Trip reports January-March 2019 (updated 3/18/2019)

3/17/2019 – Camels Hump Alternate Loop

St. Patrick’s Day welcomed a beautiful day to VT!  Originally, Dana was to lead this outing but his back has been continuing to give him fits.  He shouted out to Dave and me on Wednesday evening, asking if we could lead/ co-lead….sure!  Dana met us at the Richmond Park and Ride with list of signees in hand, mostly from Meet-Up.  About half the group showed by 8:30 am and off we went in 2 cars to Huntington. Surprisingly, it was very quiet at the parking lot, maybe 4 or 5 other vehicles.  We took off about 9:20 am from the Forest City trail head. Light snow had fallen overnight, so we were wading through about 2-3″ of the light fluffy stuff. Gathering at the Montclair Glen junction around 10:30 for a quick snack, the Dean trail was next on our agenda.  I had never been on this trail before (not sure why….) but what a lovely mix of beaver pond, woods, open areas.  One of those open areas caused us to lose the blue blazes. At this point, enough post-holing had taken place, we were now all outfitted with snowshoes.  Corinn found a blaze, we’re back on track. A bridge crossing near the Hump Brook tent site had us all testing our balance abilities.  Andy won the prize for crossing the “knife edge”, see photo!  We then hit the junction of Monroe around 11:30.  I should mention the wind had been howling quite a bit since we started our day but quieted down and the sun appeared as well as blue sky. The clearing was next with both the wooden signs buried; one we could see the top cross post, the other was MIA.  We summited around 1 PM where we met clear skies and wind. Quick photo by someone who was just behind us and then back to the clearing for lunch. Down Burrows and back at the cars at 2:45 pm.  Surprisingly, we met very few people all day, I am going to say between 15 and 18. End of season? St. Pat’s? We’re unsure why so quiet , but repeatedly, I heard from our group, “What a day!” or “It doesn’t get any better than this!” or “I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.”
Co-Trip Leaders: Dave Hathaway (photos) and Robynn Albert (report). Trip Participants: Brian Verville, Corinn Julow, Andy Julow, Nick Krembs.

3/3/2019 – Mansfield Ridge
Ten of us met at 8:30 at the Underhill Center park & ride and took three cars up to the winter parking area on the state park road.  We snagged two real parking spots, but the third joined the cars beginning to line the side of the road. It was overcast but not really snowing as we started up around 8:50, mostly without snowshoes. We reached the ranger station around 9:20 and the Sunset Ridge trailhead around 9:50. As we proceeded along the CCC road the trail became less packed, and by the time we reached bottom of the Maple Ridge trail we’d all put on our snowshoes. We reached the Frost Trail junction a little before 11 and tried to leave some signs in the snow for Kim Farone, who had said she might try to hike up from Stevensville and join us (she’d arrived home from Florida at 3 AM, so the 8:30 meeting time was a little early for her), but we didn’t really expect her. We continued up past the Rock Garden and were taking a brief break when we heard Kim’s voice calling up from below. She’d gotten a little lost on Frost Trail and was about to following someone she’d met over Rock Garden and back down Butler Lodge when she spotted us. After a bit of calling back and forth and our promise to wait for her and to give her a ride back to her car after the hike, she hiked up to joined us. The snow drifts had completely changed the terrain, and we’d already gotten slightly lost in one spot. The rock face on Maple Ridge was reduced to about a 5 or 6 foot drop. We never even saw the “step across” spot on the trail, as it was probably completely filled with snow. When we reached the last rock face you climb down before reaching the Wampahoofus trail, there was only about a 5 foot drop, obscuring all the landmarks we were used to. So we went a little too far left and thrashed around a bit before getting back on the trail as it climbed the Forehead. Leaving the Forehead around 12:30 the snow again obscured the trail and we drifted left, eventually finding the Teardrop ski trail and following it back to the Long Trail and the service road. We were going to have lunch in front of the visitor’s center, but the snow drift there was roof level. Fortunately there was little wind, so we plopped down in the snow for lunch around 1:10. The trail was much easier to follow along the ridge, with the occasional wind-exposed blaze or string used to keep people off Fragile vegetation in summer. The clouds lifted and the sun began to come out as we approached the summit, which we reached the summit around 2:30 where a skier took a group photo, then headed down Sunset Ridge, reaching the CCC road around 3:40 and the cars around 4:20. Participants:  Robynn Albert, Jill George, Nick Krembs, Andrew Kilibarda, Andy Julow, Corinn Julow, Chris Luczynski, Taylor Dobbs, Wes Volk, Kim Farone, David Hathaway (leader). Photos: David & Taylor.
3/2/2019 – LaPlatte, Shelburne Bay ice-walk.
Three new-to-GMC folks and Ted walked the foot-thick ice on the LaPlatte and Shelburne bay for a few  hours. We tried our hand at identifying tracks (turkey, coyotes, bobcat, cross-country skier, skater, schrew) just like Sue Morse! Microspikes were ideal. If trip leaders want new folks to see their outings, feel free to post them in Seven days, where these folks (plus two more who were unable to make it) saw this outing. With Juan and friend, Roger, and Ted as leader.
2/18/2019 – Mt Abe

