11/9/2019 – Mt. Mansfield
Well, this might be the shortest trip report I’ve ever written, unfortunately. I did not last long into the hike due to being ill. Sore throat and ear ache reared its ugly head when I started out and I had zero energy after a very short time. After Phil and Jill caught up with me, I told them I’d turn around at Taft Lodge and wait for my riders; Phil replied that I was not doing my immune system any favors. I guess that was all I needed to hear so I turned around maybe 45 minutes into the hike and descended to the Barnes Camp lot. It had filled up since we arrived at 8:30 am with skiers. I moved the car over to the Stowe skier lot so I had full-on sun. It was so warm that I never needed to turn the car’s heater on for warmth, the sun did its trick the whole day. The snow guns were going full blast, I had music, a nap, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, more NPR, lunch and a short walk up the Notch Road until shortly after the Stowe-Cambridge line to keep me entertained until the crew returned. The time actually went by pretty quickly. Kelly and Dale were the first out at 1:55 pm and instead of telling me what I wanted to hear (it was raining sideways, 60 mph winds, then sleeting, or some other fabricated story!), they of course told me the truth – gorgeous conditions, lots of new snow, beautiful views, etc. And I am very happy they did not shorten their day and took many fantastic pictures! Participants: Kelly Lavallee, Sally Drudi, Dale Schmit, Jill George, Phil Hazen, Tom Mowatt, Robynn Albert (leader… for a little bit). Photos: Dale, Jill, Phil, Robynn.
11/6/2019 – Unscheduled trail work on Mtn Mansfield
We got reports of a blowdown high up on Laura Cowles Trail, and John Sharp remembered seeing three others on Halfway House, so John Sharp and David Hathaway met at 8:30 at the closed gate to the Underhill State Park. The road had been washed out just above the winter parking area earlier in the week, but had already been repaired. We headed up with the chainsaw, climbing Eagles Cut, the CCC road, and Laura Cowles. Temperatures were in the high 20s F, and started encountering ice about halfway up. The blowdown was pretty close to the top, and was quickly removed, with David cutting and John clearing the pieces. We continued to the ridge, where the wind was very fierce, and proceeded to the Halfway House junction. We cleared one blowdown above the Canyon Trail junction (photo) and six others below (the three John remembered and three others), including one small enough to handle with a folding saw. On returning we got a report of another blowdown on the short approach trail between the Stevensville Road parking area and the starts of the Butler Lodge and Frost Trails, and David went up a couple days later to remove it (photo), about a five minute job, from parking to leaving.
11/4/2019 – Tillotson & Belvidere
We met at 8:30 at the Cambridge park & ride, getting a bit of extra sleep after the time change the night before, and took three cars the Tillotson Road trailhead. There was a tree across the road just below the parking area, but Patrick had is folding saw and we moved enough of it to get by. That gave time for Phil and the folks with him, who had originally gone to the VT 118 trailhead for Belvidere, a chance to catch up. It was intermittently snowing, sleeting and raining as we started up a little after 10:30. The heavy rains a couple days before made what are normally somewhat wet trails into swamps and stream beds in many places. We headed up the Frank Post Trail, and all the rain turned to snow as we climbed. We reached Tillotson Camp around 11 where we hung around a bit to have a snack and take a couple group pictures. We then headed north on the LT to the Tillotson summit, crossing and skirting a normally wet spot that was practically a pond this time. The short side bushwhack to the Tillotson summit was somewhat grown over and completely unmarked, so we only found it from memory, but the summit sign nestled in the trees confirmed it was the right place. There really aren’t any views from the summit at the best of times, so the fact that everything was in the clouds wasn’t really a problem. We headed back down, passing Tillotson Camp and Lockwood Pond around 12:45. We continued on the LT south, reaching the Belvidere summit spur junction around 2:45. The sun had come out as we made our way to Belvidere, so we had some decent views from the summit and fire tower. We didn’t stay long, as dark was approaching, returning to the LT junction around 3:15. We headed down the Foresters Trail, and one or two of us had just broken out headlamps as we reached the cars a little after 5. Overall a fun hike, albeit a little wetter than usual. Participants: Dale Schmit, Steve Titcomb, Phil Hazen, Kelly L, Bamby Pierpont, Patrick Reilly, Tess Stimson, Linnie Aubin, David Hathaway. Photos: David, Tess.