Personal Histories

My History With The Green Mt. Club, by Herbert G. Ogden, July 2020

I joined the Green Mountain Club in late 1962, paying the princely sum of fifty cents for a junior at-large membership.    I was then 14.    I joined the Killington Section in 1965.    I may have the second-longest continuous membership in the Section, because the only name I recognize on a January 1962 GMC roster is Bob Perkins.   
When I first hiked it, our part of the Long Trail was quite different from what now exists.    It crossed Vt. 140, the Wallingford Gulf Road, at Bear Mountain Road, a mile or so east of the present crossing.    The LT followed that road north till it turned west, then followed a less used road 0.3 mi. north to Buffum Lodge, which the Section had built in 1961.    It slept 12-16 people and, like all other four sided structures, it had a cookstove.    The LT continued north on the road and then on a footpath to cross Button Hill, where there was a bit of a view.    The view must once have been good, because the presence of stone walls shows the land was once pasture.    From Button Hill, the trail descended to part of its present route along the Patch Hollow Road and passed what is now Minerva Hinchey Shelter.    Back then, it was Sunnyside Camp.    The Section had built it in 1955 with two big front doors that opened out to make it a open shelter in summer.    Years ago, the front was removed.    Going north, the LT was the same as it is now until crossing Route 103, except there was a wide view from Spring Lake Clearing and the Clarendon Gorge suspension bridge was the 1957 version that fell in the 1973 flood.    North of Vt. 103, the trail did not ascend through what the late Ray Catozzi called the Great Gorge Gulch.    Instead, it ran farther east until near Clarendon Lodge, when was then a four sided structure.    Aside from an added switchback, the LT then followed its present route to Keiffer Road.    Instead of crossing the road, the LT followed it down to Cold River Road and then turned east to the present route.    It followed that route to the Upper Cold River Road, except where it has been moved to higher ground following the loss of several hundred feet of trail to Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.    After reaching Clement Shelter Road, the old route simply followed it to Gov. Clement Shelter rather than going west of Sargent Brook.    From the shelter until the present Shrewsbury Peak Junction, the route was the same.    There, however, it went east of the present route to the original Shrewsbury Peak Junction and continued east of the present LT until near Cooper Lodge.    Cooper Lodge was then a pleasant place with windows, a nice view, and a cookstove.    When my End-to-Emd partner and I stayed at Cooper in 1960, the Killington resort was in its infancy and skiers had not yet begun to trash the lodge.    In 1966, however, all the windows were broken and a five inch hole was knocked in the roof.    From Cooper Lodge, the LT followed the old Juggernaut Road a couple hundred feet east to the top of the Juggernaut Trail, then headed north.    It joined the present route after some descent, followed it to what is now Jungle Junction, and continued north on what is now the Sherburne Pass Trail to Pico Camp.    The camp was the start of the Pico Loop, which was the present Pico Link plus another 0.4 mile descending on what is now a ski trail to Pico Junction.    From there to Sherburne Pass, the LT followed the present Sherburne Pass Trail, except that it did not descend to the old Pico Pond Road.    Instead, it slabbed along the side hill and ran through the Long Trail Lodge before reaching the pass.    North of the pass, the AT headed northeast on what is now the north part of the Sherburne Pass Trail.    The LT went to the west of the present Inn at Long Trail and slabbed the slope of Deer Leap Mountain for 0.9 mile until reaching the Tucker Lodge Loop, which led in another 0.1 mile northwest to Tucker Lodge, built by the Long Trail Patrol in 1938.    It was a pretty cabin with a stone foundation, and it slept 12 to 16.    A large tree fell on it, and then the Robinwood development took the site.    The north end of the Loop was about where the Robinwood road ends.    From there, the LT followed the present “NOT A TRAIL” to Willard Gap and then its present route north to the present Tucker-Johnson Shelter, the end of the Killington Section’s part of the LT.   

Maintenance was done by fewer people than now.    Former GMC President Ben Rolston, who lived in Schenectady NY, maintained the LT from Wallingford Gulf to Gov. Clement Shelter pretty much singlehanded in the mid-1960s.    Long time Killington Section Secretary-Treasurer W. Churchill Scott did most of the work on the LT in the Coolidge Range.    In a September 1966 letter to me, Rolston repeated a lament: “Why should Churchill, Rolston and the Ogdens and a few other out-of-towners or out-of-staters do all the work?    If it wasn’t for Churchill and said out-of-towners, Killington’s trails would now be in a state of abandonment.”

My hiking history began when I was a child growing up in Hartland.    My father took me on little hikes on our mostly forested 147 acre property, and then on abandoned highways.    I think my first hike on an official trail was around 1958, when we hiked the Appalachian Trail from the Kings Highway in Pomfret east to West Hartford.    Actually, we were supposed to hike west to Vt. 12, but my father hadn’t used his compass in years, he mistook north for south, and we headed the wrong way.    Also, the AT was somewhat hard to follow back then after it headed east from the LT in Sherburne Pass.

