Attempts to carpool to the notch to reduce our parking footprint failed, as Dean was concerned he might have to turn around early because of heel problems, and Jacob and Emily missed an exit and ended up coming the long way through Stowe. Nonetheless, we joined up and got on the trail around 8:45. It wasn’t hot, but it was a pretty warm day for late September, partly cloudy, and with just enough breeze to keep it pleasant.

We made good time, getting to Sterling Pond around 9:20. After hanging out for a few minutes we continued to Sterling Sterling Pond Shelter and on to reach Madonna around 10:15, where we admired the vivid red foilage views across the slopes below and the Lamoille valley. We reached Whiteface shelter around noon, then headed up to the summit and back down to the shelter for lunch.

On the way back Jacob and Emily were running low on water, so they charged ahead to Sterling Pond, and then Jacob headed back to Sterling Shelter to get water from the spring there while the rest of us hung out talking to the caretaker and watching (and in Sophie’s case playing with) the many people and dogs at the pond. We join the throngs headed down to the notch, and reached the cars around 4 PM, and neither Dean’s heel nor Emily’s ankle, which she’d hurt recently, stopped them from completing the whole trip.

With Jacob Hinsdale, Emily Young, Dean Wiederin, Sophie (Dean’s dog) Trip leader: David Hathaway