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!
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.
Of 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!