In 1959, I began hiking with another fellow from Hartland, Jonathan Offensend.    Jonathan and I became End-to-Enders 155 and 156 respectively in 1964.    Here’s our End-to End Report.    I’ve added a few things in brackets.


When we took our first hike on the Long Trail, from Spring Lake to the Wallingford Gulf Road in 1959 (Jon was then 16; Herb was 11), we had no idea we would ever become End-to-Enders. We did, however, enjoy that first hike, and by the time the summer was over we had done the Trail to the south slopes of Killington and had also hiked some of the Appalachian Trail from Sherburne east to Barnard. On the second LT hike, we distinguished ourselves by turning sharp right where the Guide Book said left, thereby hiking partway up Killington before realizing our error.

Next year we graduated to overnight hikes, but we still had trouble with blunders. Herb almost forgot his sleeping bag once, and Jon left his sweater neatly folded on a rock near Consultation Point. (Incidentally, where the heck is Consultation Point?) An intended trip from Sherburne Pass to the Brandon Gap became a Deer Leap Loop trip thanks to two signs each saying “Sherburne Pass” but pointing in opposite directions.    [Later in 1960, we hiked from Sherburne Pass to Brandon Gap, staying at Carmel Camp, a somewhat dumpy metal structure that slept four.    A mouse chewed a hole in my pack to eat some bacon.    Next, we hiked from Mad Tom Notch to Wallingford Gulf, staying at Little Rock Pond Shelter, which was then on the island.    We were not impressed with some campers who brought huge boxes of dry cereal.]

1961 added the Brandon-Lincoln Gap section to our “bag” but the major hike planned that year, to go from the Winooski to Lincoln Gap, had to be abandoned at Montclair Glen on account of unceasing rainstorms and sleet over Camel’s Hump. We did not manage to get any hikes organized in 1962, and had to content ourselves with driving over that part of the LT on the Arlington Road during the Intersectional at Grout Pond.

Last year [1963] we decided to give Camel’s Hump another try. We at least did better than in ’61–we may have been able to see all of five miles from the wind-swept summit. We do, however, remember a pleasant night at Glen Ellen with a family from Boston. It was the Fourth of July, and the sparklers we had packed delighted the children. The other hike of that year took us from Blackinton to Mad Tom Notch. The Stratton Ork, like the Cowles Cove Witch, failed to appear during our stay at Stratton View. The Pond was indescribably good after a number of hot days on the Trail. Later on, we had to abandon Swezey Camp because of a too-recent skunk visitation. Another note here: Big Rock, Glastenbury’s scenic wonder, seems to be a close cousin of Cousultation Point. Look, fellows, which Big Rock?

This year [1964] we decided to finish the LT with an 87-mile hike from Bolton to Canada. [As when we had hiked south from the Winooski River, we reached the trail by boarding the Central Vermont Railway’s Ambassador afternoon train to Montreal in White River Jct., taking it as far as Waterbury and then taking a taxi to the trailhead.]    For our first two nights on the Trail, we had the famous Troop 16, from Danvers, Mass., for company.    We must admit we were rather gratified to hear that they also took the blue-and-white blazed Lake Mansfield Trail. The view from the Chin of Mansfield far surpassed that from Camel’s Hump–we must have been able to see at least fifteen miles. (Some people just don’t have the luck: the only decent view on this summer’s hike, with the possible exception of Whiteface, was from Belvedere. Herb went up to see the view; Jon had a good half-hour nap. We came out even.) On this, our longest hike, we received supplies at the Johnson-Waterville Upper Road, Hazen’s Notch, Jay Camp, and points north. We needed them – one can become vaguely disappointed after being drenched on Lawaway and thunderstormed on Jay, but clean clothes do wonders. With the aid of these and other supplies, we reached the Canadian Border at 9:00 A.M. on Thursday, July 23rd. As a fitting end to our trip, we were soaked by wet underbrush on the Journey’s End Trail, but, after all, since when does a little dampness bother a pair of new End-to-Enders?    [We spent the night in the Hotel Reba in North Troy.    The next morning, we boarded the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Alouette train from Montreal in North Troy and were back in White River Jct. by afternoon.

