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Snowshoeing VT's Appalachian Trail

 

Wow am I late in getting this post out.  Back in January I went up to Vermont for a weekend of winter fun.  Adrial organized a trip last year and he set another one up for 2009.  The house he found was a steal!  It slept at least 20 people, had a pool table, big screen TV, lots of couch space and a hot tub.  All for $100 per person!  That even included some food and beverages. 

On the way up Friday night I got some snow, nothing too bad just some flurries.  Almost everyone went up on Thursday night so they could ski on Friday rates.  I however had to hang back and drive up Friday night.  It was nice and cold all weekend, probably reaching the mid-teens during the day.  This was good for my activity of choice, snowshoeing.  Rates at Killington are something like $70-80 or down to $50 for a group rate.  Still way more expensive than my FREE snowshoeing!

Luckily the house was only 2.5 miles from Sherburne Pass near the entrance of Pico.  This coincidentally is the same place I went climbing over the summer during the Sikorsky VT trip.  I parked across from the Inn at Long Trail and headed toward the trailhead.  It was cold but not too windy which was nice.  The trail was used not completely devoid of powder, making the snowshoes useful but not required.  The biggest advantage to the snowshoes were the crampons.  They really help in going up/downhill.  I decided to take the hiking trail rather than the climber trail which would have been difficult at the least and dangerous at worst.  The base of the cliff is a tumble of boulders and holes exist that I could fall into.  The trail to the summit is about .9 miles.

The top was windy and very snowy because of the elevation as some of the pictures show.  Even lower down there was between 1-2 feet of super soft powder depending where I checked.  After checking out the summit for a few minutes another party of 5 joined me.  They were on snowshoes as well.  I headed back down not wanting to be disturbed by them.  The overlook trail intersects both the AT and the Long Trail.  I opted to take the AT North towards Gifford State Park because the other party had come from the LT.  

The trail for the AT was also well defined but not hard so I was getting my use out of the ‘shoes.  Being used it was basically impossible to get lost since there was basically a 1.5 foot wide path through the snow.  This is completely opposite of Chrystal and I’s trip to Balance Rock.  

I made my way liesurely to Gifford State Park.  They must have 10 lean-to cabins there.  I can bet that place is party central in the summer give its location right on the AT.  Being that it was getting late in the day and I didn’t fancy spending the night out, I started to head back.  What I didn’t realize was that nearly my entire trip to Gifford was down hill.  My 2.4 mile trip back to the Deer Leap Overlook trial was a tiring one.  More than a couple times I had to stop and let my legs get some strength back.

Besides the party on top of Deer Leap I didn’t see another person.  There is something very relaxing about being out in the woods by yourself.  There is a lot of time for reflection and for just listening for what’s out there.  Once back at the house I jumped into the hot tub and relaxed with a beer.  Good times!

 

Pictures

 

PS The last couple of pictures from the gallery come from Quechee Gorge which I visited on my way back home.