Stick Season…Stuck with it!

Stick Season is Vermont’s second most unheralded time of year. We are in it. As soon as the peepers have finished driving back south to the flatlands, the last few leaves will fall off the trees and there will be a month of snowless, colorless landscape. It is a landscape that is left in monotones, reminiscent of a black & white photograph. The sky and clouds take on a gray, foreboding color. The sun tries to shine through but only manages a weak, white light. It’s a warning that snow is on the way.” scenesofvermont.com

We welcome October, and the end of paddling season, with unusually warm days, and resilient color on the hillside.  On the first day of October, we race against the quickly fading daylight, and have a lovely paddle on Wolcott Pond. This small, peaceful pond has been a delightful find this year, accessible for a quick paddling trip of an hour or so, but one which is made in solitude.

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Enough color remains,so that we can see Edgar!

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Reflections beside a peaceful canoe….

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Heading towards sunset..and the end of paddling season!

On the first weekend of October, we head to NH for the Northern New England Sled Dog Trade Fair….the dogs get to mingle with “real” sled dogs, we attend seminars ( this year,  on first aid for dogs), and update any equipment needs. This year, Griff got a nice new harness from Northern Exposure Outfitters, and Edgar , our “Jaws” of a dog, will try out a moose antler chew ( so far, he really, really, enjoys it!). Our dogs are well behaved, quietly sitting during the lecture, and walking around the vendor building, in very tight quarters with other dogs and people.

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After the trade fair, it has become tradition for us to head out for some canoeing and camping. This year, the forecast was “iffy”, but we managed to get to the campsite during a lull in the showers, and put up the tent. The dogs were able to splash a bit in the lake, right at our campsite.

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Looked like we could have some nice foliage paddling along the lake…that is until we had the deluge!

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Yes, of course…as we returned from a quick trip into town, the heavens opened….

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It has been kind of a tough month, and there appeared no likelihood that the rain would stop, so for the first time…we bailed. Bailed on the trip, that is, and decided to pack it up and head home.

We were not defeated so easily, however…and we did get out for an early morning paddle the next day, at our local reservoir. We had a great time, and stayed out on the water for quite a while…and were a lot drier than if we had stayed out camping!

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Definitely fading foliage….but still warm enough air and water temps, to get in a few more paddles….

There has been some hiking going on…lots of short hikes, to local parks and trails. Hunting Season has begun, and we have one dog who is the color of  a bear, and one who is deer-colored.  Orange scarves and vests for everyone! We did manage to find the last remnant of foliage, for some nice shots….

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Alex’s Trail, Stowe,VT

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Ridge Trail, Mt. Elmore, VT

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Joy at Waterbury Reservoir

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Near our canoe launch….

Happy Dogs, and Happy Us..who doesn’t love temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s in mid-October?

As we neared the second weekend of October we realized we were nearing 40 paddles for the season…we are not “paddle baggers”, but the high number of trips this year is a reflection of the great weather we’ve had. We headed out for paddle #39, at Green River Reservoir, and had a breakfast picnic on an  island campsite, near where we had planned to camp a few weeks earlier. It was serene, and we had nearly the whole lake to ourselves…all 600 acres. There was a pair of kayakers also doing a picnic breakfast, on Picnic Island…from the water, we mutually sang the praises of our Jetboil stoves!

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Remnants only, of the awesome foliage we had this year….

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Breakfast on the Big Island, GRRSP

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Hats and gloves for paddling today…..

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The launching area…see you next spring!

As we moved the car to the kiosk, where we can bring the canoe up from the water and load it…Gryphon began to bark at the kiosk.  Thinking it was probably just a chipmunk, I thought nothing of it, until I moved near the kiosk, and saw this little fellow.

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He was right at the kiosk…thankfully, Griff was in the car, and Edgar, on leash, was walking up from the launch area.So no unexpected prickly disasters!

We now were determined to have a 40th paddle, so the next day we headed out to a lake we had not previously paddled…there are a number of camps on it, but by this time of year, it was essentially deserted. It was very peaceful and calm, and it was fun to paddle in a part of the state we do not frequent.

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I love my Kokatat paddle jacket…great for fall paddling!

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Edgar, looking like a real Labrador!

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Our boy….

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Greenwood Lake, Woodbury, VT

So, is paddling done for the year? This past weekend was a travel one for us ( without the dogs, who went to the Mutt Motel). We traveled to Western NY, to visit our son at University.  I don’t think the dogs would have enjoyed ( or been welcome at ) keynote addresses, hockey games, Broadway shows, band concerts…but they would have loved one activity we did…We did a scouting hike/explore of Letchworth State Park in NY. This area is sometimes called the Grand Canyon of the East, and there is a large trail network around the park. Maybe next time, we’ll have the pups with us!

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I’ve got the bikejor bike all ready to go…in fact, today I took Griff out for a short jor on our new rail trail. It was a bit drizzly, so we did not go too far or too long, but it was nice to get him in his pulling harness, and starting to get prepped for the skijor season!

Paddling? Maybe, if we get a nice day in the 50’s or 60’s…Hmmm, next weekend looks like a possibility……

         Happy End of Autumn, from the Vermont Paddle Pups!

   (at the Vermont State House)

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