The events we will remember longest include running from thunderstorms on Mt. Grant and Jay Peak, traversing part of Madonna Peak just ten minutes before a bulldozer began pushing rocks down on the Trail, Herb’s nearly falling down a small cave in Nebraska Notch, and Jon’s lucky find of a cooking kit at Seth Warner after he had forgotten to bring his own. Perhaps the most ridiculous adventure was Herb’s attempt to cook pea soup on a green-wood grill at Boyce Shelter. The almost-done soup spilled into the fire when the grill collapsed. By some mysterious coincidence, porcupines arrived in abundance around midnight. One even climbed into the upper bunk, where we were sleeping. The porcupine gave us a thorough fright, but we imagine the porky still remembers Jon’s machete! There follows a slightly less light-hearted experience: After our second trip over the Hump, we remember anxiously approaching Cowles Cove, where we were to spend the night. Registers in the other shelters had kept mentioning a Cowles Cove Witch! Nevertheless, when we reached the Cove, at about 9:00 P. M. and in rainy darkness, this being was nearly forgotten. We were soaked, and Ladder Ravine had disappointed us. Being able to cook none of our freeze-dried food, as all wood was soaked and there was no stove in the closed shelter (a fact that should be mentioned in the Guide Book), we fixed some pudding and went to bed. Then ensued the worst cramps either of us had ever experienced. Lying exhausted in wet clothes in wet sleeping bags, we could not move an inch for a few minutes. If the Witch had showed up then, we would have been certain goners!

The best views we had were from Killington, Belvedere, Stratton, Mt. Abraham (we had scarcely been there before a small rain cloud sped our way and let itself go down), Molly Stark’s Balcony, Styles Peak, and Bromley. The close-up views from Prospect Rock (Manchester and Johnson) and a lookout over the Rutland Airport were especially good. For scenery you can walk around in, Jon prefers Devil’s Gulch, while Herb likes Nebraska Notch. Camel’s Hump and Mansfield are impressive even when fogbound. Skyline Lodge has a beautiful setting, too…the list is really endless.

Statistics: We spent 34 days or parts thereof on the LT, during eleven hikes, nine of which were necessary for the End-to-End qualification. Out of twenty-two nights on the trail, we had human company on nine. [Even in the middle of July, it was not unusual to hike a whole day without meeting anyone.    The hiking boom of the late 60s and 70s had not arrived yet.]    Killed or assumed dead: two porcupines. Seen: no wildlife bigger than a deer, and only a few at that.

We would like to include a final word of sincere thanks to all who maintain the Trail and its side trails–generally, we found them in fine condition. They may have been boggy in places, but relocation, not better maintenance, is the only answer to that. Let it suffice to say that we were appalled by the number of instances of senseless vandalism and destruction we saw. It appears that the ski lifts bear a great deal of the blame for this, as they provide the means for such people to enter some of our best camps. The Trail, the situations, and the people we met will always give us a goodly store of interesting memories to recall.


Herbert G. Ogden, Jr, GMC, Killington
Section and At-Large
Jonathan Offensend, GMC, At-Large

Hartland, Vermont

After finishing the LT, I wrote to GMC headquarters in Rutland asking if the Club would like my help with signage or other trail maintenance.    In response, then-President Bob Humes handwrote me a two page letter including this: “The two main side trails up Killington (Juggernaut and Bucklin) … we know need attention, and blue paint blazes as well.    Would you be willing to check these two trails?    The Tucker loop trail [from the LT to the former Tucker Lodge] generally needs attention, and blue paint also.”    Jon had other things to do in the summer of 1965, but my father had retired from full time farming the year before and decided he’d help.   

We began in July 1965 by clearing and reblazing the 4.5 mile Juggernaut Trail, which ran from Hadley Hill Road outside West Bridgewater west and north around Killington Peak, ending at the LT a couple hundred feet from Cooper Lodge.      Thanks to its high clearance, we managed to drive our VW pickup truck 1.2 miles to the end of the abandoned town highway at the site of the Juggernaut Farm (then occupied by a shack), then past a place we called Ghost Camp (a former lumbermen’s site where one or two decaying shacks still stood, 2.1 miles up) to a decayed log and earth bridge over Falls Brook (2.8 miles).    That saved us an over five mile round trip hike with saws and other tools.    From there on up, the trail was pretty overgrown and poorly marked, mostly with cream or yellow blazes.    I think Farm & Wilderness Camps had done some work on it. They accessed it mainly by a trail they had built from the Woodward Reservoir to Ghost Camp, partly along Madden Brook.    With our two man crosscut saw, we removed a number of blowdowns and thus shortened the trail by getting rid of a number of detours around them.    We also blazed the trail properly in blue and put up wooden signs at the top and bottom of the Juggernaut Trail that resembled U. S. Forest Service signs.    They were hand-engraved.    We hadn’t yet discovered how handy a router was for this.

By mid August, my father and I had also cleared the brush from the 0.2 mile Killington Spur, put up the Cooper Lodge sign that is still over its door, and added signs there for the LT north and south.   

