color photo of Josh Bossin in climbing gear


In the modern times of “more is more” it’s common to try to fit in one more activity. Being situated in a rural location often gives the impression of being far away from everything. But it’s all a matter of perspective. Far from a wide variety of fast food chains? Far from a booming nightlife scene? Far from amazing outdoor spaces? 





Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont, is considered rural and far away from many things. Fortunately for myself and any other outdoor recreation enthusiasts, it’s not far from any kind of recreation area. This allows for endless opportunities for multi-sport days. Bike and hike, Climb and paddle, Ski and swim, pick your poison.

As someone who works and lives in this area, I have often taken for granted the accessibility of the things I love to do. Without much trouble I have found myself climbing, biking and swimming all in the same day on a number of occasions. This led me to dream up an ideal three-sport day in my local area. Without too much hassle it would be possible to climb, mountain bike and canoe in two countries in one day.

Here’s the itinerary, in case you want to beat me to it:

Start your day bright and early at Smugglers’ Notch State Park with a morning climb of the classic Quartz Crack (3 pitches, 5.9). A great way to get up high on the side of Mount Mansfield (highest point in the state) and get a view of northern Vermont. A short but steep approach leads to three pitches of enjoyable alpine-style climbing with a quartz band at its crux. 

Rappel down, jump in the car, and start heading north. An hour-long scenic drive will bring you up to Craftsbury Common and then drop you down minutes later at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Unload your mountain bike and enjoy some flowy but featured single track. Be sure not to skip Ollie’s Folly on your way out. 

After the ride, hop back in the car one more time and continue north to Canada. The border crossing comes up after about 40 minutes. Then continue the last 30 minutes up to Magog, Quebec, pull the boat off and jump in. Take a leisurely paddle on Lake Memphremagog, and maybe up the Riviere aux Cerises, to cool down the muscles and enjoy some great views with plenty of bird sighting opportunities. 

Like all great triathlons, this one ends with ice cream. Dipped in chocolate. Readily available at what feels like every corner of Magog.

Rural doesn’t have to mean remote.

Filed Under: Athletics Blog Community Outdoor Education Uncategorized

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