“Turn, turn, turn… There is a season, turn, turn, turn…”

Paddling season has apparently ended.
We are sad.

But what a year we had! The following video has one photo from each of our days on the water ( except for the final 2 days!)

https://vimeo.com/142543694

Today’s paddling was in whitecaps and wind, on the cusp of unsafe cold/air combined temperatures, and we had ice sheets falling from beneath the canoe decking….but it was sunny, and we enjoyed our final paddling of 2015. Now we will prep the canoes and kayaks for winter storage

We can look back and say that it was a very successful spring, summer, and fall on the water. Despite dealing with a family crisis in the early summer which resulted in two weeks of canoe camping being cancelled, we did have a long and successful season.
• We paddled rivers and lakes that we had not previously explored, and tried some new camping spots.
• We added a solo boat and a kayak to our fleet.
• I went on 5 solo canoe camping trips with Gryphon.
• We, and the dogs, stayed safe and happy through the season.
• We won a bit more gear, and got to test some nice dog equipment as backcountryk9.com ambassadors.
According to our canoeing log, we had 28 trips in the Swift canoe, 58 +/- trips in the solo Wenonah, and 22 in the kayak(s). Quite a bit of time on the water…and we also had time for some some pretty fine hiking as well.

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October 24, 2015…at Waterbury Reservoir

And as the paddling season concludes, we initiate our first annual awards for the season…..to recognize those folks who impressed us with their caring, concern, or assistance, and then, well, the other folks.

The folks who earned the “Golden Paddle” award are:
• Campers who left behind clean fire rings, and their unused firewood, too!
• The nice couple at Osmore, who shared some nice paddling destinations, and also helped me find my campsite
• The paddlers who offered to help me get my boat off the roof of the car…though I have a nice system for getting off unassisted, I always appreciate a helping hand
• The Lake Hosts, who spent countless unpaid hours at boat launches, helping prevent the spread of invasive species

And now for the “Pond Scum” award, for those whose ethics and etiquette are a bit lacking:
• Mr. Red Kayak, who , against park rules, let his unleashed dog run through our remote campsite ( while we were eating dinner), as he paddled 100 feet off–shore….and, he was offended and made rude comments when I suggested he follow the rules, and get his dog out of our site!
• The Midnight Troubadours…the high school students, and their adult chaperones at an adjacent state park site, who sang and partied the night away, pulling out a guitar at midnight, despite our pleas for peace!
• The power boaters at Waterbury Reservoir, who blatantly ignored, and violated, the no-wake zone at the quiet end of the water.

We are certainly not angels, but we do try to follow Leave No Trace principles, and attempt to follow regulations, especially where dogs are involved…failure to follow state park rules regarding dogs could lead to the loss of the privilege of camping with our dogs. Respect…the key word. If we respect other campers, hikers, or paddlers, then the outdoor experience will be more rewarding for all of us.
So as the temperature begins to drop, and snow begins to fall (sporadically at this point), we transition to our winter activities. Late October and November is our time to get the dogs in shape for winter activities, with lots of vigorous hiking, and some dryland training, such as bikejoring.

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Cooler temperatures = good bikejor weather!

We actually had a small snowfall recently, and I was able to get Gryphon up to the Toll Road, where my MicroSpikes were essential, on some icy portions of the trail. It was kind of fun to get back out on snow…even though within 2 days the snow was gone, and we were back on the water for canoeing fun.

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Loving the cool of snow on his paws….

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The colorful foliage is all but gone!

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rough waters, but a solid and stable boat!

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End of the season…..

This winter will have us continuing to expand our snowshoeing activities…more trails, tougher and longer trails, and some winter camping ( in cabins) trips. Best of all, WooHoo! I have been selected as a Tubbs Snowshoe Ambassador for 2015-16 . I am quite honored and humbled to have been selected to join this great group of outdoors folks. As an ambassador, I will share our experiences on the snow on the Tubbs blog and facebook page, as we use our new Tubbs Snowshoes to explore trails around the Northeast. We certainly have come to love snowshoeing, and the access it provides to beautiful parts of our country….it will be fun to share and promote this passion. You can check out more on the Tubbs web site!   http://tubbssnowshoes.com/programs/ambassadors

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The upcoming “stick season” will have us excitedly preparing for winter…here’s hoping for lots of snow, cold enough ( but not TOO cold) temperatures, and many sunny bluebird sky days!

Dancing of the autumn leaves on the surface of a lake is a dream we see when we are awake!” -Mehmet Murat Ildan

Autumn has come in at a snail’s pace….predominantly warm days, little rain, and green leaves staying well beyond their average expiration date. The past week has finally brought on the explosion of colors that draws tourists by the droves to our section of Vermont…and fortunately, we have been able to get out and enjoy this late, but welcome, arrival of autumn.

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September ended, with only minimal fall color visible….hiking in the woods, and early paddling on Waterbury Reservoir gave hints of color to come, but here was still quite a bit of green.

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The final September weekend had amazing weather…sunny, warm, light winds…and where were we? Well, for most of the weekend, we were dealing with family estate stuff…crawling in and out of a U-Haul truck, banging shins against trailer hitches, straining muscles moving furniture into storage lockers—you get the picture!  Somehow, we managed to dredge up enough energy on Sunday afternoon to get out for an easy paddle on Wolcott Pond, and we really enjoyed the peace and quiet!

