We made it! 2020 is in the trash heap!

What a strange December we had….no snow, crazy weather, and we won’t even go into the political and COVID situations. Christmas was rather subdued in 2020; we could not visit family, family could not visit us, and we could not gather for church or choral events. It really did seem as though December 2020 was just something to “ get through”, and on to a better year in 2021.

Late November and into December: not much snow, but we continued our daily hikes and outdoor activities! We did a lot of birding, and found some winter eagles, hawks, and even a snowy owl!

We traveled south to a different part of Vermont, when they received a nice snowstorm (and we got rain). When we needed to get out on snowshoes, we headed to the areas where snow is more resilient. So we kept quite active, waiting patiently for a real snow dump!

And when we got a bit of snow:

Our annual Christmas tree-joring expedition was hampered by low snow amounts, so it was more of a mud-pull than normal. Edgar needed a bit of help, but it was still fun to continue this annual tradition. Oh, and of course we used Duncan’s new canoe for our annual Christmas Canoe photo!

We had our fingers crossed for most of December, hoping that COVID restrictions would not cancel our plans to spend New Years Eve at Nulhegan Hut in our Northeast Kingdom.  The Vermont Huts system had closed huts in the spring, and only gradually re-opened then in the summer and fall. Since COVID cases were rising sharply in Vermont as the fall progressed, we feared another closure would ruin our plans. However, all was good, and though the dogs’ Aunt Jackie could not join us due to restrictions, we welcomed 2021 from the cozy confines of the hut.

The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont normally has more snow that even here in north central Vermont, but not this year. It became clear as we packed that we would need our micro-spikes more than snowshoes, at least for the first 2 days of our 3 day outing. No matter, we love this hut, and knew that we would have a great time no matter what the weather or trail conditions. And again, with fingers crossed, we saw that some real snow was forecast for our final day at the hut!

We stopped for a nice spike-hike at Northwoods on the way to the hut, had a great lunch in Island Pond, and arrived at the hut mid-afternoon.

We took advantage of the new parking area, and easily loaded our pulks…no deep snow to drag them across the trail this year! The dogs have stayed at this hut many times, so felt right at home. We relaxed by the fire, kept the bubbly chilled in a shoveled pile of snow, and waiting for the arrival of the new year. A full moon outside, hot fondue on the table, and great company meant we could ignore the lack of snow on the ground. For two days we explored many of our favorite local trails and fed the hungry birds at Moose Bog.

And then, on our second evening, it began to snow! After packing up the sleds, and loading up the car, we headed through mostly un-plowed roads to a state park that has a fun trail loop, perfect for snowshoeing. It was glorious in all the fresh fluffy snow! It was a great way to end our adventure in the kingdom, and to welcome 2021.

So far January has proven to be a nice snowy month, allowing us to catch up on our snowshoeing outings. We’ve been out nearly every day since January 3rd, and have had some primo conditions! We’ll try to update this blog at the end of the month, and show off the dogs’ deep snow skills, and hopefully, a bit of skijoring action!

Keep well , Happy New Year!

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