Friday, February 19, 2010

XC Skiing - Vermont Getaway No. 2

Following last week's annual trip to the Landgrove Inn, near Londonderry, VT, we had the pleasure this week of returning to much the same area. Our friend Jan had invited several friends up for a few days to her house in Andover, for some cross-country skiing and other fun in the snow. Holly and I arrived around mid-day on Wednesday, had a quick lunch, and then all set off to find some skiing on the new-fallen snow from the day before.

We headed to the Catamount Trail to ski a section north of Little Michigan Road in Landgrove. We parked at the end of the plowed section of the Danby-Mt. Tabor Road (FR 10) and started up the Utley Brook Trail, with Catamount blazes.

All went well until we reached the first downhill of any size. The snow was thin under the pines, and icy underneath, and not all were comfortable continuing. As the Catamount's own trail guide notes for this section (we hadn't read this in advance, of course):

"Since the Utley Brook Trail can be moderately difficult, especially if the snow conditions are poor, you may want to choose the option of skiing north on FR 10 (instead of taking the Utley Brook Trail)"

So that's exactly what we did. We backtracked to the road and skied up FR 10 instead, which was well-packed by snowmobiles and had very gentle grades. This was a much better idea. We skied northbound for about an hour, and then turned around and headed back to the cars. After a delicious dinner back at Jan's house, and watching the Olympics as late as we could stay awake, we all hit the sack.

On Thursday morning, we had breakfast and all lounged around a bit, and then headed out for some more skiing. This time we headed for the Mad Tom Notch Road in nearby Peru. This road is also unplowed in winter beyond a certain point, and involves a climb up to the ridge between Styles Peak and Peru Peak, just north of the Bromley Ski Area. The Appalachian Trail/Long Trail follows this ridge, and that crossing of this road was our destination. The road climbs about 400 feet in a little over a mile and provides a gentle downhill run from the ridge back to the car.

It took us about an hour to climb to the ridge and the crossing of the AT/LT.

(L to R: Joe, Sandi, Holly, Jan, Judy, Dick)

From there, it took us only 10-15 minutes to glide back down to the cars, and we all agreed that the climb had been worth it.

Holly and I were staying one more night with Jan, but the rest of the group headed back to Albany from here, having arrived a day earlier than we had. After lunch back at the house, we snowshoed some of Jan's 60 acres. and then got out some toboggans and saucers to try out the hill behind the house. We finally got a pretty good track going and had some nice rides, along with several dumps in the snow. It was good childish fun.

Later, we took Jan out for dinner at the Landgrove Inn and gave her the grand tour of our favorite place to stay (except Jan's house!). Back at the house, we tried to watch the Olympics all the way through, but didn't quite make it to the end, and called it a day.

Breakfast, cleanup, and packing went quickly in the morning, and we were all home in time for lunch after an easy drive. Thanks, Jan, for great hospitality and a great time!

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