January 22, 2005
Snowshoe - Mad River Glen Ski Area.
A 50th Anniversary Heritage Outing.
Saturday, January 22, 2005 started out as very cold at -17 degrees in Montpelier at 6 am; by the time we reached the base lodge at Mad River Glen Ski Area it had gone up to almost 0 degrees by 8:15 am. Ken H, Kay G, Thomas W and I drove from Montpelier and Carol T met us at the base lodge for a total of five hardy soles. Thomas, who is helping organize the Heritage Outings, did most of the planning by contacting the ski area and I just drove and led the outing in the woods. We were asked to be ready to go up the single chair lift at 8:30 am which we did and went up right after the ski patrol. It was a cold but a beautiful ride to Stark's Nest on the LT. There was no wind and it felt warmer on the ridge top, and then we quickly put our snowshoes on and started hiking south on the LT.
It was a winter wonderland with fir trees covered with ice and snow (rim ice) similar to what you would find on top of Mt. Washington. Each tree trunk and all the branches with needles were covered like feathers of ice and snow. There was not much snow - about a foot on top of the hard frozen layers- and it was sculptured by wind from previous days. In some places between the trees on both sides of the trail snow appeared like waves on a large lake. Everybody had a turn at breaking the trail along the 1 mile section of LT to the Barton side trail. We reached Glen Ellen Lodge at 9:45 am and went inside for a snack, to talk and write in the shelter register. Going back was harder because of the ascent over General Stark Mtn. and with the trail broken we experienced more ice under foot. Before heading back, we stopped to take in views of Lake Champlain from the Orvis Lookout and checked out the trail junction with the Jerusalem Trail. Snow tracks of animals were mostly rabbits and a few small rodents and possibly a Moose.
Both Thomas and Carol led the group down through the maze of ski trails, and we talked to a number of skiers on the way. Carol leads nature hikes at the Ski Area and she took us to a nature center off of a ski trail supported by the Stark Mt. Foundation. We had lunch on a picnic table inside after checking out the displays and exhibits on the walls. Going down more ski trails and passing a frozen waterfall, the snowshoers returned to the main lodge by 1:30 pm. Everybody would like to thank the Mad River Glen Ski Area for making this outing possible and we hope to do it again next year!
Duncan C. Wilkie
1964 Schedule: Jan 25 Glen Ellen Lodge. Mad River Glen chair lift to Stark's Nest, then snowshoe via LT to the Lodge. Leader: Marion Gorham
Report from the Long Trail News XXIV 2 May 1964