Camel’s Hump

Hot and hazy hike!

Today I climbed Camel’s Hump – the third-highest peak in Vermont, along the Long Trail as it travels over the spine of the Green Mountains – with friends Lelia and Kristin. We spotted a car so we would not be constrained to one of the standard ‘loop’ hikes, getting underway just before 10am near where the Long Trail crosses the Winooski River. The 10km hike to the summit is grueling, with many steep sections and several rocky scrambles over the cracked granite of Vermont’s spine. The hot, humid weather made it even more challenging. (The last time I climbed Camel’s Hump, the conditions were very different!) Check out the photo gallery!

Lelia and Kristin reaching a viewpoint on the Long Trail, with Camel’s Hump in view at rear.
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Post Mills Balloon Festival

A colorful delight for photographers.

Finally, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Post Mills Balloon Festival has returned. This is one of my favorite events every spring, when hot-air balloon enthusiasts gather at the tiny Post Mills Airport for a weekend of ballooning and fellowship. The term ‘airport’ hardly fits, because it is a simple grassy airstrip nestled between a forested wetland and the town cemetery, but the lure of these graceful, vibrantly colorful balloons on a cool spring morning brings me back every year. Read on, and check out the gallery!

Some of the 21 balloons I saw launching this morning.
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Spruce Mountain

A return one year later.

This morning I was looking for a good destination for a winter’s afternoon hike. Morning business meant I could not reach any trailhead until after noon, so I picked Spruce Mountain – an easy 2-mile trail up a short mountain in east-central Vermont. I was here just over a year ago, in deeper snow, but the memories of a lovely hike were shadowed by a sad incident on the drive home that sent my Tesla into the shop for almost two months. So today was an opportunity for redemption. And a beautiful day at that!

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Bald Top Mountain

Breaking trail in fresh powder can be delightful.

A grand snowstorm ended late last night, dumping 12″ of fresh powder snow on us here at home in the valley. The snow was preceded by a day of rain, so I expect there was vastly more snow at higher altitudes – where the rain would have turned to snow much sooner … or perhaps had been snow from the start. So I was eager to get out hiking today, to enjoy the new snow. There truly is nothing so exhilarating as to snowshoeing through fluffy fresh powder. (It can also be exhausting, if you are breaking trail!) But Mount Moosilauke and other high places were forecasting single-digit temperatures for the morning, dropping into the negative single-digits by afternoon. Add some wind, and those summits were not so appealing. We went out anyway… read on!

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Fall foliage

A chance encounter.

October has ended but the fall foliage is still brilliant – at least in certain pockets of our valley, and in valleys further to the south. On Sunday October 31, after photographing Dummerston Falls in southern Vermont, there were spectacular colors along the hillsides lining the interstate highway heading northward. So in Windsor I pulled off the highway to cross the Connecticut River on the iconic Cornish-Windsor covered bridge (the longest wooden covered bridge in North America, dating back to 1866), where I knew there was an opportunity for a view of the river, the bridge, and Mount Ascutney beyond.

Cornish-Windsor covered bridge, with Mount Ascutney at rear; NH-VT.

I was not disappointed; there is an informal pullout for parking nearby, and a quick dash across the road and a hop over the guardrail gives one access to this spectacular view. As I turned to head back to my car, I noticed a wooden post – rather new looking, with a square board screwed atop as if to form a seat. I looked up to see a man approaching, dressed for the weather, wearing a hunter-orange cap and carrying a camouflage bag. After a short greeting he sat on the wooden post, pulled a Canon camera out of his bag, and we began to chat as he began to photograph the same scene.

Dan lives and works nearby, and stops to sit on this post every day. He has captured a new photograph here pretty much every day for the past ten years, posting them to his blog The Shape of the Year. It’s quite interesting to see, for example, what this scene looked like on November 3, February 3, May 3, and August 3. It was fun to meet another photographer, and to exchange our calling cards. Here’s my shot of the similar scene, October 31.

See a gallery with a few more of my roadside fall-foliage photos from across the month and around the region.

Five cascades

Five for five.

The month of October had five weekends and I visited a different set of cascades each weekend. Here are my favorite images from each; follow the link for a gallery of more photos.

Georgiana Falls (October 2)

Georgiana Falls, Franconia Notch, NH

Beaver Brook Cascades (October 10)

Beaver Brook Cascades, Appalachian Trail, Mount Moosilauke, NH.

Grant Brook Cascades (October 17)

Cascades and waterfalls along Grant Brook in Lyme, NH.

White Rocks (Bully Brook) (October 23)

Cascades on Bully Brook – White Rocks National Recreation Area – Vermont.

Dummerston Falls (October 31)

Dummerston Falls, Vermont

Dummerston Falls

No hike needed.

Another weekend of fall foliage, another opportunity to visit a beautiful cascade. Again I headed south, chasing the foliage season. I am feeling a bit under the weather so I was not eager for a hike; Dummerston Falls was the ideal choice, because it is visible from the roadside. Indeed, my gallery of photos are taken from the guardrail on VT Route 30, adjacent to a small parking area.

Dummerston Falls, Vermont

The route to this tall waterfall took me through Brattleboro, VT – always a tantalizing place to visit – and an opportunity to visit one of my favorite shops, the Vermont Country Deli. It is literally impossible to enter that store and not come out without buying a buffet full of incredible sweet and savory food.

Bully Brook Cascades

Incredible foliage and a beautiful cascade – on the same hike!

This week it was time to follow the foliage south, as the season progresses. Lelia and I headed for White Rocks National Recreation Area, a USFS area in southern Vermont. I’d heard it was an impressive place; as we found, it is particularly beautiful in fall foliage. We walked through brilliantly yellow hardwood forests, and reached an overlook with a broad view across the many colors of the rolling hills in this area.

Fall foliage from the viewpoint in the White Rocks National Recreation Area – Vermont.

As the daylight faded and we neared the trailhead, the trail passed along Bully Brook… close to a series of impressive cascades. Here I was, the fourth weekend in a row, with an opportunity to capture waterfalls in foliage season!

Cascades on Bully Brook – White Rocks National Recreation Area – Vermont.

Check out the full gallery for more, full-res photos.

Hike stats:
Distance: 6.6km
Time: 3h12 (with many photo stops)
Gain: 372m

Mount Abraham and the Tunbridge Fair

Forest and Farm, in one day.

For my hike this weekend I decided to return to a peak I had not visited since the early 1980s – Mount Abraham, which is one of the five 4000-foot peaks in Vermont and one of only three Vermont peaks with an alpine-zone summit. My notion was to scramble up there in the morning and to stop by the Tunbridge World’s Fair on the way back, which would give me ample opportunities for lunch of both the healthy and unhealthy kind. Read on!

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Mount Cushman

A short hike to a delightful remote peak, Mount Cushman, in central Vermont.

No, I’ve never heard of it either. This small peak in Central Vermont is not on anyone’s peak-bagger list, or on any long-distance trail. But when I was looking through the guidebook of dayhikes in Vermont, this one stuck out as an interesting new place to visit.

The trail along the ridgeline to Mount Cushman.
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