Hoot, Toot and Whistle 5K returns for another trek along Harriman Reservoir
Jan 17, 2014 | 9248 views | 0 0 comments | 97 97 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The starting line of a previous Hoot, Toot and Whistle 5K.
The starting line of a previous Hoot, Toot and Whistle 5K.
READSBORO- On Saturday, January 18, the annual Hoot, Toot and Whistle 5k Snowshoe Race and Hike will once again trek from the area of the Whitingham Dam on the Harriman Reservoir down through Whitingham, ending at the Readsboro Central School. The trek follows the scenic path of the former Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington Railroad that operated a narrow gauge line from the Hoosac Tunnel’s east entrance to logging camps in Searsburg at the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries. The portion of the rail bed where the trek is held closely follows the narrow and winding path of the Deerfield River in a beautiful backdrop of Vermont mountain, forested cliffs and crags that seem to indicate it was an unlikely route for a train.

The trek lasts approximately two hours for most participants. A bus will transport participants from the school to the Whitingham Dam starting line while anxious members of the sponsoring group await their return with plenty of food, snacks, and hot soup at the school. Regardless of the high elevation from the river the trail bed has a gentle slope that accommodated the original steam train that puffed its way up the mountain. The rail bed is a series of curves and the railroad’s nicknames ranged from Hoot, Toot and Whistle to the Hitch, Twitch and Wiggle where passengers joked that they thought the caboose was going to touch the engine. The old rail bed is one small portion of the 300-mile-long Catamount Trail that goes from Readsboro into Canada.

Participants must use snowshoes with a surface area of at least 120 square inches. Registration fee is $15 per person but ages under 18 and over 65 are free. Limited snowshoe rentals will be available at registration. Race founder Bob Dion graciously and generously donates all the proceeds from this event’s registration fees to the Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment’s E.J. Bullock Building Restoration Fund. The Bullock Building is located in the center of Main Street and is one of the street’s largest and most prominent buildings dating back to the late 19th century when Readsboro was the factory work and population hub of the Deerfield Valley with a population of 2,500 as compared to today’s 600 or so residents.

Race registration begins at 9 am at the Readsboro School gymnasium (located on Phelps Avenue) and will be concluded by 9:45, with the race scheduled to begin at approximately 10 am. Registration forms and directions can also be found by visiting www.runwmac.com or participants can fill out a registration form upon arrival at the school. When visiting the site look for “2014 Dion Snowshoe Series,” click on the snowshoe picture, and it will take you to the Dion Snowshoe Racing Series where you simply click on “schedule.” Also, for more information contact Dion at (802) 423-7537. Dion is a Readsboro resident who started a premier snowshoe manufacturing company “Dion Snowshoes” in Readsboro. It is now located in North Bennington.

The Bullock Building restoration is an ambitious project to create a community center for events and activities as well as to herald the way for future economic growth in the community. All donations of time, resources, and funding are welcome. Contact Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment, PO Box 261, Readsboro, Vermont 05350 or call Susan Bailey at (802) 423-7050.

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