Ahhh..the beginning of canoe camping season! The opening weekend of the season for Green River Reservoir State Park, our favorite local getaway for overnight camping. Poor Edgar and his Dad had not been out kayaking prior to this trip, so we chose a site not too far from the access point. In Vermont, May can bring snow, hail, wind, or stinkin’ hot temperatures, so our first trip is usually within easy reach, should we need a quick escape. Green River Reservoir is 650 acres of quiet waters…no power boats allowed, so it really is a paddler’s paradise. Less than 30 paddle-in sites exist, so weekend reservations are usually filled by early Spring. I made our reservations last fall, knowing that by opening weekend, we would be ready to begin the 2017 canoe camping season. It is a great spot to escape for a few days, getting away from the chaos that often surrounds us!
This was also going to be fun because we had made a few snowshoe treks to this specific site during the winter…accessed via the winter- use only Catamount Trail. The weather forecast for the weekend was temps in the 60’s, with nightime lows near 30, and light winds. We arrived a bit earlier that normal check-in time, figuring that if the site was vacant,we could drop off our gear, and paddle to an island for lunch. However, the nice Park Ranger, Ross, said to go ahead, and that the site should be vacant. Good idea, since we saw that the wind was definitely going to be gustier that the 6-9 mph forecast had indicated. The staff at this park are tremendous, and it is no wonder that they received the Vermont Park Staff of the Year award last season!
Heading out, the sky was blue, the water cool ( but not too cold), and the wildlife was ready to greet us. We passed an eagle perched in a tree, high above a pair of swimming loons. Pretty cool, except we know that the eagle is just waiting for some loon chicks to snatch!
Edgar was just great in his kayak…he resumed his position in the boat as if he had never been away. The kayak led the way, as we worked our way through the increasing chop.
The dogs loved this site! Lots of grass to roll in, water easily accessible to splash in , loons and geese right off shore to provide entertainment, and a nice flat tent spot. Well, we certainly liked that,even if the dogs were not so impressed.
There were 2 issues that were less than pleasant…1) a prior site user had left a lot of watermelon rinds right on the edge of the site…perfect bait for the local bears and raccoons. 2) No black flies, but the no see-ums ( gnats) were very annoying! Our bug repellent did work, but even when they were not upon you, they were buzzing about your head. We rubbed some safe natural based repellent on the dogs’ heads, since Griff seemed to be bothered by the nasty critters. Though Edgar appeared oblivious to the bugs, we noticed that he had been stung around his eyes! Poor pup, he had to go into the tent for a while so he could be monitored, and to escape further bites. Thankfully, within 20-30 minutes the swelling had gone down, and he never appeared the worse for wear. Griff just enjoyed sleeping in the sun!
After having lunch and establishing our comfortable site, we went out for a windy, though enjoyable paddle exploration. My little canoe was bobbing quite a bit as we paddled downwind, but it was great fun! One of my goals this season is to improve strength and technique needed to paddle in windier, more challenging conditions. As long as I am laughing, it is a good time! Gryphon was very happy, also, to have Edgar once again paddling beside him…
After dinner, we made a fire in the large ring. Not the most successful fire we have made, but it served the purpose to keep bugs away, and to provide some psychological warmth. As the sun dropped lower in the horizon off our campsite, the thermometer showed the cold was arriving.
The dogs readily went into the tent, getting snug for the evening ahead. As darkness arrived, the haunting calls of the resident loons and barred owls echoed around the campsite. So peaceful and quiet…the best way to fall asleep. Well, until one of the few neighbors to the park decided it was a good night for a long and loud fireworks event!
Gryphon has recently decided he does not like thunder, and gets very clingy and requires re-assurance when the sounds of thunder occur. So in the tent, with the booms crashing about, he decided he really needed to get very close to us…so very close, in fact, he was trying to hide in my sleeping bag. Poor dog, he did well with comforting, but he , and we, were very appreciative of the end of the fireworks.
Morning arrived with a temperature of 30 degrees; Griff and I were ambitious, and went out for a sunrise paddle in the pink and foggy morning. Edgar decided he was nice and comfy in his sleeping bag, and opted to stay with his Dad in the tent.
We all decided that we would take advantage of the calm water, and pack up and head out early. There was rain in the forecast for later in the day, and we wanted to be able to hang out our gear at home before the rain began. It would also give us a chance to get breakfast at a local spot we have been frequenting for over 30 years! So after a welcome cup of hot chocolate, we loaded up and headed out, taking a circuitous route around the rez.
It was nice to see that one of the 4 pair of loons had established a nest; this particular nesting site has been productive each year. We look forward to watching the chicks emerge ( from a safe distance), and seeing them grow as the season progresses.
Our concensus is that we had a succesful trip…no major incidents, and my husband felt comfortable paddling over the two days. The first outing can be a bit taxing on the shoulders! We enjoyed our site, and there was plently of room to enjoy the sunny day.
Of course, we had to match up some of our winter shots with spring shots! Looks a bit more green now….
We are ever grateful to Vermont State Parks for providing such a wonderful place for day paddling and camping. I feel so strongly about this spot that I recently was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Friends of Gren River Reservoir. That is quite the honor, and am glad that I will have the opportunity to help maintain this special place. Please check out the website ( http://www.fgrrvt.org/ ) for more information on how you can help preserve this gem.