Friday, July 13, 2012

Long Trail

What: Last week Brian and I led a three-day backpacking trip for 11 & 12 year olds. We started at Lincoln Gap and finished at Appalachian Gap. We hiked about 14 miles total and stayed at Battell Shelter our first night and Glen Ellen the second night. The video shows some of the scenery and inside of Glen Ellen Shelter.

What else: This blog is primarily run by me, but we also have guest contributors and this fall we'll have students from Crow's Path programs updating it. We volunteer our time because we love sharing the natural world with others. If y'all enjoy it and learn a thing or two about the world around you, it'd be awesome if you could make a small donation by using the link to the right. 100% of donations support our programs directly through buying tools and gear or providing scholarships for kids. Any amount helps.

Ecological notes: On our last day, as one of the kids and I were walking down from Mt Ellen to the parking lot at Appalachian Gap, David asked how far we had to go. He remembered the parking lot at Lincoln Gap is at 2428', and suggested the Appalachian Gap was probably the same (he was right, it's 2375'). To answer his question, I just looked around me. The ridge line (about 3800'-4100' in elevation) smells so pristine with the scents of moss and spruce mixing in the updrafts blowing off the lake. As we descended, I pointed out a new plant that had started to appear, hobblebush. As we looked at the flowers, I told him that it won't grow much above 3000', so just 600' to go to the parking lot. I told him that we'd start seeing beech trees at about 2700' in elevation. I described the smooth gray (gray in America, grey in England) bark, which can look like an elephants foot, and the stiff papery leaves with perfectly straight veins. He spotted the first one, and I told him to keep his eyes peeled for more - 300' to go. The light broke open in the now overwhelmingly deciduous canopy and he started running towards the parking lot.

Where: Lincoln Gap to Appalachian Gap along the Long Trail.

Other notes: I just got back from a 30 mile paddle along the Winooski and saw some amazing things, including a roost of about 25 turkey vultures! I'll post on that in a couple of days.

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