Today I hiked .1 miles of the 273 mile Long Trail. All in all I accomplished .0005% of the trail. I’ll take that for day one. I started the morning off hunting down a blaze-orange cap and driving to the trail – which took much longer due to the Notch being closed. I took the Sterling Pond Trail 1,000 feet up to the Long Trail, which leads to Sterling Pond. Sterling Pond sits atop Smuggler’s Notch Ski Resort and behind the Spruce Peak section of Stowe Mountain Resort.
Sterling Pond, as it turns out, is part of the reason for Stowe and Smuggler’s break-up of sorts a few years back. The two resorts used to share lift tickets and terrain. Riders simply needed to cross the Sterling Pond area to reap the benefits of the adjacent resort. That is, until one winter a snow-cat broke through the ice and into Sterling Pond.
From what I’ve gathered speaking with locals, the ordeal was very costly to Stowe and the environment. Following the incident, the resorts ceased the sharing of terrain.
Alas, riders of Stowe and Smugs must buy separate tickets to enjoy the fruits of each resort. But, it is still free to hike up to the pond. I did that today and these are the photos I took. Since Rt 108 closes in the Fall/Winter I was forced to take a 30 mile detour to reach the trail-head. It was a scenic drive through a few Vermont mountain towns: Morrisville – home of Rock Art Brewery; Johnson – home of Johnson State University; and Jefferson – home of something interesting, I am sure.
The trail up to the pond intersected with many stream beds. The cold in the upper elevations left these beds snow-covered and frozen. Thus, the hike was slippery and tiresome. I opted to take the easy way down via Smuggler’s Notch. Walking the trails, checking out the lifts and seeing the left-behind PBRs amped me up for the pending season. I’m ready to shred.