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Notes from the Section (8/06)

Trip Leaders Needed

The Burlington Section of the GMC is always interested in having new people lead trips. We have about 80-100 outings a year, with 20-25 active leaders. Some people lead 1-2 trips a year, some lead 10-12. You can help us maintain a robust schedule of trips by volunteering as an outings leader. Over the years, volunteer trip leaders have offered a wide range of activities including end-to-end hikes, foliage hikes, history hikes, nature walks, bike trips, picnics, paddling, star-gazing, “peak bagging”, camping, and bushwhacking to remote summits.

If you think you’d like to lead a trip but you’re hesitant about jumping in without some help, we can arrange an "assistant leader" to join you. The experienced assistant leader will provide support by answering your questions and helping out before, during, and after the trip.

Call Richard Larsen at 878-6828, or email at, to volunteer as an outings leader.

Meet the Author

Walt McLaughlin is a Burlington Section member and the author of Forest Under My Fingernails: Reflections and Encounters on the Long Trail, a narrative about his end-to-end hike in summer 1995. A new edition of his book, with illustrations, has just been published. Walt will be appearing at Barnes & Noble in South Burlington on Wednesday, August 23rd at 7PM. He’ll give a short talk and then be available for questions and book signing.

In a phone interview, Walt recalled that the Long Trail “tied together so many beautiful places that I’d already visited one by one. It felt like home turf. But I think it does for every hiker. Whether or not you were born in Vermont, hiking the Long Trail gives you a real sense of place”. His favorite peak was Burnt Rock Mountain, just south of Camels Hump. “It’s not the biggest and it’s not even above treeline, but the top is bare, there are views, and it just feels completely remote”. Walt also recalled the beauty of the Glastenbury Wilderness, a “real surprise and delight for people just beginning their hike”.

Peregrine Alert – Areas Closed to Hikers

The Fish and Wildlife Department has closed several cliffs until August, because of breeding peregrine falcons.

  • Ryegate Quarry, Barnet Road Cut and the Route 5 scenic pullout, and the cliff part of Bolton Notch are closed. (Preston Pond Trail remains open.)
  • The southern overlook at Rattlesnake Point in Salisbury is closed, but the eastern overlook is open.
  • The cliff tops and overlooks are closed at Deer Leap in Bristol, Fairlee Palisades, and Nichols Ledge in Woodbury.
  • A small part of the southern cliff top of Snake Mountain in Addison is also closed to hikers, but all the trails are open.

LT Opportunity

Rich and Sheri Larsen are hiking the Long Trail in day trips or motel-based overnight trips, on weekdays or weekends. The northern regions are completed, but most sections south of Rutland are still not done. If others want to join, either hiking the same direction, or doing coordinated “car-key swaps”, please call the Larsens at 878-6828.

Haunted on the Mountain?

Ridge Line’s favorite out-of-state correspondent is Daan Zwick, a life-long member of GMC and the Burlington Section. Daan sent some details about Frenchman’s Pile, on the ridgeline of Mt. Mansfield. (The poor Frenchman was reportedly hit by lightning on the site, not far from the Visitors’ Center at the top of the Toll Road.)

Daan wrote:

This pile of stones, once over eight feet tall, developed from the superstition that if you didn’t throw a rock on the site as you hiked by, the ghost of an electrocuted Frenchman would haunt you forever. This became a problem as loose rocks in the area weren’t all that plentiful. In order to propitiate the ghost, people started removing rocks that trail builders on the ridge had placed to mark the trail or provide stepping places over muddy sections. Summit caretakers in recent years have removed the cairn and discouraged having it rebuilt. I can testify that I’ve repeatedly passed that spot without contributing a stone and no ghost has ever annoyed me.