Tag Archive 'northern Vermont'

Nov 21 2022

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The Long White Begins…

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Winter arrived in northern Vermont last week with the first snowfall blanketing the earth. Only a couple inches of the wet, heavy stuff, but it has lingered as temps have stayed around freezing. And so the long white begins…

I went for a short hike yesterday despite the inviting warmth of home. Didn’t go far away. The 3-mile loop in Niquette Bay State Park was good enough since deer hunters are prowling the Green Mountains these days. I passed half a dozen people on the trail, but was alone most of the time. Alone while making tracks in half-frozen mud, inhaling cool air.

A steady wind rocked the naked trees overhead, causing them to creak and groan – a woody conversation while I moved silently below. The late afternoon sun, setting so early this time of year, sank towards the western horizon. Forest shadows beneath a mostly azure sky. I hiked at a pace slower than usual to keep from chilling in my own sweat.

Just a few patches of snow here and there, but more will come no doubt. I’m ready for it. I’m ready to spend entire days indoors thinking, reading and writing. I’m as ready as I can be for holiday darkness, and the frigid temps that will follow. I polyurethaned my snowshoes when it was still warm enough to do that outdoors, so I’m ready to lay tracks in the snow, as well.

There’s no sense fighting winter when you live this far north. Better to embrace it, making the most of a season that has its own charms. Hibernation simply will not do – not when the cold season lasts nearly five months. Yeah, much better for sanity’s sake to embrace it.

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Nov 18 2019

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Early Winter Hike

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Last week a big storm dumped 8 inches of snow on northern Vermont, and temps haven’t warmed up enough since then to melt it off. Not unusual for this time of year, but it caught me off guard all the same. I still haven’t put winter tires on my car.

Snow or no, I had to get into a pocket of woods and stretch my legs yesterday. Too much time staring at a computer screen makes me cranky. So I grabbed my boots, pulled the a set of crampons called Microspikes out of my closet, and headed for Niquette Bay State Park. I went into Burlington to meet a friend for breakfast, actually, and stopped by the park on the way home.

By the time I reached Niquette Bay, it was late morning and temps had already reached into the twenties. The sun was shining brightly, as well. Without a doubt, it was going to be a pleasant walk.

I pulled the Microspikes over my boots and voila! Excellent traction despite packed snow and ice. I hiked along the trail effortlessly and shot up the icy ledges as if walking across bare ground. The air was crisp and clean, and the climb just rigorous enough to get my blood up. Descending the ledges on the other side, I came upon three people struggling on all fours to negotiate the treacherous, icy slope. Their crampons were still in storage.

Upon reaching the beach, I was surprised to see nothing but open water in the bay. The lake hasn’t even begun to freeze over yet. Then again it’s only November. A few ducks floated close to shore. Why are they still here? Evidently, they haven’t received the memo yet: winter has arrived.

I could have kept going, but a couple miles was enough. I looped back on a shorter trail and reached the parking lot about fifteen minutes later. I’m not a big fan of winter but crampons sure make it a lot more tolerable. With them I can stretch my legs just about any time the snow isn’t deep enough for snowshoes. So I think I’ll keep them in my car until spring.

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