By the end of the summer, when I went off to college, we had rehabilitated the Bucklin Trail.    It had no blazes at all, except for some blue painted tin can tops leading west from Cooper Lodge.    Unfortunately they turned left after a few hundred feet and marked the old late 19th century “Coach Road,” not the Bucklin Trail.    Following them, I wound up at a point about 0.7 mile east of Brewers Corners on a recently used logging road the first time I tried to hike the Bucklin Trail.    I blazed the Bucklin properly in August 1965 and we added signs at the top and bottom.    We even mowed the lower two miles.    Back then, the valley road was good enough so that I rode a normal three speed bicycle on most of it.    We came back in June 1966 and added two bridges over Brewers Brook.    They were made of the girders from our former haywagon.    Sadly, they lasted only a season or two, until high water washed them downstream.    We then had to go back to fording the brook until the present two big bridges were built.

In 1966, my father and I also tackled Gov. Clement Shelter.    We re-mortared the fireplace, installed an grill that could be adjusted up and down on a metal pipe, and replaced the porcupine-gnawed upper and lower bunks with hardware cloth ones.    Our crowing achievement was the privy.    We found an old two hole hardwood outhouse slipping down a bank into the Cold River somewhere in Shrewsbury.    We bought it from the old lady who owned it for $5, or $2.50 per hole.    We then winched it onto the bed of the VW pickup truck, drove it up to the shelter, dug a big hole, winched it over the hole, restored the clapboarding, added a little window, and painted it white.    My father then decided it needed a fitting sign.    A little background here: until the 1960s, only some LT shelters had outhouses.    Others had sticks nailed between two trees.    Others had nothing at all.    Gov. Clement Shelter was in the last category.    Not long before we adopted Gov. Clement, the adopter of Buffum Lodge had built a substantial outhouse for it and installed a sign.    He felt that big, relatively fancy Buffum Lodge needed more than a humble privy, so his sign for it read “Buffum Annex.”    We thought that if something named simply “Buffum Lodge” deserved an “Annex,” a stone structure grandiloquently named the “Gov. Percival W. Clement Memorial Shelter” deserved something fancier.    Besides, we now had the only two-holer on the whole Long Trail.    So my father routed out a large, handsome sign, “Lieut. Gov. Jarvis Snodgrass Memorial Gazebo, Est. 1966.”    We thought everyone would realize it was a joke, but no!    People began requesting information about Snodgrass.    So we had to invent him.    His attached biography was complete by the time in the 1980s or 1990s when I led an April Fool’s Day hike to Gov. Clement Shelter.    I pointed out a cellarhole on Gilman Road where I said the Snodgrasses had lived and I told about Jarvis’s career.    I think some folks still believed me till I got to the part about his dying of terminal aromatitis.    Sadly, after it stood proudly for many years, the Lt. Gov. Jarvis Snodgrass Memorial Gazebo was burned down.    I hope the arsonist suffers perpetual diarrhea in the woods!

I’m partly responsible for at least three names on or near our section of the LT.    One is Maine Junction.    Till 1967, the place where the AT left the LT and headed to Maine had no name.    Perhaps this was because there were few AT end to end hikers and the AT from the LT to the Connecticut River was little used.    It looked like a side trail.    Indeed, the GMC blazed it in blue as far as Vt. 12.    From there on, it was blazed with the standard Dartmouth Outing Club blaze: a black square between two horizontal orange rectangles.    It reminded this thirsty hiker of the old Hires Root Beer colors.    Another name was Ben’s Balcony, on the AT west of Gifford Woods, so named because Ben Rolston found and cleared it.    The third was Willard Gap, a name found on an old map by Madeline Fleming, who lived on the Elbow Road.    Aside from these places, I also tried to name the brook the LT crosses in the wet area north of Gov. Clement Shelter.    I called it Government Brook because the National Forest boundary was there.    On the Deer Leap Trail between Little and Big Deer Leap, I called the brook Cerf Brook, because Cerf is deer in French.    As    I called the brook just north of Tucker-Johnson Shelter Eagle Square Brook, because the land was long owned and logged by the Eagle Square Company and Madeline Fleming suggested it.    I think Maine Junction, Willard Gap, and Ben’s Balcony are the only names that stuck.   

Here are the Green Mt. Club offices I’ve held plus a couple other things.    I also edited Smoke & Blazes for a few years around 1990.

                President, Killington Section, Green Mountain Club, 1996 – 2002, 2018 – 2020
                Trails & Shelters Chair or Co-Chair, Killington Section, Green Mountain Club, 2002 – 2018
                Secretary, Green Mountain Club, 1991 – 1995
                Director, Green Mountain Club,    1990 – 1995
                Member, Green Mountain Club Trail Management Committee, 2001 –
                Member, Green Mountain Club Sections Committee, 1997 – 1999
                Member, Green Mountain Club History & Archives Committee, 1998 – 2001

                Member, Guide Book Committee, Appalachian Mountain Club, 1986

                Co-founder, Ascutney Trails Association, Windsor, Vermont, 1968                Director, Ascutney Trails Association, Windsor, Vermont, 1968 – ?, 2019 – 2020