Saturday, January 16, 2021
Start/End: Elder Hill Rd, Lincoln, VT
This hike seriously kicked my ass. With a snow storm dumping loads of snow over the mountains, the roads were a complete mess, making my 1.5 hour drive take me almost 3 hours. Due to the unplowed access road and a big hill that I couldn’t get over (despite trying 5 times…), I ended up needing to park in someone’s driveway (after knocking on their door and getting permission) and adding ~1.7 mi each way to walk on the road to the trailhead. From there, it was all me breaking trail through 12″+ of fresh snow and trying to stay on trail, while the sky just added more snow. It probably dumped at least 3-4″ of snow while I was hiking; thankfully, it stopped snowing around 1pm, though the wind continued to gust through. Once I was halfway to Sugarbush North/Ellen, I crossed paths with 3 backcountry skiers going south, so it was nice to have some marginally packed tracks to follow.
On the way back from Sugarbush South all the way back to the LT/Battell trail split, two people had barefooted my beautiful trail, leaving huge 2-3′ deep postholes. Needless to say, I swore at their inconsiderate behavior for miles as I narrowly avoided breaking my ankles in their mess, until they continued down the Long Trail (to where, I’m not sure, since Lincoln Gap isn’t open in winter) and I split off to follow the Battell Trail back down to the road. I turned on my headlamp as I descended Battell, took off my snowshoes when I hit the plowed road, and then hoofed it back to my car at the kind person’s house, arriving right at 6pm. The people stuck their heads out the front door to make sure I’d made it back safe!