While we adjust to life as a family of 5, a few local bloggers kindly agreed to keep MiniBury readers entertained with tales and adventures from their own lives. Today Julie Barry shares the second installment of her series”Little Explorers,” reports on her hiking adventures with her husband and her two and four-year old. Take it away Julie!
Trail: Hogback Mountain
Distance: 3 mile loop
Level of Difficulty: easy
Baby Jogger Access: yes, but wet in too many places at the time of this hike (May)
Bikes Permitted: yes, but wet in too many places at the time of this hike (May)
Of Interest to the Kids: huge blueberry meadow
How to get there: Ripton-Goshen Forest Service road 32 to Flora White Road, then onto Forest Service Road 224. The Flora White turn is less than 2 miles from the Goshen end of 32.
Our Experience: This was a 3-generation hike we did on Mother’s Day and it was suitable for the whole group – ages 4 to 75. There are several access points but the trail as we did it begins in a huge, sloping blueberry meadow before following the Blueberry Hill ski trails through the woods, circumnavigating Hogback Mountain. Because it goes around the mountain and not over it the trail rolls along, sometimes sloping gently up, sometimes down. The trail itself is wide and not particularly rocky – easy walking. We spotted lots of skunk cabbage, trillium, fiddleheads and my kids were particularly excited about sighting moose tracks. (And, of course, they were also excited about snack. Hooray for snack!) The trail ends on FR 224 a short walk from the trail parking lot. The trails in this area are marked and managed by Blueberry Hill Inn for skiing and instead of traditional blazes on trees they’ve used numbers at trail junctions to mark the way. If we hadn’t had a map (available online) I’m not sure how we would have known where to go. In fact, we met a couple hiking along who didn’t know where to go. With one snack-stop it took us about 1 hour 45 minutes – going at the pace of a 4 year-old who crisscrossed the trail to stoop and examine every rivulet, rock and fiddlehead along the way.
We’ll definitely be back when the blueberries are in, though really the meadow with it’s great views south is a fantastic picnic site any time. We’ll also be back to try out the trails on skis next winter.
Common Sense note about mud season: Walking around mucky spots instead of through makes the trail a big, sloppy mess, and dramatically increases trail erosion and maintenance. So during mud season be willing to get your feet wet – and do your best to avoid trails that are likely to be muddy or are particularly easily damaged (higher elevation trails with little soil). Trails on state land are often closed during mud season to protect the trails. If you’d like to hike in a state park call that park ahead of time to find out about any trail closures. The Green Mountain Club also has suggestions about hiking during mud season, look here for more information.