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Leo Leach: Caretaker of Shelters (3/00)

Leo Leach began his love affair with the Green Mountains when he was a teenager on a visit to Vermont. In 1978 he moved to Huntington, VT from Brockton, MA. Living near the base of Camels Hump he began his experiences on the Long Trail. Twelve years later, after noticing a fifty percent discount on trail fees at Bolton Valley for Club members, he joined the GMC.

Leo recalled signing up for a section work hike. Although he describes himself as shy, the friendliness of the hike leaders, Pam Gillis and Dot Myer, encouraged him to attend other outings. In 1994 he worked with members of the Laraway Section to build Roundtop shelter. Later he adopted Taylor Lodge and the Lake Mansfield trail that leads to it. He is still the Taylor Lodge adopter.

In 1996 Len Carpenter asked Leo to co-chair the Burlington Section shelters committee. After serious thought, he agreed. Since then he has been a major contributor to the reconstruction of Taft Lodge and the re-building of Twin Brooks tenting area. He worked with the Laraway Section on the new Spruce Ledge shelter in 1998. This year he will coordinate the renovation of Butler Lodge.

Leo likes to set goals and complete them. In 1999 he finished hiking the entire Long Trail. This summer he will graduate from Community College of Vermont with a degree in Liberal Arts, earned while he worked full-time in the printing industry. Cross-country skiing and bicycling are also passions.

No profile of Leo is complete without mention of Shadoe, his black Lab. Leo found Shadoe, a five-week-old, six-pound puppy, abandoned in a snow bank. They love to trek together in the mountains. Shadoe, now five, and a member of the Laraway section, has only 20 miles left to complete his hike of the LT.

Leos philosophy: “Tread lightly and leave no trace."