What is the saying? “When life tosses you a snowball, go skiing”.
Do you want to get out with your snowshoes or your cross country skis? Come join us on the Wheaton Hill Trails and take the opportunity to explore this wooded area. If you have a choice, we recommend snowshoes! Please dress warmly, but in layers since the hike will be hard work with all of this snow. If you plan to work cutting roses, bring heavy gloves, and snowpants and a pair of clippers. You may find a change of pants and shoes make the social more enjoyable.
This was planned as a trail maintenance hike. Because there is so much snow, our primary goal will simply be to pack down a trail that Mac and Duff can follow. However, hikers with clippers and hand saws will work on the Pine Trail, removing any Multiflora rose that sticks up above the snow, and any trees that have fallen across the trail.
Snowshoers (Snowshoes are definitely the preferred means of transportation in 18 inches of snow within the woods) will head up the Pine Trail, staying to the right to the edge of the gully. Being careful to stay out of the gully, this group will follow the gully downhill to the return trail (the entrance to the return Pine trail is marked with orange tape on a log across the trail – I am sure the log is only a few inches under the snow!). Hardy souls may want to continue following the orange line on the map until they can see 15A and across to the Roots View Trail to heads out to the Hemlock inlet. After climbing back up the Pine Trail, this group will stay to the right and follow the Skid trail around and back to the cars. Again, at the half way point, an off trail hike along the middle orange trail will look for the route to 15A and the Green Ash Loop. Please skip the orange side routes if you think the steep climbs back to the main trail will be more than you are willing to try on your first snow shoe hike of the winter.
Skiers will start out on the east side of Wheaton Hill Rd and will take the Spruce Loop. This is a well-marked trail that will generally be flat enough for skiers. Please take it easy on any downhill parts you encounter. The Redbud trail is stepper and I suggest the skiers avoid it. The snow shoe group will follow the skiers around the spruce loop and the will take the Redbud trail to complete the Wheaton Hill Trails.
In order to reduce congestion on Wheaton Hill, hikers are asked to car pool from the DEC parking area at the south end of Hemlock Lake (on the west side across from Reynolds Gull). Please meet at 1:45 and share cars coming up to Wheaton Hill. When you get to the Wheaton Hill trail head, go past the curve to turn around and park headed down the hill on the right hand side. Be on the alert for cars on Wheaton Hill Rd! Directions are available to the South Hemlock Access parking area and to the Wheaton Hill trailhead. Please car pool from the parking area. If you arrive after 1:55, you will need to come to the trailhead.
As planned, the social after the snowshoeing will be at Joan and Bob’s. Please bring a dish to pass and your beverage – Joan is making Lentil Soup, small hotdogs and as usual a collection of other good food.