4/24/2010 Biking on the Missisquoi Valley Rail
Trip leader: David Hathaway; Darryl Smith, Ed Linton.
We found out a couple days before the trip that the first part of the trail was closed due to painting of the I-89 underpass. So we met at 9:30 AM at Green’s Corner, just past the 3 mile mark on the trail, and started bicycling around 9:40. The weather was sunny, cool, and only slightly breezy, making it a perfect day for bicycling. The trail was in pretty good shape, with a packed fine gravel surface, though it was uneven and rutted in places. Apparently the whole thing is going to be resurfaced this summer, starting in May (with resulting section by section closings), so it should be even better soon. We kept up a pretty steady pace with only brief stops of a a couple minutes in a few spots, and traveled the 23 miles to Richford in about two hours. We took the short trip down the road from the end of the trail to the town green, where we spent about 15 to 20 minutes resting and having lunch. Ed had brought his camera and said he planned to take some pictures on the way back and to travel at a more leisurely pace, so David and Darryl soon left him behind. David was getting pretty tired on the way back, so the slight headwind might have felt stronger than it really was, but we still managed to get back to the car around 2:20, for a travel time (not including lunch break) of about 4 hours for 46 the 46 mile round trip.

4/25/10 Wildflower Hike at Niquette Bay State Park
Selecting the best date for a spring wildflower hike months in advance is a little tricky. As it turned out, we could not have had a better day to explore Niquette Bay State Park in search of wildflowers. A week earlier, the weather had been cool and there were only 12 different kinds of wildflowers in bloom. But then there were several days of warmer temperatures and sunny skies and lots of wildflowers started coming out. On our hike we were able to identify 25 different wildflowers in bloom. Everyone enjoyed the 3.5 mile hike and the wonderful display of wildflowers. Leader, Sheri Larsen; Rich Larsen, Lenore Budd, Linda Cooper, Debbie Lamden, Allison Williams, Bruce Gilbert-Smith, Mary Hennessy, Lou Ann Nielsen, Dot Myers, Ann Murray, Jane Lester, Mary Keenan; total 13; photos: Mary Keenan.

4/4/10 Mt. Hunger
We met a little before 9 AM at the Waterbury park and ride lot, drove to the trailhead in David’s car, and were on the trail at 9:15. While not up to the 80 F temperatures of the day before, the weather was still quite warm, so much of the hike was done in short sleeves. The lower part of the trail was completely free of snow, and mostly dry. When we reached the stream crossing, we started seeing snow, with the trail started becoming an intermittent stream bed, and very soon we were traveling mostly on snow. It was packed enough that no snowshoes were needed (which was good since we hadn’t brought any), but soft enough that crampons or microspikes were also not needed (though they might have been handy in a few icy spots). The actual summit was bare rock, with views in all directions, from Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, and Little River Reservoir nearby to the white-capped Whites of NH in the distance. The wind made it pretty cool, but we were able to get out of it behind some rocks to have lunch. On the way down we started to take the side trail to White Rock, but it had not been packed as well as the trail to Mt. Hunger, so after post-holing through the surface packed snow a few times in the first couple hundred yards we decided to skip the side trip and headed back down. We had seen only one person on the way up, but passed several groups coming up as we headed down. We reached the car at about 12:45, for a 3.5 hour round trip. Ann Miller, Bailey Greene (dog), trip leader: David Hathaway

3/28 Silver Lake and Falls of Lana
We ennjoyed this short, slow hike. We went up and back down by the “road” rather than the trail under the pipeline. There was ice on the trail in places, but it was easy to get around. We stopped to take pictures at the Falls of Lana. It was very windy mear the lake. We had lunch behind a rock rather than using the picnic tables. leader: Attending: Cynthia Duffy, Wes Volk, Leader: Dot Myer

