Saturday morning, an Arctic cold front moved in, and the mercury took a dive. But I decided tough it out and do a little snowshoeing. I strapped on my twin tennis rackets and hoofed it through Sabin's Pasture, a disused farm at the outskirts of Montpelier, just behind the campus of the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
I'd never visited Sabin's before. For years Montpelierites have been struggling over its fate. The pro-development folks want to put 600 housing units on it. The greenies want to conserve it. At this point, they appear ready to split the difference--if funds to purchase the property from its owners can be found. Then we can all throw away our "Save Sabin's Pasture" (and, alternately "Pave Sabin's Pasture") buttons.
Judging from the established Nordic trails and sledways on the land, plenty of people have been using Sabin's for winter fun, regardless. I shoed my way to the center of the tract--and the abandoned slate quarry that can be found there. It's a little bit like the entry to Butch and Sundance's Hole in the Wall—a keyhole entrance between fifty-foot cliffs, and a path that leads into a dead-end canyon about 100 yards deep. Outside the quarry, the wind was roaring. Inside, I only heard the sound of myself.