Northern Forest Canoe Trail: Paddle/Pedal

Saturday, July 16: The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (http://www.northernforestcanoetrail.org goes from Maine through New Hampshire and Vermont, and well into New York’s Adirondacks – and wanders into Canada along the way. Richford, Vermont is the venue for this fun event – contestants paddle about six miles downstream, and then bicycle about five miles back; the rail trail is a lot straighter than the Missisquoi River! This is the second time I have volunteered; I was busy enough helping with registration, and then with timing as the bicyclists finished, I took relatively few photos. About 75 people took part, from children to retirees, including a couple of international travelers who made this part of their vacation. 

Of course, there has to be a way to get the bicycles shuttled down, and the boats shuttled back –

This is a quick event, over in time for lunch. There were serious competitors, arriving breathless, and teams who waited so they could cross the finish line together. It was a beautiful day, with enough breeze to make it comfortable, and the town park with its water access made hanging out a delight.

Fun in the Sun at Camp Plymouth State Park

Sunday, July 10: I drove a friend over to Camp Plymouth State Park, in central Vermont, to enjoy the scenery and people watch. We sat mostly in the shade, and I got several rows of knitting done on the current pair of socks. Leaving, my eye was caught by this stack of kayaks – glad it’s not my vehicle! It didn’t look all that stable, although presumably that’s how they arrived. And I hope there are no low bridges to go under!

Bader and Max

Max (and his person) came to visit Bader (and his person) – as did I; another trip to Connecticut. Here they are watching their people wrestling the lawnmower, supervising for all they are worth. Max is the one who’s coloring looks like a pinto pony – and he’s about that size, too! He’s sweet, but he has no idea how heavy he is.

Tomorrow I go pull invasive water chestnut.

Long Weekend in Connecticut

The highlight of the long weekend in Connecticut (south on Thursday night, north on Tuesday evening) was spending an afternoon with my almost seven month old great-grandson! He’s a joy, cheerful, easily entertained, smiling… and likes the slippery texture of tags, which he’s going for here.

I also visited with friends, and went to a memorial service for a nearly 97 year old friend of the family. Our families were close, and I grew up with her children, two of whom were near me in age. It was great to see all of them – two from England – and catch up not only with her biological children, but with the step-children as well, whom I’ve gotten to know over the years. It was great to hear stories – how many continue to host family reunions for a late spouse’s family, even after remarrying? I visited with her, and her second husband, often – they summered in Maine, wintered in Florida, had space to park the camper, found me kayaking venues, and in between seasons stayed at their house in Connecticut. I was able to join them on their canal boat in England – and they paid for the trip!! – when they were looking for younger muscles to work the locks. I miss them both, but have so many good memories.

The weekend ended for me on Tuesday, when I was able to join a few of my knitting buddies for their regular Tuesday gathering; I was much more regular at that before Covid – and before I started kayaking with ORFS!

But I’m glad to be home, where it is several degrees cooler.

 

Kayaking Narraguagus Bay, Return

Wednesday, June 15: After landing kayaks on the beach yesterday, I needed to bring mine back around to the regular landing, where it’s a much easier carry up to the house (and the Roadtrek!) Aiming for high tide would make landing easier, so I set out well before the tide would be highest. First I paddled around the point, and out toward Pinkham Island where we’d been the day before. Wind was funneling through the slot between pieces of land, so I paddled back to the cove with the beach, and paddled around that – and that’s where the above photo was taken. If you zoom in, you can see the fish jumping – a school of menhaden (pogies) was being chased by seals. This is the first visit I’ve been able to observe this, but we saw it several times; the seals would push the school of fish (the dark area) into more shallow water, and they would try to escape becoming food by leaping from the water by the dozens. Or hundreds! I never did get a good photo of one of the seals, although we saw them many times.

Along the shore there were more lupines:

With more time before the tide was at its highest, I went as far up the creek as I could:

and then down, before hauling out on the flooded grasses.

My friends the homeowners have made some improvements since my last visit; the terns along the deck channel water away from the house quite effectively. I could have gotten a photo of them doing that – if I’d wanted to go out with my camera in the pouring rain! And I like how the shadows hit the columns when the  sun is right. There’s also a new weathervane on the roof.

On Thursday I headed for home, and will end with one photo taken from along the road – another fish! (A rockfish??) This one is high and dry, not far from Conway, New Hampshire.

Hanging Out in Milbridge, Maine

Saturday, June 11 – Monday, June 13: These days were spent hanging out, with a lot of knitting. The above is the view from my knitting chair on the porch. There was some rain, and a lot of sun; the rugosa roses were just getting going. These are different shades of pink, and white, and the area buzzes with pollinators and hummingbirds.

It is such a rough life! Those first few days, the most ambitious I was was to walk down to the beach with my hosts, and share cooking.

I think of these shaggy rockweed covered rocks at low tide as heffalumps, creatures from the “Winnie the Pooh” books.

One name of the full moon for this month is the “Rose Moon” – appropriate, given the great wall of them blooming now!

The Roadtrek on the Road Again

Friday, June 10: As soon as I could get the food and kayaks loaded in the Roadtrek, I headed out. My first stop was in Laconia, New Hampshire, where I visited one of my Quaker Knitting Goddess friends for a couple of hours. Then it was on to Orrington, Maine, where my goddaughter and her husband have bought a small house – which houses the above four cats (and one more I didn’t get a photo of), and a dog, as well as the two humans.

Saturday, June 11: After breakfast with my hosts, and an e-mail check, and visiting, I headed off to the coast of Maine. Missing the first turn meant that I had to turn around – and this was the most convenient place to do it! Serendipity – it meant that I will plan on kayaking on another trip; it is so very close to their house!

It is peak lupine season in Maine; here the field next to the parking area was full of them!

I went back to the last intersection, taking the road I should have taken in the first place – and not far along that road Audubon has another access for kayaking, so I have two places to explore when next I visit.

Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Vermont artists all over the state open their studios and shops a couple of times a year, and it is great fun to pick an area and see what’s being created. Today friends and I focused on works of glass, going to a group shop in Bellows Falls, and then on to this gallery and studio in Townshend. Robert DuGrenier is of international stature, and has been blowing glass for close to 50 years. We started off wandering the lawns and gardens – there were artworks everywhere! Including, of course, the above sign.

Of course we had to go see the artist at work – it looks like the heat from the studio has blistered the paint on the sign over the door!

Robert and his assistant were working on a planet for a commissioned chandelier. I wouldn’t do well with that heat. This is about mid-way through the process of adding layers and textures and bubbles; it had incredible depth. We stayed until it went in the annealing oven, then went in the house where there are about five rooms of gallery space. The most impressive were a series (titled Out of the Ashes) of pieces built on steel implements rescued after his barn burned several years ago. 

I like the impracticality, improbability and irony of glass hammer handles!

There were also utilitarian pieces, which you can see on line (https://www.dugrenier.com/shop): goblets and glasses, Christmas ornaments and paper weights, hummingbird feeders, vases, etc. but I tried to focus on the out-of-the-ordinary. If you pass through central Vermont, the shop is open most days, and blowing of glass happens on a regular schedule. We were all really glad we made the effort to visit.

Double Take

A quick trip to Connecticut for a kayaking venture (cancelled due to thunderstorm warnings), and last night I had to look twice – a giraffe is not something I expected to see peeking over the fence!