Green Mountain Club
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Trip Reports
October 22, 2011
Paine Mountain

On Saturday, October 22, 2011, 12 of us hiked up Paine Mountain in Northfield. Several people in the group had hiked or snow shoed up Paine Mountain in years past but for others, the hike was a new experience. There are many old woods roads leading to the summit. In general, the trails follow well-graded woods roads, apparently built for either farming, hunting, logging or maintaining the water system which supplied Northfield until the mid-1950's. We parked our cars near the center of town and walked up Slate Avenue to start on the woods road which begins there. On the first part of the trail, we often hiked above a delightfully babbling brook. We also passed remains from slate mining and a slate quarry. There was one dramatically eroded section of the trail, reportedly caused by Tropical Storm Irene. After the trail intersected with the woods road starting at Prospect Street, we started finding pipes from the obsolete water system. We passed the remains of a farm , including stone walls, the foundation for a livestock enclosure, pieces of old crockery and an intact medicinal jar. We also passed a beaver dam, just about level with the trail, which contained a pond. The trail intersected with several more woods roads before it reached the wooded summit of Paine Mountain. We made a short detour to Hawk Watch, where there is a dilapidated three-sided shelter and views of the Green Mountains. We didn't see any hawks, but noticed storm clouds blowing in. After a quick lunch, we headed out and ended the hike in light rain. Reading the trail descriptions from William Osgood's Paine Mountain Trail Guide, I calculated that our route would be more than 8.5 miles. One of our group carried a GPS, which measured the hike to and from our cars as 7.7 miles.

Phyllis Rubenstein

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