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15 April 2014

Three Short Hikes in Vicinity of Lake Morey (Fairlee, VT)

In my perpetual quest to engage in hiking adventures that are new to me, I drove about an hour southwest of my home in Bethlehem, NH to hike on a nice network of trails at Lake Morey which is located in the town of Fairlee, VT.

There are many hikes that can be done at this location, but I only had time for three short treks to the following destinations: Glen Falls; Bald Top Mountain; Fairlee Palisades.  The hikes to Glen Falls and to Fairlee Palisades were done on trails maintained by a cooperative venture of the Town of Fairlee, Lake Morey Protective Association and Lake Morey Foundation.  The hike to Bald Top Mountain was done on the trail system maintained by the Cross Rivendell organization.

Besides having a nice network of hiking trails, here is another interesting tidbit about Lake Morey.  In winter months, the Lake Morey Resort, Upper Valley Trails Alliance and the Hulbert Outdoor Center maintains a 4.5-mile ice-skating loop trail around the lake.  This is the longest ice-skating trail in the U.S.

For those like me who are interested in knowing such things, Lake Morey was named in honor of Samuel Morey (1762-1843).  He is considered by many to be the true inventor of the steamboat, rather than Robert Fulton.  Morey experimented with a steamboat on the Connecticut River.  He patented his engine, but later sold it to Fulton who later gained fame from a steamboat he built and named the Clermont.

As to how the surrounding town of Fairlee got its unique name, there are several theories.  One is that the Connecticut River was a convenient 'highway' during the 18th century.  When a group of soldiers from Rogers’ Rangers were returning from their northward trek in the French and Indian War to the fort at Charlestown, NH, some of them camped at this spot along the river and noticed the “fair lea’’ between the hills.  And so, they decided this would be a desirable place for a town to be called “Fairlea”.

Okay, that's probably enough jabber about the lake and the town.  Shown below are some snapshots that were taken at various points along the way during my three short treks.  There are many other hikes to be done at this location, and I hope to do several of them over the upcoming months.

Glen Falls (would guesstimate the drop to be about 25 to 30 ft.)
Some additional cascades located above Glen Falls
Approaching the summit area of Bald Top Mountain
Nothing in particular, just a nice vista of rolling hills as seen from Bald Top Mountain
Zoomed view of Mt. Moosilauke from Bald Top Mtn (too overcast for any crystal-clear views of distant peaks)
Upper end of Fairlee Palisades closed due to nesting Peregrine Falcons
The nesting areas for Peregrine Falcons are on the distant cliffs (just left of center)
View from Fairlee Palisades looking eastward across Connecticut River to Orford, NH
Vast majority of my travels to all 3 locations was on snow-free trails (only a few patches of ankle-deep snow here and there)
View from shoreline of Lake Morey where I began my trek to Glen Falls (lake is perhaps only a day or so away from being ice-free)
Photo taken from Blood Brook Road at the trailhead for the hike to Bald Top Mountain
Soon after leaving the trailhead on Blood Brook Road, the trail runs adjacent to a horse farm for a short distance
~ THE END ~ 


Steve Smith said...

Very nice report on a less-known area with lots of interesting tidbits. Love the classic Vermont scenery - and the bare ground! I've wondered about Bald Top and it looks like a worthy destination. Thanks for posting about this exploration!


1HappyHiker said...

Thank you, Steve!

Regarding that “classic Vermont scenery”, it always amazes me how quickly the landscape changes upon crossing the NH/VT border.
And yes, hiking on bare ground was indeed nice! I think it’s fair to say that we both love snowshoeing, but there’s that famous quote that begins with “To everything there is a season, and a time . . . etc, etc.” :-)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the history. I didn't know there was a trail system in that area. Both the falls and the mountain look very nice. It looks like there is a gorge above the falls. Did you check it out? Great trip report as always.

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Josh

The Lake Morey trail network is nice. Just recently discovered it, and plan to return for some additional explorations.
Regarding your question about the gorge above the falls, yes I did check it out and there are some smaller cascades above it.

Thanks for posting your comments.

One Day in America said...

I appreciated learning the supposed origin of the town name "Fairlee". Quite appropriate!
Also, I was happy to see the sign informing people of their role in protecting nesting Peregrine Falcons.

The ice-skating loop trail is a great idea. Wonder how it's maintained during the winter?

Looks like you discovered another fine destination for further exploration, John.

1HappyHiker said...

Rita . . . Thanks, as always, for reading my blog and for taking time to post your comments. It is always interesting for me to learn what aspects of my reports are of interest to others. I am delighted that you enjoyed reading the historical tidbits that I inserted. And, like you, I was intrigued by the ice skating trail. It will be on my list of things to check out next winter!


Woodchuck said...

Hey John! It was nice to run into you on Bald Top. Really nice pictures. I'll have to check out Glens Falls sometime soon, it looks like a nice place to cool off on a hot day. Thank you for sharing your blog with me, I'm looking forward to following more of your adventures soon.

I'm not sure if you'll read this Rita, but I think they maintain the skating trail with a snow blower and/or brush (on a tractor); it's a great loop, but be sure to pick a day that isn't too windy. Hockey skates work well, but nordic skates are the way to go - there's a nordic skate rental shop south of Fairlee on Rte. 5.

Woodchuck said...

Ah, and I forgot to mention re: the skating trail - it's always best to call the Lake Morey Resort to check on the trail conditions.

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Josh . . . Thanks for stopping by to read my blog, and thanks ever so much for providing details about maintenance of the ice skating trail on Lake Morey. It's also good to know that Nordic skates are the way to go when skating on this trail.

Regarding my posting of further adventures, it will be a few weeks before anything new appears here. At the moment, I'm on an extended trip down in the Southern part of the U.S. visiting relatives.

Thanks again for your comments, and I really enjoyed meeting you.