Slack Hill trail: A Vermont hike in Calvin Coolidge State Park.

An overlook opportunity on the Slack Hill trail.

Slack Hill Trail vista.

Summer is over, here at the October Country Inn.  Clear skies and cooler weather usher in the changing of the forest’s colors from brilliant greens to muted reds, oranges and yellows.  This will soon turn to white as the temperature continues to drop and Winter’s snowfall sets in.  We’ve been putting off an afternoon’s exploration of the Slack Hill Trail all Summer.  And we realized that window was soon to close if we didn’t seize the moment.  Therefore, the Slack Hill Trail in Coolidge State Park became a priority.  So, we drove to the Park’s entrance.  It’s a narrow, steep paved road leading off of Route 100A about 6 miles south of Bridgewater Corners junction at Rt. 100A and U.S. Route 4.

It’s a well marked trail.

Map of the Slack Hill trail.The trail can be accessed from the Park entrance station, or a mile up the park road across from the picnic area.  The trail is well-marked with blue blazes, and is easy to follow. It’s still easy to follow when the entire forest floor is covered with a blanket of fallen leaves.  Start at the park entrance station trailhead.  The trail climbs moderately through the mixed hardwood forest for about 1/2 mile.   You will come to a marked junction.  A signpost shows the way to a .3 mile spur trail that returns to the park entrance station.  The main trail continues in the opposite direction.  It climbs moderately in places before descending a short distance.  There’s a vista overlook near the 2,174 foot summit of Slack Hill.  A log bench invites you to take a break.  The summit of Mt. Ascutney is seen in the distance.

The total distance of this loop trail is 3.2 miles.

A wooded section of the Slack Hill trail.

Leaf covered Slack Hill Trail winds through mixed hardwood forest.

The trail continues, alternately climbing and descending, for another mile to the picnic area parking lot.  It’s another .8 of a mile downhill along the paved park road back to the starting point for a total loop distance of 3.2 miles.  A 2 mile out-and-back to the Slack Hill vista point option is to start from, and return to the picnic area trailhead.  Or, the loop option can be extended from the point where the trail meets the picnic area road by picking up the CCC trail and following it back to the park entrance station for a total loop distance of 3.6 miles.  The park is open year round, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing is a Winter activity option.  During the Summer, a day use fee may be charged.

By |2021-01-07T18:32:08-05:00June 22nd, 2017|Day Hikes|

Killington loop trail: Circling the Ottauquechee marshland.

 Ottaquechee River marshland

A view of the Ottaquechee River marshland looking northeast.

It’s been warmer than usual at the October Country Inn for this time of year.  It seems like the leaves on our maple trees started to get their fall color overnight.  It was cooler today.  A quiet Sunday.  A good day to walk in the woods.  We’ve been hearing about a new trail, the Killington Loop Trail, the town of Killington had been working on and we took this opportunity to explore their handiwork.  The 4.1 mile trail circles a section of the Ottauquechee River marshlands.  A good place to see moose.

Trailhead’s near Killington town.

Map of the Killington loop trail.To get to the Killington River Road Loop trailhead from the October Counry Inn, head west on U.S. Route 4 from Bridgewater Corners for about 10 miles.  After about 6 miles you pass Killington’s Skyship Gondola Base Station on your left.  Route 4 then runs straight and flat up a narrow valley.  You will see the highway begin to climb up ahead, and then you will pass Goodro Lumber Yard on your right.  River Road is the first right past the lumber yard.  River Road is a narrow two-lane road that is paved for about the first mile and a half before turning into a typical Vermont hard-packed dirt road.  Just before turning to dirt, on your left, the Killington Town office and recreational area offers spacious parking.  Park there.

Moose frequent this marshy area.

An old chairlift serves as a rest spot.

Edie and Jenny take a break alongside the River Road Loop Trail.

