Friday, January 14, 2022

Weather and Rail Trail News

 We are in for a real deep freeze for the next couple of days. Today started off fairly springlike. It was about 26 degrees when I first looked at around 8 a.m. I think that must have been the high, because around noon it was 22 and when I went down to West Danville to the post office at around 2:30, my car thermometer was reading 15. Ten to fifteen minutes later, as I headed home, it was 13 degrees, and now at 5:30, it's 4.7 degrees. The good news is that it is above zero. It is going well below the zero mark tonight and there will be a lot of wind.

There was plenty of wind in West Danville when I was there, but that isn't newsworthy. The wind always blows through West Danville. It's a natural funnel between two steep hillsides on the east and southeastern sides of the pond so the north-northwest wind has a clear shot all the way from Canada!

I had some questions about our history book about West Danville recently. One reader was curious about where we got information about Indian Joe and Molly, information that he had never seen before. I'm not quite sure exactly what that was, but I assured him we did our best to include only authentic information, or possibly in this instance, logical information because there aren't a lot of documents to be found about the old Indian couple. There have been a lot of varying stories written, but we used mostly historic information from other town histories and state records. 

Things are fairly quiet at Joe's Pond. I haven't seen anyone out on the ice - or had any reports of ice fishermen or even snowmobilers. Someone asked me the other day if we had enough snow for snow machines on the rail trail, but I really couldn't answer that. I expect there is enough in our immediate area, but judging from the snow cover a few miles in any direction from West Danville, this is something of an island of snow cover for the moment. Come Monday, that will change dramatically.

Speaking of the rail trail, word is out that the trail will be completed by this coming November. There are four sections already finished, and it is now necessary to connect those three sections. Our section is from St. Johnsbury to the northern end of Joe's Pond, but from the bridge west towards Hardwick, there is still work to be done. There is a short section completed through the town of Hardwick, 17.4 miles from Morrisville to Cambridge, and 11.6 miles between Sheldon and Swanton. These sections will be fully connected by the end of summer, 2022, and signage will be completed in 2023. The State of Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) will now manage the trails, taking over from VAST. Executive Director of VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) says that VAST will continue to support the VTrans in any way possible, and will continue to groom the trail during the winters. 

Someone recently asked me if I knew of any plans for the east/west rail bed running out of St. Johnsbury towards Concord, Vermont and ultimately, Portland, Maine. I have no idea if there are plans for that or even if sections of that line are still in use. I think it runs through Crawford Notch - it would certainly be quite a task to convert all of it, but perhaps someday . . . who knows? It would certainly be nice for St. Johnsbury to have that additional trail added to what they have now and connecting to the present one.

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