Events on Hogback
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2022 Spring Migration Walk at Hogback Mountain Conservation Area
An Annual Tribute to Bob Engel
Sunday, May 15, 7:30 am
Join naturalist Cherrie Corey for a morning walk to meet the arriving songbird wave and other harbingers of spring. Bob Engel was both mentor and friend to Cherrie back in his early years at Marlboro College and inspired her with his passion for native birds and plants from across the continent and his captivating understanding of the environments that sustained them. The Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society is cosponsoring the program, and will be represented by Cory Ross, conservationist and birder well-known in our area.
On our hike to the summit of Mt. Olga and back, we’ll encounter a variety of returning and migrating warblers, ovenbird, hermit thrush, winter wren, rose-breasted grosbeak, raven, and more. We’ll attune our ears and eyes to the plumage and song of each species and give careful attention to their preferred habitat and location in the canopy. Woodland wildflowers will be in their glory too and vernal pools will be teaming with life. On our return down the mountain, we’ll stop at the bird banding station to see how the day’s tally is coming and watch bander Eric Slayton and his team in action.
Meet at the Tower Trail trailhead kiosk, behind the Vermont Distillers building. Plenty of parking across Rte. 9 in the HMCA parking lot. Registration is required, and limited to 18: send email to email@example.com.
Bob Engel served as Biology professor at Marlboro College from 1975-2011 and on the board of Southeastern VT Audubon for many years. He gave numerous presentations for local environmental groups, led local and far-flung field study trips, including many spring migration walks at Hogback Mountain Conservation Area. Over the years he inspired so many to look deeply and connect passionately and wisely with the wide, WILD world.
Cherrie Corey, a Marlboro resident, has been an active naturalist, photographer, and conservation steward for many decades. She served as director of the Harvard Museum of Cultural and Natural History, the Native Plant Trust | New England Wild Flower Society’s first education director, and as principal naturalist for Great Meadows NWR in Concord, MA for many years. She currently advises and contributes to various organizations in southeastern Vermont.
Below you'll see the events HMCA hosted in winter 2019-2020, which will give you an idea of the types of things we do: work parties, just-for-fun events, educational hikes. Our calendar of public events went on hold when the covid-19 virus crisis emerged. We're gradually starting to revive our programs. Public programs are always fun, offering a chance to meet new people and learn new things. But the mountain is always there for you, program or not, to enjoy on your own. Download a print-at-home trail map here.
Ski Slope Clean-up
Friday, Nov 29, 1:00 - 4:00 pm
By now it's a tradition among the "earn your turns" crowd - spending the Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving on the ski slopes on Hogback, trimming back face-slappers, mowing down brambles, and cleaning up blowdowns so that the skiing will be great. If you're not familiar with skiing at Hogback, here's the story: no ski lifts. And no snowmobiles (except on the VAST trail). But if you climb the mountain yourself you can find some of the nicest unpacked, untracked slopes on public land in southern Vermont. There's no ski industry maintaining the ski slopes, only volunteer workers whose efforts are guided by the Hogback Preservation Commission and the HMCA Trails Committee, with permission from the town. Want to enjoy the slopes this winter? Come help get them in good shape this fall. Please, do not do any clearing or cleaning up on your own. Work with us on this authorized work day. Workers of all kinds are needed, from folks with chain saws or brush cutters to people with hand saws or loppers, and especially folks willing to just haul debris. If you want to use a chain saw on Hogback, you must have a full set of safety equipment, including chaps, helmet, face shield, and hearing protection. Chaps, face shield and hearing protection are also strongly encouraged for people using brush cutters. Meet in the parking lot on the south side of Route 9 in between the gift shop and the distillery.
Farewell to 2019 - New Year's Eve Sunset Snowshoe Hike
Tuesday, Dec 31, 3:30-5:00
Watch the last sunset of the year from the fire tower atop Mount Olga, and get home again in time to head out for more traditional New Year’s Eve parties. We’ll hike up in time to catch the last rays of sun in 2019, on snowshoes or on foot, depending on conditions. Those brave enough to climb the fire tower stairs will enjoy the marvelous 360-degree view and the sunset from the semi-sheltered lookout’s perch at the top. It’s a short hike, less than a mile and a half round trip, but it’s all uphill on the way out and all downhill on the way home. There’s nothing dramatically steep, but bring ski/hiking poles in case conditions are icy. If there's been only modest amounts of snow, some people prefer to use cleats like Yak Trax or Stabilicers instead of snowshoes. Pack a headlamp or flashlight. We usually get back to the parking lot while the twilight is still lingering, but it's good to be prepared.
We'll gather at 3:30 in the parking lot next to the white distillery building on the south side of Route 9 just west of the gift shop If you are borrowing snowshoes or cleats, figure out how the binding works in the warmth of your kitchen before you come. Our meeting spot is the coldest, windiest spot of the entire hike, so we won't want to be fussing with recalcitrant bindings there. Once we get into the woods, conditions will be lovely.
And don't be late - the sunset won't wait!
First Day Hike
Wednesday, Jan 1, 10:00 - noon
Our neighbors at the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum are once again hosting a First Day Hike in the conservation area, a great way to start the new year. Museum Managing Director Michael Clough will lead us on a leisurely hike to see what we can see. Each year is different but we always have great conversation and see something new. Remember visiting the porcupine den? How about the year we slid down the mountain or bushwhacked to the fire tower? Only one way to find out what we will see this year! We'll meet in the parking lot next to Vermont Distillers, the white building on the south side of Route 9 just west of the museum. Plan on bringing snowshoes or spikes, depending on conditions.
Questions? Contact the museum at 802-464-0048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moonlight Snowshoe Hike
Saturday, cancelled Feb 8, 7:00-8:30 pm
Saturday, rescheduled Mar 7, 7:00-8:30 pm
When the moon is full in winter, the snow reflects the light and things are so bright you can even see colors. The moon will be just one day shy of full on Saturday, Feb 8. Let’s go for a snowshoe hike to the fire tower that evening and see what we can see.
If the snow is old and compact, spikes (like YakTrax or StabilIcers) might work better than snowshoes. Ski poles or hiking poles would also be useful. Meet in the parking lot on the south side of Route 9 near the Distillery at 7:00. Bring a flashlight or headlamp to use in an emergency, but let’s see if we can do the hike without artificial lighting. Those who are really brave can climb to the top of the fire tower and look around at the lights from the surrounding towns.
If the weather doesn’t cooperate on Feb 8, let’s try it on Saturday, Mar 7, same time, same place. How can you tell if the event has been cancelled? Look out your window. If you can see shadows on the snow from the moonlight, we’ll be hiking. No snow, but just bare ground? Or overcast, with no moon visible? Nope, stay home.