I set out for some walking holidays in Vermont with other members of our outdoor recreation club. It was early September so the trees were showing just a little of what was to come with a hint of color. After all this is a major area for fall foliage tours. 50 Hikes in Vermont is a good guide to get you started.
That first day was raining so we headed 14 miles to the quaint New England town of Middlebury. It offers a historic main shopping street, huge pretty university campus with interesting architecture and one of those famous Vermont covered bridges. Intersecting the main street was Otter Creek (really a rushing river) complete with waterfalls where we had lunch on the patio at Jackson’s.
As it was still lightly raining we drove to edge of town for a warm-up walk on the Trail around Middlebury (TAM). Following the blazes we walked through hardwood forests, marshes and the suburban edges of this town.
The ten of us from our group had rented a house for the week on the shores of Lake Champlain for these walking holidays along with some cycling. This made for an inexpensive holiday as we group shopped for groceries and shared in the dinner costs. The balcony on the west side of the house overlooking the lake with the Adirondacks in the distance made for great dinner views as did the sunsets.
With the red sky at night, sailors delight belief in our minds we went to bed thinking about the hike the next day. Confirming our belief with more signs the many cows the next day were standing although personally I have found the cows sometimes lie and it does rain. However they do they their uses as Vermont is known for its cheese and ice cream with the original Ben and Jerry’s factory not far away. Yes, I know chunky monkey ice cream is not the healthiest food but we were on vacation.
In Middlebury we had met a couple who had been on their honeymoon for a month but tropical storm Irene had cut their time in the Green mountains short as many trails and all roads in the area were closed and this caused us problems as well. However we found out that some of the hiking trails in nearby Lake Dunmore were still open.
The Green Mountain State of Vermont is home to the 270 mile Long Trail, developed between 1910 and 1930 and running down the middle of the state from the Canadian border. Much of the hiking is in the 385,000 Green Mountain National Forest where we were headed.
The drive to Lake Dunmore section of Green Mountain National Forest was pretty with a typical New England white churches with those steeples along the route. Along the east side of Lake Dunmore are a series of parking lots for the various hiking trails.
As the hiking trails start steeply right from the parking lots they are considered moderate to strenuous with climbs of about 1100 to 1200 feet typical. One is the Rattlesnake Cliffs 4.8 mile loop to the 20,000 Moosalamoo Scenic Recreation Area offering breathtaking views of the Champlain Valley and the distant Adirondack Mountains from the top.
In total there were about 70 miles of trails in Mooslamoo including Minnie Baker West, Silver Lake and Leiscester Hollows. There is a chance to see birds such as the Peregrine falcon on the Moosalmoo Cliffs and plenty of wildflowers. There are blueberries in late July and August but we missed the season. There is also a Moose viewing drive in the area.
These were walking holidays and many in our group thought the outdoor stores and discount malls in Burlington, a one hour drive away were also in order. A series of backpacks, clothing and other gear soon arrived at our rental home for display to the group.
Walking Holidays in Vermont is all about scenic day hikes with some climbing in the Green Mountains National Forest or a backpacking walk along the Long Trail.