11/26 – Camels Hump via Monroe
Five of us met at 9 AM at the Richmond park & ride and drove up to the winter parking area for the Couching Lion farmsite in Duxbury, where we met a sixth. The last person who had signed up wasn’t there, and we thought they might have driven up to the summer parking area, which was still accessible (and has had its lower section hugely expanded). Instead, the trip leader got an email saying he’d gone to the wrong trailhead (Huntington instead of Duxbury), and would drive around and maybe he’d catch up with us at the top. Weather was around 30 and sunny as we started up around 9:50, and the trail looked pretty packed out, so we left snowshoes behind, but (almost) everyone put on microspikes. We followed the Monroe trail past the junction with Dean trail, stopped to admire some of the ice on cliffs near the trail, and continued to the Alpine trail junction. The advertised trip was to go up to the summit first, then follow the LT south to the Alpine junction and take it back to Monroe. But we decided to reverse the loop, heading up Alpine first. This was only partly packed out, but the snow wasn’t very deep, so there was no need for snowshoes. We kept looking for the plane wreck, but the snow must have covered it up, and we reached the LT without seeing it. There we all layered up for the wind, which was pretty intense at the top. After tagging the summit we headed down to the hut clearing where we finally met up with the last of our group, and all headed down Monroe to reach the cars around 3 or 3:30. Participants: Liana Edwards, Julie Cimonetti, Susan McDowell, Jill George, Jonna Tufts, Joshua Golek, David Hathaway (substitute leader). Photos: David & Susan.
11/19 – Mansfield Forehead / Rock Garden
The eight of us met at the Stevensville Road Trailhead (Underhill) at 8 am. After a brief review of hiking plan and key hiking trail junctures, we embarked on our adventure at 8:05 am. Headed up Butler Lodge Trail and as normal well-traveled/packed out but some opted for microspikes and some waited until arrived at Butler Lodge. Arrived at ~ 9:20 am where took a brief break for snacks while enjoying the lodge and clear skies with sun shining. 9:30 am Marcus ate some GORP (important hiking notation). Susan decided to head back down to the trailhead as she was feeling like was the best choice regarding her general energy level today so we were now a group of 7. Began our trek up short connection on Wampahoofus (0.1 miles) to Rock Garden Trail where the excitement begins! We encountered ice stalactites on edge of some rock escarpments which made for awesome wonders that rivaled those of Belvidere hike. Now for the awesome caving adventures of the under/over decision of the first Rock Garden structure followed by the cool Rock Garden rock crevice which some traversed while some safely opted for the inclement conditions trail by-pass. As venturing through the rock crevice, a stalactite came crashing down from edge of rock escarpment above shortly after Ted cleared the icy section thus after witnessing this large icicle crash down, no lingering in the event another was about to crash down. Finished Rock Garden trail/arrived where intersects Maple Ridge Trail at approximately 10:45 am. Maple Ridge Trail has some cool features itself such as two steep rock scrambles, of which we had to forgo the second rock scramble due to ice accumulation on the key narrow vein for foot placement and hand grab fissure above, thus inclement bypass section was our only option. Everybody safely traversed the leap over the approximately 4 foot opening at the third obstacle. Then a few more sections of minor up and down on Maple Ridge Trail leading to final ascent of our destination, The Forehead. Ted stopped at Wampahoofus intersection to head back to Butler Lodge in his quest for his lost water bottle which he believed left in the lodge. The now group of 6 arrived at the Forehead at 11:50 am to the warmth of the sun and no wind allowing us to actually stop and enjoy the views along with some nourishments. The views of the snow accumulations on the trees both at the summit and as we looked down made for an awesome wonder! We began our trek back down Maple Ridge to the Wampahoofus intersection at 12:10 pm and arrived at Wampahoofus at approximately 12:35 pm. The legendary Wampahoofus Trail began with the Wampahoofus, Wampahoofus chant to get pumped up for some interesting cave scrambles which rounded out our amazing hike cave features. Arrived at Butler Lodge at approximately 1 pm where regrouped with Ted without his water bottle(no luck!). Another important time notation, Robynn graced us with a trivia question regarding the Wizard of Oz at 1:05 pm. The final descent on Butler Lodge Trail wrapped up at 1:45 pm return time to trailhead where the group of 8 was reunited and enjoyed a Poorhouse Pie in celebration of Marcus’ Birthday! Trip Participants: Susan Tobin, Ted Albers, Cynde Strand, Jill George, Robynn Albert, Julie Cimonetti, Marcus Keely, Dale Schmit(Trip Leader). Pictures: Julie Cimonetti, Dale Schmit, Cynde Strand, Ted Albers.
11/6 – Taylor Lodge
After having up to 16 people interested in the hike and a waitlist, we ended up having 6 people meet at the Underhill Center commuter lot at 9 AM, take two up to the Stevensville trailhead, and start up Nebraska Notch trail around 9:20. The weather was unbelievable warm for early November, near 70 F, and many of us were hiking comfortably in t-shirts. We reached Taylor Lodge a little after 11 and had a leisurely lunch with another group of two mothers and their children. After lunch we went up to the Lake Mansfield lookout, then checked out the mouldering privy (and I refilled the shavings bucket), since some of us had been talking about the kinds of LT privies on the way up. We started back around noon, and reached the cars around 1:30. Participants: Maia Zawilinski, Fred Royce, Kathleen, Joshua Golek, Mary Lou, David Hathaway (leader).
11/5 – Whiteface (ADKs)
Our group of eight met at 6:45 AM at the Charlotte ferry to begin our trip to the Marble Mountain Trailhead for an ascent of Whiteface. We arrived at the trailhead around 8:30 and began our ascent. For November, the weather was unseasonably warm with temperatures in the 60s and 70s which meant it was to be a sweaty ascent. We made our way up the straight line trail to Marble Mountain before continuing on to the Wilmington Trail (on our way to the 4867 foot summit). We stopped briefly at the intersection with the toll road to consider layering up before the final summit push, but the wind was moderate and the temperatures warm so we decided to just continue on. Just short of the summit we stopped to put on some wind gear before stepping up to the summit marker for some photos. With the wind moderate in our location, we enjoyed some lunch and conversation. Views were intermittent with the clouds moving in and out and the wind doing much the same. We decided to make our way to the auto road to make a loop of the summit portion of the hike. As soon as we made our way around the buildings on the summit the wind picked up dramatically and made for a challenging (and slippery) descent to the road where the wind was eventually broken. We continued on the road and eventually regained the trail for our final descent. We continued down the trail we had ascended back to our cars, made our way to the Essex, NY ferry and eventually back to the Charlotte ferry lot where we departed. Total distance of 7.8 miles with an outing time of 5:45. Participants: Marta Parys, Liana Edwards, Julie Cimonetti, Andrew Chalnick, Laura Gates, Brian Verville, Sophia Kristelle and Chris Luczynski (leader).