A group of 9 GMC members snowshoed up Mt. Abe from Lincoln on Presidents Day (how Presidential of us!). Most of the group met and carpooled from the Hinesburg Park & Ride at 8:30AM. We got to the Battell trail trailhead at 9:10AM and were hiking by 9:30AM. Conditions were overcast with light snow and temps in the upper teens at the trailhead. The trail was snow-covered and somewhat packed down on the lower trails but we expected it would be deeper at elevation and all decided to wear snowshoes from the start. There was deeper snow as we ascended and evidence of post-holing from recent hikers, so everyone having snowshoes on seemed to be the right way to go today. It was a strong group of hikers and Jim Watkins, Kelly L, and others set a strong pace up to the Battell Shelter. We rested briefly at the Battell Shelter and then headed up to the summit with those who had been the longest at Battell leading the way. It was only 10 degrees at the Battell Shelter and still snowing, so most people added layers for the summit. The steep approach up Abe was less difficult going up (IMO) than coming back down, and everyone made it up to the summit for a group picture. When the last person made it up, those who had been on the summit for some time already were starting to get cold and headed back down after the group pictures. The steepest sections were a challenge going down and many or most of us deployed a skillful butt slide on those sections. As the person bringing up the rear, I was happy to see and then slide down a fresh butt slide path as it eliminated the uncertainty of knowing when to deploy that very good method. We gathered briefly again at the Battell Shelter for water/snacks/layer adjustments and then maintained a strong pace down to the trailhead. At this point, most in the group still had snowshoes but at least one (Robynn A) switched over to spikes and seemed to have no difficulties on the way down. It was about 1:00PM when we all finished at the trailhead with all hikers accounted for. PARTICIPANTS: Dana Bolton (leader); Robynn Albert, Brian Latourneau, Kelly L, Lucy, Melissa, Mike Senna, Kimberly Parisi, and Jim Watkins.

2/17/2019 – Lincoln Gap to Cooley Glen
You won’t find this outing on “Meet-up.”
For the bushes did get us all beat up.
It’s hard to say why
When we could just lie
At home on the couch with our feet up.

(There were five of us breaking trail and whacking bushes.)
Mary Lou Recor, trip leader & poet

