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A short run in the Mad River Valley

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

One of my favorite running areas outside of Addison County has always been the Mad River Valley, where some of my extended family lives, and has a trail network at least as varied and beautiful as that which we have in the Middlebury (as in Middlebury VT, the 11th best town in the country to live, according to Outside Magazine!) area.  One of the limitations on running in “the valley” has been my lack of knowledge of much of the trail network, but while looking online for appropriate trails, I stumbled across the existence of a guide to the trails there, available at a variety of stores.  So, on Saturday morning, while enjoying the food and sights of the Waitsfield Farmers’ market, I picked up a copy of this map at the Tempest Bookstore in Waitsfield, one of many locations where this guide can be purchased, and studied it to look for an interesting run.  As an aside, the Waitsfield Farmer’s Market is a great place to spend a little time on a warm Saturday morning – while it does have some of the most beautiful veggies in the world, as one would expect, it also has a wide variety of specialty foods, crafts, and prepared foods.  One cow decorating the booth of a butcher shop looked far happier than one would expect, given the circumstances.

Waitsfield Cow

Waitsfield Cow

I knew I would not have time for a particularly epic run, given my other commitments, and looking for an area where I could put in a decent 5 miler, I settled on a trailhead which I had previously noted, heading south from the Mt Ellen Access Road across from the Fayston Elementary School. According to my map, I would be looking for a section of the Catamount Trail which headed south until it rejoined the German Flats road 2 miles to the south.  When I got to the trailhead, I didn’t see any of the blue diamond signs indicating that I was actually on the Catamount Trail, but did see signs indicating that I was actually on a section of the Mad River Path, a pleasant but disjointed collection of trails spread throughout the valley.  So, I was in the somewhat confusing position of holding one map, which failed to acknowledge the existence of the Mad River Path, and saw trail signage which had no mention of The Catamount Trail.  Curious, to say the least!  Oh well – they both are there and are both great trails – just run and don’t worry about it.

So, I followed the trail signs out of the parking lot, crossed a footbridge across the stream, and in about a quarter of a mile, my short section of the Mad River Path crossed the section of the Catamount Trail which I had planned to run on, and I decided to turn onto the Catamount Trail.  This section of trail climbed gradually over the next mile or so, passing alternately through mature hemlock forest, and much younger hardwoods.  It seemed as if the tree varieties were hyper-sensitive to their exposure, and I suspect that the hardwoods had been more recently logged, although there were definite signs active maple sugaring operations, as well as old stone walls and remnants of barbed wire fences hinting at past use for pasturing of dairy cows, although the fields were clearly long grown in.  After a little over a mile, I came to a T in the trails, joining a trail referred to as the Sugar Road on my map, and it also looked like a long grown in road of sorts.  I came across a few rusty old buckets hanging from the limbs of hemlock trees, and I assume that they were long abandoned sugaring buckets hung up for amusement rather than any utility.  My camera’s auto exposure settings made for an eerie effect.

Rusty Bucket

Rusty Bucket

I went right on this trail, until it merged with an extended series of driveways, and met up with the German Flats road, before beginning my return. I could tell that the trail was well worn by mountain bikers as well as foot travelers, making for smooth running. Returning to the T, I chose to continue on until it met up with a road less than a half mile later. This final section of the Sugar Road trail followed some open fields which must get mowed once in a while, but appeared to be fields of wildflowers (mostly goldenrod) and high grass at my passing. When the trail emerged from the woods into an open meadow, I could see that I had emerged at the end of Marble Hill Rd, which climbs up to this point from Rt 17. Looking at these meadows from the perspective of Google Earth, I could see that they were not contiguous with the lower open fields and their associated farm house, leading me to believe that I was on an abandoned hill farm. My suspicions were further reinforced by the presence of a few ancient apple trees, one of which grew some of the more interestingly colored apples I have seen. I can’t help but wonder if these are some long- lost heirloom variety, or something more well known to apple aficionados. There was also an odd wooden structure, standing out in the field like some ancient monolith, and I could not discern its former function.

Ancient Apples

Ancient Apples

Curious Structure

Curious Structure

After enjoying the sights of this meadow, I returned to the T, and descended to my car, with a slight variation at the end down a section of trail which was clearly built for the pleasure of mountain bikers, with tight banked curves and a moderate pitch. This section of trail returned me to the Mt Ellen access road, forcing me to run a few hundred yards uphill to the parking lot where my car awaited me. All in all, this was a pleasant, not particularly difficult run of slightly less than 5 miles, with maybe 500 ft of total vertical climb and descent. I enjoyed how this run sent me through sections of forest where elements of past and present habitation and agriculture were readily seen, but I could also see the effects of wilderness slowly taking over.

