Return to Abbey Pond

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One of my posts, almost 5 years ago, involved a run up the Abbey Pond Trail.  Much to my surprise, this has proven to be the most frequently accessed post on this blog, speaking to the popularity of the Abbey Pond Trail.  This trail, the closest and most convenient trailhead leading into the National Forest for Middlebury runners and hikers, was one I had always wanted to explore, but hadn’t gotten to in my then roughly 25 years living in this community.  After running it, I found that it was a more challenging run than I expected, and that there were some sections where the footing was too much “rock hopping” and not enough trail to maintain any sort of running pace.  It was also a very pretty trail.  I had heard that in the last few years, some trail maintenance had been performed, and thought I would check it out on a beautiful, warm Sunday afternoon, shortly after the college graduation.

To access the trailhead, head east from town on Quarry Road, and take a left, north, on Rt 116.  In less than a mile, a trailhead sign leading onto a dirt road will be on your right, and take this turn, following trailhead signs for about a half mile to the small parking lot at the end of the road.  From this point, the trail is very easy to follow, and well marked all the way to its conclusion at the pond.  The trail starts out pretty easily, going from flat to modest incline until you cross a bridge, leading over a brook, where the outlet stream from Abbey Pond, far uphill at this point, cascades down a steep defile in the rocks, creating a waterfall both above and below the bridge.

Abbey Pond Trail Waterfall

Abbey Pond Trail Waterfall

 

Continuing past the waterfall on increasingly steep trail, I noticed a steep embankment to my left, and I did a quick scramble up this to see where it led. I should not have been surprised to see that it brought me to the brink of one of the many gravel pits operated by the Carrara Concrete Company up against the west face of the Green Mt escarpment in Addison County. I have always assumed that the sandy soil of this geography, atypical for Addison County which is largely clay, was the result of its being the former beachfront property on Lake Champlain as its waters receded following the last ice age, although I have not confirmed this with my Geology Dept. colleagues.  One thing about this vista had me scratching my head however – I can’t for the life of me figure out why they would park a few old school buses in their gravel pit!

Gravel Pit View

Gravel Pit View

 

After this point, the trail veers more aggressively uphill, first on the north side of the stream, then crossing over to the south side. When I described this portion of the trail a few years back, I confessed that I had to take a breather, and slow down to a walk for a while due to its relentless climb. This time around, I didn’t find that necessary, so I guess I am a stronger runner, and I know I have lost about 20 pounds since then, making the hills even easier. Isaac Newton was right – F = ma.

After the steep section of the climb, the rumored trail improvements came to sight.  My memory of this section was of a lot of rock hopping on a badly eroded trail, where I had the sneaky suspicion that the water flowing between the rocks was part of the stream beginning at the outlet of the lake.  Even though it was pretty close to flat, the footing was really to precarious to do anything resembling running.  Now, the trail has been re-routed off to the side on slightly higher ground and for the time being at least is very nice single-track running.  Looking into the origins of the new section of trail, I discovered something about its history.  During the summer of 2013 the local section of the Green Mountain Club performed this badly needed maintenance in memory of a father and son, David and Levi Duclos, who passed away prematurely in 2004 and 2012, respectively.  Both of them passed away while enjoying the outdoors.

After about a mile of pretty flat terrain on the recently re-routed trail, I got to the shores of this modest little pond in the mountains.  The peak in the background here is Robert Frost Mountain, the subject of another of my postings.  Several years ago, I came across an older map which showed a trail connection between Abbey Pond and the trails leading up to Robert Frost Mountain, so I explored around the lakeshore to see if I could discern any trails beyond the pond, but within a few hundred yards, the modest herd path diminished and disappeared into the swamps, and I was not wearing attire appropriate for bushwhacking.  It was also getting late in the afternoon, and I suspected that the evening insect attack would begin soon, so I took a picture of the pond from a less commonly viewed perspective, and backtracked to the maintained trail.

Abbey Pond and swamp

Abbey Pond and swamp

There were a few small tufts of various wildflowers alongside the shores as well, and I spied one that I had never noticed before – it had rather large hanging bulbs about an inch across, and I am including a picture in case someone could identify them for me.

