I have been house-sitting and taking care of animals (16, total) for my good sister Julie in East Hardwick, VT for the past 8 days. Going home to Massachusetts tomorrow. God, so much to tell.
WEATHER: in a nutshell, has sucked. Rained almost every day. But I am from Vermont. And we love to complain about the weather. (Or, expect the worse.) I have lived in Massachusetts and Michigan now, and believe me, Vermont weather takes the cake. Hands down. As I write this, it is 56 and drizzling rain in East Hardwick. On July 4 at 7 PM. I still cooked chicken on the grill. Like several unregistered -- dare I say it, junk? -- cars in the yard, a real Northeast Kingdom tradition.
ANIMALS: 16, count them. Sophie the Beagle is a real handful. (P.S. the neighbor, Charles Morrissey thinks her name is 'Josie' -- Google Charles T. Morrissey, and ssshhh!) Quarter horses, Diablo and Cody are easy. Timothy the cat, I love him, and I am allergic to cats. That says a lot. Chickens -- 6 laying hens (barred rocks?) and 6 white meat chickens. (Stupid animals, they deserve to be eaten. Where did humans, as food breeders, go wrong?). Did I miss someone? I hope not!
FISHING. The upper Lamoille River is a renowned Rainbow and Brook Trout head-water. Alas, despite the fact I contributed $30 to Vermont Fish and Wildlife for a 7-day fishing license, the River has been mostly un-fishable because of the high water. I did get out twice, and made out OK. Really, really wish I had been able to fly-fish more of this spectacular stream.
HIKING AND KAYAKING: Caspian Lake, infamous breeder of large and copious amounts of Lake Trout. (Salvelinus namaycush.). Including fireworks from my kayak. Hiked Bald Mountain on 1-July. Totally socked-in and wet. But, I did run into a trail crew form the Northeast Kingdom Youth Conservation Corps, aka 'Kingdom Corps.' I was one of the first 'campers' of a federally funded YCC in the Green Mountain National Forest in 1972 in Danby, Vermont. Trail maintenance, deer exclosure, etc. I appreciated the effort these kids and their crew leader from the NorthWoods Stewardship Center had put into the trail up Bald Mountain, despite the miserable, wet conditions. On 4-July, up Wheeler Mountain. Spectacular views, again, despite largely overcast skies and cool temps. It's like Religion to me hiking these Northeast Kingdom peaks, and I can't imagine any more spectacular scenery. I signed the log book at the terminus of the Wheeler Mountain Trail (Eagle Cliff) 'Alexander Supertramp.' Into the Wild...
P.S. It took me a week to get around to finish this posting, largely because I wanted to include my pictures. JC