Saturday, February 9, 2013

Big Ski at Little River

Pausing at the Waterbury reservoir

Our map

Near the top of the up

 The last standing homestead in the small valley. Last inhabited around 1910 or so

 Sled dogs at the end of their work day. The sweet creature on the right has no eyes, resulting from complications of glaucoma and surgery

Nemo left Vermont with fresh coating of snow today, so we did what all patriotic Vermonters do and went for a ski.

Wanting to move beyond familiar trips, we took inspiration from pal Mike's post about skiing with Greg at Little River State Park over in Waterbury. We had an errand in town as well, which made the trip even more easy to decide on.

A little search on the internet brought up a useful trail map.

We arrived and asked some folks who were packing up about a recommended route and were given basic instructions to head up Stevenson Brook trail.

Its a steady up that eventually meets up with a brief bit of VAST trail and then sends you down the other side of the Stevenson Brook valley. We were glad to be in the shade going up and in the sun on the downside. There were lots of cool historical sites along the way, including the remains of an old logging mill and various remain from turn of the century hill farms. I'd be interested in coming back in the summer to explore some of these spots.

It was a cold day but we were pretty comfortable throughout. Warm heading up and cooling down quick when we stopped for a brief snack at the crossover point before heading back down. The trip back down was never too steep and had enough semi-level spots to work up a little warmth.

Somebody runs a dog sled operation on the main paths through the park. We didn't really get to see the dogs in action, but we heard them getting tethered for a run and then later saw them lounging before being packed up in their transport truck. One dog in particular caught my eye because he seemed to be blind. I looked closer and in fact appeared to have no eyes at all. I asked the owner and she said he had glaucoma and consequently had his eyes removed. He now runs with the other dogs in the pack ahead of the sled. I thought that was the most wonderful thing. This dog could be living a really constrained life in some home or on a short run, but instead he gets to run through the forest in the company of his fellow canines.

The loop is somewhere in the six mile zone and it was a great discovery. I'm sure we'll be back.


greg said...

That's a great ski isn't it? I also enjoyed your other post about the winter commuting and you ultra efficient house. Very impressive! I went out with the boy to Bolton today, it was a glorious day, the best in a long time for skiing.

Dave Cain said...

Hey Greg, Yes, it was a great weekend to get out. Its thanks to you and Mike for the inspiration. Yet again, this was new territory for us, and thats always exciting.

We did some exploring down in the Granville Gulf that was very rewarding. We headed up a forest service route that gets about 2/3 of the way up to the long trail. After getting home we started get excited about creating a connected trip over the mountain, or around and down the next valley over.

I'm glad you got out with your son. That sounds great. Good stuff!