Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vermont Trip -- Post 1

I had a free airline ticket thanks to a previous Delta Airline problem that had to be used before it expired, so I decided to go to Vermont to visit my son and his wife (Kevin and Jericho) for a long weekend. For the first time I flew out of Escanaba. Here is a shot taken not long after take off showing the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The next day after arriving, Kevin and I did a couple of two hour hikes. The first was up Smuggler's Notch. The notch connects towns on either side of the pass. Smugglers' Notch namesake comes from the smugglers almost 200 years ago, who used the thick forest on the mountain range and the caves and caverns along the north-to-south Long Trail to transport illegal or embargoed goods across the Canadian border. The notch was most likely involved in bootlegging during the Prohibition-era of the 1920s, using the same caves as a cache for smuggled Canadian beer, wine, and spirits. Scenic Smugglers' Notch proper comprises the Sterling Mountain/Spruce Peak ridgeline to the east and Mount Mansfield to the west. Extremely steep terrain drops down into the notch where Vermont Route 108 winds through switchbacks below, connecting Smuggler's Notch Resort with adjacent Stowe Mountain Resort a few miles to the south. The road is closed to cars November–April, but open to snowmobilers and winter sports enthusiasts.

Pictured below is a shot of a portion of "The Mountain" as locals call it, which is the ski resort on Mount Mansfield -- the highest peak in Vermont at 4,395 feet. The following two shots show the Notch.

Due to the spring snow melt, there were waterfalls and ice formations on the cliffs all the way up and through the Notch.

In the afternoon, we went on another excursion in search of a snow-covered trail near the Lake Mansfield Trout Club in the Nebraska Valley. I brought snowshoes and Kevin carried his skies. Since the trail was more south-facing, we had to walk quite a ways until we found just a bit of snow. At least Kevin was able to ski down the trail for a little way. Kevin's dog, Quincy, enjoyed himself, too.

Along the access road near the trout club there was this concrete collection box to funnel natural spring water.

While we were on the hike, a big moose walked next to our parked car. Unfortunately, we did not see him but I did get a picture of one of his tracks.

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