Start the hike by retracing your route for about .8 mile back down River Road.  This is easy walking on River Road’s flat, paved shoulder.  The Ottaquechee River marshlands border the road and offer a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities.  Moose have been known to frequent the marshy area.  There are beaver, and a variety of wetland birds including the great blue heron lurking in the reeds.  The marshy area will end at a stand of hardwoods, and a “Killington Loop Trail” sign will then point the way to your right down a dirt driveway.  Bear right on the double-track road the driveway will lead you to.  You begin your walk through the woods on the double-track road until another “Killington Loop Trail” sign posted just before a large gated chain-link fence points you to the right once more, and onto a single track trail through the woods.

A shaded section of the Killington loop trail.

A section of single-track trail meandering through the mixed hardwood forest.

About two-thirds of the loop trail is this, mostly flattish, single-track trail meandering through a mixed hardwood forest that forms the southern border to the Ottaquechee River marshland.

Take a break and enjoy the Killington loop trail view.

You won’t see much of the marsh from this side except for one spot at the edge of the woods where a recycled Killington chairlift has been converted into a bench swing.  Take a break and enjoy the view.  About a half mile further, the trail comes out on Thundering Brook Road.  To complete the loop, turn right for a short distance on this dirt road before turning right again on the dirt part of River Road which will lead you back to the parking lot.  Or, at the point where you emerge on Thundering Book Road, If you want to extend the walk a bit more, turn left and walk another .2 or .3 miles up Thundering Brook Road to the Thundering Brook Falls trail.  Follow it to the right to Thundering Brook Falls (see Thundering Brook Falls directions for details) and then on to River Road over a boardwalk that spans the marshland, and back to your car.  Or, if you still haven’t walked enough, cross River Road after the boardwalk and continue to follow the Appalachian Trail north.  You can go as far as Mount Katahdin in Maine’s Baxter State Park if you’re in the mood.

By |2021-01-07T19:32:46-05:00September 20th, 2015|Day Hikes|

Eschua Bog: A rare opportunity near Woodstock.

A showy lady's slipper wild orchid.

A showy lady’s slipper wild orchid.

This gorgeous May (June) afternoon here at the October Country Inn found temperatures climbing into the low 70s.  The bright sun, and blue sky, coach the Maples to leaf out.  One must take advantage of days like today, get out of the house and take a walk, go for a bike ride, or both.  We decided to take a walk.  Wild orchids start to appear about mid-May in this corner of Vermont.  So, off in search of wild orchids we went.  We don’t have to go far.  Eschua Bog is famous for its wild orchids. And is just a short drive from Woodstock Village.

Eschua Bog is a truly unique habitat.

Visitors stroll the elevated trail.Eschua Bog is a 40 acre sanctuary jointly owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy and the New England Wildflower Society.  Technically a “fen”, this type of post-glacial wetland is fed by ground water rich in nutrients.   This creates an especially unique habitat for many wetland plant species.  There are carnivorous pitcher plants, sundews, and bladderworts.  They share the bog with various varieties of wild orchids including the white bog orchid, green bog orchid, and the yellow and showy lady’s slipper

There are many rare plants here.

Map of the Eschua Bog.The easily followed, family friendly loop trail is marked by trail signs, with little plaques placed alongside the trail to aid in identifying the many species of plants in the bog.  The trail circles eight acres of the wetlands.  It can be easily walked in 20 minutes.  A boardwalk passes through the heart of the bog.  It’s the ideal place to get a closer look at the bog inhabitants.  This area is very fragile. Visitors should only walk on the trails and boardwalk.  Leave pets at home to leave all plants, flowers, and seeds undisturbed.  Dogs can easily damage this sensitive area.  They can also introduce invasive plant seeds on their fur and paws.

It’s within 10 minutes from Woodstock.

