Monday, August 20, 2012

VT side trails with Mom

What beautiful weather last weekend, and what better way to enjoy it than with family on the mountain trails of Vermont!

Mom has been hiking the Long Trail "side trails" after finishing up the Long Trail itself, and she has been very close to finishing all of them.  Last weekend she took aim at the final 3 days, all in southern Vermont.  John and I were lucky to get to join her for the first 2.

We started near Manchester with the Lye Brook trail, leading up to a gorgeous multi-drop waterfall (after crossing a large mudslide area that was just about as equally impressive).


Mom was looking strong and ready for 3 days of solid effort.


Barnacle-covered tree?


The lower part of Lye Brook trail (to the waterfall) was wide and beautiful. The upper part was narrow and not as easy to follow.  Mom valiantly pushed through the wet vegetation and found the way through.


John met us going the other direction around our loop and accompanied us on a side trip toward Stratton Pond where Mom had been turned back from a bunch of wind-fallen trees on her previous attempt.  Approaching from the other direction, we figured out the way through and were happy to have some blue flagging tape markings to follow.  These had not been there a month ago when Mom was by herself in this area.

Checking out the signage:


Some of the aftermath of the "major wind event":


Somewhere there is a trail on the other side...


Mom making good use of her poles:


Discussing the trail and the difficulty in following it:


Side note - autumn is on the way!


Climbing over a huge downed tree, John leaned on a tiny sapling and ended up on his butt... this hardly ever happens and I was lucky to get a photo of it, so I can't help but include it here:


Mom had no such problems  :)


Lye Brook trail was done, one down.  We returned to the Branch Pond intersection where John continued around the loop and Mom and I headed north.


Bourn Pond, absolutely beautiful:



A pretty little creek that we crossed:


Colors of nature (or, I don't know what this is and am too lazy to look it up):


Two trees growing side-by-side all the way up to the sky:


A bit of erosion over a creek:


The weather was amazing, nice and cool, sunny above the trees and shady under them:


A brief stint on the Long Trail:


View from Prospect Rock before descending on Old Rootville Road:


Day 1 was the long one!  We were tired by the end but glad to get it done, especially the extra out-and-back toward Stratton Pond.

Sunday we played around along the VT-MA border.  Mom went up the Broad Brook trail while John and I started on the Appalachian Trail in town.

Welcome back to the AT!  It has been great fun trekking on it in different states.


What a great trail, also more popular than the side trails from Saturday.  We enjoyed climbing up through the trees on the rocks.


Big cairn at the top:


Back to Vermont and the bottom end of the Long Trail.  We still have well over 105 miles on our personal quest to someday finish all of the LT ourselves.


Vermont trails rock:



We found Mom coming toward us partway around the loop, exchanging beta and car keys and hugs.

Our run down the Broad Brook trail was a fun adventure - lots of steep hillsides, rocks and roots, figuring out where the trail was going, and crossing the brook multiple times.  Halfway down it turned runnable and I so enjoyed being able to really run on trails again - yay!

The trail is that way:


We met Mom as she was finishing up her 10.4 mile loop to complete day 2, well done Mom!


Together we drove over to Williamstown for a very nice afternoon of Thai food, ice cream, and goodies from the coffee shop.

Modern art at Williams College:


Things are looking up:


A well-deserved rest!


Mom is finishing up one last section of Branch Pond trail today, where she will be officially DONE with all of the Long Trail side trails - way to go Mom!!  Congratulations!



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