Abbey Pond Trail Project & Levi Duclos Memorial Fund

Dedicated to Levi Duclos' love of the wilderness.

A generous outpouring of funds was donated to the Bread Loaf Section of the Green Mountain Club (GMC) in memory of GMC member Levi Duclos. Levi died tragically of hypothermia on the Emily Proctor Trail in January, 2012. An ad-hoc committee met to determine a fitting use for the funds. The committee consisted of Bread Loaf Section members Chip Morgan, Doug McKain, Ruth Penfield, Ann Duclos, Levi's mother, and Kathy Duclos, Levi's aunt, as well as Caroline and Kat Camara representing the Mount Abraham Union High School Environmental Club (MAEC), of which Levi was a founding member and a 2010 MAUHS graduate.

Ann suggested that the funds be used to improve three of the four creek crossings of the Abbey Pond Trail in Middlebury. Levi and his father, David, who died in 2004, were frequent hikers and skiers on the Abbey Pond Trail. The creek can swiftly turn into a raging river, making it difficult and sometimes impossible to cross.

Although the Trail is not part of the GMC system, Dave Hardy, GMC’s Director of Trail Programs, offered the services of the Long Trail Patrol (LTP), the GMC's professional trail crew, to handle the heavy work that could not be handled by volunteers. Starting in the fall of 2012, the committee worked with Dave Hardy, Holly Knox and Seth Coffey, both of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to secure necessary permits.

In June of 2013, family members and friends of Levi's and David's cleared and blazed a relocated portion of the trail to avoid a very wet section. In August 2013, the Long Trail Patrol labored for two weeks moving massive boulders to use as stepping stones for the three stream crossings. In addition, a great deal of ongoing maintenance has been performed by students in the Diversified Occupations Program of the Addison County Supervisory Union. The Trail is rejuvenated and ready for hiking.

Our work on this trail was a labor of love. Everyone involved was a joy to work with. We are grateful to all the participants. Special thanks go to the USFS personnel for their interest and diligence in seeing this project through and to Dave Hardy and his crews for squeezing this project into their busy schedule, and for their hard work and positive attitude in completing it so quickly.

The Bread Loaf Section offered its first organized hike of the trail since the improvements on October 20, 2013. An amazing turnout of 42 people joined the hike.

Directions to Abbey Pond Trail trailhead: The trailhead is located on the east side of Vt. 116  in Middlebury, VT. (Vt. 116 is also known as Case Street). Drive 4.4 miles north of its intersection with Vt. 125 in East Middlebury and 6.9 miles south of the intersection of Vt. 116 with Vt. 17 outside Bristol village. (For local visitors familiar with the area: The trailhead is off Vt. 116, 1 mile north of Quarry Road, Middlebury and 5 miles south of River Road, Bristol.)

"Give Levi a trail, and he'd have to go to the end of it," claims his mother, An.

(Below) The Log Trail Crew completed additional rock work on stream crossings in October 2014 thanks to generous donations to the Levi Duclos Memorial Fund.  Click the photo below for more photos.

These look good! Big improvement to the crossing at the pond's outlet.

Map showing relocated section of the Abbey Pond Trail and creek crossings.

Abbey Pond and the beaver dam. Robert Frost Mountain in the distance. (6/22/2013)

The final destination of the Abbey Pond Trail is Abbey Pond, a large beaver dam with a great picnic site across the final creek crossing with newly planted boulder stepping stones.

Volunteers "brush" the new trail using loppers and clippers. (6/22/2013)

Kat and Ann working on the relocated portion of the Abbey Pond Trail.

"Blazing a trail...literally. I encourage you to hike this beautiful trail!" ~ Kathy Duclos (6/22/2013)

A Long Trail Patrol crew taking a well earned break at the trail's end, Abbey Pond.

Blue iris is a native wetland flower. (June 2013)

A Long Trail Patrol crew in action moving massive boulders, August 2013.

Approach to Abbey Pond (mid-October 2013)

Snowshoeing up the trail to check out the newly flagged proposed trail relocation, intended to bypass most of the wet areas near the pond.

A January 2013 snowshoe trek was made in order to scope out the terrain for the trail relocation. photos: R.Penfield