Boys Weekend Winter 2002

March 2-3, 2002


By Bob Gifford

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Saturday morning started at 5:00am because I was too lazy to pack before hand. I rummaged around and actually found enough food to last for a day or two. I packed up my gear and took off about 6:30am, just the dog and me. I stopped in Richmond to gas up (vote) and procure some beer in cans. I had decided to shuck the Ski Area route in to Beaver meadow and was headed for the Morristown corners hiking trail. I was looking forward to a good ski in with out the bustle of the ski resort scene.

As I arrived in Stowe I realized that I didn't bring my Hat. This was a problem so when I reached the mountain road in Stowe I decided that a hat was essential and turned right in an unknown quest for cranial insulation. It was 7:10am as I pulled into the AJ's ski and sport lot. I wanted to see if they opened any time soon when I noticed way in the back someone getting out of their car with skis in hand. I rolled over and put down my window. It turned out to be Ken Roberts from Essex class of 74. I asked Ken if he knew where I could get a hat at this early hour. He told me that he would be glad to open up his ski shop and sell me one. I was psyched because in a few minutes I was on my way with a hat. Had I missed Ken moving between his car and the store I would not have known he was in there and I would have spent a bunch more time. This was a good sign I think.

Anyway I was now off to find a trailhead that I had not been to in about 25 years. I had a map so it was not to bad finding it. 8:00 am when I parked at the end of Beaver pond road in Morristown corners. There is a defined trail leading up into the woods, which is marked with blue blazes, but no signs are posted. This keeps most of the riff raff out. At about 8:30am I strapped on my pack and headed out. Gunner the dog had a pack with about 20 pounds of water, beer and his food. It didn't slow him down at all. At 120 plus pounds he is a very strong animal. Having no memory of this trail. It is really a road for the most part. It only becomes a trail in the last few hundred yards. It took me an hour to get up to the Burling Camp. The ski in could have been a walk because the base was so solid. There was a good 5-6 inches of powder on top so the skiing was quite good. I made it over to the Beav in a few more minutes. I found it empty and looking just like we left it last year. I found the lodge register and noted that exactly one year ago Boysweekend 2001 was on this very same first weekend in March. I need to point out that the sun was shining and there was not a cloud in the sky at this point. I had not seen a fresh ski track and all the snow above the cabin was mine! I quickly moved in and took off in search of the rest of the gang. The woods above the cabin are open hardwoods with lots of space. I followed the Chilcoot trail up for a bit and then wandered up a ridge following a nice down hill line. When I hit the conifer band where it got thick I removed my climbing skins and took a nice run down until I hit the Chilcoot hiking trail again. I found no sign of the Boys so I decided to hike up to the Smuggs ski trail and have a look around. I figured I would run in to them at some point. I made it to the top and found Chick, Joe and Jim in conference. They were about to descend when I arrived. Gunner announced that he was in charge and there would be not funny business from this Chick character (Grrrrrr).

Joe Chick and Jim arrived via mini van (hale the commuters) at the upper parking lot of the Smuggler's notch ski area at 9:00. They proceeded to munch some breakfast in the base lodge before the accent to Chilcoot pass. Chick and Jim snow shoed up the Chilcoot ski trail. Joe snatched a free ride up the lift where he skied down to the pass where the hiking trail head off.. Joe had to wait for an hour in the warm sun for the hikers to arrive. We then proceeded down to the cabin with Chick and Jim on snowshoes,   Joe walked down with a 50lb pack and I skied down without a heavy pack. This trail is very steep and pretty tight so it was more an exercise in survival then a real fun line. I did ski most of it and only walked one section that was particularly difficult. The sun was just beating down so anything facing south was turned to mush. The base stayed solid so walking was fine. We all made it down to the cabin in about 30 minutes from the ski trail. This place is really easy to get to if you have any ambition at all.

Once we settled in we set about the chores at hand. We needed a pile of wood so we could have a fire in the stove all night. With three saws we found plenty of wood pretty quickly. We went out on the Beaver Meadow and harvested some dead pine. We also found some hardwood right next to the cabin. A guy and a girl skier at some point visited us. We talked for a bit and found some common acquaintances. One other lone skier passed by and that was all the visitors we got. We had a bit of lunch and trucked over to the Burling cabin to see what it was like. We found a really nice swimming hole right behind this cabin. It comes complete with two waterfalls. The Burling cabin is pretty nice place and it would make a good place for a party too.

We went back to our 1947 log cabin and began to eat and drink. I made some pot stickers and Joe cooked up some maple sausages. Chick grilled up a big steak. We drank some Rock art from a full growler along with some Guinness Stout. Joe and Jim had some American rice beer, which seemed to make them happy. I then made up some shrimp stir-fry and that about filled us up. Then Jim produced a big plate of Lasagna (thanks Sue). We ate that and that was about all she wrote. Joe and Jim dominated the Music. Jim sure can play that mandolin and Joe can make that tiny guitar he brought sound pretty good. I fell asleep around 9 pm never even seeing the moon. I am not sure what happened after that. At 5:00am I woke up I always do. It was still dark out so I lay there and watched it get light and listened to the rain beat down. Over night the weather changed from clear to snow and then to rain. We got a few inches of accumulation, which was enough to coat everything. By 8:00 the rain had stopped and it appeared to be getting brighter. We had breakfast and coffee and lazed around the cabin. We were really in no hurry to end this trip. I packed up and set out for the car at around 10:00am it took me 40 minutes to get to the car. The snow was real slow and I bet in drier conditions I could make it down in less then 30 minutes. It was sunny pretty much the whole time I skied on both days. I made it back home to Starksboro by 12:00. The rest of the group left at noon and hiked up the formidable .5 miles to the Smuggs Ski trail. Jim and Chick walked down the Ski trail and Joe skied back to the van. They reunited and headed home never seeing any rain until after they got home.


Low Point:

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