"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Monday, June 12, 2017

Family and Class Reunions

West Rutland, VT

A walk down memory lane

The sun was finally shining after two months of frequent rain and our first stop, as we pulled into Rutland, Vermont was Gills Delicatessen, a favorite of Mike's when he was growing up.
We had a full line up of activities and reunions for the weekend planned. You never know how things are going to turn out. They could be fun or boring, happy or sad, satisfying or disappointing. But we were here and ready to get to it.
Growing up in small towns where everyone knows each other meant that your parents would soon know what you had been up to sooner than later and is how both of us grew up.

White Rocks Recreation Area

Our first morning, we headed up to White Rocks Recreation Area to hike a section of the Long Trail that intersects the Appalachian Trail. Mike's family would have picnics here when he was growing up. The trail was very wet, slippery and steep in many sections. I thought to myself a time or two that I should have brought my hiking poles. I was right. On the way down, I slipped and fell twice but fortunately, didn't injure much except my pride.
An old spring house

Through hikers on the AT

White Cliffs Overlook

 Amazing views of the valley of the Green Mountains.

Funky fungi

Kind of an eerie figure in the forest.
I wasn't sure if we were being avoided or just special with all of that space for us. 

Lake Bomoseen

 We took a ride out to Lake Bomoseen where he spent many summers. The fish were jumping and biting.
A walk back on memory lane called for a visit to his parent's resting place. 
 There is something special about growing up in a small town. We spent a morning driving and going down memory lane. I could see his mind going back in time as we drove past his boyhood home.

His graduating class had 76, the largest for this school. This year they had 27 graduates. 

 It seems the classmates has a bad case of attention deficit. Getting a picture of them looking in one direction didn't happen. They seemed to have reverted back to their times in high school as I watched their interactions.
 Everyone was welcoming and I felt at home right away. I think many of them don't  think we are in our right minds living on the road. That's ok. We are fine.
A short excerpt of Carl Wener's poem
Who would have guessed that this time would arrive
Some fifty years later and yet we survive.
To just be together to laugh and to smile
And share some old memories; celebrate for a while.
We were thrown all together through no choice of our own
And started off strong in this place we call home.
Yes, our world has sure changed, on this we agree
Experiences different as leaves on a tree
We draw from the past and the things we have known
It filters our thoughts as we've aged and we've grown
But one thing's for sure, through our lives as we  roam
We got a great start in this place we call home.

The mandatory family lineup
 It was quite a nice long weekend of family and class reunions with plenty of good food. On our last day, Mike went for a long bike ride with his brother and a friend while I took a nice walk on the back roads and had some down time before getting together with everyone in the family.
Mike's brother in law's sweet ride.
The weekend not only turned out to be happy and fun but very satisfying. We were glad that the timing of our trip east allowed us to be a part of this great June weekend.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Stowe Vermont

Who'll stop the rain?

Click here to listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival
Our next stop was only 35 miles up the road from Burlington. We got settled in Stowe at our campground with 75 spaces where we happened to be the only people there on our arrival. As night fell, another RV came in and parked right next to us. Our view of the mountains changed to a view of them. Fortunately, we moved closer to the check in building to get internet and we were alone again.
Leaving North Beach after one  more walk.

 Of course, we stopped and tasted the cheese since it was raining too hard to go outside even with rain gear. 
 The Apple Cider Mill had cider donuts that we felt obligated to taste test. They passed with flying colors. They also had Maple Cream liquor that was so smooth and tasty that it could be habit forming. I decided against taking any home. 

 What can I say?

 We also made a visit to the Green Mountain Club to make our hiking plans on trails that go up.

Mills Trail to Bingham Falls

Bingham Falls

 Von Trapp Lodge

 Stowe is a Vermont ski resort and home to the Von Trapp family
that moved here from Austria and which the Sound of Music was based on. The Von Trapp Lodge is on the mountainside with unbelievable mountain views.
 After checking out the lodge, we headed back down the mountain the their brewery for a scrumptious lunch and some bier. The tarragon dressing, pickled eggs and marinated tomatoes made this Cobb Salad extra special.
Mike opted for the burger and shaved radishes with a lemon olive oil.

Stowe Rec Path

Stowe Rec bike path end
 The sun finally came out on Sunday. We were out the door for a bike ride on the Stowe Rec Path that runs along the Gold Brook Creek. I had unzipped my bright yellow vest and it was flapping in the breeze behind me as I rode. I like to wave at little kids as they ride by me. Mike heard a little girl asked her mother why I was wearing a cape as I passed. So I began singing the  Mighty Mouse theme song. "Here she comes to save the day."

I love little kids. They live in another world.

Chair lift now used for a swing in the park
Bubbles and music at the Farmer's Market

Pedestrian covered bridge

Green Mountains living up to their names

Smuggler's Notch


 The sun was still shining after a stop at the farmer's market. We put away our bikes and headed out for a hike to Sterling Pond.
Sterling Pond Trail was steep hike from Smuggler's Notch, not a walk in the park. The higher we walked the more the mud and water covered the trail. I felt a little bad for the tourists that bought new shoes for their trip to Stowe and ruined them in the mud on this hike.
A hike and bike ride in one day were tiring and sitting by a campfire was a treat. I wasn't to sad about the rain returning in the evening. Chilling out and reading was pretty nice after all of that activity.

The trail rarely leveled off more that a few feet.

 Smuggler's Notch is a narrow pass through the Green Mountains with 1000 foot cliffs with narrow winding roads. In1807 President Thomas Jefferson passed and embargo forbidding trade with Great Britain and Canada. This was a hardship for Vermonters since Montreal was closer than other markets in the US. Many local people continued illegal trade with Canada, herding cattle and carrying other goods through the Notch. Later, fugitive slaves used the Notch as an escape route to Canada. During Prohibition years, liquor was smuggled from Canada.
A cave used by smugglers to hide with their wares.
This is the most difficult section of the Long Trail rated as expert.

The cliffs of Smuggler's Notch

Moss Glen Falls

Slip sliding away in the mud on the way to Moss Glen Falls
 The ski museum was closed except weekend.

Gold Brook Bridge

  Gold Brook Bridge is not your ordinary covered bridge. This bridge is also known as "Emily's Bridge,"  due to the fact that it is haunted by a ghost named Emily. There are many stories of how Emily died on the bridge. One story is that she was supposed to elope with a lover who was meeting her at the bridge, and when he didn't show, she hung herself from the rafters.
 Reports tell of scratch marks appearing on parked vehicles and of mysterious bangs echoing throughout the bridge. Visitors who explore the structure on foot, hear screams, laughter, footsteps, and creaking rope. Some people have even spotted a white apparition floating near the bridge’s entrance.
It was raining when we arrived and didn't stay long but didn't see any sign of Emily.
The rain is finally supposed to end for a while as we head to Rutland for Mike's class reunion and a visit with his family.
Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain here