Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 14: Who is Emily Proctor?

Dscn5809September 17: The day started cold, and once again, I enjoyed the company of my new friend, the buff. The trail was bad—muddy and slick, and at best, I’m covering about 2 mph which is annoyingly slow to me.


One of my favorite sections of the Long Trail to hike, however, are through ski areas and today, the trail headed through the Middlebury ski area. I like ski areas because most of the trail is deep in the trees—the same Long Green Tunnel you hear about on the Appalachian Trail—but in ski areas, you get lots of views whenever the trail crosses a ski run. So I enjoyed the tromp through the Middlebury ski area and down to Middlebury Gap.


On the other side of the gap, the trail climbs some steep cliffs and a 0.4-mile side trail leads to a viewpoint over Silent Cliffs. For the most part, I’ve been taking every side trail to every viewpoint I could to take photos for http://www.walking4fun.com, but most of the time, the viewpoints are a few dozen feet off the trail. Some of them might be 0.1 or 0.2 miles off trail, which I’d reluctantly follow for the photo.


This viewpoint, however, was a shopping 0.4 miles off the trail, or 0.8 miles for the round-trip trek, and I was sorely tempted to pass it off. On the other hand, I had gotten an early start to my day’s hike was barely going to cover 12 miles for the day. I had time for a near-mile, off-trail trek. It looked relatively flat on my topo map as well. Oh, what the heck! I went for it!


Halfway to the Silent Cliffs, I was startled by a large crashing sound through the forest about a hundred feet ahead of me. What the hell is that?! I thought. I stopped, searching for the source of the sound, when I caught a brief glimpse of a large beast between the trees.


Good God! I thought. That’s the biggest bear I’ve ever seen!


Dscn5816It looked absolutely enormous, too! Seemed like it was ten feet tall—at least the small part of it I could see through the trees for the brief flash of a second before it was completely hidden in the trees again. I’ve seen a lot of bears over the year, but holy cow—that one looked ten times bigger than anything I had seen before!


The beast was still crashing through the forest, making a racquet. I wasn’t especially worried about my safety—it was clearly running away from me, downhill to the left—when I caught another brief glimpse of the beast between the trees and noticed it had antlers.


The bear has antlers! I thought. I’ve never seen a bear with antlers before!

Even before I finished the thought, I realized that bears didn’t have antlers. It’s a MOOSE!!!!


Yes, a moose. That makes a lot more sense. Moose are big creatures—much bigger than bears. I had seen two moose while hiking the Appalachian Trail, one of them even in Vermont, but when I see a big creature with dark fur, my knee-jerk reaction is that it must be a bear.


I continued hearing the moose run down the hill and into and across a meadow far in the distance. I only got a glimpse of it for another second or so before it reentered the woods on the far side of a meadow and it disappeared from view for good. I walked a bit off trail to the meadow hoping to see it again, but it was gone. I couldn’t even hear it crashing through the forest anymore. It might have stopped and was watching me, hidden in the shadows of the trees.


I was disappointed not to get any photos of the majestic beast—it had seen me before I saw it which pretty much guaranteed no photos. Not in the brief glimpses I was able to get. But I was still excited. I saw a moose!!!!

I saw a moose! If that doesn’t put a thrill into you, nothing will. =)


Dscn5822I’m going to call him Charlie, and we’re going to be friends. Best friends! He doesn’t know it yet, but we’re going to be best friends. He’ll like Wassa!


I continued on to the Silent Cliffs, not even really caring about the views at all anymore, although they were nice overlooking Middlebury Gap.


The rest of the day was largely uneventful. I saw a few day hikers near the ski area but I never saw any backpackers the whole day—northbound or southbound. One important milestone was reached: I had passed the halfway mark of the trail. But it’s precise location wasn’t marked or acknowledged in any way either.


I spent the night at the Emily Proctor Shelter, which had me scratching me head. I couldn’t be 100% certain, but I thought that was the name of the actress that played the sexy blonde in CSI: Miami. How the heck did she get a trail and a shelter named after her?! Did she have any connections to Vermont? Since I didn’t have a smartphone or any other access to Internet archives, my puzzlement would not be satisfied. However, my guidebook did say that the shelter was originally built in 1960. I didn’t know how old that actress was, but I’m pretty sure she couldn’t have possibly had anything named after her in 1960. Who was Emily Proctor?


