"One of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one's house. A man's house is his castle." -- James Otis


Hubbardton to Proctor Hike

The hike goal was to explore a possible retreat route from the battle that was fought on July 7th, 1777. The believed route was to the east and eventually following the Mt Independence-Hubbardton Military Road. We had no reason to believe the route wasn’t to the East, but the full route to Rutland and the route of the military road was up for speculation. The road according to Joseph Wheeler went over Belgo gap and we felt that was too steep, rocky and resembles a ravine and therefore not a believable route for continued travel or use with wagons. We explored possible alternate routes and left the battlefield with our best idea. We followed drainage and gentle contour lines to the summit of the Pittsford ridge. After descending from a point north of the tower on Grandpa’s Knob, we followed a old woods road all the way down to the State Forest Road that leaves the Whipple Hollow Road just south of the Whipple Hollow Cemetery on Bristol Road. From there we followed Bristol Road, passing through the cemetery, and onto a woods road that accesses the Whipple Hollow Wilderness Area. It was a well maintained road with lots of crushed stone and after crossing a small brook began to climb steadily to the Velco power lines. LOTS of raspberries were consumed then. But the continuing obstacle to our journey continued as plentiful mosquitos attacked us, so we moved on. After crossing the swamp we followed a well established old road down the east side of West Mountain until we reached a small power line cut that drops vertically into Proctor. We followed a hint at an old road down until we reached the old Clarendon Railway near the old Mead household on West Proctor Road. Near that site, at Mead’s cove, there was believed to have been a blockhouse. According to one account, on the day of the battle, soldiers came running down the West Mountain hillside and by the Mead house. Our route could have been along their path. Our route over the Pittsford ridge, down into Whipple Hollow, up and over West Mountain and down to the Mead’s cove on West Street in Proctor could have been the route of the retreat from the battle. There is no definite sign of any road that may have been, but the slope and terrain is plausible. 

The hike had knowledgeable company, a rousing send off by some British regulars, nice paths, some scenic vistas, wild turkeys, old springs, acres of berries and spectacular trees. The attendance was light (three people), but with the lack of trails in many areas, it was best not to have a big group to manage. Everyone enjoyed themselves and perhaps a glimpse of history of a very old military road!