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On the Trail – Then and Now (7/04)

Dane Shortsleeve: Long-Time Burlington Section Member

Dane Shortsleeve now lives in Ormond Beach, Florida – but his heart’s in the Vermont mountains.  Dane was president of the Burlington Section back in 1967. He remains interested in what’s going on in the GMC and feels good that the Burlington Section is still going strong.

Dane started hiking when he was a Boy Scout. He’s not sure when he became a GMC member (the earliest membership card he can find is dated 1941), but he knows he spent the summer of 1940 as caretaker at Bolton Lodge. That year, GMC members paid 15 cents to stay at the Lodge; nonmembers had to fork over 25 cents. The club guaranteed Dane $50 at the end of the season. If the fees didn’t generate that amount, the Club made up the difference. Dane cooked up the following scheme to make a little extra money: on his days off, he hiked into Bolton village and from there, hitched a ride into Waterbury. In town, he bought as much candy and soda as he could carry, brought them back to the Lodge, and sold them to hikers for a profit.

Dane recalls spending just about every other weekend year-round out on the trails. Mt. Mansfield was a favorite, and often he and his friends would hike up to Butler Lodge, hang out for a bit, run over to Taylor Lodge to check out the scene there, and run back to Butler for the night (nearly seven miles roundtrip).

Dane has fond memories of Don Remmick’s annual winter hike up to Taylor Lodge where the group always made a pot of oyster stew. And of the Section’s Annual Meetings in Colchester when over 100 people enjoyed square dancing and sugar-on-snow. And of snakes sunning themselves on the rocks outside of Bolton Lodge (and one time joining him in his sleeping bag!).

Dane said that the most important thing about hiking is the friendships he’s made along the way, many of whom he’ll see when he visits Vermont this summer, He knows he’ll go hiking, but he’s not sure if he’ll go up to Taylor Lodge this time.

“We’ll just see what the boys feel capable of doing,” he said. “We’ll all be in our 80’s by then.”

— Interview by Laura Philipps

Mary Lacy: Middle School Student

Mary is a student at Browns River Middle School in Underhill. She started hiking with her family when she was just a toddler.

“My first hiking memory was when I was a preschooler at Poker Hill School. I can’t remember what mountain we were on, but we hiked along a stream and then there was a waterfall. Our teachers held every kid up, one at a time, over the stream so we could lean back into the waterfall and feel the water pouring over us.”

Mary fell in love with hiking at Poker Hill and went back for summer hiking camps after she’d moved on to public school.

“My favorite hike is Hunger Mountain. I climbed it first at Poker Hill Camp and then twice more. I love the cliffs and ladders. I guess what I love is the feeling of adventure. Last summer a friend and I walked from the Forehead to the Chin on Mt. Mansfield, and we had to go down off the ridgeline sometimes, and we had to take off our packs and climb down into caves. I loved that!

“A lot of my friends from Poker Hill still like to hike. Plus my friend Molly used to get babysat by one of the ‘Barefoot Girls’. You know, those two girls who hiked the whole Long Trail barefoot. So hiking is still a part of my life. Molly and I have talked a lot about hiking the Long Trail ourselves in one or two years – probably with boots on!”

Mary has some advice for parents who take small children hiking. They should remember the basics, of course, like enough water and snacks and comfy hiking boots. But they should also realize that little kids don’t get the same things from hiking as adults.

“Little kids like to feel a little bit of adventure, like a cave or a waterfall or a ladder. They don’t care about great views. They don’t care about getting to the top of a different mountain every time. They just want to feel like they’ve had an adventure when the hike is over.”

— Interview by Maeve Kim