Tuesday Night with the Trail Enthusiasts

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

One of the great developments for trail runners over the last year has been the emergence of a running group, organized through the Meetup site, called the Middlebury Trail Enthusiasts.  This group of runners of which I am an active member gets together with member-organized runs a few times per week in the summer.  We even got a little free publicity earlier in the spring with a great article in the Addison Independent.  The centerpiece of this group has been the weekly Tuesday evening runs, leaving from Waterfront Park in front of Noonie’s in the Marble Works, at 6 pm.  While the group is encouraging runners of all abilities to organize and lead runs, this particular run typically covers 6-7 miles in around an hour, with most runners proceeding at a pace which encourages conversation.  One of the other really cool things about these runs has been the tremendous age diversity among the runners – it is not at all uncommon to have a 40 year age difference between the youngest and oldest runner (and no, I am an not the oldest regular participant), with a pretty uniform distribution of the generations in between.  How many other organizations in town can boast diversity of this sort?  And yes, there are both men and women among the participants.

For this run, we had a great turnout – about 10 runners.  I have the sneaky suspicion that the great turnout was influenced in part by the fact that one of the organizers mentioned the possibility of heading out for a beer afterwards.  So, for this run we decided to head north through Wright Park to the northernmost loop of the TAM.  For the start of this run, we headed out the back of the Marble Works, up Seymour St., past the Pulp Mill Bridge, until we reached Wright Park, and underused gem overlooking the east bank of Otter Creek just north of the village. 

Some beginning trail enthusiasts can be overwhelmed by the complexity of trail systems, out of concerns about getting lost.  The easy way to overcome this is to follow the “out and back” rule – take note of your surroundings and come back the way you headed out.  Then, with time, you will learn the trails, and be able to be a little more adventurous in your trail selection.  I am saying this because the trails between Wright Park and Belden Dam, about 2 miles to the north can be pretty complex, but there are two pretty straightforward ways to go – the high trail, which is very broad and suitable for mountain bikes as well as runners, and the low trail, which hugs the shore of Otter Creek.  We chose to head north on the high trail, until we reached the hydroelectric plant at Belden Dam.

Belden Dam and TAM Bridge

Belden Dam and TAM Bridge

At this point, we knew that if we returned, it would be about a 6 mile round trip, but a member of the group suggested a short loop on the opposite side of the river, which would supposedly add about a mile, and even though I (and at least one other member of the group!) had just run the Middlebury Maple Run Half Marathon just two days previously, I voted enthusiastically for this little loop, so off the group went. The loop on the west side goes a little bit further to the north than what most people include in the TAM when they are just attempting to circle the village, but it is a lovely section, especially when it dips down to the shores of the Otter Creek in its gorge. BUT, it ended up being a little more than a mile- more like 2 and a quarter miles, making this a marginally longer run than planned.

Returning to the Belden dam, and crossing back to the east side, we chose to return by the lower trail, which is well marked by a trail sign near to the eastern terminus of the suspension bridges.  My favorite part of this section is the unexpected bluff, christened “The Cliffs of Insanity” by Josh, one of the regulars.  This rather substantial outcropping is pretty much invisible until all of a sudden, you are directly below it, adding to its drama.

Middlebury's Cliffs of Insanity

Middlebury’s Cliffs of Insanity

From here, our path quickly rejoined the more civilized sections of Wright Park, and we retraced out steps back to the Marble Works. And yeah, a few of us decided to go visit our favorite bartender, Kim, at American Flatbread for a round before calling it a night. Now if I could just get them to have Shed Mountain Ale on tap…..

By the time we had finished, this ended up being a longer than planned, but still manageable 8.25 miler. I don’t want to scare away newcomers, so I promise this one was longer than we usually do, at least early in the summer as people get their legs back! While there aren’t any true “hill climbs” at least by Vermont standards, this run is far from flat, with a lot of interesting, and in places, rather beautiful terrain.