2/16/2019 – Mt. Garfield, NH
South and east we headed to tackle Garfield in the Whites!  A few of us met at the Richmond P&R, picked up Dave at the West Danville P&R, then met Tom at the trail head. Headed out about 9:30 am and met up with many snowmobilers on the road walk who were out for a great ride as we were a great hiking day!  The hike is pretty moderate, not many areas for elevation, but a nice rolling, steady climb until the last 2/10 when its the steepest.  We met very few along the way, ascent and descent, but if you asked any of us who were the most memorable, we would have all answered the same….the 4 Tufts students. And why were they memorable?  Not a one had the appropriate attire for a day in the mountains…..footwear was work boots, coats were great if you were casually walking on Church Street after a nice dinner and one had NO hat on!  I kid you not!  Someone in our group wondered if all digits would be intact at day’s end.  Enough on this!  The summit was incredibly windy and the views were sporadic based on which direction you were facing.  The “bathtub” (former fire tower base) contained very little snow but some good ice buildup in its 4 corners.   I should mention 2 very neat things we saw….frozen moose tracks on the trail and evidence of a beaver near a bridge who had been gnawing on a long limb.  Very neat on both counts!
As we were headed down, approx. 3 pm, lo and behold, Richard appeared headed up the trail…he had signed long ago, then cancelled the day before due to hiking 4 of the Whites with friends from Boston. They were blown around at Lake of the Clouds hut, so turned around; Richard knew where we’d be and joined us then continued down the trail with the group.  Back at the cars at 4 pm, then onto Schillings in Littleton. We waited a bit in their next door tasting room where water, craft beer samples, fireplace and good conversation awaited us. At the restaurant, we were placed on their enclosed porch – picnic tables, thick plastic walls, wall mounted heaters and blankets – it was perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!   A great day and back to the Richmond P&R a hair before 9 pm!  Another fabulous day on the trails!!

Trip Participants: Mark McLane, Tom Mowatt, Taylor Dobbs, Ted Albers, Dave Hathaway, Richard Dubal, Robynn Albert (leader). Photos: Tom, Taylor, Robynn, Dave.
2/10/2019 – Burnt Rock
Eight of us met at the Hedgehog Brook trailhead in Fayston. It was a bit chilly, but the sun promised to make it a stellar hiking day. We set out at 9:10, most of us in spikes. Fortunately there was enough of an ice bridge to get us across the wide brook crossing right at the start of the trail, despite a couple significant recent thaws. The group got quite spread out, but gathered at the more difficult water crossings to make sure everyone got across safely, without getting wet feet. (There are myriad small stream and intermittent brook crossings on this trail.) A couple of us donned snowshoes before we reached the top, but the others continued without them and experienced only occasional postholing. The group missed a left turn just below the first big open ledge, but managed to get up a ravine and snow/ice covered rock face to get back on the trail. (Fortunately all found and followed the missed section of trail on the way down, which all agreed was much easier!). The last of us arrived at the summit around noon, where we took a quick lunch break, taking in the excellent views, as the others ahead of us headed down. We all ended up back at the trailhead by around 2. Along the way, several items were dropped/lost–car key, pole basket (3 times), mitten, end section of pole–but fortunately all were found except for the pole section (which some good soul may end up delivering to the trailhead register for one of us to find once the snow melts)! All seemed to agree it was a great group and excellent hike! Participants: Robynn Albert, Tom Mowatt, Dave Hathaway, Greg Bostock, Sheri Larson, Rich Larsen, John Page, Jill George (trip leader). Photos: Sheri, David, Jill.
2/9/2019 – Camels Hump via Monroe Trail
Mighty winds could not blow us off the top of Camel’s Hump. A hearty group trekked up the Monroe Trail from the winter parking. Possibly the most treacherous stretch the entire day was walking down the skating rink (that in summer is a dirt road) to the trailhead. Perfect day for microspikes, no snowshoes needed as we walked on hard packed snow and ice the entire time. Nice view from the top with Mt. Washington in the distance. Along the way we made friends with a beautiful husky owned by a woman who lives on the Duxbury Road. The pup followed us to the summit and back, following anyone who was moving, apparently unaware that it was 9 degrees and howling at the top. That is one rugged pup (see photos). The dog was reunited with her owner who was heading up Monroe to retrieve her. With Robynn, Dave, Mark, Joann, Deb, and Ted leader.
2/2/2/2019 – Camels Hump Loop
A lot more snow on the ground than the same hike a couple months ago!
All but one of us met at the Richmond park & ride at 8:30, then headed to the Burrows trailhead where we met the last person. The lot was pretty full, so we shuttled a couple cars down to the lower lot (also almost full). It was in the single digits F and overcast as we started up the Forest City Trail around 9:25. Although there was a packed base underneath and some skiers had broken the trail a short way up, the top layers of snow were unbroken after that, so those who hadn’t donned snowshoes before starting soon did so. Thanks to Kim, Tom, and sometimes Paul and Phil, who broke trail for us the whole way. We reached the Long Trail junction around 10:55, and started up the steep part of the hike. We had some decent views back toward the Allens as we crested the first outcrops, but the clouds descended as we climbed, so by the time we reached the Camels Hump summit there were no views. We were probably walking on at least 6 feet of snow as we approached the summit, so most of the blazes we saw were at ankle level, and many were probably buried. We lost the trail a couple times along the way, once only briefly, but the second time had us searching quite a ways to find it. It turned out that we were below the trail and searching in directions parallel to it, but eventually Phil went high enough to find some blazes and we got back on track. The wind at the summit was fierce as we reached it around, as usual, as we reached it around 2:50. So those who reached it first didn’t wait around for the rest, but we all regrouped and had some lunch at the hut clearing, where a couple guys who had followed us up took a group photo. Burrows was packed, so some of us shed snowshoes at various points on the way down, and Wes made some use of the sled he’d dragged up. We reached the cars around 4:15, ending a cold but enjoyable hike. Participants: Phil Hazen, Kim Farone, Tom Mowatt, John Kowalski, Beth Papariello, Paul Beliveau, Wes Volk, Gu Bu, Becca Percy, David Hathaway (leader). Photos: David and Kim.

