Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Almost in Canada–Silvio O Conte NWR

August 25-27, 2023                                                       Most Recent Posts:
Moose River Campground                                   To Stowe and The Flume
St. Johnsbury, Vermont                                          Mary Visit from Virginia

During the days after Mary flew back to Virginia, I spent time on the campground porch which I do daily, chatting with my friends there and eating far too many muffins and pastries, provided along with coffee which I don’t drink.

The porch has a complete collection of moose memorabilia, a line of Adirondack chairs perfect for hanging out and a table for playing 2 or 3 handed cards.  Mary, the campground owner seated next to the table on the right mans the phone and checks people in.  We all keep her company especially Loretta seated at the table on the left.  She plays cards with Mary and lets her win…….can’t wait to see if Mary comments about this.


During those same days a neighbor did some fly fishing on the Moose River which had gone down considerably since the heavy rains in June.



On Saturday, the 26th, the “Seasonal Dinner” was held.  Mary and Gary cater a dinner for those folks who rent seasonal sites and they graciously invited me to attend since I had been here for 3 months.

Tom and Brenda on the left seemed happy to have their picture taken.  Jack and Loretta on the right, not so much.  The food was plentiful and delicious.


This is the group of people who spend from early May to late October at Moose River Campground.


On Sunday of the last full week of August I drove north to the Silvio O Conte National Wildlife Refuge.  As you can see from the map, it’s just a few miles south of the Canadian Border and straddles the line between Vermont and New Hampshire as well as extending into Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Conte represented his home state of Massachusetts as a Republican Member of Congress for 32 years. He was an avid outdoor sportsman and strongly supported environmental causes.

The Visitor Center was open but unstaffed.  I didn’t see one person while I was there.  I thought they were quite trusting that none of their wonderful library of books or other things would disappear.

The interior of the refuge was light and airy and looked like a place I would love to curl up in one of those chairs with a book from their collection before a nice fire.

The Blue Goose is the symbol of the Refuge System and I thought it was a great touch to put among the floor tiles.

Imagine a blazing fire and your choice of books from the shelf.  Also, notice no moose head just antlers that have been shed.

One room was filled with well displayed and interesting information including the map in the center with buttons to light up the Nulhegan River, the river’s watershed, and the conserved lands among other information.


The buttons on the three side boards would light up specific information.

The buttons light things up in gold though I don’t remember what I had lighted for this photograph unfortunately.

Behind the center and outside were a bench and a few chairs overlooking the distant mountain view.



The Nulhegan River Trail took me down to and along the river before circling back to the Visitor Center.


From this spot I took a video of the sounds and moving water of the river.  You can view it here.


The path along the river was quite varied.




I started the climb back up and continued to find the trees labeled with shiny silver tags which were quite hard to photograph.


This one reads Quaking Aspen.  Among others I’d seen previously had been Yellow Birch and White Ash.  Not trees I have grown up with in Virginia.


They towered over me.

Fall is rapidly approaching and time for me to head south although I wish I could stay and see the glorious colors of New England.  But my grandson’s birthday is in September and while he’s still young enough to be excited to celebrate with me, I must be getting back.

The last of the wonderful Vermont Ponds coming up next.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

To Stowe and the Flume

August 20-22, 2023                                               Most Recent Posts:
Moose River Campground                            Mary Visits from Virginia
St Johnsbury Vermont           Marsh, Billings, Rockefeller National Historic Park

We saved two of the big ticket days for the last two of Mary’s visit.  On Sunday we drove to Stowe and took the ski gondola up to the top for the views which weren’t all that spectacular because of the ever present rain clouds.  But it was fun still.

We speculated as we stood in line to board about who we would have in our cab with us. 


But it turns out, each party has one to itself.  Mary chatted with the attendant as he closed the door and we moved on.


In the previous picture we were facing forward but we soon discovered the better views were behind us so we switched seats.   Such a shame it was not a fabulously clear day.


From the top I could see a few of the distant mountain ranges.


We traded picture taking with some folks at the top.  I have no idea what the white streak is since it wasn’t in any other picture I took.


Once back at the bottom, I took a picture of the path to the top.  Some folks had hiked  up and saved the $40 fee.  Looks like it might take the whole day and kill your knees going back.  Although there were no tickets to return so I guess if you hike up you can hop a ride back.


From there we went to the Von Trapp Family Lodge for lunch.


The patio tables were clearly visible  through the atrium windows.


We went through the lounge out to the patio.


Mary is sitting at a back table alone.  I should have called to her to turn for the picture.


The food was very good and reasonably priced.  I took this picture of the menu when we first arrived and had no intention of using it in the blog.  But I neglected to get a picture of the lovely presentation of our lunches so this is a substitute.

Mary had the chicken salad and I had the vegetable quesadilla.   Click on the picture to enlarge it if you cannot read it.


We skipped the delicious sounding desserts.  Next time I’m in the area I will do lunch AND dessert.  Makes my mouth water to look at the list.

cropped for blog

But we were afraid we would not have room for ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s. 
Unfortunately we arrived too late for the tour but not too late to buy expensive ice cream.


Mary entering the popular Flavor Graveyard. 



I closed off the day with a Vermont Maple Creemee at what I was told is the best creamee spot “near by”.  Read that as within an hour’s drive.  Yes, that is two versions of ice cream in a row.  Mary declined saying she wasn’t a big fan of maple.   IN VERMONT??

bragg far, creamee

We spent Mary’s final day in New Hampshire hiking the 2.1 mile Flume Gorge hike in Crawford’s Notch.  This is perhaps my favorite area hike.  The work done to make it accessible is amazing.

The Flume is a natural gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. The walls of Conway granite rise to a height of 70 to 90 feet and are 12 to 20 feet apart.   It is one of my favorite hikes in the area though only 2 miles long and they charge $18 due to the maintenance of the required walk ways to make it available to the public.  We spoke to one of the workmen who put them up and take them down every year.  He says it takes a week or more.   Well worth the price in my opinion and a great way to end Mary’s stay in Vermont.

The flume trail goes by a covered bridge.



All of this boardwalk is removed in late fall and reinstalled in early spring.  Amazing!


The walls are so close you could almost reach out and touch both sides.




The hike turns back into the woods after going by Avalanche Falls.


Mother Nature is amazing.


What does it look like to you??


I had no idea Mary was so strong.  Thank goodness, it might have fallen on us.


Mary took the final picture of our days together when we saw our first moose.
I was willing to get up close so we could hold “hands”?


I’m happy we were able to do so many things during her visit. 
I only wish the weather had been better for her.