Google Earth of the run

Google Earth of the run

Altitude Profile

Altitude Profile

Weekly Web Updates – August 24, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

We reached a significant milestone this week. With the upgrade of the Middlebury Course Hub and the MIIS Course Hub to Drupal 7, we are no longer running any Drupal 6 sites. We started work on the Drupal 7 migration project on October 31, 2011 on Drupal version 7.9 and finished on August 20, 2015 on Drupal version 7.39. In that time we made over 3,000 changes to the code.

We’d like to thank everyone who helped out in this effort, especially those who helped test the site upgrades and our site editors for their patience during this process.

New Features

We have upgraded both of our WordPress servers to version 4.3, which allows you to set a custom site icon, provides markdown support in the editor, adds a way to customize your menus in the theme customizer interface, and turns comments off by default for new pages.

On the MIIS Drupal site, editors can now add social media sharing icons to Basic Content nodes by checking a box in the editing interface. The same icons and service links are used on all News nodes on the site.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

We made many accessibility improvements to our Drupal sites this week, including:

  • The Quick Access content type now includes a submit button. Additionally, the selector for the Quick Access node on the Middlebury Office & Services page was updated so that the search will work again.
  • The Google Custom Search content type now has a proper field label for the search input.
  • In the Google Calendar content type you can list multiple calendars. If you choose not to overlay the calendars, a select box will appear above the first calendar allowing you to switch to other calendars. This select box now has an appropriate label.
  • If you set a page in Drupal to have an “Archive” a set of select boxes will appear at the bottom of the page allowing you to filter to a particular year, month, week, or day. We have updated these select boxes to have appropriate labels.
  • We have updated the four forms that let you search for Library resources from the Drupal site to have appropriate labels for their select and input elements.

Other fixes this week:

  • Profiles on the Middlebury Drupal site were not listing the office location. We have updated these so that the full mailing address will appear when viewing the full profile and the office building and number will appear when viewing a “teaser card” listing of profiles.
  • The WordPress NextGEN gallery will no longer overlap other page elements in Chrome.
  • Four forms that allow you to search Library resources were updated to use Drupal’s block system, rather than being embedded in content. This allowed us to remove the “Extended HTML” input filter that provided some editors with an extended set of allowed HTML tags, including form elements.
  • The WordPress WPML Translation Analytics and XLIFF plugins are now included in WPML Translation Management and were removed.
  • When embedding .mp3 audio files from MiddMedia, Firefox now uses the HTML5 <audio> tag for output.

Join the Friends of International Students Host Program!

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Dear Faculty and Staff-

International Student & Scholar Services invites you to become a host for an international student this fall.

• The program provides a terrific opportunity for you to meet people from around the world, and to connect with a student in an individual way.
• It’s a friendship program. Contacts between student and family are arranged on your own terms.
• To date, the Class of 2019 will include more than 70 international students, including some U.S. students who live abroad.
• In September, we also will welcome over 12 international exchange students.
• Most of the students participate in our program, so we will need many new hosts.
If you are interested in exploring the possibility of serving as a host to an international student, please let us know.

TO REGISTER: Please contact Carolyn Dahm, ISSS Administrative Coordinator, by email at isss@middlebury.edu or by telephone at 443-5858. (Your email reply will go directly to the ISSS office mailbox. In either your email or phone message, please provide your name, email address, and phone number.)

Please share this information with friends and family who do not work at the College.
We invite all who are interested to become a part of this wonderful program!

To learn more, please visit our website at: http://www.middlebury.edu/international/isss/fis .

We look forward to hearing from you!

Grille Closed from August 17th-September 7th 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Please note that the Grille has closed for some maintenance issues on August 17th and will reopen September 7th, 2015. During this time, Midd Express Market will be open for snacks and Grab & Go options. Weather permitting, we are hoping to do some Pop Up Barbeques on the deck outside.

Grille Closed from August 17th-September 7th 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Please note that the Grille has closed for some maintenance issues on August 17th and will reopen September 7th, 2015. During this time, Midd Express Market will be open for snacks and Grab & Go options. Weather permitting, we are hoping to do some Pop Up Barbeques on the deck outside.

Grille Closed from August 17th-September 7th 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Please note that the Grille has closed for some maintenance issues on August 17th and will reopen September 7th, 2015. During this time, Midd Express Market will be open for snacks and Grab & Go options. Weather permitting, we are hoping to do some Pop Up Barbeques on the deck outside.

The Week’s Headlines

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Here are the week’s headlines from the News Room:

Pursuits: Happy Tails

Middlebury Language Schools Confer Master’s, Doctoral Degrees

The Business of Beer

View past stories by visiting the News Room page.