To get to Eschua Bog from the October Country Inn, proceed east on Route 4.  After passing through the heart of Woodstock Map of how to get to the Eschua Bog.Village, Route 4 takes a hard turn to the left at the Maplefields convenience store.  Go straight ahead at this point on to Hartland Hill road.  Follow Hartland Hill road for about 1.5 miles.  Turn right onto Garvin Hill road and follow this dirt road for about a mile.  You will come to another road that forks off to the right.  Just past this fork you will see a small turnoff parking area on the right.  Eschua Bog signs will let you know you’re in the right place.  The trail is obvious.  A small kiosk houses an interpretive brochure to guide you, and asks you to leave the brochure in the kiosk when you leave.

By |2021-01-11T10:34:30-05:00May 14th, 2014|Day Hikes|

Woodstock’s Mount Tom: A pleasant hike close to downtown.

View of Woodstock village from Mt. Tom.

View of Woodstock village from Mt. Tom.

Besides serving breakfasts, morning at the October Country Inn usually finds us hauling out the maps and setting our guests up with suggestions for local hikes or bike rides.  Woodstock’s Mount Tom is a favorite.  Most of the year, there are many opportunities for treks of varying degrees of length and difficulty to choose from.  In November, however, a note of caution comes into play.  November is deer season in Vermont.  Most local deer hunters are very experienced, and very careful about discharging the particular weapon they may hunting with.  However, the prudent hiker would avoid hiking in many areas of the woods during hunting season.  With that caution in mind, there are November hiking opportunities in areas where hunting does not occur.

Earn a great view of Woodstock.

From the Woodstock green, the Middle Bridge leads to Faulkner Park.

From the Woodstock green, the Middle Bridge leads to Faulkner Park.

Nearby, the diverse trail system of Woodstock’s Mount Tom and the Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Park is an excellent example.  Although there are many hiking opportunities available in the hundreds of forested acres that comprise this park, one of the most popular is a relatively easy walk to the summits of South Peak and Mt. Tom.  The popularity of this three to four mile hike is largely because you can easily begin the walk from Woodstock village.

Mount Tom is an easy walk from downtown.

Trail map from Woodstock to South Peak and Mt. Tom.

Trail map from Woodstock to South Peak and Mt. Tom.

Woodstock’s Mount Tom trail is a short walk trom the Woodstock green.  Cross westbound Route 4 where Mountain Ave. leads through the historic covered Middle Bridge.  Proceed about 3 tenths of a mile along Mountain Ave., past River Road, to Faulkner Park, a small grassy square on the right.  Follow any path through Faulkner Park to the back of the park, where you can pick up the trail to Mt. Tom.  Although directly uphill, the trail winds up in a series of switchbacks at a gentle grade.  Benches are periodically located at the side of the trail.  The first  overview is at South Peak.  From here to the summit of Mt. Tom, the trail gets a bit easier.  You can press on for another mile or so to the summit of Mt. Tom, or be satisfied with the view from South Peak.  It’s worth the effort in any case.

By |2021-01-12T10:51:35-05:00October 31st, 2013|Day Hikes|

Hike October Country Inn: A short walk for a great view.

View of the Broad Brook valley from the top of our backyard hike.

View of the pool area and the Broad Brook valley from the top of our backyard hike.

No visit to the October Country Inn would be complete without a through tour, and hike of our grounds.  The in-ground swimming pool is about a third of the way up the backyard hillside.  The pool deck and deckhouse may be all the further you’ll get.  Slouch in a deck-chair for a while.  Soak in the quiet and gaze at the unbroken forested hillsides to the south.  If you’re up for a little more adventure, just around the corner of the half-grown Eastern hemlock to the west, follow a mowed path uphill thorough the head high wild scrub and grasses.  This path becomes quite steep in spots.  Take any of the branches, they all come together at the top where you’ll find two chairs.  Have a well-earned seat.

It’s a short hike, but steep.

Start of the mowed path hike to the left of the Eastern hemlock.

Start the hike on the mowed path to the left of the Eastern hemlock.

Catch your breath from this short but very steep little hike, and once again soak in the quiet and gaze out over the Broad Brook valley.  Turn to the north and gaze into an untracked 300 acre forest.  Wander through it if you have the inclination, but be careful.  It’s easy to get lost in an untracked forest.

