Saturday, September 11, 2021

Hunting for the Connecticut & Owl’s Head

July 298 & 29, 2021                                                 Recent Posts:
Moose River Campground        Unexpected Surprise-Lakes, Ponds and Erratics
Saint Johnsbury, Vermont                                      A Visit to Stowe

Whenever someone comes into the campground with a kayak or a canoe, I try to see where they are going paddling.  Lately, these are places I’ve already been but early on, I learned about a number of smaller local ponds that I’ve shown in previous posts.  One person I met at one of those local ponds suggested I take a look at the Connecticut River.  She waxed eloquent about what they saw in their canoe.  So on Wednesday, July 28, I went to find her put in.

The Connecticut is actually the longest river in New England and flows SW for 406 miles from the New Hampshire border with Quebec to Long Island Sound.  The river is the boundary between Vermont and New Hampshire so pretty close by at the moment for me.

IMG_8239This is where she told me to go unless I misunderstood what she said.  Looks tricky to me and where do you park?

Take a look.

The launches are on the New Hampshire side so I crossed this bridge and here’s what I saw.

Yup, the put in is just below a dam.


I parked and walked down the drive to the put in.  You can drive but not park.   These two signs greeted me

Given all the rain we’ve had they seemed pretty concerning.  Leave the area at once if you are not near the launch sounds pretty scary.  At any time doesn’t sound like I could find out if there is a planned “release”?  This isn’t looking promising.  Wish I could ask the person who suggested this what they think.  Do they just go and hope.  But then there are two of them.

Of course you know MHO – let the rivers flow.  Let the people get their power elsewhere.


And it did say portage and the launch is that.  So this won’t work for me anyway since it is clear with the steps it would take two people do the portage required.


Just opposite this put in on the other side of the road and bridge and up river of the dam is another possibility.  But I’d still have to come with someone to get my 45 pounds down these stairs.  Straight down and in.  Not to mention getting out.

I found someone fishing and he suggested I try a different spot further up the river so off I went.  This spot was nearly 20 miles away and the next one is only 12.  Better already.  Also on the New Hampshire side of the river.

I wish this map would say you are here.  The signs say “Great River Hydro Moore dam fishing access” which means there is a hydro electric plant and a dam.  But another sign says “Great River Hydro Waterford Bridge Picnic area and boat launch”.  I see Waterford Bridge on the map which is way too busy for me to put any star on it to indicate the spot where I actually am.  If you click the map maybe you can see it too.  But at this size you can see there are a lot of dams and hydros and other things all over this poor river.

It’s a nice put in with parking so I  suppose put the kayak in here at this nice launch site and paddle both directions on a nice calm day and see what I find. 

But it is clear that the Connecticut River is dammed many many times.   The flow of this river is very controlled.   You already know how I feel about that.

It is a very nice river access here unlike the previous one with portages I couldn’t do.


There is also a trail.  So I set off to see where it goes.


It goes along the river which is looking very lovely.


It goes to boat in campsites.  There are platforms for your tent and a picnic table.

The trail goes along the river and between 3 or 4 of these sites.


It then moves away from the river and just ends.


It gives me a very nice walk along the river.



Ruby waits at the end of the trail.


On Thursday, July 29, I chose to do both a kayak and a hike for my last active day in Northern Vermont.  I have to pack up on the 31st,  leave on the 1st and it’s raining tomorrow they tell me.

I’ve wanted to return to Groton State Forest before leaving the area.  That’s where in one day I saw 5 state parks.  This morning I drove to Peacham Pond which is on the way to New Discovery State Park where I want to do a hike in the afternoon.  This is a perfect day in my mind.  Paddling in the morning, hiking in the afternoon

Peacham Pond is a 331 acre spring fed lake/pond - in Vermont I can’t figure out the difference, the words seem to be used interchangeably.  There is a very nice launch site.

Houses along the shore line.


I paddle all around the quiet pond and saw only this one loon.  But I suspect there are more.  I’m just not here at the right time.  No power boats thankfully.

As I was getting out of my kayak I was scolded over and over by someone.  The only bird I could see this song sparrow who never moved from her perch, never opened her mouth and never dropped her prey.  I assume the nest was nearby.




After the paddling I drove the 2.5 miles to New Discovery State Park to hike to Owl’s Head.  It started raining on my way in to the park but it was just a light rain so I decided to chance it since this was my last day for venturing about in northern Vermont.


The hike had a variety of habitat.


Including narrow rock ledges.


And wooded boggy areas.

About 3/4 of the way up I came to a bend in the trail and a spur leading to this parking lot for those who don’t really want to hike.  But I’ll bet they were surprised.  It may be a much shorter distance but the hardest part was at the end.


Looked pretty sweet with stairs.

But then it got steeper and rootier.


Still sort of rock stairs but steep.


And then a large rock face to climb up.  Better not have on your fancy shoes with no tread.  The payoff is the view and this stone hut constructed by the CCC in 1935.


Looking West into the Green Mountains,  the lake  is Kettle Pond in Kettle Pond State Park which I visited on my last trip to Groton State Forest.  The mountain on the left is Hardwood Mountain and the one on the right is creatively called Kettle Mountain.



