Snowshoers hitting the trails for Hoot, Toot
Jan 19, 2018 | 1168 views | 0 0 comments | 58 58 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Competitors churn up snow during a Dion WMAC snowshoe race earlier this season. The series comes to Readsboro on Saturday.
Competitors churn up snow during a Dion WMAC snowshoe race earlier this season. The series comes to Readsboro on Saturday.
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READSBORO- The Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment Inc., will host the ninth annual Hoot, Toot & Whistle 5K Snowshoe Race and Hike, on Saturday, January 20, on the Catamount Trail.

Registration begins at 8:30 am at the Readsboro Central School on Phelps Lane (turn at the gazebo). At 9:45 the last registrants will be transported by bus to the starting line. The trek will step off at 10 am.

This 5K snowshoe trek takes in one portion of the old railroad bed from Readsboro to the Harriman Dam in Whitingham, with bus transportation for participants being provided at both the start and finish location. Parking is at the Readsboro School.

The Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington Railroad, or the HT&W, was one of America’s premier short-line, narrow-gauge railroads of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The railroad was affectionately known as the Hoot, Toot and Whistle and known by some as the Hitch, Twitch & Wiggle, referring to its many high precipices, sharp turns, and beautiful vista views that it traversed. It was famously known as well for its numerous train wrecks. Today the old railroad bed serves as the gateway to the Catamount Trail, a hiking, snowshoe, and cross-country ski trail leading from Readsboro to the Canadian border.

It is the perfect trail for young and old, as the railroad bed was built as a gentle grade to support a slow moving passenger and freight train of years gone by. It snakes its way up the valley.

The HT&W trek covers only one small section of the 300-mile Catamount Trail. The Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment organization recently built a parking lot with map kiosk at the trail head where this 5K event begins. The purpose of the lot is to provide parking and attract more winter sports enthusiasts to Readsboro to enjoy the Catamount Trail and the town’s rural environment.

Chili will be provided to participants at the end of their trek at the Readsboro Central School. While the chili is free, donations are gratefully accepted, as all proceeds are to benefit the Bullock Building Restoration Project, managed by Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment Inc.

The Bullock Building is a large, highly prominent landmark building in Readsboro. The building was not in use and in disrepair when RHR purchased it and began the cleanup and restoration process. Fundraising events like the annual Dion Snowshoe Race assist in supporting the use of the building. Much progress has been made and the Bullock Building now serves the community as a site for many functions and a seasonal art gallery hosting many local artists and musical performances. A great deal of work still needs to be done, from a new roof to a heating system (where none currently exists). Donations are very much needed to continue the restoration of this important community project.

The minimum snowshoe size must equal 120 square inches of surface. The entry fee is $15 for the day but those over 65 or under 18 years of age will be admitted free of charge.

Directions and more information can be seen at dionwmacsnowshoe.com or call Bob Dion at (802) 423-7537. Limited snowshoe rentals will be available at registration.
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