3/21/10 Mt. Hunger via Waterbury Trail
11 Participants and 4 dogs
Our group’s desire to hike Mt. Hunger, was not about to be squelched by the prospect of rain/snow/sleet/hail, and nor were our spirits. After initial introductions and the essential 9 a.m. cookie brunch, the group set off up the initially muddy Waterbury Trail. About 100 yards into the hike, the trail became a packed down mixture of ice and hard snow. Most acquiesced to the need for strapping on our microspikes. At that point, tiny hard snow pellets began to fall. We all laughed and were grateful that it was not rain.
We bounced up the trail, shedding winter hats and jackets and replacing with rain jackets and rain hats. Though it was not raining, the snow was soaking us to the bone. With hopeful thoughts of possibly seeing a view from the summit we moved steadily with only a few stops for changing our attire. We enjoyed conversations about trips to Peru, our jobs that we love and jobs that we …don’t love, dreams of trips we want to take and dream trips that we have taken.
At the summit, the wind whipped our soaking wet bodies as we huddled for a group picture. In the background the clouds parted enough for us to see Sugarbush Ski Resort in the distance. As quickly as the sky opened, the views disappeared. After appreciating the views, we fiddled with cameras as we desperately tried to set the automatic timer. With success, we snapped a picture and quickly made our way back down the trail. With a quick stop for some lunch and the remainder of the cookies, we made our way back to the trailhead. We were wet, muddy, and bloody, but were in good enough spirits for most of us to go grab a beer afterwards.
A special applause goes out to Scarlet, as she is 13 years old (91 in human years), and managed up a tough scramble and one of the steepest trails in Vermont. We are inspired by your perseverance Scarlet! Participants: Phil Hazen, Kathy Adams, Jeff Wehrein, Dave Meatyard and his dog Liam, Wesley Volk, Audrey Winograd, Kurt Mehta and their dogs Scarlet and Felix, Larry Gagne, Mary Keenan, Darryl Smith.

3/13/10 Abbey Pond
Ten rugged mountaineers knocked off this outing in style avoiding the wind and driving rain hitting New York State and points south and west. Those wearing Khatoola mini-crampons (the red ones) did well, but a few wearing Yaktracks had problems keeping them on. A few sections of steady climbing saw the trail move from ice, to deeper ice, to packed snow, then to a less packed surface. Snowshoes were not needed but for the last ½ mile I might have liked them. The one way trip is up is 2.3 miles, 1260’ elevation gain. The trail follows a brook that was full of melt water and ends at an iced-over small wilderness pond and wetlands with a view of Robert Frost Mountain. The trailhead is south of Bristol, just northeast of Middlebury. Welcome to several new GMC-Burlington Section members! Participants were Kurt Mehta, Katy & Lee Wrigley, Paulette Bogan, Margaret Benn, Rob Selvaggi, Joanne Mellin, Clare Rivers, Kathlene Harry and trip leader Ted Albers, and two well behaved pups.

3/6 to 3/8 Weizel Cabin Week-end
Twelve of us enjoyed excellent spring weather and plentiful snow in the Adirondack High Peaks region. As usual, we had to make a choice: climb a mountain (Table Top this year), ski or snowshoe on the uncrowded trails just outside the door. Food and camaraderie were excellent as always. And best of all, no injuries this year! Join us next year for this annual week-end away. Linda Evans.

3/6/2010 Hike/Snow Shoe Mt. Abe
We had a smaller group than usual for this hike because the ski slopes were calling some potential hikers while the sales tax holiday lured others away. The five of us that did the hike were rewarded with a beautiful blue-sky day with temperatures reaching well into the 40s by the afternoon. There was so much snow that the picnic table at the shelter was totally covered and the trail markers above the shelter were only a foot or so above the snow. Because of all the snow, some of us carried snowshoes but we didn’t need them since the snow was packed enough. When we got above tree line, the cameras came out and many, many pictures were taken. The views were picture postcard perfect. We had lunch in a sheltered spot on the top and were rewarded with brownies at the bottom. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. Sheri Larsen leader, Rich Larsen, Peter Cottrell, Mary Keenan, Margaret Benn

