Our Southern Weeklong Multi-Day Tour is underway. Here are reports from their first two days on the trail, courtesy of Tour Coordinator Sam Bartlett. Conditions are ideal on the Catamount Trail right now! Get out there and enjoy it!
February 11, 2017
After a little snafu in the morning due to bad driving (snow!) nine intrepid skiers headed toward the Massachusetts border. At their morming meeting at the border, they discovered their group consisted of some veteran end-to-enders, some aspiring end-to-enders, some end-and-enders (they skied both borders but not the middle stuff) and some just-ski-for-fun-ers. The snow was silky smooth, the crust was hidden below it, and even the Harriman Station “road walk” was skiable. Then we headed north (300 miles to Canada!), with lunch just south of Readsboro. The Rt 100 road walk was bareable, and then it was more beautiful gliding along the old railroad bed beside and above the Deerfield River. Some folks were glad to see the face of Harriman Dam come into sight, others were busy studying porcupine tracks. We scrambled up the last snowmobile trail switchbacks to the top of the dam. I got in a few dam turns and we finished our skiing for the day. But then the fun began! We headed over to the Bennington Gluttony Extravaganza. At Jim and Chickie’s we had appetizers, sauna, conversation and drinks. Then Kathy and Rudge hosted the dinner part at their house, where we had great food, more drinks, more conversation, some music and ‘poetry’. Jim reprised one of his poems (see below) and premiered his version of ‘Hard Rain’, getting us all to sing the chorus “It’s a hard, It’s a hard, It’s a hard, It’s a haaard, It’s a hard pain, when you fall.” Thanks guys!
February 12, 2017
Several group members enjoyed breakfast together at Jezebel’s before meeting at the Zoar Adventure Center. Bruce from Zoar helped shuttle the group down to Harriman Dam so the ‘leisurely’ skiers could get started while the ‘eager’ skiers spotted cars at southern end of the tour. The dam face saw a few more turns, without a dam face plant this time. The new snow was just starting. Once the group got off the snomo trail it was easy going in day-old tracks for a few miles. Lunch was under protection of the hemlocks, no point in going to the ‘sunny spot’ ‘cuz there wasn’t any sun! Bruce, who had skied in from Medburyville, met the group there and all headed north. A few folks found a new little glade near the hunter’s cabin, and got four laps in before it was time to keep going. Great turning snow, solid crust far enough down to not be noticable unless you were on steeper terrain. Everyone was pretty damp by the time they reached the Medburyville picnic grounds (accessible that day with permission from the logger) and the Zoar truck. After a quick promotional photo, the group skied up the ‘plowed’ road. At the drop to the riverbank at Medburyville South several folks decided to ski the ‘road walk’ option. Those who stayed on the trail found the beaver brook crossing was a bit tricky with a new tree down across the dam. Some more folks skied the second half of the ‘road walk’. At the substation the group split, with the purists taking the reroute and the rest took the new route up through the trees (which were also nice for a few tele-laps). Going around Searsburg Station was a piece of cake compared to last week, no crust, no wind. Folks switched off breaking trail until the group met Karen from Zoar, coming south to meet us. It seems someone had miscalculated and not left enough cars at Lind Lane, so we needed their truck again at the end of the day. A few folks actually skied Rt 9 and the Deerfield River bridge, making this the only no-walk, all-ski Section 2 tour in memory! Bruce and Karen (did I mention they are from the Zoar Adventure Center (ZAC) in Wilmington on Rt 9 ?) very nicely drove the morning drivers down to the Dam to recover those morning cars. After getting into dry clothes some met for a nice dinner at The Roadhouse Restaurant. Driving home in a foot of new (but mostly plowed) snow was slow but pretty quiet, no white-knuckle moments.