The shelter register provided a new clue, though: Someone had written that we had her to thank for a woman’s right to vote. Ahh… That kind of makes sense, I suppose. Not Emily Proctor, the actress, but Emily Proctor, part of the woman’s suffrage movement.


Now that I’m off the trail and online typing up these entries, I can run a few Internet searches and learned a few things. The actress is named Emily Procter, not Emily Proctor. (An E rather than an O.) And whenever I try to run an Internet search for Emily Proctor (with the O), it keeps wanting to correct me to an E. No, I tell it! I only want Emily ProcTOR! Then my search results are filled up with a bunch of Emily ProcTER photos where her name had been misspelled.


It appears, it would seem, that Emily ProcTOR has no existence on the Internet.


In unrelated news, nobody else showed up at the shelter, so I had it all to myself. =)


This might be the first time I’ve ever seen a cairn built
on top of a shelf mushroom!


This remarkably good reflection of me was taken
in one of the windows of the shack by a ski lift.
It shows me with my new “buff look.” =)


Don’t enter the woods after 3:00?! Are you crazy?!
How would I ever finish the trail with a stupid rule like that?!


Lake Pleiad


Love the ski areas for the wide open views—which you
don’t get a lot of on much of the trail!


Middlebury Gap




View of the Middlebury ski area from Silent Cliff—not long
after I saw a moose!




Skylight Pond


One of the few natural lookouts from the trail.


The Emily Proctor Shelter


wassamatta_u said...

You got to meet Charlie? Cool! Me and Charlie, we go waaaay back.

Sue KuKu said...

You have to do a google search with a minus for what you don't want.

I finally did "historical emily proctor -procter" and found something on a Vermont historical site:

"Emily Proctor helped purchase library books in foreign languages for immigrants who worked at the Vermont Marble Company."

So that's something.


Amanda from Seattle said...

Emily Proctor was part of the family that owned Vermont Marble Company and she established a yearly Proctor Prize for the most improved school in each county in Vermont. Her sister-in-law,Mary Proctor, was the wife of governor Redfield Proctor. This info is from a Green Mountain AAUW newsletter

Amanda from Seattle said...

There is also an Emily Proctor Trail in Vermont

Papercrafts by Cindyellen said...

Well, i was going to tell you Emily was the Governor's wife, a long time ago, and the Proctor family is the same one the town of Proctor is named for. Kind of a big deal family in the state -first of the Vermont millionaire types, of the time. Right up there with the Chittendons and Allens ('cept the Allens did not get rich). They made their money from red marble, of which a number of Important Buildings in DC are made. . .

Papercrafts by Cindyellen said...

actually, i misspoke: the Important Buildings aren't made of the red marble; they're just faced with it. Anyway, this is the stuff you get to learn if you have kids who have to take VT state history in 4th grade.

Unknown said...

You may have seen the extremely rare bear-moose hybrid.
More northerly one can also see chip-moose and jack-alope.
Catamount tracks are rare, but can be seen occasionally crossing the trail.

Ryan said...

I just love the fact that everyone who's commenting can't even seem to agree on who Emily Proctor is. =) It was a lot more difficult of a question to answer than I expected!

Unknown said...

Hey there....does the Emily proctor shelter have a water source near it and a place to build a fire?

Ryan said...

It was a long time ago--I don't remember details like that anymore. It probably has a water source nearby, but only because almost all shelters do. There's probably a better than average chance of a place to build a fire since most shelters have a fire pit, but I honestly don't remember one way or another.

George Putnam said...

My wife and I hiked by the Emily Proctor Shelter on 8/25/17 and I had the same question - who was Emily Proctor? I found this post while researching that question. It took some digging to find the answer. Yes, as other commenters have noted, the Proctor family was prominent in Vermont history. But there were several Emily Proctors in that family. I did find the answer, with the help of the Green Mountain Club. Short answer: it was Emily Dutton Proctor (1869-1948), the philanthropist daughter of Redfield Proctor, founder of the Vermont Marble Company, governor of Vermont, and U.S. Senator from Vermont.

Long answer here:


Several members of the Proctor family had a lot to do with the early years of the Long Trail and the Green Mountain Club.