The overgrazed hillside has regrown.

About thirteen years ago, just before we took over the helm, Richard and Patrick, OCI’s former innkeepers, had a couple of sheep staked our and grazing the back hillside.  The sheep were gone when we took over, but their effects could be seen for many years to come.  The back hillside was devoid of vegetation as if mowed by a professional groundskeeper.  At that time, you could easily see the two chairs planted on the forest’s edge at the top of our back hillside.  The winding pathway up to the chairs was visible, although there wasn’t much of a change in vegetation to distinguish it from the surroundings.

There’s chairs at the top.

Looking north from the top of the hike into the untracked forest.

Looking north from the top into the untracked forest.

You can’t see those chairs today, although they’re still there.  We are letting the hillside revert back to its natural state, and although it’s still a long way from being fully forested, the mowed pathway to the top is like a trench winding through head high scrub and wild grasses.  We like it much better this way.  There is now a habitat for wild flowers, wild birds and other animals where there wasn’t one before.  Fox, and deer are frequent visitors, as well as the occasional black bear, and infrequent moose.

Keep walking if you want.

By |2021-01-12T11:22:10-05:00August 30th, 2013|Day Hikes|

Ottauquechee River walk: A brief, easy morning walk.

River Road alongside the Ottauquechee River.

Returning back alongside the Ottauquechee River in the Fall.

Sometimes, while staying at the October Country Inn, you might wake up early on a beautiful day and want to take a walk before breakfast.  Or, you just want to take a walk in the neighborhood without having do drive somewhere first.  When we get this urge, Edie and I walk down to River Road for a 3 mile stroll alongside the Ottauquechee River.

You can walk from the Inn.

From the inn, head east on Upper Road for a short distance and take the spur trail off to the right.  It emerges on Route 4 across the street from the Bridgewater Corner Store at the

A jack-in-the-pulpit

A Jack-in-the-pulpit alongside the trail.

intersection of Route 4 and Route 100A.  Follow Route 100A south.  Cross the Ottauquechee River bridge and turn left on River Road just past the Bridgewater Grange Hall.

Walk alongside the Ottauquechee River.

Follow River Rd to the east for about a mile.  This flat gravel road becomes increasingly less maintained as it narrows into a quiet lane through the woods that closely follows the river.  This is a great place to see Orioles in the summer.  The road begins an uphill trend that brings you to a intersection with a snowmobile trail that turns off to the right.  Continue straight ahead, moving away from the Ottauquechee River, into a clearing on a small hill.  This road becomes just a faint double-track path over this clearing and continues into mixed woods on the other side.

The trail veers into the woods.

Section of the trail

Turn left into the pine woods just as the road turns to the right.

Continue following this relatively flat primitive road for about .4 mile as it crosses several small creeks.  You will come to a small creek with a markedly short, steep hill that turns to the right at the top.  Just before this turn, on your left, you will see a faint but discernible trail that angles off toward the river in the general direction from which you came.  Follow this trail through a pine forest as you begin to make a loop back toward the Ottauquechee River.

You’ll circle back to the river.

You will descend a short but steep pitch as you arrive back at the river.  At this point, after crossing a creek, the path turns away from the river and goes uphill for a short distance before merging back with River Road.  Turn right and retrace your route back to Route 100A and back to the inn.

Trail meanders thru pine woods

Heading back toward the river thru the pine woods.

An abbreviated, 2 mile version of this walk would be to skip the 1 mile loop section that starts at the intersection with the snowmobile trail, and just walk to that point and return.

However, quiet-time-in-the-woods is a precious thing.  It may be difficult to acquire if you live in an urban-ish setting.  It may be a good part of why you’re in Vermont to begin with.  In other words, don’t miss the loop part of this walk, Especially in the late summer and fall.

Back at the Inn for breakfast.

It’s also a great candidate for a snowshoe trek during the Winter.

