April 16, 2014

Inaugural Grand Hike planned

WESTPORT — Hikers can trek from the Westport Hotel to the Essex Inn as part of a huge outing that will culminate with a free block party.

The 14-mile Inn-To-Inn Grand Hike is sponsored by Champlain Area Trails (CATS), although participants don’t have to travel the entire distance, organizer Chris Maron said.

The Saturday, May 3, hike leaves Westport Hotel at 9 a.m., after a breakfast served starting at 7:30 a.m. and check-in beginning at 8 a.m.

“This walk is an exact reflection of the vision that the CATS founders intended,” said Maron in a news release. “We’re looking forward to this springtime ramble that will link communities, promote economic vitality and connect people with nature and each other.”

Maron said a hamlet-to-hamlet hike last year from Wadhams to Essex drew 60 people.

For this event, hikers can park at the Westport Hotel lot or in Essex, where a free shuttle will take them to Westport to start the hike.

Everyone is welcome for the hike and free block party, which non-hikers can also attend. The Wadhams Waddlers band will entertain at the celebration.


There is a registration fee of $5 a person or $10 per family for the hike.

Marin said there will be stops along the way with water and food, and the shuttle will pick up people who don’t want to hike the entire distance. Box lunches can also be purchased at the hotel for delivery to an oasis of the hikers’ choice.

The bases en route are Merriam Forge, Bobcat Trailhead, Black Kettle Farm and Boquet River Bridge.

Maron and Essex Inn owner Rick Dalton were talking about a new event and came up with the Grand Hike, Maron said, after speaking with Westport Hotel owners James and Jane Vance.

“Inn-to-inn hiking is popular in Vermont, so we said why not here?” Maron said.

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