March 4th dawned cloudy and frigid, in what seems to be a tradition, for the 21st Annual Winter Trails Day. But that didn’t stop GMC members and non-members alike from coming out to Long Trail Brewing in Bridgewater Corners for a fun-filled day of hiking, learning, and socializing. With the help of 20 volunteers, we were able to provide 10 hikes and 5 workshops for experienced and new winter hikers alike.
The new location of Winter Trails Day this year allowed us to offer some different hikes than in years past: Deer Leap Mountain, Mount Tom in Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, Pico Peak, the Canty Trail, and multiple hikes on the Appalachian Trail to Winturri Shelter, Kent Pond, Thundering Falls, and Willard Cemetery, plus a kids hike on nearby private land. Eastern Mountain Sports was on hand to lend out snowshoes to the newer hikers without their own gear, and all hikers were able to grab some delicious snacks on their way to the trails, provided by Shaw’s, Cabot Cheese, and Vermont Smoke and Cure.
The Animal Tracking workshops were a hit thanks to instructor Jess Coulter of Vermont Fish and Wildlife. GMC Staffer Caitlin Miller led the ever popular Winter Preparedness Workshop for the brand new winter hikers, and Cris and Karen Cote and Darrel Lasell provided great instruction on geocaching. We also had DIY snow globes for the kids, s’mores making by the campfire, and an altered sugar on snow snack – with no fresh snow to be had, we had to use ice cream instead. I don’t think anyone minded!
The après party was a hit with hot soups, chili, and drinks provided by Long Trail Brewing. We topped off the day with a raffle of some fantastic prizes such as weekends at GMC cabins, lift tickets to Pico Mountain and Smuggler’s Notch, MSR trekking poles, a $50 gift card to Onion River Sports, jewelry made by Jennifer Helen, framed photography by Sheri Larsen, a basket of Seventh Generation products, and other merchandise provided by Sterling College, GMC, and Long Trail Brewing.
Thank you to everyone who braved the cold and wind to come out for what turned into a beautiful day!
And thanks again to Long Trail Brewing for hosting this great event!