Champlain Area Trails (CATS) and John Brown Lives! (JBL!) will co-host a Full Moon Hike at the Viall’s Crossing Trail in Westport on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. The hike will begin at 5 p.m. under the first full moon of 2020.
Although this is the first collaboration between CATS and JBL!, it’s a natural fit given the history of Viall’s Crossing Farm and its connection to John Brown. Asa Viall, the son of the farm’s first owner, was a friend of the abolitionist, who led an unsuccessful raid on a Virginia armory in 1859. Brown was executed as a result of the raid, and Asa provided and drove the wagon that took Brown’s body to its final resting place in North Elba, near Lake Placid.
The farm had been in the same family for five generations when CATS preserved the 135-acre property in 2018, working with the Eddy Foundation to purchase the property and then purchasing a conservation easement to protect the history and the land for future hikers to enjoy. Viall’s Crossing was then sold to a young farming family and CATS created trails on the land, which have proved to be among the most popular in the CATS network.
The Full Moon Hike will follow a loop trail at Viall’s Crossing called John Brown’s Trail, which commemorates the farm’s historical connection to John Brown, passing by some towering trees that bore witness to Brown’s passage 160 years ago.
The 1.5 mile hike will take about an hour and a half and if there’s snow, participants are welcome to snowshoe or cross-country ski. The hike will begin at a point just west of the railroad tracks on Route 22, about halfway between Westport and Wadhams; look for the bright yellow trail signs.
After the hike, participants are invited to meet and dine at a local restaurant to be determined.
There is no fee for the Full Moon Hike, but registration is advised in case there is last minute information to share. Please call the CATS office at (518) 962-2287 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
“We’re delighted to collaborate with John Brown Lives! for this unique hike under the full moon,” said CATS Executive Director Chris Maron. “It’s an interesting intersection of our respective programs, involving both history and trails.”
“This will be a first for us,” said John Brown Lives! Executive Director Martha Swan. “As the official friends group for the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in North Elba, we’ve hosted hikes before at the but never a hike in the moonlight. We’re looking forward to it!”
Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is a nonprofit organization that creates and maintains hiking and cross-country ski trails in the Champlain Valley, with the goal of linking communities, connecting people with nature and promoting economic vitality. CATS is also an accredited land trust working to conserve natural communities, farmland, clean water, and scenic vistas. Information on future CATS events and activities is available at champlainareatrails.com and by following CATS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Please call 518-962-2287 for more information.
John Brown Lives! (JBL!) is a freedom education project founded in 1999 to promote social justice and human rights through the exploration of issues, social movements and events, many of them rooted in Adirondack history. More information is available at their website, johnbrownlives.org, or by calling 518-744-7112.