Spring on the “Dort Trail”
It’s a tradition in the Duston household to end the Chesterfield ski/snowshoe season by accessing the park through the FOP (aka Dort) property off Route 63. This access is chosen because it is on the north side of the mountain and therefore tends to be shady, and it is not highly used in the winter. These two facts lead to it having the best chance for late season snow cover in the park. The work the Friends did on the road to the shelter, under the direction of John Herrick and his tractor, reduced the water problem, always an issue for spring snow playing!
Although we had gone out the week before with Jon and Kathy Thatcher, and taken some shelter pictures, I hadn’t taken a picture of this all-important outbuilding!
We choose a route directly past the shelter, staying on level ground and not going uphill to Hubbard Hill on the right. We continued in that same general direction and with the sunny day and still good snow cover it was a treat. It is an area few people visit so it becomes a kind of exploratory adventure (of course we could always follow our tracks back but … ). After some time we came to an old road, unmarked by snowshoes or snowmobiles, and turned right to stay in (or at least toward) the park. Difficult to show on a photo but very nice and fairly easy to follow; mostly surrounded by small evergreens.
Eventually the road swung north and headed downhill. Not wanting to go in either of those directions we took a sharp right, further into the park. Now things were different as we headed back in the general direction we had come, mostly following a stream up a ravine. Luckily we didn’t have to cross the stream as it was substantial and open (!), and also luckily there was enough flat ground next to the stream so we could mostly avoid the sidehill. Looking at the topo map later I think we were in the ravine that leads to the northern (and flater) shoulder of Hubbard Hill. We never came to the Hubbard Hill Trail so we must have been going parallel to it to the northeast. Figuring we wouldn’t get lost because we would hit either our outbound trail, the Dort Trail, or the Hubbard Hill Trail, we continued with the sun roughly on our left. I got a lot of guide credit, mostly dumb luck, as we came out back at the shelter! Going down the Dort Trail was a little sad knowing the season was over, but we cheered up when we thought of all the great snowshoeing this season at Friedsam and Madame Sherri’s, as well as in the Park.