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Audio Postcard: Soaking In Panoramic Views Of The Adirondacks From Snake Mt. In Vermont

A photo from the top of a mountain with sun shining down through scattered, puffy clouds on green, patchwork fields
Emily Russell
/
NCPR
The view from the top of Snake Mountain in Addison County, where North Country Public Radio reporter Emily Russell recently took a hike.

Summer is a great time for hiking, even during the week. There are trails around the region that are short and sweet enough for an after-work stroll, and less likely to be crowded. Snake Mountain in Vermont's Champlain Valley offers the perfect mid-week hike.

Snake Mountain rises up from big swaths of farmland. In 1870, there was a hotel — the Grand View Hotel — built at the summit. The hotel has since burned down, but much of the access road to the top serves as the trail up the mountain.

For me, that access road is the perfect kind of hike to tackle after a workday. The trail is not technical, not too long, and not too strenuous.

A photo of a wooden signpost in the middle of green grass, the sign reading Snake Mountain.
Emily Russell
/
NCPR

The hike up Snake Mt. is pretty popular and the parking lot can fill up on the weekends, but today, on a weekday evening, it’s nice and quiet.

I’ve still got hours of daylight when I start my hike. I look up and see the canopy of neon green leaf cover, lit up by the bright sun.

There are sounds of summer all around me. At the start, it’s a steady buzz of insects and little chirps from chipmunks.

A photo of a small white dog in woods on a dirt trail with trees rising up
Emily Russell
/
NCPR

It’s easy walking at first and then the trail starts to climb. My breathing gets heavier and my legs start to burn. I find that getting my heart rate up in the middle of a busy workweek is a nice change of pace, a reminder of what my body is capable of.

It’s been a wet summer, so parts of the trail are pretty muddy. That rain, though, means more specks of color in the woods.

I pass some bright red, almost cartoonish-looking mushrooms that have sprouted up. I've also seen bold orange mushrooms and cream-colored squiggly, funky-looking ones.

Orange mushrooms in leaves
Emily Russell
/
NCPR

As I get closer to the summit, more of the trail is made up of big, gray slabs of rock. And then, right before the trail turns towards the top, the song of hermit thrushes fills the forest. I was later able to identify the bird using the Cornell Lab’s Merlin app.

The trees open up and the trail leads me out onto a big bald rock face that has tiny little meadows of light purple and bright yellow wildflowers.

I walk out onto a really big concrete slab where the hotel used to be. The opening offers a panoramic view of the Champlain Valley, first in Vermont and then across the lake to the Adirondacks. It's stunning up here.

This story was originally published by North Country Public Radio.

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