Mansfield Ridge
We met at 9 AM the Underhill Center commuter lot on the corner of Pleasant Valley Road and Stevensville Road, consolidated into two cars, drove up to the winter parking area on the state park road, and got started hiking about 9:20 AM. The day started out quite sunny and warm (for February), and the road and lower trail were very packed, so snowshoes weren’t needed to start. But we all wore them anyway and they became essential later. We followed well established snowshoe tracks up to the summit, but those tracks didn’t always follow the Sunset Ridge Trail. The snow became quite deep, and as a result some familiar features became hard to see. In particular, the dip just before the right turn at the base of the West Chin was almost filled level with snow, so the folks at the head of the group (we were a little spread out at this point) followed tracks pretty much up the West Chin before realizing it. But given the depth of snow, we weren’t having an impact on the summit vegetation. Clouds had also come in and lowered over the summit as we climbed, so visibility was at most about 50 feet at the top, but there was very little wind. We saw many alpine skiers there who had hiked up from the top of the gondola, including a couple young boys in t-shirts (it was warm, but not that warm). The obscuring of features by snow was even more pronounced as we headed south along the summit ridge, and we almost missed the Sunset Ridge / Long Trail junction, as the usual “notch” leading to the Sunset Ridge trail was filled with snow and the sign at the junction was probably about 10 feet beneath our snowshoes. When we reached this point we had a discussion about whether to continue along the ridge as planned, or head down. The visibility had improved a little by this point, but the concern was that if it got worse again it could be easy to get lost on the broad summit ridge. But as we were discussing we saw breaks of sun shining down onto the ridge, and decided to continue. The sun came out as we were traversing the unbroken ridge, and in many ways the traverse was easier than usual, as it was a pretty smooth surface until we got close to the antennas. But at this point the trees started surfacing, along with “spruce traps” (which occur when deep snow hides a cavity between buried branches – see more here). These continued all the way to the CCC road. As perhaps the heaviest person on the trip with relatively small MSR Denali snowshoes (should have brought those snowshoe tail extension!) David seemed to find more of them than anyone else. Clouds started to came in again as we reached the trail from the maintenance road to the forehead (which was completely unbroken and very hard to find). On the forehead we met some skiers who had skinned up part of Maple Ridge, but we were duly warned that their tracks didn’t necessarily go where we wanted to, and they were right. Fortunately both Chuck and Darryl had GPS tracks of the trail, and combined with very occasional sightings of blue blazes we got down to the CCC road with little difficulty. From there, rather than climbing back up the CCC road, we opted to go down the well packed lower Teardrop ski trail to the road. We reached the cars at about 4:20, for a total trip time of about 7 hours. Trip leader: David Hathaway, with Darryl Smith, Robynn Albert, Chuck Bond, Judy Bond, Phil Hazen

February 27th 2010
Little River snowshoe outing
Despite the dire weather forecasts, there were four of us on the Little
River snowshoe outing today. Besides myself, the others were Mary Hennessy
of Burlington (says she is a member), Andrea Chong of Burlington (says she
is a member), and Andrew Gallagher of Burlington (says he is not a member).
The access road was plowed, and the gate at the dam open, so that we were
able to drive to the ranger station. Apparently a new accommodation by the
state this year. We started hiking at 10:00 a.m. and got back to the car at
3:01 p.m., a minute later than I promised. There was no snow or rain
falling on us, but the trails were well covered with wet snow, the
temperature being about 34 degrees F.Joe Frank

