On October 13th Amy and I took a trip down to Section 10 of the Catamount Trail in Ludlow. It was a surprisingly perfect fall day—complete with dappled sun, brilliant foliage, and warm temperatures. We did a walk-through of the 5.8-mile section from Patch Brook Road to Buttermilk Falls in the company of two valued CTA members, Donna Dearborn and Limey Hemmerich, as well as three exuberant dogs. The day amounted to a celebration of the dedicated work Donna has put in as Section 10 Trail Chief and Limey’s inauguration as the newly minted Trail Chief. And of course, we each got in our fair share of rolling logs, cutting branches, and taking care of some precarious widow makers.
Thanks to the serious lack of rain recently, the trail was almost completely dry aside from a few choice puddles the dogs took advantage of. As we shuffled through the dry, russet leaves I marveled at how nice the trail was. Much of it weaves along old logging roads through maple and beech forest—meaning there was no lack of landscape eye candy.
Acting as Trail Chief since 2011, Donna played an integral role in a reroute that allowed skiers to spend less time on the VAST trail network and more time in the solitude of the forest. It was obvious that she has taken great care and pride in her role as guardian of the trail. Her tales of bears, loggers, and tricky glades hinted at many days spent along section 10, both on skis and by foot. While we are sad to see Donna pass along the stack of blue trail blazes to Limey, she promises to maintain a strong presence on the trail.
Limey may have a legacy to live up to, but as he proved on Tuesday, he’s up to the challenge. On more than one occasion the rest of us would walk by a particularly gnarly looking snag over the trail, agreeing that it would have to come down on its own during the next big storm. He may have taken a few branches to the face, but Limey inevitably came out victorious when he took on these intimidating snags. Even as we became pressed for time in the afternoon it was hard for him to pass up any opportunity to make some improvements. Suffice to say, I think the section has been passed between two good caretakers and skiers will continue to enjoy the trail because of it! And while there is always more to be done, Section 10 promises to provide an enjoyable tour this winter.