By |2021-01-13T15:56:06-05:00October 30th, 2012|Day Hikes|

Echo Lake vista trail: It’s a brief hike with a great view.

Echo Lake trail map.

Location of the vista trail in relation to surrounding terrain.

Guests at the October Country Inn often ask where they can rent a kayak or canoe, or just hang out at a nearby lake.  We recommend the Plymouth State Park on Echo Lake.  It’s close by, it has a large grassy area with shade trees, picnic tables, and a sandy lakefront beach.  Boat rentals are available, and the lake is great for swimming or wading.  Also, there’s a vista trail from the park that climbs to a great view of Echo Lake.

It’s a short trail.

The Echo Lake vista trail’s round-trip distance is about 1.5 miles, and the trail climbs about 1,500 feet to an elevation of about 2,000 feet.  The trail is well marked with blue blazes, in both directions, which make it a good candidate for winter snowshoeing as well as summer/fall hiking.

A section of the Echo Lake trail.

An upper section of the vista trail

The trail-head can be found on the mountain side of the park where the paved portion of Scout Camp Road turns to dirt.  The trail starts by following the remnants of an old road under the canopy of a mixed hardwood forest of birch and beech that serviced the nearby Tyson-Pollard Cemetery.  After about .1 of a mile, a vista trail sign marker signals a turn to the left off the old road.  This blue blaze marked trail begins to ascend and goes through red oaks and red spruce as it ascends to higher elevations.

You’ll pass thru an old cemetery.

This trail combines again with the old cemetery road and passes through the upper end of the old Tyson-Pollard Cemetery.  At this point the trail narrows and starts to climb in earnest.  The upper section of the trail is rutted, rocky, and quite steep in sections.  If taken slowly, however, it’s not that strenuous.  Fortunately, it is not very long.

A great view of Echo Lake.

View from the top of the Echo Lake trail.

View of Echo Lake with fall colors starting to show.

In short order you will emerge into a small clearing that provides a great view of Echo Lake with some of Okemo Mountain’s ski trails visible in the distance.  The view during fall colors is  even more dramatic.  Once you get back to the lake, go for a well earned dip to cool off.

 

 

By |2021-01-14T14:15:20-05:00August 28th, 2012|Day Hikes|

Thundering Brook Falls trail: Really short, very easy walk.

Map of the trail to Thundering Brook Falls.

Appalachian Trail map showing trail spur and parking area.

While you’re at the October Country Inn, visit Thundering Brook Falls. One option for an easy loop walk to the falls, in terms of distance, but that could result in nasty falls if you don’t pay attention,  goes down a rocky, winding, rutted path beside Thundering Brook to upper TB Falls, then continues down to the observation deck at lower TB Falls.  The return trail goes back up the still windy, and rocky, but better engineered blue blaze marked path back to the trailhead.

Spectacular after a good rain.

Upper Thundering Brook Falls.

Upper Thundering Brook Falls

Another option is to forgo visiting the upper falls and just take the less challenging blue blaze marked trail down to the observation deck at the lower falls and back.  In either case, depending on what recent weather has been like–more spectacular falls after a good rain–this little journey has significant rewards.

Thundering  Brook Falls is on the Appalachian Trail.

The trail map at the top shows the short, blue dotted, spur trail that leads off the Appalachian Trail.  A boardwalk that was built over the Ottauquechee River flood plain, accessed via River Road, provided wheelchair access to lower Thundering Brook Falls but was partially destroyed by the flooding from Hurricane Irene in 2011.  Until this is replaced, Appalachian Trail hikers have to make a short .4 mile detour up Thundering Brook Road and bypass this section althogether.

Lower Thundering Brook Falls.

Edie hugs a tree while she studies lower Thundering Brook Falls from the trail to the observation deck.

To get to the Thundering Brook Falls trailhead from the October Country Inn, go west on Route 4 about 10 miles.

Trailhead is close to Killington town.

