Great Egrets right away. There were Black-bellied Plovers, Killdeer, Sanderling, Dunlin, Greater Yellowlegs, and much more out at the shore. Because the lake was so low, we ditched the paved trail and wondered out on the sandbar, stretching all the way around the marsh and meeting the beach alongside the delta of the Winooski River. Under a log we found a few Northern Leopard Frogs along with a  couple of American Toads, and we also observed the tracks of beavers and turtles in the sand handing into the lake. While observing at the Winooski River Delta we saw raptors fly over and the Belted Kingfisher did some great diving displays. It was a fun and educational walk for all! Trip leader: Julianna Tyson.

9/15/2018 Shelburne Bay and LaPlatte Paddle
Initial plans to paddle around the upper reaches of Otter Creek were scrapped after a scouting paddle revealed hundreds of yards of 6″ water.
We met at Shelburne Bay and had a great but short paddle up the LaPlatte, recently designated (from the Vermont Natural Resources Council effort) as a Class I wetland. The only downer was noise of epic proportions emanating from massive Vermont Railway Inc. road salt storage and distribution facility (for up to 80,000 tons). A bizarre sound worthy of science fiction movies drifts out of the plant located a few feet from the edge of the LaPlatte. Maybe turtles are deaf? We spotted several dozen! With Abby the iPhone photographer & Lee, and Ted trip leader.

9/9/2018 – Raven Ridge
The boardwalk across wetlands at the start of the trail is closed and being rebuilt.
Actually, it look like it is nearly finished. It is wider and no longer has the gaps on the sides that were problematic for those who rely on hiking poles. It looks like this new boardwalk will be OK for people with walkers, but not nearly as elaborate as the one at Barnes Camp. In the meantime, the trail has been temporarily rerouted to begin using an old logging road that starts near a driveway that has a sign saying “ToDo” Institute. The Nature Conservancy has also improved the steep path that gives access the to unusual geological formation below the ridge known as “the oven”. They’ve put in stone steps at the steepest part. Participants: Jean Battelle, Donna Sethi, John Dahl, Stephen Titcomb, Maureen Delaney, Mary Beth Ruskai (leader).

John, Donna & Beth snacking near the ridge top

Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

Steve & Maureen in front of “The Oven”

The Oven

View southwest from Raven Ridge

9/8/2018 – Mansfield Forehead via Halfway House
All four of us met at the Essex Park and Ride for the trip to Underhill State Park. It was a chilly start as we made good time up the Halfway House trail. Next up were the Canyon and Lakeview trails with numerous tight squeezes through some interesting rock formations. Packs were on and off a few times to fit through the most challenging spots. We did not see any hikers on Halfway House, Canyon or Lakeview trails. We finally ran in to some hikers just before we got to the Forehead where we stopped for a break and broke out some warm clothes. We stopped again at the intersection with the Rock Garden trail, before finishing up. There was a surprising lack of traffic even on the Maple Ridge trail given that cars were parked well below the gate at the park upon our return. It was a beautiful day to be out and the lack of crowds on our chosen trails was a bonus. Participants-Dan Couture, James MacDuff, Steve Titcomb, Leader-Mark McLane. 

9/1/2018 – Smuggler Notch to Route 15
We met at 8 AM at the Cambridge park & ride, and took 3 cars to the Rt 15 Long Trail crossing, dropped one, and headed up to the top of Smugglers Notch. The parking lot was surprisingly uncrowded, and we actually got two real parking spots, rather than having to park down the road as we often have for this hike. It was overcast with summits in the clouds with pleasant temperatures as we started up to Sterling Pond around 9 AM. We were pretty fogged in at Sterling Pond and at the top of the Sterling lift, and were pleasantly surprised to find no one else there. By the time we reached the Madonna summit things had cleared enough for a few views. Recent rains had left trails a little wet and rocks somewhat slippery. We continued down and across the ski runs, past Chilcoot Pass and Hagerman’s Overlook (the summit of Mansfield was still obscured by clouds), and reached Whiteface Shelter around 12:45. As we were eating lunch, we were joined by a through hiker who’d started in Mass. and had come up from Barnes Camp that morning. We headed up to the Whiteface summit, and found the flagged path down to where the sailplane had crashed three days earlier, just south of the summit. Investigation and evidence recovery activities were still going on, so we were only able to view the scene from a distance. After a summit photo we continued north to Bear Hollow Shelter where we took a short break. As we reached the logging roads just before route 15 we encountered another end to ender who’d started from route 108 two days earlier and was aiming to finish the last 60 miles of the Long Trail on this trip. We reached the car around 4:30, for a 7.5 hour total trip. Due to poor logistical planning on the part of the trip leader we’d only left one car there, so three people waited while the rest headed up to retrieve cars from the top of the Notch, then one went back to pick up the folks waiting at route 15 and take them back to the Cambridge park & ride. Participants: Hannah Brown, Stephen Brown, Chris Luczynski, James Lambert,  Anita Bugan, Greg Bostock, David Hathaway (leader).