February 21, 2010
Sterling Pond Via the Long Trail
10 Participants and 3 dogs
The question on everyone’s minds as we were loading the cars at the Park N Ride was, as always, “Do we need our snowshoes?” That question was answered very quickly as we pulled up to the trailhead at the road closure on VT. 108. YES!!! It was surprising to see the amount of snow that Stowe had received since the surrounding towns had only received a trace amount. So, we threw on our snowshoes and proceeded up Mountain Road to the trailhead, enjoying the milder temperatures (20’s) despite the wind. Once at the trailhead, we realized this might prove to be more difficult than one would have thought, since there were no signs that anyone had been at this trailhead in a while. First, there were no tracks in the snow, and the pencils at the sign in board were frozen in the pencil holes. We continued to march through knee deep powder, while searching every tree for a visible sign of the white blaze. After a couple of miles in, we agreed we were off trail since we hadn’t seen a white blaze in quite some time, though that didn’t really deter us from continuing on our route. We were able to see more signs of wildlife once off trail. We saw quite a few signs of bear scratches on the trees as black bears often use trees as territory markers and rubbing posts, as well as a food source. Black bears will often bite and pull off strips of bark on particularly tasty trees like pine, spruce and fir. We also saw signs of porcupines, where the trees had been nibbled on higher up. After enjoying some signs of wildlife, and checking GPS coordinates, we decided that making it to Sterling Pond was just not going to happen on this day. Too many things working against us: deep heavy snow, untracked trail, snow covered trees camouflaging our white trail blazes, and short daylight hours. So, we headed back down the trail, taking advantage of all opportunities to slide on our butts down steeper sections. We had lunch at a snow covered picnic table while the sun graced us with its presence. Thanks to a hiker’s cat like reflexes, she was able to defend her backpack from being marked by one unruly dog from another group. After that excitement, we packed up lunch and decided to add a little road walk to top off our hike. Although we didn’t reach our original destination, we all agreed it was a fantastic trip. We had great conversations where we got to learn about one person’s end to end hike on the Long Trail, another person’s upcoming trip to Machu Picchu and stories about each other’s current and previous jobs. The hike also allowed for great opportunities to take beautiful pictures, especially of the ice covered trees that looked like chandeliers. We all look forward to seeing this hike again come summer when the blazes and trail are easier to find.
Participants: Taylor Christie, Mary Keenan, Michelle Ross and dog Hadasa, Thomas Ross, Doug and dog Lilly, Patrick Hewitt, Wesley Bolk, Audrey Winograd, Kurt Mehta
Trip Leader Kelley Mackison and dog Trigger.

2/20/10 Hazen’s Notch XC Trip
Another successful day of skiing in the beautiful Northeast Kingdom. The question came up at one point (while we were reveling in the plentiful and superbly groomed ski trails); why isn’t this gem more visited by Vermonters? We didn’t ponder the question too long as the conditions were just too good to miss. Most of us stayed all day, enjoying the woods and the fields and the ups and the downs. Participants: Marilyn Abbott, Jan Abbott, Russ Kinaman, Lou Young, Virginia Munkelwitz, Richard Munkelwitz, Nancy Marshall, Horst from Austria, Linda Evans (leader).

2/14/10 Bolton Valley Ski
The outing had been planned for Highland Lodge to Craftsbury but conditions were not good. The skiing at Bolton Valley was quite good. We spent the day on a few back country trails. Bryant’s Upper Camp, Birch Loop, and North Slope. Lunch at Bryant’s which was also being used by overnighters. The woodstove fire made lunch more pleasant. Later on we skiied groomed trails – Broadway and Maple. Trip leader: Carlene Squires, with Wendy Savoie, Russ Kinaman, Cathy Tilly and Joe.

Mt. Hunger
What a super mid-winter day to be in the mountains of Vermont! As there were only five of us in total and we arrived before the appointed meeting time at the Richmond Park and Ride, we all hopped in Phil’s truck and headed south. (Phil, thanks for offering me the front heated passenger seat!) Hunger is a quick 4 mile RT outing and we took almost no breaks, making it to the summit before 11 am. A few other folks were just approaching, too, from the Worcester side. The morning was due to be sunny and the afternoon a bit cloudy; I think we probably hit the day just right, as we were able to see quite a bit more of the valley than I believe any of us anticipated. A bit of conversation, some lunch and picture-taking and down we headed and ran! There is nothing more fun than racing down a hill as fast as you can after a great hike. We hit the trailhead at just before 12:00 and then headed for a libation and eats at The Reservoir, home of the leg lamp, in Waterbuy. (If you have seen The Christmas Story, you know what I am talking about; if not, I highly recommend renting it and it does not have to be holiday-time for you to do this.) Great day, great group, lots of laughs! Submitted by Robynn Albert (pictures forthcoming) Phil Hazen, Darryl Smith, Larry Gagne, Miguel Bosse
This photo: Phil Hazen (Phil, how did you do it? You are in the photo!?)

