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  1. #1
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    Default Glastenbury/West Ridge Loop

    I'm thinking about doing some variation of the Glastenbury/West Ridge Loop later this month or in early April. I know there will still be a lot of snow. I would spend the night (most likely at Goddard Shelter) because of how long the hike is. I'm a bit worried about staying on trail than the length. I've done some hikes on the Long Trail and was surprised by the number of blowdowns and that some sections aren't broken out even weeks after snowfall. Is the West Ridge Trail and/or Long Trail generally broken out to Goddard Shelter? If not, which trail is easier to follow? Lastly, if both trails have a lot of blowdowns and are not broken in, I might as well bushwhack. Has anyone bushwacked from Harbour Road? If so, how was it? Thanks!

  2. #2

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    We are quickly getting into slush/mud season. I would advise staying away until the trails officially open again after Memorial day.
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  3. #3
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    Default

    I know that there's still a lot of snow in Vermont. Wouldn't it be a while (at least until the end of the month) when mud season begins. If I do this trip I will do it before mud season.

  4. #4

    Default

    A serious issue in Vermont, often called the "Fifth Season", is mud season and related trail closures. The problem is complex and if not addressed the damage caused by relatively few people can be horrendous and take years to remove. As the snow and ice melt above ground, ice just beneath the surface prevents percolation of extraneous water. This water then saturates the thawed inch or two of the tread way that when stepped on creates mud. Avoiding the water in the trail along with the mud, people will walk on the sides of the trail, creating more mud, expanding the trail from a footpath a few feet wide, to a mud road ten feet wide in some areas. Though trail closures mostly impact the higher elevation trails, some lower elevation trails may be closed periodically based on conditions.

    Mud season typically starts near the end of March or first week of April and ends at the Memorial Day weekend. According to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, mud season trail closures have begun despite there being snow in places. The Green Mountain Club (GMC) who maintains the trails in VT, Vermont Department of Forests and Parks (FPR) who manage State Forests. and the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) who manage the National Forest are asking the hiking public to respect trail closure signage as the melt off continues. The Vermont State Parks website (https://vtstateparks.com/hiking.html) has a list of low elevation trails that are recommended for use during mud season that may help figure out a route or two. They expect the closures to lift on or about May 22, but that date can move either way depending on weather conditions.

    Also the GMC COVID-19 closures and changes on the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail remain in effect. Shelters and privies along these trails remain closed currently, the good news is they are eyeing a late June change to these closures.

    Never great news to get, but better to be informed of the closures than not!

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBobby View Post
    I know that there's still a lot of snow in Vermont. Wouldn't it be a while (at least until the end of the month) when mud season begins. If I do this trip I will do it before mud season.
    This is one weird winter. March is the new April. The snow is quickly melting and post holing in soft snow, what little is left, is no fun.
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  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    A serious issue in Vermont, often called the "Fifth Season", is mud season and related trail closures. The problem is complex and if not addressed the damage caused by relatively few people can be horrendous and take years to remove. As the snow and ice melt above ground, ice just beneath the surface prevents percolation of extraneous water. This water then saturates the thawed inch or two of the tread way that when stepped on creates mud. Avoiding the water in the trail along with the mud, people will walk on the sides of the trail, creating more mud, expanding the trail from a footpath a few feet wide, to a mud road ten feet wide in some areas. Though trail closures mostly impact the higher elevation trails, some lower elevation trails may be closed periodically based on conditions.

    Mud season typically starts near the end of March or first week of April and ends at the Memorial Day weekend. According to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, mud season trail closures have begun despite there being snow in places. The Green Mountain Club (GMC) who maintains the trails in VT, Vermont Department of Forests and Parks (FPR) who manage State Forests. and the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) who manage the National Forest are asking the hiking public to respect trail closure signage as the melt off continues. The Vermont State Parks website (https://vtstateparks.com/hiking.html) has a list of low elevation trails that are recommended for use during mud season that may help figure out a route or two. They expect the closures to lift on or about May 22, but that date can move either way depending on weather conditions.

    Also the GMC COVID-19 closures and changes on the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail remain in effect. Shelters and privies along these trails remain closed currently, the good news is they are eyeing a late June change to these closures.

    Never great news to get, but better to be informed of the closures than not!
    The date you mentioned was last year's date. The trail updates webpage was last updated in December of 2020. https://www.greenmountainclub.org/hiking/trail-updates/ (scroll to bottom). I don't mind hiking in spring snow (though I prefer firm snow) as long as it is before mud season.

    When mud season begins, does Vermont just close the trails that are muddy or all trails including those with full snow coverage? The reason I ask is because I know that the spring thaw happens in some areas a lot faster than in others.

  7. #7

    Default

    The area your interested in is in the National forest, so technically the trails there don't close, but a considerate hiker avoids this time of year. The West ridge trail likely gets little use and even less maintenance and might be poorly blazed> Any winter down trees won't be cleaned up until in to June on the major trails. The LT, except for side trails to popular peaks, are typically rarely used in the winter so the trail is unlikely to be packed down very much or at all, which leads to serious post holing, even with snowshoes. That section of trail, being south facing will soften up and melt first.

    Exactly what kind of conditions you might encounter are impossible to say until you get there. How warm has it been? Has there been any rain or snow storms recently? If there is any snow left, it will be a sloppy mess and if not, it will be muddy mess. Probably both depending on elevation and sun exposure. This is a really bad time of year to decide to go hiking.

    It hit 53 degrees here in the northern White mountains and the snow is melting quickly. Looks like it will getting into the 60's next week. It's gonna be an early spring. Depending on how rainy it is in April, you'd likely be safe by mid May, but the Black Flies might get you then.
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  8. #8
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    Default

    Thanks for the info. I'm more interested in hiking in winter than in summer at the moment. That was why I was thinking about hiking in the area later this month. After reading the comments on the forum I will postpone to next winter.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBobby View Post
    Thanks for the info. I'm more interested in hiking in winter than in summer at the moment. That was why I was thinking about hiking in the area later this month. After reading the comments on the forum I will postpone to next winter.
    Winter was frustratingly short this season. Mostly a week either side of February. Better plan for Feb next year
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBobby View Post
    The date you mentioned was last year's date. The trail updates webpage was last updated in December of 2020. https://www.greenmountainclub.org/hiking/trail-updates/ (scroll to bottom). I don't mind hiking in spring snow (though I prefer firm snow) as long as it is before mud season.

    When mud season begins, does Vermont just close the trails that are muddy or all trails including those with full snow coverage? The reason I ask is because I know that the spring thaw happens in some areas a lot faster than in others.
    Ah, sorry about that, I presumed the GMC information was for this season given conditions but apparently not.

    Many of the high elevation trails have a hard closure date of April 15 to Memorial Day weekend, however they can close earlier depending on conditions. Lower elevations can be closed at anytime depending on conditions and signs are usually posted at trailheads. I think it safe to suggest trail closures are not far away with the warm weather and rain expected over the next week or so. Though it's difficult to "close" trails in National Forest per se, respecting closure signage is requested and most ethical hikers will do so to help trails dry out and stabilize, allowing work crews to perform maintenance chores and remove blowdowns.

  11. #11
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    12-13-2004
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    Essex, Vermont
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Winter was frustratingly short this season. Mostly a week either side of February. Better plan for Feb next year
    Winter ain't over yet! We still have April, May, and June to go still.

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