At Whiteface summit

Starting out from Smuggler’s Notch

At Sterling Pond

At Madonna summit

Hagerman’s Overlook

View from Whiteface

At Bear Hollow Shelter

8/25/2018 – Rocky Peak Ridge & Giant, ADK
We met at 7 AM at Starbucks on Shelburne Road, dropped one car at the Rt 73 Chapel Pond trailhead, and started up the trail from the New Russia trailhead around 8:50. It was sunny and pleasant with scattered clouds, but there was a fair amount of haze, which we think may in part have been smoke from all the western wildfires. There’s a lot of up and down on this trip, and a lot is pretty steep. We reached the Blueberry Cobble just before 10, Mason Mountain around 10:20, Bald Peak around 11:10, and the east peak of Rocky Peak Ridge around 12:15, where we had lunch. It was too late for blueberries lower down, but we found (and ate) a lot and saw a lot of gentian as we headed over to Rock Peak Ridge, which we reached around 12:50. We’d seen few people before this, but the trail was pretty busy from Rocky Peak Ridge onward. We reached Giant around 2:20 where we had a snack and another rest, then headed down, reaching the Giant Washbowl around 3:30 and the car around 4:00. Participants: Daniel Scheidt, Mark McLane, David Hathaway (leader).
 

8/12/2018 – Mt. Hunger and White Rocks from Middlesex
We met at Richmond Park and Ride and drove to the trailhead in Middlesex. Since the hike over Mt. Hunger and White Rocks from Middlesex is a loop hike,  we had to decide which peak to do first.  We opted to go up Mt. Hunger first and then over to White Rocks.  The trail up Mt. Hunger was in great shape.  And, to our surprise, the state had installed a new steel ladder at the steep rock where we previously had to scramble up using a rope.  We had some nice views as we were going up but we were pretty much in the clouds on the summit.  From the summit, we hiked down the Waterbury trail for a short ways and then took a left turn on to the trail to White Rocks.  That trail was a bit muddy but the state had added a number of new wood ladders at some steeper spots.  We opted to skip the short out and back to the summit of White Rocks since there were no views and instead headed straight down.  The highlight of the hike was all the colorful mushrooms along the trails on both peaks.Participants:  Sheri Larsen (leader), Rich Larsen, Peggy Faucher, Marc Faucher.

8/11/2018 – Mansfield Ridge (Long Trail Day)
Eight people and two dogs met at the Underhill Center park & ride at 8:30, where we consolidated into two cars and headed up to meet one other person who had gone directly to the state park. We got among the last real parking spots; the beautiful weather had drawn many out to the park, and when we left just before 4 PM cars were parked by the side of the road up to 1/4 mile below the gate! At the excellent suggestion of the state park staff, we decided to reverse the planned direction and headed up Maple Ridge (the hard spots on it are easier going up than down) and down Sunset Ridge (giving broader views as we descend). The weather was sunny and pleasantly cool after the recent heat as we started up Eagles Cut trail around 9. We reached the end of the CCC road and start of Maple Ridge around 9:45, the Frost Trail junction around 10, the Forehead around 11:30, and the visitor center around noon, where we stopped for lunch. We’d seen few people up to that point, but the trails were packed with people for the rest of the hike. We got to the summit around 1:20, then headed down Sunset Ridge. We took a side trip to Cantilever Rock around 2:50, and got back to the cars around 3:45. Most of us continued on to Stone Corral in Richmond after the hike for some food and drink, where we met Charlie who’d done an individual Long Trail Day hike north from Route 2 up Stimpson Mountain, and Alicia DiCocco who’d led a trip to Prospect Rock. All in all a great trip on the first GMC Long Trail Day with a great group of people (and dogs). Participants: Michael Valente, Matt Wilson, Carl Etnier, Brian Hyde, Alan Lipset, Sophie Lipset, Nate Lipset, Laura Williams, Ceili (dog), Waffle (dog), David Hathaway (leader).

