Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Gettysburg Quarry and Gilbert Lookout - Owl's Head Town Forest - Dorset, VT - 4/14/18

Dorset Vermont is full of history.  It's apparent in the town.   It's apparent in the quarries.  Just google Dorset Quarry; it's a fascinating story.  It's amazing that it's still privately owned, yet the owners for the past 20 years have maintained the quarry as a swimming hole and place of enjoyment for the public.   That may be coming to an end unless the Town of Dorset or some public entity steps in to help.  I'm hopeful that some arrangement can be made that can benefit all.

Other nearby quarries exist that are not visible from Route 30.  On the hillside above Dorset Quarry lies Gettysburg Quarry; so named after the amount of marble that came out of the quarry for headstones for men who died in the Battle of Gettysburg.   The Town of Dorset has acquired this property and there is now a trail that leads to the old quarry.  Access to this trailhead is from Route 30 (just south of Dorset) to Black Rock Lane to Ken's Camp Road to Owl's Head Town Forest parking area and kiosk.

The hike from the trailhead to the quarry is short (0.5 miles), but climbs steeply and the trail goes past the cellar holes that remain from the migrant worker houses. 

The trail passes this cellar hole.  Several others can be seen from the Trail.

Just before the quarry a short ridge leads to a viewpoint where the town has placed a large slab of marble (Art's Bench).

Rev at "Art's Rock"

Gettysburg Quarry was next.  It was quite an impressive site.  It must have been a chore getting the marble out from this location.  The six pictures below don't capture it very well.

Gettysburg Quarry

From the quarry, Leesa and I wanted to go to Gilbert's Lookout, the next location described in the town's trail description.   Blue trail markers led away from the quarry heading southwest then northeast, skirting around an unnamed hill.  Upon reaching a saddle, the last blue marker directed hikers again to go southwest around another unnamed hill.  The trail was obvious, but blue markers no longer existed; only painted metal can lids.  Soon we past posted signs (William Burns) and trail cameras.  I was beginning to think we were in the wrong spot, but the written description in the brochure matched what we were seeing.  It appears that ownership of the property is in dispute as I read later.   Here is a map that is on the internet that show the property allegedly owned by William Burns. If you look, you can see the trail (shown in red) crosses the Burns property.

Stone steps at a switchback on the blue trail.

The trail description said " Continue on the blue trail as it reaches a flat hilltop with a view of Owls Head; the trail continues through a saddle to a 15 foot high boulder on the right.  At this point the trail turns left, with a steep zig zag climb up the cliff another 0.10 miles."   The flat hilltop is part of the property that is in dispute.  None of this was parked with trail markers, although the path to the boulder was easy to follow.

We found the boulder and a faint herd path scrambling up the steep hillside.  This would not be a good trail to take young children or people who are afraid of heights. 

The Gilbert Lookout, is a rock outcropping on the west side of Owls Head that has been marked with a marble plaque.  This plaque is very old and supposedly has been at this site since 1945.  The Dedication of Gilbert Outlook is quite fascinating and is worth a read.  There are some old wrought iron nails that help hold the marble sign in place.  The view from the lookout is quite spectacular, although we were there on a dreary day.

Gilbert Lookout sign


View from Gilbert Lookout

Thee was no trail to the top of Owls Head, but we bushwhacked the short distance to the top where we found a small American flag in a tree and a glass note with note paper and pencils to sign in.  Several people wrote that they had been searching for the Gilbert Lookout and had been unable to find it.

Summit of Owls Head

Below are a bunch more pictures from Gilbert Lookout.

This hike was short, but well worth the trip, especially if you like to see a little history during the course of your hike.  

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  4.4 miles roundtrip
Hike Time:  3 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~1400'  

The route

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Mother Myrick Mountain - Dorset, VT - 4/8/18

Today's goal was Mother Myrick Mountain in Dorset, VT.  My approach was from the Nichols Hill Road.  I believe Beartown provides an alternate approach, but I didn't have much information on that so I decided to stick with the Nichols Hill approach.  

This route follows a woods road all the way to the summit.  There are junctions with other woods roads along the way, so pay attention to your surroundings if you go.

