South Winberry Trail

April 26, 1980

This trip report on South Winberry Trail is dedicated to member Helen Smith, who suggested it as an alternative to the scheduled Cloverpatch Trail hike when she learned that a bridge along the North Shore Road was undergoing repairs. Without this piece of intelligence, leader Karen Houglum would doubtless have treated her entourage to the Obsidian version of Chappaquidick.

The South Winberry Trail, which was brushed out just last summer, is located sixteen miles and two cow crossings from Unity Junction, beginning at a gravel storage area near Camp Creek and terminating under the summit of Joe’s Peaks. As luck would have it, I was again faced with the absurdity of leading a hike along a trail which I had never seen before. Although it promised to be a short jaunt (four miles), the persistent 15° grade immediately separated the sheep from the mountain goats and created numerous opportunities for reflection and conversation on the way up.

Many wildflowers dotted the trail, which we examined while relieving our oxygen debt. These included wild currant, white and painted trillium, Johnny Jump Up and calypso orchids. The last segment of the trail suddenly rounds a bend and offers a handsome prospect of Saddleblanket and Sourgrass mountains just opposite, with a glimpse of two snow-covered mountains in the distance — one of them probably Chucksney Mountain.

“Karen, are you leading. any other trips this summer?” one hiker queried as we returned to our starting point. “If you always bring this kind of weather on your trips, I want to be sure to be along.” This was flattering to be sure, but let me give credit where credit is due: I didn’t make the weather, folks. All I did was pray for it! And the good Lord, as He often does, filtered down a blessing which was bigger and better than anything I was believing Him for.

Hikers included Paul Gessler, Wilbur Groner, Karen Houglum (leader), Greg Johnson, Ruth Lill, Wayne Lill and Helen Smith.

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