At the Mansfield summit

On the CCC Road

On the way up Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge / Frost Trail junction

Lunch break

Cantilever Rock

7/15/2018 – Waterbury Reservoir Paddle
We chose to put in at the dam entrance off Little River Road and there was plenty  of parking and room to maneuver at 10am. Two kayakers and Ted and Clare in the canoe paddled to the ‘no wake’ zone which was respected by the motor boaters, of which there was no shortage. Kim caught herself a nice bass dinner. Perfect weather as promised and plenty of  swimming. We were entertained with a paddle boarder getting a beautiful Golden-puppy steady on the board for its first on-the-water experience. Too cute. With Kim, Carl, Ted and Clare. 

7/13/2018 – Lincoln Gap to Appalachian Gap

Beautiful day, fairly low humidity. Began our hike @ 0845 from Lincoln
Gap. Trail up Abe was very dry. Numerous day hikers and their dogs on
the way up and on top. Did not see GMC summer caretaker, although
Battell Shelter and surrounding terrain looked pristine. Many dogs
running around on top. A bit hazy in the distance, with good visibility
along the ridge, from Killington up to Mansfield. North of Mt. Abe, the
trail became much quieter, with several end to enders in both directions
doing their thing. A nice breeze seemed to follow us to keep everyone
relatively cool. It was warm, but beneath the tree cover , it was very
pleasant. Lunch @ the ski lift on Mt. Ellen. Jocelyn headed North
ahead of the group because of a side to side planned hike on Saturday !
The opportunity for vista stops along the way are many, and we leisurely
made our way North. A rest stop @ Stark’s Nest was welcomed by all.
The ski hut looked clean and well cared for. A bit of lounging on the
deck and a snack, and we were off down into App Gap. Theron Dean and
its’ beautiful view North was a nice stop. Thanks Geordie Hall for
endowing the future maintenance of the shelter!! After negotiating the
ladders and re-bar steps slowly, we enjoyed some lemonade and Long Trail
beer at the gap. Special thanks to Jocelyn Hebert and Kristen Mc Lane
from the Club for joining the hike and providing many tidbits of
knowledge regarding the GMC,the Long Trail, trail etiquette and photos.
This hike always generates a really interesting group of hikers, and
this year was no exception! I lead this hike every year and look forward
to treating folks to one of the most beautiful sections on the entire
Long Trail. There were a number of H20 bars North of Stark’s Nest,
which had just been cleaned ……nice trail work….thanks to whoever
did these!! Participants : Eric Dupont, Roxanne Royce, Pat Travers, Jocelyn Hebert, Kristen Mc Lane, Pete Saile (leader). Photos from Kristin.

7/8/2018 – Burnt Rock Mountain
The leader did not receive any inquiries about the hike from the GMC Burlington Burlington Section members. But she did send out an email to friends telling them about the hike, and the Blackwells responded that they were interested. The four of us met at the Hedgehog Brook trailhead. We hiked up the Hedgehog Brook trail to the Long Trail and then took the LT north to the top of Burnt Rock. We enjoyed lunch at the top, where we had lovely views in every direction. On the return trip, we checked out the glacial pothole a short distance off of the LT. It was a great day to get out and hike. Participants: Ed Blackwell, Lyn Blackwell, Rich Larsen, Sheri Larsen (leader).

7/1/2018 – Mansfield Ridge
We met at a little before 8 AM at the Underhill Center park & ride.
Billy Asbell from Salomon had brought boxes of shoes for us to try if we wished, and Sunny and David did so. After waiting a bit for one no show we took one car to the Underhill State Park and got on the trail around 8:30. Although the forecast was for a very hot day, there were enough clouds and overcast to keep things reasonably cool as we climbed Sunset Ridge to the summit, which we reached around 11. Despite the forecast there were plenty of people at the summit and along the ridge. We took a break for lunch around 12:15 at the visitor center at the top of the toll road and then continued on to reach the Forehead around 12:45. Although the sun started to come out as we traversed the ridge, it had remained fairly pleasant until we reached the Forehead, but it got quite hot and muggy as we descended Maple Ridge. We reached the end of the CCC road around 2:20 and got back to the parking area round 3:20. A fun hike with a great group, despite the heat. Participants: Steve Titcomb, Sunny Kim, Billy Asbell, David Hathaway (leader).

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