At what seems to be the end of the shortest winter I can remember, we drove last week to the North-East, and up a thousand feet, for 13+ hours. The very pleasant Von Trapp Lodge in the North mountains of Vermont fortunately had great early March 2012 snow.
The strangest sign of mountain life were the toboggan tracks from some unseen fun-loving four footed animal. The biggest suspect, after much discussion with many locals, is that it might be a Fisher Cat, a local relative of the weasel, on the West coast it is said that it can eat a porcupine.
The right hand image enlarges the top of the left hand view showing a long glide, a few quick steps and then another long glide. The animal has captured the classic Cross-Country Ski magic motion of gliding – stepping and then more gliding. Bigger animals just glide along on very old wooden boards: (A hidden spy-cam in the woods took the video in the link below).
You never know who you’ll see in the mountains. There are 100 km of frequently groomed trails, and other wilder ones too. A log cabin high up in the forest shelters an employee who sleeps there for a few nights at a time and serves delicious hot soup to the handful of visitors.
At the end of the week the temperature warmed; the snow started sliding off the roofs
and the maple sap started running.
Just outside the Lodge area which only uses traditional buckets, there are modern commercial sap operations linking the trees with plastic pipe, one way valves and vacuum pumps which look as though they could suck a tree dry. But they have to be inspected frequently because moose often wander through and accidentally rip out the pipes.
Meanwhile, back in the rented house great joy was had around fabulous meals eaten with mountainous appetites.