A fresh 6" of snow was on the ground from Thursday yet no one had ventured in this way since that time.  I chose to wear snowshoes, although I could have done this hike almost as easily without them.

This route is a semi-circle, but it provides for a moderate ascent grade as opposed to a short steep direct ascent.    

The start of the hike.

There is a small parking area at the end of Nichols Hill Road.

A first look at Mother Myrick in the distance.

An interesting side story to this mountain lies in the fact that it was the site of a plane crash in 1972.  Parts of the plane are still on the mountain, ust southwest of the true summit.

The plane was not at this location, but the sign was indicating which way to go. 

Wide open woods on the mountain would make some great back country skiing.  Even on this day there was enough powder that decent skiing would have still been possible.

There is a viewpoint that lies just a few feet from the true summit.  When Rev and I got there, a snow squall was obscuring the view so views were non-existent.

Nothing so see at the moment.

I'm not used to open ridges like this. 

Starting to see something...

After the summit, I continued south on the ridge a short ways before seeing the small piece of airplane wing.  I did not see other plane parts, but the fresh snow may have been hiding them.  I continued to the south end of the ridge before turning around to retrace my tracks out. 

A piece of the plane wing.

On the way back I was able to get a view from the summit viewpoint.   I caught up and passed one couple on the way down.  I also left the woods road to take a shortcut to save some miles of hiking.

This was a clear as it got while I was there.
This may have been my last day out on snowshoes this spring, but you never know.  This was a nice area.  I may come back to see the area again in the summer or fall and look for more plane wreckage.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  8.9 miles
Hike Time:  4 hours, 10 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~2500'

The route

Gallop Peak - Merck Forest and and Farmland Center - 3/31/18

After having gone to Merck Forest the previous weekend, I made a followup visit to show this special place to Leesa.   On my solo visit, I climbed Antone Mountain.  This time we made a clockwise loop by first heading to the lean-to at Stone Lot, then Gallop Peak, Ridge, Dunc's Place, The Glen, Spruce Cabin, Viewpoint Cabin and back to the Visitor Center.    

This was a reconnaissance to check out the rental cabins in addition to walking some trails.  We knew most of the cabins were rented, but we could at least see where they were and what they looked like on the outside.

The snow was no longer deep, but it was easier to hike with snowshoes than without, so that's what we did.  Most people were post holing and the trails were a mess for that reason, but with the snowshoes we were able to walk on the edge of the trails and not have to watch every step.    

Leesa in hollow tree between the Visitor Center and the Farm.

Leesa heading towards Stone Lot from the Farm.

Our first stop after walking through the Farm, was the Stone Lot lean-to.  It is situated on a little plateau in a ravine and overlooks a nice stream.

Stone Lot lean-to

Stone Lot lean-to

Our next stop was Gallop Peak.  We approached from the southwest.  There were no views from the summit.  We didn't go past the summit to the northeast, so we don't know if anything opened up at the north end of the ridge. 

On the way to Gallop Peak from Stone Lot

Excellent signage throughout

Continuing on, we went to "The Ridge" which boasts a cabin and a fine view.  The cabin was occupied so we didn't get to close to it, but it definitely was a nice spot.    

Ridge Cabin

 Next, we dropped down to Dunc's Place where  a retired sugarhouse is now a rental cabin.  Once again it was occupied, but it sits in a nice quiet private setting.

Dunc's Place... a retired sugarhouse, now a rental cabin 

 The Glen offers a pavilions of sorts and several lean-tos for group camping.

Shelter at The Glen

On the way back we walked past Spruce Cabin and climbed to Viewpoint Cabin.  This a small 2 person cabin that offers great views  to the west of Antone Mountain and the surrounding hills. 

Viewpoint Cabin

Antone Mountain from Viewpoint Cabin. 

The inside of Viewpoint Cabin

Another view of the inside of Viewpoint Cabin

It was a gorgeous bluebird day and I caught a little sunburn for the first time this spring.  At some point, we'll reserve one of these cabins for a couple days and continue exploring the area.  It's a well run operation and beautiful location.  What's not to like!

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  8.6 miles
Hike Time:  6 hours, including stops
Total Vertical Gain:  ~1800'   

The route (hiked counter-clockwise)