This is the west side of the hut facing the rock in the picture above.  That isn’t a bench, wish it were, but the information board in the next picture.



The entrance to the little hut faces north.  There was no explanation for why they spent CCC time building this here.  It’s very nice though.  Cute, quaint and all those other words.  You don’t suppose it’s an Owl’s house do you?


Good for getting out of the rain with a view.  Luckily for me the drizzle was light and on and off and not at all up here.


One last look as I had back down the rock slab.



It actually seemed trickier going back than coming up.



Not exactly stairs


These look like stairs and were probably placed here just up from the parking lot.

A very pretty and fun hike.  Not too long, not too strenuous and I saw no one except a family that parked in the upper lot and ran up and stayed 5 minutes while the mother took pictures of the kids and the view and left.  Dad stayed in the car.

They missed this.


And the boardwalk.

And Paul’s fungi.  yellow buttons in the front, a small red plate in the back.


Green?   I don’t think I’ve ever seen green before but it is the Green Mountain State.



Indian Pipe.  I was thrilled to see it.


Do any of these look like things you have where you are?


  1. You certainly are the explorer! Kudos to you for reporting the pros and cons of all these places. I saw Indian pipe recently up in Maine.

    1. Thanks Jeannie. Glad you saw some Indian Pipe.

  2. We're seeing lots of fungi here in North Carolina, but no green fungi! That's another gorgeous trail you found. I love trails with interesting rocks and a view.

    I can't believe your summer in Vermont is already over. Two months went by so fast! Did you think at all about staying for the fall colors? Of course, your home is beautiful in the fall, too. So glad you had such a lovely summer!

  3. My summer isn't over yet at least in the blog. I spent July in North Eastern Vermont and the next blog will start my stay for the month of August in south western Vermont. I'm just SO far behind. But you know how that happens.

  4. Such a pretty river side hike. I remember the Connecticut being such a lovely river, glad you spent some time with her. The Owl House is delightful and looks so peaceful - but that trail looks treacherous! You amaze me with what you take on in the wilds. Those mint green mushrooms are great!!

    1. I hope to be able to kayak the Connecticut next time, assuming there is one. Life is short. I really liked the owl house and wondered why did they put it up there? It is beautiful work. I can't believe your tragedy and am waiting to hear what's going on.

  5. Love the Fungi. That path looks like an ankle twister to me.

    1. It definitely could be an ankle twister to Tom. I especially loved the green mushroom. Need to try to look it up. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Glad you finally found a good put in even if there was only one loon who made an appearance. Very cute sing sparrow too. Neat hiking trail. Glad the rain held off for you. Definite exercise, but definitely worth it for the 'owl house' and the fungi

    1. Thank you for the comment sweetheart. I wish you'd been with me on both the paddle and the hike.

    2. What was the stone hut used for? The views are amazing and, of course, I love all the water. The "watch out we are letting a whole river worth of water out when the horn blows" really is scary. So what are you supposed to do if you are in a kayak when this happens???? xxxooo

    3. No clue about the hut. I was very curious as to why the CCC would have been asked to build it. I had the same exact reaction to the signs that you did Pam. So that would not be my choice of launch site.

  7. We have green mushrooms here in Pa. But I have no idea what they are called. Weight is the exact reason I switched from a kayak to a pack boat. I now paddle a 12’, 18lb pack boat made by Placid Boat works. It looks like canoe but you sit in it and paddle like a kayak. Pack boats are very popular in the Adirondacks.

    1. Very interesting Doris. Thanks so much for telling me about a pack boat. I'd never heard of it. This is one of the great reason I love comments and my commenters.

  8. It doesn't matter how good the put in is for my kayak, I still look like a spider on ice trying to get in and out of it. And yes, on more than one occasion I ended up sitting in the water next to my kayak, just thankful no one was there with a video camera or I would have wound up on America's Funniest Videos.

    So it's better for me just to enjoy the mushroom pictures you post and preserve what little I have left of my dignity. :cD

    1. Sorry to hear of your kayaking problems. You are missing out on a wonderful time.

  9. Oh, this seems like a great last day. I, too, am interested in the purpose of the hut, but at least it's novel! I've never seen one like it. I kinda' hate for you to leave Vermont/NH, but look forward to more adventures...and of course, seeing you in person!

    1. I'm only leaving the New Hampshire area and moving to south western Vermont near the NY border this time. Remember, I'm over a month behind. On my blog it's only August 1st. SIGH...

  10. What a lovely green area to hike, and the Connecticut River is beautiful! Interesting 'Owl house'. Maybe just a place to get out of the mist? Interesting mushrooms 🍄!

    1. It was interesting Laurie that the CCC had time to put up something we don't have a clue about. Next time back, I'm going to ask the folks at the state park entrance station what it was for. They were not there when I left for the day.

  11. So glad you finally got the paddles wet and another sweet hike. I always love to see CCC built structures. None of the mushrooms look familiar but I've seen Indian Pipe on the North Kaibab.

    1. That Indian Pipe definitely gets around. I'd love to see it on the North Kaibab. Ah...Grand Canyon.

  12. Interesting hike, but did look treacherous. Good last day.

    1. It was a good last day, thanks Lynne. Not treacherous just need to be careful and paying attention.


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