Google Earth of the Run

Google Earth of the Run

New Leadership Team for 2015-2016

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

We are happy to announce our Head Writing Tutors for the 2015-2016 academic year:

Mitchell Perry–Head Peer Writing Tutor

Claire Donohue-Meyer–Head Drop-in Writing Tutor

Head Writing and Academic Mentor–Madison Orcutt

Social Media Manager–Emma McDonald

Weekly Web Updates – May 11, 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere


Next week won’t have updates unless there is a critical issue to address as we’ll be attending DrupalCon. The keynote, by Dries the creator of Drupal, is typically streamed online and may be of interest to those who’d like to know what’s coming in the future for the platform. It will be on Tuesday, May 12 from 12-1:15pm ET.

File Uploads in Drupal

Functionality to support uploading multiple files at once is now enabled on the Middlebury and MIIS Drupal sites. Our documentation on Creating File Uploads has been updated to outline the new workflow. In addition to allowing multiple uploads, this greatly simplifies the upload process, removing several dialogs and making the title of the File Upload the name of the file by default. The process for updating existing File Upload contents has not changed.

New WordPress Plugins and Themes

  • RokoPhoto Lite: RokoPhoto Lite is an elegant WordPress themes for photographers, writers, and bloggers. This design focuses on your content & is perfect for an elegant blog site.
  • Shortcodes in Text Widgets: A plugin that allows shortcodes to work in Text Widgets if not supported already by theme.
  • Table of Contents Plus: A powerful yet user friendly plugin that automatically creates a table of contents. Can also output a sitemap listing all pages and categories.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • Duplicate article titles on the Health Topics A-Z page have been removed. This was done by adding a feature to the Drupal Views module that allows us to concatenate grouped results from the query, which we may be able to use for other features of the site.
  • The robots.txt files for the Drupal sites were updated to allow indexing of CSS, JavaScript, and image files in the core Drupal directories. Google announced last year that they would stop indexing pages that loaded resources from directories blocked in robots.txt and recently put this change in place in their indexing scheme.
  • Drupal Gallery captions now correctly support the UTF-8 character set, including left and right single and double quotes, emdashes, endashes, and ellipses.
  • A side effect of last week’s Drupal Webform update is that radio button and checkbox lists that use the “Other” textfield option had a hidden element that could be marked as required, making it difficult to submit the form. These hidden elements are no longer marked as required on the client side, though they will still be checked after the form is submitted to the server.

HR Update: This Week’s Employment Snapshot

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

There are currently 4 faculty positions, 55 external job postings (regular, on-call and temporary), and 4 internal job postings on the Middlebury College employment opportunities web sites.

Employment Quick Links:

Faculty Employment Opportunities:http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/administration/prospective_faculty/employment

Staff Employment Opportunities: go/staff-jobs (on campus),http://go.middlebury.edu/staff-jobs (off campus)

Please note – to view only internal staff postings, please use the internal posting search filter that was highlighted in this MiddPoints article.

On-call/Temporary Staff Employment Opportunities: go/staff-jobs-sh (on campus), http://go.middlebury.edu/staff-jobs-sh (off campus)


Categories: Midd Blogosphere

employee golf poster May 27 2015

The Week’s Headlines

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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

College Confers Student Leadership Awards

Students Present Radon Findings to Public Health Officials

Five from Middlebury Receive Fulbright Awards

Students Exhibit Creative Works at Old Stone Mill Showcase

College and Community Chorus to Present Mother’s Day Concerts

Four Panther Teams Earn NCAA Tourney Bids

How Social Entrepreneurship Is Taking Hold at Middlebury

A Vermont Political Scientist Ponders ‘Why Bernie is Running’

View past stories by visiting the News Room page.

Staff Council Coffee Break – May 15

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Join Staff Council and mingle with fellow staff members over a cup of coffee and light refreshments.

Friday morning, May 15 between 10:00 and 11:00 in Crossroads Cafe