1/12/2019 – Mt Mansfield
The forecast was getting chillier and chillier as the weekend drew near.  The attendance numbers grew so I had Dave mark the trip as “full” on the GMC Burlington web site.  The evening before I had a few cancels and 1 the morning of, so our number was 6 including me.  The temp was well below zero at the winter lot where we all met and headed out at approx. 9:15 am.  We all donned snowshoes from the start and luckily others before us had broken out the road walk.  This continued until we hit the Sunset Ridge/ CCC Road junction and then proceeded to Sunset Ridge, also broken out. We, of course, thought the whole trail to the ridge would be this way….not so fast in our thinking.  I’d say approx. 2/10 – 3/10 mile into the trail, the trail breaker called it quits and turned around…how dare they!!  So most of us took turns breaking trail to the ridge….MANY thanks to Mark McLane for doing most of that duty for the group!
Once we were above tree line, it was very tough to find the trail but we made it to the Laura Cowles junction, then headed to the summit for a quick trip.  Several boarders were right behind us having a great time!  Back down and just above the SR and LC, it was decision time, whether we continued across the ridge and down Maple Ridge as advertised or a posed Plan B, down LC. The latter was the more popular choice and with majority winning, we descended LC.  The right choice for sure as the wind was pretty strong and numbing of toes and fingers was heard among most of the group.  I got a little frostbite on my nose that cleared up pretty fast with the pulling up of my balaclava to more cover my face.  And changing out gloves made a huge difference with the chilly fingers, like putting on a new pair of hands!!
Mark Mc and Rob cleared a lunch area for us in the snow and sun and we all gathered to grab a quick bite and drink.  I missed it but close to the base of the LC trailhead, Mark Mc scared a ruffed grouse out of the snow very close to the trail!  He did some research and learned they do burrow into the snow for the insulation to stay warm, dive bombing out of the air, burying themselves where the snowpack is deep enough…how cool!!  Back to the car at 2:30 pm. A really great day with incredible photos taken by Tom M., the only one of us brave enough to show bare skin!
Participants: Mark McLane, Tom Smith, Mark Blanchard, Rob Achilles, Tom Mowatt, Robynn Albert (leader). Photos: Tom Mowatt.

Comments are closed.