1/20/2020 – Burnt Rock
Two carpooled from Richmond Park and Ride, meeting the other two of us at the Hedgehog Brook trailhead in Fayston. We set out at 9:15, all in snowshoes. The ice was nice and thick across the wide brook right at the start of the trail, allowing a safe crossing. (The prior week’s serious thaw had fortunately been followed by several days and nights of quite cold temperatures, allowing the “ice bridge” to re-form.) The many smaller water crossings on the trail were also mostly frozen over, making our passage easier than it often is on this notably wet trail. The trail was mostly broken out except for some drifts, until we reached the junction with the Long Trail, at which point the trail got progressively less distinct, and the trail breaking significant in places. We did a bit of trail finding but were little delayed by it, reaching the summit at 12:15. There was little to no wind and strong sun, making us quite comfortable despite the cold (single digit maybe low teen) temperatures as we took in the lovely views and had a quick lunch. We stayed on the summit about half hour before heading down, reaching our cars at 2:45. Great hike and great company! Participants: Susan, Juan, Dave, and Jill (trip leader). Photos: Dave Hathaway, Jill George.
1/18/2020 – Mansfield
It was a chilly one with a temp of a whole 3 degrees for our appointed meeting gathering spots….Essex Center P&R, Underhill Historical Society and the winter lot of Mountain Road, Underhill State Park. A hiking friend who was not coming on this outing but was aware of it, texted me a bit before 7 am to let me know the winter lot was full as she and her hiking group were there. I had not considered a Plan B so I whipped one up after she sent me this message but hoped we didn’t have to revert to it and luckily we were good, we just needed to park on the road tightly to the snow bank rather than the lot itself.
Started our trek about 8:30 am and we quickly split, two speedsters (who shall remain nameless!) overshooting the Lower Teardrop turn and ending up at the Underhill State Park parking lot, wondering why the rest of the group was taking so long….they finally realized their error, turned around and then we were one again. Lots of back country ski tracks to the junction of CCC Road and Maple Ridge, where anyone who had not already transferred from spikes to shoes now did so as MR was untracked. A few folks swapped the lead to break trail and lo and behold we had views and great ones in every direction at our first outlook point. Gorgeous and no wind! Even though the powder was abundant, there were several icy spots, either visible or hidden under the fresh powder. It was slow going in many spots and at the crevasse, 3 of us bushwhacked rather than take the leap, adding to the adventure.
Ate about 1/3 mile before the Forehead in a very protected area, hit the Forehead, then over to Halfway House where we descended. (The original plan was ridge, Chin, descend Sunset Ridge but the winds on the summit were forecasted at 50 mph with the storm moving in and 2 people had long drives in front of them so I’d decided 3 or 4 days before to shorten our loop outing…no one objected from the start nor at the HH trail junction!) Fun down and depending on where you were lined up in our group, you were playing in fresh powder or sliding on your butt down an icy chute! Back at the cars around 3 pm, a great day had by all as you can see from the pics!
1/18/2020 – Eagle Mountain Milton
We met at 9 AM at the Colchester park & ride and took one car to the trailhead on Henry Road in Milton. Since none of us (including the trip leader) had done the hike before and didn’t see any trail markings from the parking area, we started out at 9:20 following snowshoe tracks we found leaving it, assuming they knew where the trail was. We were wrong. We ended up walking around Eagle Mt. from the north and over some terrain and through some blowdowns that were rougher than we’d expected for an easy hike. Eventually we met up with the real trails again, went around the Wildflower Way Loop, then took the Sugarbush Link to the Hoyt Lookout Trail which we followed to the Hoyt Lookout, directly above the bushwhack path we’d followed earlier. We came back to the Mountaintop Trail junction and followed it up. Three of us did the final 100 yards over rocks to the summit, then we all followed the Mountaintop and Hoyt Lookout Trail back, reaching the car around noon. Participants: Fred Royce, Brittany Mann, Marcus Keely, David Hathaway (substitute leader).