Camels Hump
Although the published trip schedule said the trip was going take the Monroe Trail up Camel’s Hump, the substitute trip leader opted for a substitute route (Burrows Trail) to the same destination (Camel’s Hump summit). So after the group met at the Richmond commuter lot at 9 AM, we drove to the Burrows Trail trailhead in Huntington and got on the trail about 9:40. The trail was very well packed, so snowshoes weren’t really needed, and half the group opted not to use them. To avoid laying down confusing tracks for the Camels Hump Challenge ski race run the same day, we opted not to take a side trip off trail to Bald Hill. With the packed trail we made very good time, and reached the summit in about an hour and a half. It was overcast so there were no real views. And it was very windy and cold, so there was also no sitting around at the summit. At the summit the group divided, with Marc, Paggy, Rich, and Sheri heading back down the Burrows trail, and the rest continuing on the Long Trail south toward Montclair Glen Lodge and the Forest City Trail. The rock at and just below the summit was unusually bare of snow and ice (some, but not much). But once we reached the Alpine Trail junction we got into snow again, and snowshoes started being useful. Somewhat surprisingly, the trail had obviously been broken out fairly recently, although there was a coating of recent snow over the older tracks. And about two thirds of the way down to Montclair Glenn Lodge, we met the first of several people coming up the trail from the south, so from that point there was zero difficulty in finding the trail. We crossed the ski tracks from the Camels Hump Challenge racers just before reaching the Lodge, with the segment from summit to lodge taking us about another hour and a half. We went inside to the relative warmth (the thermometer in the lodge said +8 F) to have lunch, then back on with the snowshoes and another hour down Forest City Trail to the cars, for a total trip time of about four hours. The trailhead register showed that (as expected) the other four of our group had gotten down and signed out, so it seems to have been a successful outing for all. Trip leader: David Hathaway; Mark Blanchard,Rich Larsen, Sheri Larsen, Chuck Bond, Judy Bond, Marc Faucher, Peggy Faucher

Camel’s Hump Snowshoe via Monroe Trail
8 Participants
As the cars approached the winter parking lot of the Monroe trail, there were high hopes for rising temperatures, sunny blue skies, and a clear path to the summer parking lot. One out of our three wishes was granted. The temperatures held steady around 1 degree, and the summer parking lot was plowed in, but the sun did desperately try to push its way through the sheet like, nearly transparent clouds which I learned are cirrostratus clouds. After playing a little trivia about the history of Camel’s Hump (for nonexistent semi-valuable prizes), the group started the steady climb to the summit. The hike up consisted of several breaks to de-layer, layer back up, put on the microspikes and snowshoes, and of course more trivia and cookie eating. We all giggled at some silly inside “cookie” jokes as I had misinterpreted someone’s request for another cookie. I blame it on brain freeze as the wind had picked up intensely as we ascended up the side of the mountain.
We regrouped at the Alpine trail intersection for a quick discussion on the October 1944 plane crash into the side of Camel’s Hump, had a quick snack and continued to up the clearing. At the clearing, we redressed (or as Phil said he “cross dressed”…I’ll let him explain that one…or just ask him about it on your next hike with him :-)). As we all layered up in our down jackets, thicker gloves and warmer hats, we psyched ourselves up for what looked like a gorgeous summit. As we approached the summit, we came across some intense (or some would say…freaking insane) backcountry skiers descending the very narrow, thickly settled path from the top. The summit proved to be gorgeous, with hazy panoramic views, and intense bone chilling winds. After a few quick pictures the group started the descent back to the car. Camaraderie, great conversation, and eager hungry bellies, made for a quick descent. Thanks to all the participants for a fabulous mid-winter hike.
Participants: Larry Gagne, Phil Hazen, Margaret Benn, Mary Keenan, Jake Cote, Joseph Gowland, Christina Hertz, Leader: Kelley Mackison

