EAST CHARLESTON — This coming fall the NorthWoods Stewardship Center is gearing up for their second annual Westmore Mountain Challenge on Saturday, October 13, 2018.
The 5-mountain marathon hike highlights some of the best natural features of the Northeast Kingdom during peak fall foliage, attracting local hikers and participants from throughout New England.
Hikers circle around the south end of Lake Willoughby to summit the mountains of Moose, Hor, Pisgah, Haystack and Bald, then either catch a shuttle or continue down the road for the full marathon distance back to NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston to celebrate.
“Last year’s event was a great success. We very quickly filled our 120-person limit and had a dozen more clamoring to sign up after registration closed,” said event organizer and NorthWoods Education & Outreach Director, Maria Young.
This year, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, which owns the land and sponsors the event, has agreed to increase the limit to 150 participants, to allow more people the chance to participate, while continuing to maintain a responsible and conscientious use of the trail system.
“There are many ways to participate, at all levels,” Young said. “Some people are trying for a best personal time, or first to finish. Last year we had a group from Sterling College who ran it as a relay, arranging their own pickup and drop-offs.”
All of the trails in the Westmore Mountain Challenge have been work projects of the NorthWoods Conservation Corps, which employs local youth crews to build and maintain miles of trails to public lands across the NEK and New England.
The proceeds from this event help support NorthWoods’ conservation, forestry, and education programming, including the youth crews who maintain the trails.
This year is looking even more popular than the 2017 inaugural hike, with over half the registration slots filled within the first few weeks.
Hikers interested in participating should move fast, with only 20 or so spots left.
To register, visit the NorthWoods Stewardship Center website at northwoodscenter.org.