Seems it’s been raining here nearly every day at some point. How I wish I could send it out to the folks with drought conditions although they tell me here that the Northern Kingdom is low on rain for the year and they are glad to have it.
Rain is a great time to read. I have two books going. One is Terry Tempest Williams metaphysical/painting analysis book Leap for my weekly book discussion with my friend Laurie. I love Williams’ work but it’s not easy. It’s dense and contemplative. As is her subject matter an amazing painting by Heironymous Bosch. So glad I have Laurie to talk with about it all every Wednesday evening. More on that later.
One day during the rain, I called both Escapees Parks and a private park in Florida to try to fill in the month long gap in my 2022 winter reservations. All said “sorry all filled up” not taking any more names for the waiting lists. Not sure how much longer I can compete for spots in the Florida state parks for winter a year ahead of time against the increasing number of people in competition. And the Canadians aren’t even part of the mix yet. SIGH.
Another thing rain is good for is writing blog posts so hopefully I can get caught up to now.
On this beautiful Monday the rain stopped early. I zoomed in on my map and found two nearby ponds and a covered bridge to visit so I headed out. First to Miles Pond.
The pond looked beautiful today and I may well come back to kayak it given that it is only about 12 miles away. But like many small Vermont ponds the shore is covered with cabins and homes known here as camps. My preference is for fewer people and more wildlife. But I do love paddling and it has an easy put in.
From there I added the Lunenburg Covered Bridge also known as the Mount Oren Bridge to my collection. Built in 1911, it was restored in 1983.
The inside of these bridges is as complicated as the outside is simple. Both sides are truly beautiful. I am in love with these bridges and each one is different.
I saw this harvest going on as I came through the bridge. I’m not familiar with whatever they are doing but it clearly takes a lot of big equipment and manpower. Can anyone clue me in?
From there I went to Shadow Lake another beautiful small body of water with houses all along its shore. Not sure how it is determined when something is a lake and not a pond. But Shadow is no bigger than Miles.
They both looked lovely today and perhaps Shadow might better have been called Reflection Lake.
After seeing these two lakes and such lovely skies I’m wishing I had brought the kayak to get in at least one of them. But they are close enough I can come back if I get another day like this one.
The unpredictability of the rain has made taking the kayak out sketchy since the predictors are not always terribly accurate. I have to plan it well so I don’t end up sitting in a kayak full of water. Or being on the water when it is lightning.
As I said, I do get “chores” and reading done during the rainy times. So I don’t really mind the rain. It isn’t usually accompanied by harsh winds and is mostly quite gentle. I enjoy hearing it on the roof and awning and sitting in the front window with a cup of hot chocolate. Yes it is cool enough in Vermont that 50 degree mornings are good for hot chocolate
Either way, I sometimes do my Leap reading outside by the river under the awning. The magnifying glass you see is to enable me to find the details of the painting Williams refers to in the fold out rendition of Hieronymus Boshe’s painting, The Garden of Earth Delights. The fold out is in the back of the book. Williams spent 7 years visiting this painting in the Prado Museum in Spain. She’s an unusual woman, a spiritual woman, a committed environmentalist and I love her work.
Back to a third pond nearby.
Joe’s Pond is named after a Native American who befriended the early white settlers of this area and lived with his wife Molly on an island in the pond. It is another beautiful body of water with cabins and camps all around it. It is quite small and with too much civilization and potential for the cabin owners to bring out their power boats for me to be interested in it as a kayak destination. But I may choose one of the other two if I don’t come along some less populated bodies of water soon.
However, Joe’s Pond has two other interesting features
One is Lamoille Valley Rail Trail whose parking lot is in the park next to one side of the top of the pond.
I don’t have my bike with me and actually prefer to walk. I’ve found that when biking, I am constantly stopping to see things I’ve spotted and to take pictures so I’m getting on and off the bike repeatedly. I’ve just given up and I just walk.
As you can see from the trail marked in red, it is a nice long bike trail for those so inclined and leaves from St Johnsbury. I didn’t walk it from there because I wanted to see this pond and that’s nearly 20 some miles to get here.
I drove over to Joe’s which is outside of Danville, the next town over from St Johnsbury in order to walk the trail along one side of Joe’s and check out the pond for kayaking. It was a very nice walk with lots of interesting sights along the way.
A group of mallards was snoozing on the pond’s edge at the car park when I started out.
Nice surface all the way. I did about 2.5 miles and then turned around and saw it all from the other direction. Some people hate retracing their steps and want loop trails at the least. I don’t mind at all. I always see things I didn’t notice before.
Lots of different waterfront homes along the pond.
Not sure if this is a snowberry plant. They have white berries. Does anyone know?
Some folks have let sections of their waterfront property stay wild. But not many. I guess most would rather mow grass.
At some points, roads leading to pond front houses cross the bike trail.
The water lilies are lovely until their “plates” cover the water area and cut off the sunlight. I’ve kayaked in places where they are so thick you struggle to get through them.
This house wins for the most interesting along the trail.
The bridge goes over the swamp of Camp Swampy. I’d love to meet whoever lives here.
Not sure what this cone with a broken kayak paddle in it marks but it was the end of the paved trail. It turned to gravel and then to grass. I turned around at the beginning of the grass. I suppose the bikers can keep going and see where it goes. I’d have done that if I’d been on a bike. I always like to know what’s next.
Beyond the cone, it’s gravel.
Beyond the gravel, it’s grass
The second interesting feature about Joe’s Pond is that it is between Rts 2 and 15. At the fork of these two roads stands Hastings Store.
As you can see, at the end of my hike along Joe’s pond it started to rain (not predicted) but I stopped at the store anyway. I love old stores as much as old bridges. This one was great. It sold fresh produce and berries, would make you a sandwich or sell you a t-shirt or canned goods and even had the old post office still in it. These stores are gems of our past. May we always patronize them and keep them in business.
For most of our years at the farm, the Batesville store stood at the head of the curving mountain road that led 5 miles from the store to the farm. These same mailboxes were in that store along with wooden floors and many other great supplies one would need 24 miles from the nearest town. But sadly about 10 years before we went on the road, the Page Family who had owned the store since the depression sold it and the post office built a small building next to the store and took the beautiful old boxes out. But not here. While I was inside, someone came in with her key to check her mail. I loved it!
Outside the chalk board will tell you what’s up for today. There is also a rocking chair and a picnic table on the entry porch. No pictures of those because I didn’t want to interrupt the people eating there.
And of course they have ice cream. And of course I had to have two scoops.
Don’t you love her t-shirt.
And this one on a woman coming into the store who moved her necklace so I could take a picture. Carrie will appreciate this one.
This man looks like he belongs here. He’d just gotten up from the picnic table when I came out with my ice cream.
As the wonderful Judy Bell of Travel’s With Emma would say…