One of the great things about winter (aside from no bugs or yardwork) is the way that views open up that you forgot all about during the months of thick green summer foliage. Even from the car, you can spot things—remote homes, hidden peaks, rock slides and other landforms, winding roads and trails—that are hidden the rest of the year. But on the trail, a sudden glimpse of a rocky summit or a long valley view from a place in the trail you thought was enclosed can really startle you. And then you realize: well, yes, I am deep in the woods, but the woods are different.
You can experience some of these moments for yourself during a “Welcome to Winter” hike on Saturday, Dece. 15, when Champlain Area Trails (CATS) invites you to help inaugurate their newest effort, the Hidden Quarry Trail. As CATS describes it, the trail “features rock outcrops, an attractive forest, and the quarry, where rocks were mined to create the base layer of Route 22. Now, it is a shallow pond below cliffs where they took out the rocks.” The hike is short and easy, about a half-hour through mostly level ground, so it’s a perfect outing for young children.
CATS wishes to thank landowner Jim Carlisle, who suggested the trail. CATS works largely with private landowners, as most land in the Champlain Valley is privately owned. My guess is they’d be eager to hear from anyone who owns land that might be suitable.
Hikers are asked to meet at 1 p.m in the parking lot of the former Mormon Church about four and a half miles south of town on Route 9N/22. There will be short program before the hike, when the winners of the current CATS writing contest will be announced. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, the grand prize winner will get $500 and the people’s choice award winner will get $250. They’ll also announce the winner of the raffle of a painting by artist Bill Amadon.
To read the essays, or for more information about CATS, go to their web site at www.champlainareatrails.com. Or you can call them at 962-2287.