Turn right on River Road, at the base of where Route 4 begins to climb toward the Killington Ski Resort access road.  Follow River Road for about a mile, and take the first left after the road turns to dirt.  Although the street sign might be missing, this is Thundering Brook Road.  Proceed .4 mile up the wooded road.  You will see some tree trunks on your right with white blazes indicating the Appalachian Trail detour route.  Soon, you will see two white blazes, one on top of the other and staggered a bit.  This marks the beginning of a blue blaze marked .2 mile spur trail that leads to the observation platform at lower Thundering Brook Falls.  If you want to see upper Thundering Brook Falls, that trailhead is on the downhill side of a small parking area another 50 yards up the road.

There’s also an upper falls section.

Trail heading south on the Appalachian Trail.

Blue blaze marked trail from the observation deck back to the trailhead.

The trail to the upper falls descends from the parking area alongside Thundering Brook.  You soon come to a shaded swimming hole.  A little further on you’ll come to the upper falls.  It gets a bit challenging from here.  Be careful.  Watch your footing and follow the trail down to the lower falls and observation deck.  From there you can take the blue blaze marked trail back up to the parking area.

There’s access from two directions.

The trailhead is also accessible from where Thundering Brook Road intersects with Route 4 about a mile west of the River Road intersection.  Proceed past Kent Pond for 1.3 miles.  The parking area is on the left.

 

By |2021-01-14T14:53:12-05:00July 10th, 2012|Day Hikes|

Luce’s Lookout: A Woodstock trail with a 100 mile view.

100 mile view from Luce's Lookout.

A 100 mile view of the Green Mountains with Killington peak to the right behind the pine top.

The Lookout is on the October Country Inn’s must-do-hike list.  It is well known Woodstock trail, and provides a great and rewarding opportunity for a half-day’s outing.  Although the Appalachian trail provides the access to this stunning viewpoint, The Lookout itself is on private land outside of the Appalachian trail corridor.

A short spur tail leads to the Woodstock trail.

Private cabin at Luce's Lookout.

The Cabin at The Lookout.

Once you get to The Lookout, upon breaking out of the woods at the end of a short spur off the Appalachian trail,  you’ll find a weathered old cabin perched in a small rocky clearing.  There’s a steep, wooden stairway that leads to an observation deck built on top of the cabin.  From this deck, you get nearly 360 degrees of 100 mile Green Mountain views.  Be sure and bring a lunch. This is  a great spot for it.

To get to The Lookout from the Woodstock area, first drive to the trailhead for the Woodstock trail which is off Greengate Road.

It’s about 3.5  miles from Woodstock.

From the October Country Inn, go to the center of Woodstock.  Take Route 12 North about 3.5 miles to Wayside Rd.  Turn left and follow this dirt road.  You will come to a pond on your right.  Turn right at this intersection.  After 1.7 miles Wayside Road will bear to the left at the intersection with School House Hill Road and then turn into Greengate Road but you wouldn’t know it if you weren’t paying attention to the streetsigns.  Another mile on Greengate Road and the road makes a sharp bend to the right.

Section of the Appalachian Trail leading to Luces Lookout.

Edie and Patty walking through the woods on the Applachian Trail

On your left at this point, there’s an area that’s suitable for parking, and you’ll see a rutted, rocky, uphill trail leading into the woods beside a small brook.  Now almost unrecognizable as a road, this trail used to be Lookout Farm Rd.

The spur trail is the roughest part.

This trail gets rather rough in spots due to severe erosion.  It will intersect with the Appalachian trail in about .4 of a mile.  Before that, you will come to an intersection with an old gate leaning off to one side.  Keep to your left.  The trail comes into the AT at an angle forming a “Y” intersection, and you’ll bear to the right, following the AT in a southerly direction.  Take a moment to look around.  There’s a sign that marks this intersection so that you don’t miss it on your return.

Following the AT is pretty effortless.  White blazes adorn the trees bordering the trail, and the trail itself is well worn, relatively flat, and easy to follow.

Sign to spur trail leading to Luces Lookout.

