While we have hung up our skis and snowshoes and do not want to trample the trails while waiting for hiking season, we can walk about the neighborhood and back roads to take note of Spring miraculously unfolding. Walking is the best way to give full attention to the amazing events taking place.
The tiny yellow flower now seen if you look is Coltsfoot, one of the earliest wildflower to bloom. It seems to favor roadside ditches and banks with the worst looking soil. It's stem is short and not at all green. When blooming is done, green leaves in the shape of a colts foot will appear.
Garlic mustard is another interesting plant now. The leaves are thumbnail size and delicious in a salad or sandwich. Pick all you want. There is an endless supply. In fact, look close. You will see tiny baby garlic mustard plants near by. Lots of them. Each has two round leaves the size of pinheads.
It is fun to try to guess what plants you are seeing when noticing the variety of new green leaves. Often you can find last year's dried stem and flower head to provide clues.
Besides looking on the ground to marvel at all that is springing forth, look up at the trees. Can you identify the tree by its flowering habit or tight leaf buds? You can always check later when they leaf out.
These guidelines were created by a staff-volunteer working group in June 2020 and have been edited to reflect current conditions and guidance. Trip leaders and participants have done a great job following the guidelines and putting safety first.
Vermont’s caseload is still higher than at any point during the 2020 hiking season. While multi-household recreation is permitted, we encourage each leader and participant to consider their own COVID-19 risk profile and take every possible precaution when considering outdoor recreation with others.
Please see the links below for specific information for Trip Participants and Trip Leaders.
Trip Participant- GMC’s GUIDELINES FOR SECTION OUTINGS IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 Edited April 1st, 2021
Trip Leader- GMC’s GUIDELINES FOR SECTION OUTINGS IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 Edited April 1st, 2021
Mud Season Reminder
A reminder that spring mud season runs from snowmelt until the trails are dry, usually around Memorial Day weekend. With some extra warm days in late March this year, mud season conditions have certainly arrived in many parts of the state. We ask all hikers to please stay off high-elevation trails, and any other trails with significant mud, in order to avoid erosion and damage to the vegetation.
Depending on conditions, State Forest trails may be closed by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, so please respect closure signs and avoid wet trails even if it is not posted closed. If you encounter a muddy section of trail, please turn around and find a dry trail.
Some roads and trails are usable in mud season, especially low elevation trails with southern exposure, which dry out faster. Conditions are subject to change, but these are the local hikes we recommend in our area: Mile-Around Woods, the trail around Lake Shaftsbury, or the Morgan Wetlands. Also, you can check this link from the Green Mountain Club headquarters with other suggestions for hiking in mud season: www.greenmountainclub.org/hiking/day-hikes-spring/
We’re asking for your help, especially this year as trails are busier than ever and we’re all itching to get outside: can you spread the word about mud season and protecting high-elevation trails in your communities? Together we can protect the hiking trails we all love and have a great hiking season!
To find out more about mud season and how to find trail closures: www.greenmountainclub.org/press-releases/
Keep up with the happenings around Bennington !
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