January 30, 2010, Bolton-Nebraska Valley Road Back-country Ski
10 participants. This was advertised as a joint trip of GMC and Catamount Trail Association, but it appears that everyone who joined the trip learned about it through CTA. After bad rains on Jan 25, it was doubtful that the trip could be held, but there was a surprise snowfall in the Bolton-to-Mansfield area on the night of Jan 26, variously reported between 5 to 10 inches. So, on January 28, Sheri and Rich Larsen skied up from the Nebraska Valley Road to the east ridge of Bolton Mountain, finding ‘decent to good’ conditions, but two stream cuts that would require ski removal. At that time, the forecast for Saturday solidified as ‘extreme cold’, with an outlook for below zero temperatures and wind. We decided to go on Saturday, but restricted the trip to people who we were confident could keep up a pretty fast pace on the uphill and downhill. Friday was intensely cold and windy, further reducing the number planning to go. On Saturday, we ended up with ten intrepid skiers starting up from Bolton. We used our usual strategy of Sheri leading and Rich sweeping. We reached Bryant in 40 minutes, and in another 40 minutes we were at Raven’s Wind. The weather was cold, temperatures below zero, but the wind had ended, and there was sun, so things did not feel too bad. Two hours into the trip we had a quick lunch break in the woods, and then headed on to reach the top of the downhill at ‘Windy Ridge’, where there is a view of Camels Hump. We started down about 2 ½ hours into the trip. The snow was wind-packed in the downhill, and the lead skiers had trouble with breaking wind-slab, but after about 3-4 skiers went through the powder had been ‘generated’ by the break-up of the wind-pack. Surprisingly, the places where we expected to have to remove skis had frozen and gotten some snow blown in on Friday, so we never had to remove skis, although we still had to step gingerly across a couple of places. Other than the problems of the wind-slab and an occasional avoidable bare-ground area, we had pretty good conditions, and no major problems, in the downhill. We reached the cars in about 3:45 from the start. For the last half-hour, at the lower elevations, the temperature was probably above zero! Richard Larsen leader

January 17, 2010, Honey Hollow
Six participants, plus a dog. The trail was well packed. The day was warm and even a little sunny, but not warm enough to be sticky. It was so well packed that one person didn’t even use snowshoes. We hiked the circle as planned. Participants: Harris Abbott, Jan Abbott, Margaret, Joyce, Doug, Dot Myer leader.

Mt. Ellen
A bit of a difference in the weather department from last Sunday’s Worcester outing to yesterday’s Mt. Ellen adventure. Five of us in total and the day was about as warm as can be for mid-January in Vermont. All was well, or so we thought, as we made our way to the summit of FIS, highest point on Mt. Ellen for skiers. The trail opens up quite wide and we were met by several skiers, little and big ones alike!, make their way down. So we simply followed their tracks. And ended up not at the summit as planned, but in the middle of the ski hill! What to do? Stay as far to the right as possible, to avoid the boarders and skiers. We got a few curious looks, a lot of stares, a few smiles and one woman yelling, “What country are you guys from anyway?”. Hit the summit (which is in the woods a bit off trail) and then debated what the best course of action (trail) was for our descent minus going back the same route we took, with those coming off the mountain on sticks (or one stick) now at our backs. Before we disappeared into the woods completely, this skier stopped and was absolutely fascinated by what we were doing, how we got up, how we were going back, where our car was, how long it was going to take us, etc. He insisted on taking our picture. The scenery was so frozen at the summit (but mind you, the temps were still mild at this elevation) and absolutely stunning. And the sun was not out yet. After a bit of a bushwack, and seeing some blazes here and there, we met up with two skiers who were headed up and a bit lost themselves….they described Kathy (who had left us early on) and said the trail was pretty close. Lo and behold, we popped out where we first met up with the skiers on the trail! All was good! A bit of an adventure on another fabulous GMC Burlington section outing! Submitted by Robynn Albert, with Phil Hazen, Kathy Adams, Bill Moore, Miguel Bosse.
Photo credit to Mary Keenan for Worcester Mtn. and Phil Hazen for Mt. Ellen

