It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This…..

The Paddle Pups and we took advantage of the most amazing weather we’ve had so far…sunny, and warm, with light winds. Our destination was one of our favorite local waters…we were anxious to try out a different camping location at the lake. What a delightful few days we had! Great canoeing, great company, great campsite…and great observations of Gavia Immer, the Spirit of the Northern Waters (AKA common loon).

Here is a photo log of our trip, with brief commentary…

Image The camping site is 3 tiers…first tier is water level, with smooth rock for watching the peaceful waters beyond.

 

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Climb up the hill 100 feet, and there is a flat. lightly wooded, open sky tent-site, overlooking the water.

 

ImageAnother 100 feet up, and there is the fire-pit, more possible tent sites, and flat ground for relaxing. Edgar thinks he is a lap dog, but at 60 lbs, it can be a bit much. The folding chair is our one luxury item—it will soon be replaced by a Big Agnes Helinox chair.

 

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The weather was mild, but after a long day’s paddling, nothing feels as good as the blaze of a campfire.

 

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Once it gets dark, Griff will go and stare at the tent door, asking to be let in. When we have his Outward Hound tent, he will go in that instead, at least until bedtime!

 

 

ImageOur tent at night, as we wait for the sky to fill with stars. The haunting calls and hoots of the loon families are music unlike any other.

 

ImageA morning “polar plunge” was cancelled, as we found many loons swimming and fishing 50 feet from our shore. We are careful to respect the loons, and we do not harass or follow them ( though they sometimes follow us, or pop up unexpectedly!)

 

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Baby loon chicks…mama and papa loon are never very far away!

 

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The dogs were enthusiastic, and very well-behaved paddlers on this trip.

 

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A little tight on space, when fully loaded…but the dogs acclimate nicely. They are getting quite proficient at this canoe camping business!

 

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When you are a pooped-pup, even a thwart makes a serviceable pillow.

 

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Quite a satisfactory adventure!

Nice Weather in Vermont…Use it or Lose it!

 

Paddling and Hiking..a busy week!

We’ve had some lovely weather lately, but also some pretty miserable rainy weather, too. During the past week and a half, we have been fortunate to get out and play on some of the nicest days this season. Griff and I were able to get in a sunrise mid-week hike to a small mountain that is literally in our backyard.  As we prepped to head back down, another local family arrived, a bit startled I think, to see that someone was at the summit before them!

 

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long shadows cast by the rising sun….

We’ve also been able to take the 2 dogs to hikes a bit afar…one hike to Haystack Mt. in the Northeast Kingdom, which also gave us an optimistic look at a nearby pond, suitable for paddling. This combination of mountain and water will make a lovely fall hike/paddle day excursion.

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On the south overlook at Haystack Mt.

ImageOf course, as usual after a hot day’s hiking, it is time to stop for an ice cream! The dogs have been trained to wait their turns–we alternate giving them a spoonful of ice cream, and they will wait patiently until the spoon comes to them. Bystanders are amazed at their control!

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We don’t even have to count our fingers anymore, after giving them ice cream!

On a beautiful sunny Father’s Day, we knew our local mountains would be crowded. So, if we have to deal with crowds, let’s go someplace new! So we headed off to a part of the state we rarely visit…other than driving through, on our way to Western New York to visit our son. We had seen Snake Mt. on these trips, but had not considered it as a climb. We learned the name originates from the serpentine geology of the ridge, not from it’s inhabitants. That made the hike acceptable to one of us (not me), who is not fond ( to put it mildly) of snakes.

We got off the a semi-early start (0830), and were pleased to see a sign at the trailhead.

 

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Well, the only dog we encountered on the climb was leashed once his owners saw us…on the descent, we had 2 dogs scrambling, off-leash, around us and our dogs…on a slippery, muddy, rocky section of the descent.  The owner acknowledged he had seen the sign, and just chose to disregard it.  On our descent, we met the hordes of folks climbing up this popular hiking trail. Every other dog was leashed, or put on a leash when we approached.

We were fortunate to have evaded the crowds. At the summit, we were alone, and  had amazing views from Killington Peak in the south, to northern Lake Champlain to the north. The impressive Adirondack range was in full spectacular glory…not a bright sunny day, but a clear and cool morning, perfect for long distance viewing.

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This week we also attempted a night-time full moon hike. It had poured rain the evening of the “strawberry moon”, so we went out the next night, with a weather prediction for clear skies. Well, the skies did not clear, we never saw the moon ( though we did see some stars), and it started raining as soon as we returned home…we’ll try again next month.

