A Peculiar End to our Pandemic Paddling Season!

As October came to close, we had typical fall stick season weather…grey, raw, windy and cool. Water temperatures began to drop, and it became clear it was nearing dry suit season. Duncan was able to get out and paddle his new canoe a few times before packing it in for the season due to cold water, but I continued on paddling, at times even having to break through a bit of ice at the access areas.

AS we entered November, we even had a few days of snow, making for some interesting paddling…the herons, loons and eagles did not mind the snow, and it was fascinating to watch them dive and feed in the wintry conditions.

The, the snow melted, and we receive a week of unseasonably warm and sunny conditions. Freakishly warm air, but the water remained very cold, so I paddled early in the day, before I got too hot in my dry suit.

The warm weather ended, but since the water remained free of ice, I was able to paddle a few more days. Each dog was able to paddle a favorite location for his final paddle of the season, and Edgar and I wrapped up the season on a cold grey day, 11/13/20, our paddle day #180. Our season began on 4/8/20, so we paddled 82% of the days between our start and finish date, on 39 different lakes. Our assortment of lakes paddled was diminished due to travel restrictions, but certainly I cannot complain!

Interspersed with our paddling, the dogs enjoyed hiking many of our local trails…with ongoing hunting seasons, we stick to trails where we are not likely to encounter hunters, and festoon ourselves with orange or neon.

During our 3 day “winter”, before the warm weather returned, Gryphon was able to get out hiking in 3-4 inches of snow, and really loved it! We are fortunate to have true snow-loving dogs!

Edgar even got to go snowshoeing! With a foot or more of soft snow, in cold and blustery conditions, it was a moment of true winter. Hard to believe, but a few days layer, we were paddling in 65 degree temperatures!

On days when it was too windy or cold to paddle, and hiking trails were likely to be slippery, we had the option of taking Edgar bikejoring. Gryphon does not jor any more, but enjoys going along as a spectator! Edgar will be ready for skijor season, and for his annual task of pulling out our Christmas tree.

So I finish up this rather lengthy post with a video compilation of some of our wildlife sightings this year…more eagles and green heron than ever before, lots of otters, mink, deer, and one bear seen while paddling.

Who knows what the next few months will bring? Vermont has seen a steady rise in Covid cases, after leading the nation in low counts for 7 months. Just too many folks disregarding protocols, selfishly gathering in large groups, not distancing, not wearing masks, and not abiding by travel restrictions.

We cannot plan next year’s trips, as we don’t even know if we will be allowed to leave Vermont. We have our fingers tightly crossed that our New Year’s hut camping trip can happen, as it will be the perfect way to bid adieu to this annus horribilis !