Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mother's Day in Smugglers Notch

Pre-coronavirus I entered a contest to guess when the road through Smugglers Notch would re-open this spring. That was during the local WinterFest celebration the weekend of January 25-26. Seems like a long time ago.

My entry was noon on May 10. At the time I did not realize that it was a Sunday (an unlikely day of the week for the Vermont Agency of Transportation to re-open the road) or that it was Mother's Day. In any event, how did I do?


The photo above was taken at noon today. (Click on any photo to enlarge.)

The entire northeast was hit with a snowstorm the night before last. Some areas received several inches. (link) It is not unprecedented to have snowstorms here in May, but it is unusual. In recent decades, significant May snowstorms have occurred in 1977, 1996, and 2002. That might not be an exhaustive list.

We had 2" of snow on the ground at home (elevation 680') yesterday morning, but it was all gone by last night. The photo above was taken where VT-108 through Smugglers Notch is closed on the Cambridge side. At that elevation (1700') there was still snow in the woods today, but not on the road. We did not have to walk far up the road, however, before it was covered with snow. See photo below:

At the height of land on VT-108 (elevation 2175') there were three or four inches of snow on the road. We celebrated with hot chocolate flavored with Vermont Ice Maple Crème. A tasty beverage for honoring Mother's Day this year! (Ambient temperature 36°F.) And the mother among us said she liked a laughing man:

The photos below from the top of Smugglers Notch show the views looking down on the Stowe side (16% grade) and the Cambridge side (14% grade).

(It is ironic that the signs show a tractor-trailer. Tractor-trailers are prohibited from Smugglers Notch because the road is steep and there are narrow hairpin turns around and between boulders. See this news article from last May about tractor-trailers getting stuck every year: Stuck trucks botch Notch despite VTrans bans, fines and signs.)

The waterfall on the Cambridge side was beautiful. The photo below shows ice on the trees and rocks near the waterfall.

This video shows the waterfall:

It is interesting to compare this post to the photos and video in my post on April 24, 2017: Smugglers Notch.

So when will VT-108 through Smugglers Notch re-open? My new guess is the Friday before Memorial Day. That is 12 days away.

Update 5/14: The road opened today! See my follow-up post on 5/12 (Smugglers Notch - 2 days later) and the Update at the end of that post.

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