 

Nigh-time hikes...with glowing creepy eyes!

Nigh-time hikes…with glowing creepy eyes!

 

And of course, we had some fine paddling! We took a very long paddle on the local reservoir, checking out some potential campsites. The water was calm, the wind light, and we stopped to make coffee at one unused site.

 

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Trying the ‘Reflection” mode on the camera!

We were pleased to find minimal debris at this site…this has been an issue on this body of water,as I mentioned in an earlier post.  A few corn cobs/husks, and a bundle of unused wood..probably thoughtfully left behind for next camper.

 

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As usual, the dogs keep themselves quite comfortable in the canoe!

We also tried out Little Hosmer Pond, a lake that was new to us–a few years ago, we came here to paddle, but the wind was whipping up some heavy chop, so we went elsewhere. This day, the morning was quiet, peaceful, and the water calm. We saw loons, ducks, geese, and an osprey take flight right over us. We saw only one other paddler (this is a quiet water lake, no power boats are here), and that was off in the distance.

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We noted an interesting visual along the shore–the shrubbery near the shoreline was defoliated, and dark,  up to a height of about 6 feet. This is a “browse line”, showing where the deer had fed over the winter, while standing along the frozen shoreline, eating the foliage.

 

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There is an adjacent lake, where Olympic rowers train, as part of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. In the winter, Olympic X-C skiers and biathletes also train on the nearby trails.  As that Big/Great Hosmer Pond is also a “quiet” lake, we plan to give that a try at later date.

 

It has been a busy few weeks…summer is coming at last, and lots of adventure awaits us.  We’re off canoe camping again soon, and are hoping that the weather does not involve rain or hail!

 

 

What’s In Your Canoe Bag ?

Canoeroots Magazine just posted an article about a DIY survival kit..a nice read, and a reminder to me that I have yet to post a follow up to my post from February entitled “What’s In Your Pack?”. So here we go…

When we decide to go paddling for a day trip, we have a mental checklist of the gear we need to bring. One of those items has been the “canoe box”, a plastic shoebox-sized not-quite waterproof box in which the “little stuff” goes. The box has recently been upgraded, and is now a 5 l. dry bag, with a clear window, in which we can place the map of that day’s paddling destination. The inclusion of the “canoe Go-Bag” means we have the most critical emergency supplies we may need, as well as those those items which can just “come in handy”. The bag is kept packed, and ready to go. Many of the items are duplicates of what is carried in my day pack…by having duplicates, we can insure that whether we are trekking on land, or on the water, we should not be caught short. ImageThe bag is small enough to easily fit under or behind a seat in the canoe….the line can be used to secure the canoe to a shoreline anchor if needed, and the floating camera strap gets put on the camera when we are in the canoe.Image

We keep nature guides to help us identify birds and other wildlife, laminated maps,small dry bag for cell phone, QuikPod monopod for “out of boat” shots, a waterproof emergency flashlight, a small emergency kit with matches, reflecting mirror, insect towelettes, and a compass. Oh, and some dog treats, of course!  Our PFD’s have whistles attached to them.

We also have a first aid kit, with items suitable for dogs, humans, or both….The small soft bag fits nicely in the canoe dry bag.

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In this first aid kit, we keep the following items:

    • Space blanket — helpful should we have the need to stave off some hypothermia
    • Dog booties (cordura)–we have unfortunately encountered broken glass on some of our access areas, and the booties can help keep a dog’s paw bandaged/protected.
    • gloves (non-latex)
    • Triangular bandage
    • Gauze wrap, pads, tape, band-aids
    • Vet wrap
    • People Rx ( i.e. vitamin I)
    • Sharpie pen
    • Tick remover
    • Length of pantyhose for muzzle
    • Small penknife/tool
    • Kurgo Pet First Aid Guide (just in case our mind goes blank!)

So, I think that is about it. Many of the items we have never used ( thankfully), and others have become essential, relied-upon gear that we use nearly every trip.  We have recently added a LifeStraw, should we need to rely on “iffy” water sources for hydration. And of course, there are always new gadgets coming out that I think…hmmm, we’ll have to give that a try!

Okay, so this is not a paddling picture…BUT, if you look in the center of the photo, amongst the green hills , there are the blue waters of the Waterbury Reservoir, one of our frequent paddling destinations.

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