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According to documents in the Sheldon Museum’s archives, the panoramic view from the tower extended from Massachusetts to Québec. All the bogs, rivulets and other water-filled nooks and crannies up here assure the presence of mosquitoes.
Crumbling rock foundations and scraps of rusted metal lie scattered across the summit of Snake Mountain, too, including the bent remains of what looks like a tap bucket. The plentiful spring rains have made them especially hellish this year.
Judging from the cars already parked, at least three hikers have beat us here. Our crunching steps mix with the high, buzzing song of cicadas and whistling trill of a songbird, punctuated by a woodpecker’s drumming. The trail’s conditions are just about perfect, as a recent light rain has softened the path and tamped down some of the pollen. Hiking this trail in springtime requires high boots, and it’s advisable to wait at least a day or two after a rain if you don’t want to ford a river.But few Vermonters outside Addison County seem to know about it.The Wilmarth Woods trail, Cranberry Bog — a 10-acre, 9500-year-old kettle lake alive with dragonflies — and Snake Mountain Wildlife Management Area are not listed in the includes maps, tips and background on the mountain’s history.In good weather and at a moderate pace, the hike takes only around two hours up and back, which should give us plenty of room for sightseeing before the trail is mobbed. The network of short side loops hugging the lower parts of the trail testifies to how muddy it can get.On the mountain, you can spot vestiges of that history, such as ruins of the aptly named Grand View Hotel, abandoned in 1925.
At the heights of the trail’s end, the remains of steel posts stand in a broad concrete pad that once held up a 74-foot lookout tower.