by Allison Henry
The weekend before the planned hike to Spruce Peak via the Long Trail, my hiking buddy and I went to scope out the proposed route. We encountered a very treacherous stream crossing with fast-moving, unfrozen water about a mile south of the trailhead which took much bushwhacking and a gravity defying leap of faith to cross. The morning of the hike, I decided to give my two faithful attendees the option of a Plan B. Sue suggested the Sherburne Trails in Killington, and Larry and I agreed, so off we went on a short drive to Rt. 100. The Sherburne Trails were built less than 10 years ago and are maintained by the Killington Mountain Bike Club in conjunction with the Town of Killington and USFS. Although we had only crusty old snow in Rutland, we found fluffy new snow and a winter wonderland in the Killington woods, and our microspikes were needed. Like most bike trail networks, the Sherburne Trails consist of several miles of zigzaggy, interwoven trails with numbered trail junctions for reference. We encountered some neat boulders and rolling hills but no steep climbs. One of the sections led to a view of Kent Pond which was interesting to see from a different vantage point. I was optimistically wearing my Buffalo Bills hat in anticipation of the divisional playoff game against Cincinnati later in the day, and we ran into several different groups of hikers who were visiting Killington from elsewhere. The folks from Philly expressed their appreciation for both teams which was grudgingly allowed. The group from Massachusetts turned out to be Bengals fans and it was entertaining to watch them speed-snowshoe away from us in fear. The Sherburne Trails were well worth the visit, especially with such a short drive, and I am looking forward to checking the trails out again when the snow has melted. Perhaps July?