Mystery Wildflowers

Mystery Wildflowers

Returning to my car was far easier, as is almost always the case. The run covered about 4 and a half miles, with an ascent and descent of about 1000 vertical feet. Five years ago, I rated this path “pretty for hiking, not really very good for running” but with the trail improvements of a few years ago it has become much more runable. I suspect I will be running it more often in the future, due to it’s convenience to town, and the fact that I suspect that it will be a cool place to run on hot mid-summer afternoons due to the fact that the most challenging part of the climb is in a shady defile in the mountains, cooled by the adjacent stream.

Altitude Profile of Abbey Pond

Altitude Profile of Abbey Pond

Google Earth projection of Abbey Pond Trail

Google Earth projection of Abbey Pond Trail

Love in Action 2015-05-24 13:34:24

Categories: Midd Blogosphere


The Week’s Headlines

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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

New Middlebury Bread Loaf Conferences Offer Lectures and Readings to the Public

College Grants Tenure to Three Faculty Members

Middlebury Institute at Monterey Confers Graduate Degrees to 255 Students from 27 Countries

Students Earn Fellowships, Scholarships, Awards

Quoted this Week: Jason Mittell on TV Storytelling

Julia Alvarez ’71 to Deliver Middlebury College Commencement Address

View past stories by visiting the News Room page.

Reminder from HR About CTO Maximums

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The maximum amount of CTO (combined time off) that can be carried into the next fiscal year is capped at 24 days (see table below for maximum hourly equivalents). Any CTO in excess of 24 days will automatically be transferred into your SLR as of June 26, for pay period 13 (6/8/15 – 6/21/15). Please plan accordingly. In order to avoid confusion and ease planning for employees, the CTO max is now applied to the last full pay period in June.

Throughout the year each employee is responsible for managing his/her CTO amounts within the applicable limits. Remember, if you allow your balance to reach maximum during any pay period except the final one of the fiscal year, your excess accrual does not automatically transfer to SLR –instead you will stop accruing and forfeit the un-accrued CTO time. Now is a good time to check your CTO balance in BannerWeb or a recent paycheck stub and plan your CTO use for the next few days and the upcoming fiscal year accordingly.

You may also transfer your own CTO at any time. When you report your time via BannerWeb, enter the number of hours you wish to transfer on the web time sheet in the row titled “Transfer CTO to SLR.”

CTO Maximum Amounts

Date CTO Maximum in Days CTO Max. in hours for employees w/ scheduled 8 hour days CTO Max. in hours for employees w/ scheduled 7.75 hour days
As of the last full pay period of June 24 192 186
Any other time 36 288 279

Laurie Essig receives Fulbright Scholar award

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Laurie Essig (Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies) has received a lecturing award from the Fulbright Scholar Program in support of her 2015-2016 leave. She will be working with the Gender Studies Program at the European University at St. Petersburg. While there Laurie will co-teach a graduate seminar in gender theory and continue in her role as advisor to graduate students in the program. She will also continue her research on the construction of the homosexual as foreign pollution within ideologies of Russian nationalism.

Aline Germain-Rutherford awarded grant from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Aline Germain-Rutherford (Linguistics) and colleagues from the University of Toronto and York University (in Canada) and University of Grenoble (France) have been awarded a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The University of Toronto is the lead institution on this collaborative project titled “LINguistic and Cultural DIversity REinvented (LINCDIRE): A digital environment to help learners navigate their trajectories.” The goal of this project is to create a partnership among institutions with expertise in different languages and cultures that will lead to development of a tool for language learners within the context of “plurilingualism” – a theory of language learning that stresses the value of interconnections and synergies of languages at the level of the individual.

Matthew Kimble awarded grant from NIMH

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Matthew Kimble (Psychology) has been awarded a research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health through NIH’s R15 AREA program. The grant provides three years of funding to support a project titled Neurophysiological and Behavioral Studies of Expectancy Bias in Trauma Survivors, which will use electroencephalography and eye tracking technology to better understand how psychological trauma affects how individuals look at the world. The project will involve multiple students through the life of the grant as independent study students, thesis students, and summer and regular semester research assistants. This grant represents Matt Kimble’s third NIMH funded project in this research area.