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Our day was not over, though…as we could not ignore the forecast for clear skies , on the night of the “Super Moon” and Lunar Eclipse. We packed up warm clothes, the fixin’s for warm beverages, and headed off the the local day use state park.

We saw quite a few paddlers on the water, even though it was dark, but they all headed in to shore after the full moon rose…we hung around, at the top of a hill, and saw the impressive lunar eclipse. My point and shoot camera cannot think to compete with professional style cameras, but we did have fun trying to get the heavenly event on camera…though we had more luck with grounded photos.

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Waiting for the eclipse ( or waiting to go home to a warm bed!)

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As the full moon rose, the foggy mist on the beach was amazing….

After the hectic weekend, I thought that an overnight camping trip to Green River Reservoir would be in order….but Mother Nature had other ideas. The forecast for mid week was lots of ( much needed) rain, so I opted for a day paddle out to Picnic Island on the reservoir.

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I see some fall foliage!

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Some reds showing up!

After our day canoeing trip, we did get a few days of heavy rain….good time to prepare all our gear,and do the shopping for our annual fall canoeing,camping, and Sled Dog Trade Fair trip !

Before we headed out for that weekend adventure, I did take Griff up Mt. Elmore again…we hike this small peak year-round, and I hoped that we could get some nice foliage views. Well, we were nearly blown off the observation rocks by heavy winds, and the summit was socked in. I had packed my vest, hat, and gloves…so I was able to put on an extra layer top keep warm long enough to take a few photos.

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On each of the previous 5 years, our big fall trip has run into rainy weather conditions…this year, we had great weather ( though it was a bit cold on Friday night, and windy on Saturday). We had a great quiet camping experience at one of our favorite state parks, Wilgus State Park, right on the Connecticut River.

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Sunrise on the river…..

We attended the Northern New England Sled Dog Trade Fair, where our dogs got to socialize with real sled dogs…and where we got to chat with many great,and friendly , mushers from around the area. We had hoped to pick up a new harness for Edgar, from the helpful folks at Northern Exposure Outfitters, but they were out of his size! He will just have to put up with his grubby old one, until we can place an internet order.

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We heard a great presentation from Dr. Jerry Vanek, a sled dog vet,with an impressive resume of experience. He was a witty, funny, and very engaging speaker, who presented fascinating information about orthopedic injuries to dogs. I would certainly attend any presentations offered by this guy!

After the morning at the fair, we decide to skip the river paddle, due to conditions, and headed out to Kezar Lake for a brief, windy and cool, paddling trip. This lake had become one of our favorite go-to spots this past summer, and it was nice to get out on its water one more time this season. We saw the loons hanging around,and an osprey up in the trees…but no eagle this trip.  There was a bit of foliage at the northern marsh…and it was cool enough that I wore my hand-knit Voyageur toque.

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Sunday morning dawned with a bit warmer temps ( low 40’s),and clear skies, with calm winds….so off we went to put in at the Cornish NH boat launch, to paddle the 7-8 miles down to the take-out at the state park. The most exciting and dangerous part of the trip? The launch site! The access to the water is moderately steep,and about 25 feet long…and it is covered in slick mud (think Crisco), that makes it nearly impossible to walk on. In June,my husband went flying, and nearly fell into the river. This time, I said I would lead bow end of the boat down…and promptly lost all footing, could not go up or down, and was “stuck” on my knees, grasping onto the boat for security. I managed to crawl over to a drainage ditch, which afforded the only possible footing. It was actually pretty funny, and I carried quite a bit of the shoreline with me on the trip!

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My skids marks on the mud…..

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After our thrilling launch, we had a lovely paddle down the river…a but of foliage, some shallow waters over gravel bars ( but no striking bottom this trip…though we did thump over one rock), a bit of class .5 whitewater ( basically , moving flat water),and two very well behaved dogs. Gryphon did spy a kitty on the shore….since Edgar places cats in the same category as beavers, I quickly shielded his eyes, and turned his head away. The many ducks and geese were interesting to the dogs, but they also enjoyed the chance to snooze as we rolled down the river.

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Let sleeping dogs lie…..

It was a great weekend, full of activity and fun for all of us. We know that canoeing season will be over in a few weeks, as the air and water turn much colder….fall brings more hiking, and lots of orange, since hunting seasons have already begun. I will be camping at Green River on the final night of their camping season, on the upcoming weekend…The forecast is for sunny and temperatures nearing 70! Unreal! That was also the forecast for a few days earlier this week, when I took a spontaneous camping trip there with Griff….However, it became quite windy and cold after we had made camp, and the wind howled all night. Bu the next day was fine, if a bit overcast, and we had a nice little escape. And the colors? Yes, they have popped!  I certainly hope that some of this palette of fall beauty will remain through the weekend.

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Thanks for following our adventures this past season…we’ll be doing a canoeing wrap up soon ( hopefully, with another VPP Productions short video!), and then we’ll be off on bikejoring and hiking, getting ready for the snowshoes, skis, and kicksled!

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Oh yes, I am really enjoying this veterinarian’s lecture…..