Mt. Worcester
What was due to be a chilly, cloudy day in the weather department turned out to be not so much so either way. On Thursday night, one person was scheduled; by Saturday night, a nice size group had formed. Five of us met at the Richmond P&R and headed south from there where Mark and Robert met us. It was fate – the upper lot had not been plowed so the entrance fit three vehicles perfectly. Left the trailhead about 10:10 am and onward we went! The trail starts very level with little ascent until about halfway towards the summit. The further we headed up, the trees became more beautiful with fresh fluffy snow from the day or night before. Others had been before us (not that day, as we never met another soul or souls), so there was no breaking trail until nearly the summit and that was not much work at all. The clouds had lifted enough where at the summit Mt. Washington, the Franconia Range, the Hump, Mt. Mansfield and even Giant Mountain in the Adirondacks were clearly visible. It was great! A bit of wind at the top, so we dropped down and had some lunch and then moved downward. Hit the cars around 2:40 pm which is more than enough time to be up and down but we got a bit distracted….
If anyone has been on an outing where I am the lead, they know how much I like trivia and games or just plan fun topics of conversation. Christmas Day I had some friends over and my buddy Ellen had been to a Christmas Eve party and the host introduced “Truths and Lies”; Ellen in turn introduced it to the group that day. It was so much fun, I had to pass it along and decided I would do so the next time I was with a group who I felt would be willing and able and have as much fun with it as I did. How to play is easy: simply tell two truths about yourself (an experience, a trait, a story – anything) and then something that is realistic but untrue about you. We howled all day, as everyone took a turn and learned a whole bunch about each other. Ask Phil sometime about driving 150 mph or Mary about her dancing experience or Mark about his border crossing experiences. You will learn more than you ever dreamed about one another.
Leader: Robynn Albert, participants: Phil Hazen, Darryl Smith, Mary Keenan, Lynda Hutchins, Robert Riversong, Mark Blanchard (Note: wonderful photos from this trip are at the bottom of this post but are mixed into photos from the Stowe Pinnacle trip. I can’t figure out how to get them to post under here! Im working on it – Ted)

January 9, 2010, Camels Hump
7 participants. The trip was scheduled for Mount Mansfield, but the forecast turned out to be for a quite cold and windy day in Burlington. It was clear that survival above tree-line would not be practical without extreme arctic gear. (To get to the summit of Mansfield from tree-line, and back to tree-line, would take at least 1.25 hours, and the forecast was way too brutal for that.) So, we switched to the Monroe Trail on Camels Hump. We began at the winter lot, with some using snowshoes from the start, while others held out until about half-way up. The scenery was excellent above about 2000’, with the thick hoar-frost on the branches of the hardwoods contrasted against the bright blue sky. All of the hikers continued beyond the hut clearing, at least to tree-line, with six going to the summit. The summit rocks were thick with hoar-frost, more than I have ever seen – and the conifers on the west side below the trail looked like white terra-cotta warriors lined up below. The summit temperature was 8 below, and the wind was blowing 20-30 MPH, so the length of time spent in the summit area was measured in seconds. We indeed would not have survived more than a short jaunt above tree-line had we attempted Mansfield. We made good time going down, and were back at the winter lot about 4.5 hours after we started. Participants – Robert Preisser, Bill Moore, Christopher Morris, Chuck Bond, Judy Bond, Jeff Wehrwein, Richard Larsen, leader

Stowe Pinnacle
What a great way to start off the new year. We left the trailhead at the leisurely time of 11:00 a.m. under wintry overcast skies. It took us about 2 hours to reach the summit, with lots of stops for de-layering and chatting along the way. Two people and their dog made it part way and then headed back to the trailhead when their dog became overly excited. The skies brightened at the summit just enough to show off an outline of the valley to the east. We made it back in under an hour, sliding down some of the steeper slopes in a seated position and returned to our cars at 2:00. Five participants: Mary Keenan, Ted Albers, Robert Riversong and his friend Susan and her dog Copper and Suzanne Daningburg (trip leader) and her dog Fanny.

1/1/10 Camels Hump
A late cancellation left just Lynda and David for this hike. They met at the Richmond commuter lot at 8:30, drove to the winter parking area, donned snowshoes, and started up the Monroe trail around 9:15. The forecast was for snow, but we really didn’t get any, though we had low clouds the whole way. It was very warm (around 25 F at the hut clearing), and we both ended up hiking without gloves and hats much of the way. The trail was pretty packed, so we had zero trouble finding the trail, and probably didn’t need snowshoes at all. As we approached the summit we saw someone coming down who said it was clearing a little and views were beginning to open up, but that proved very brief. At the summit there was no wind, and we were able to stop for lunch for maybe 10 minutes, mostly glove-free. I neglected to check the time at the summit, but I’d guess it was about 12:30. On the way down we saw a lot more people coming up, including Mary Lou Recor with a group of 8 others, who we stopped and chatted with for a while. Then on down to reach the car at around 2:30, and back to drop Lynda at her car at a little after 3. Participant: Lynda Hutchins; Trip leader: David Hathaway