We awoke Sunday to the quiet of snow and a bright white blanket covering the dimly lit morning landscape. Sarah rushed outside with Odin to take it all in. After some tea and a little work around the house, an afternoon hike up Spruce Mountain, with spectacular views from the fire tower, seemed like a perfect way to spend Sunday. It's a great hike and right in our backyard. It felt good to us to explore something so close to home - this is exactly why we choose to live where we do. A culture of mountains, outdoor recreation, and nice people make it easy to call Vermont home.
Spruce Mountain is known as one of the "fire tower" hikes. It is the site of a former fire lookout, complete with cabin and telephone line, built in 1919. The mountain has one foot each in Groton and LR Jones State Forests (the latter of which is Vermont's first state forest). The tower was rebuilt and replaced throughout the mountain's history as a fire lookout, and then ceased being a lookout all together in 1974. A tower transplanted from Belleview Mountain in St. Albans now stands tall off the peak, and a cellar hole is still visible nearby to the tower.
As we started out on the trail today, our spirits were immediately lifted by the sights: pillows of snow on spruces, the poplar leaves rushing across the breezes to land on a white ground, and sunshine filtering through snow-covered trees. Something about being outside in the snow and cold really makes you feel alive.
Our hike continued on as we climbed and rounded the top of a ravine. A sharp left switchback brings the hiker to a side trail on the right winding through large boulders and caves - a neat little side adventure. Onward to the top the trail grades moderately over granite slabs to an open forest, then a couple of steep steps, and finally to the top. There are great views to the east from a look out and 360-degree views from the tower.
Pretty soon we hope to be exploring Spruce Mountain on our skis!