Sign on the AT marking The Lookout spur trail.

After almost a mile, the AT starts to climb in a more serious way, and soon after that makes a sharp turn to the left.  The spur trail to The Lookout goes off to the right at this point.  There’s a sign on a tree that marks The Lookout spur trail.  A short .1 mile walk up the spur trail and you’re there.

The Woodstock trail provides a breathtaking view.

Enjoy the view, and remember that this is private property that the owner’s have graciously allowed access to the public in order to enjoy this great spot.  Please respect it.

 

By |2021-01-14T15:09:35-05:00June 13th, 2012|Day Hikes|

Saddlebow Rock: A little known nearby hike.

Photo of Hoyt's cabin on the pond.

Cabin by the pond.

It’s an especially beautiful late May morning at the October Country Inn.  Patty, our Irish Setter “grand-dog,” is spending the day with us and she needs to run.    The solution is a short trip up a nearby back road in the trusty Saturn for a romp and ramble on the farm trails through the woods to Saddlebow rock and back.

Saddlebow rock is on private property.

Many local farms have been in the same family since before the Civil War.  One local was born on this farm, and has lived here for 75 years.  Some years ago he put the farm in conservancy, giving up developmental rights in order to preserve the property in its natural state.  Although his farm is private property, he invites visitors to walk the farm trails.

Edie and I (and Patty) thank farmer Bill Hoyt for this generosity, and we take him up on his offer, sometimes daily, every season of the year.

Within limits, trail is open for public use.

Photo copy of a map of Saddlebow Farm trails.

Saddlebow Farm Trails

We park at a gated pull-off at the north end of the farm.  We begin the walk with a heart starting uphill climb through mixed hardwood forest, what Vermonter’s call

“sugarbush.”  At the intersection with the loop, we turn right and continue climbing toward a clearing in the woods.  At the top we break into a clearing with a good sized pond full of healthy trout that are used to being fed.  They come around when you walk out on the dock.  A nearby rustic cabin offers an expansive view from the picnic table on the porch.

Huge quartz bolders dot the forest.

It isn’t that obvious at first, but the trail winds around the back of the cabin, goes through a moss carpeted canopy of evergreens while it continues to climb in a step wise fashion.  The area is strewn with large white quartz boulders.

Our heart rate starts to come down when we reach the intersection with an old cabin trail that goes off to the right.  At this point we’ve only walked about one half mile, although Patty has probably run ten times that amount with her continuous forays off the trail in tangential loops.

Photo of a hiker and dog standing atop Saddelbow Rock.

Edie and Patty on Saddlebow Rock

Old stone walls mark the boundary.

The trail rolls up and down sometimes following an old stone wall that marks the top border of the farm.  After passing a clearing with one of those hundred mile views so typical of Vermont, a rustic lean-to beside the trail prompts all manner of speculation as to when it was built and why.  We were glad it was there once.  It provided welcome shelter for us to wait out a passing thunderstorm.

It isn’t much further and we break out of a stand of birch into the natural scrub grass clearing where the ledge bedrock comes to the surface.  Just up a short hill sits Saddlebow Rock.

From here, you have found a rare piece of Vermont that not many get to experience.  Enjoy the view.  Look to the east and you can see Mt. Washington on a clear day.  Look to the west and you can see Killington’s ski trail network streak down its cluster of peaks and valleys.

Photo of the view from Saddelbow Rock.

View from Saddlebow rock.

The view from Saddlebow rock.

We climb down off the rock.  This is Patty’s cue that we’re heading back down the trail and she darts off in the lead.  Back under the hardwood canopy, we plod downhill to complete the loop and return to the Saturn the way we came.  Back at the car, Patty is tired but happy, as are we.  We’ve taken a hour out of our day, walked a mile and a half, and feel privilidged to be in a positon to have this option.  Visit us at the October Country Inn and you’ll have this option as well.

 

By |2021-01-14T15:15:48-05:00June 1st, 2012|Day Hikes|
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