Garnet mining is an important part of the history of the Gore Mountain region. And, right in our neighborhood, is an old abandoned garnet mine; the Hooper Mine on Garnet Hill.
The garnet from this area was (and is) prized for the way it fractures, making it very valuable for abrasives like sandpaper. In 1878 the Barton family began mining on the backside of Gore Mountain.
Twenty years later Frank Hooper started his mining operation near Balm of Gilead Mountain. Hooper’s mine wasn’t as rich as Barton’s, but to some extent, he made up for it with ingenuity.
The name Vanderwhacker first came onto my radar when I realized that the state land crossed by the Raymond Brook Ski Trail was part of the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest.
The Vanderwhacker Wild Forest is a diverse and discontinuous DEC construct, the center piece of which is Vanderwhacker Mountain and the Fire Tower.
With 1700 feet of elevation gain in two and a half miles I figured my wife, our daughter and I could handle it, even with a late start.
As we glided out of the woods, our daughter Laurel shouted, “This… is AWESOME!” We’d gotten to one of those classic Vermont xc ski vistas: a huge view across miles of rolling hills with woods and open fields, dotted with houses and barns. Then she double poled into a plunging, curvy downhill on to Viking Nordic’s Loki’s Run trail.
Last February, we drove to Landgrove, Vermont for Presidents’ Day weekend. Seeking respite from too much snow in New Jersey, so we drove north to …more snow. Just 40 miles north of Prospect Mountain, one of our regular haunts, I’d never been to this part of Vermont.
While there are plenty of unexplored touring centers on my bucket list, the plan was to stick close to our hotel and ski at Viking and at Wild Wings Ski Touring Center down the road.