Monday, June 25, 2007

Vibin' in the Green Mountain National Forest

What a weekend! So, Mitch (that would be my cute, Vermont rock star drumming boyfriend) and I decided to get outta town and participate in one of my all time favorite activities ever - driving my Pontiac Vibe all around Vermont. No, this isn't a plug for the Vibe, although I do think that car was created for me!

Anyway, we bounce out of Burlington Saturday afternoon and have the car packed for camping - just in case. I am thinking I want to go south - like Green Mountain National Forest south because it is almost too far for a one day trek - and if the energy flows a certain way, we'll find a place to stay and be able to hike in a part of Vermont I don't get to as much as I like.

And did that energy flow ever!!! Holding the Vermont Road Atlas like a cult guidebook, we trekked more or less down Route 7 with some backroading and cemetery visiting, eventually leading us into Wallingford. We had dinner at a local Italian place called Sal's and giggled like kid's at the fact that we were the only ones on the patio while the line inside was a half hour long. I thought we were in Vermont where folks are hardy. Guess that proves us Burlingtonians can be hardy too! The food was fab and the folks friendly the way I like when I get outta town.

By this point it was either whisk back to Burlington as the darkness messes with our eyesight, or put the whole "camp anywhere in national forests" rule to a test. We chose the latter (duh). As twilight approached, we backroaded into the territory of the national forest and only found posted signs everywhere which I think are multiple car-farin' folks' way of saying - "don't put the national park rules to a test here, 'cuz I've got a rifle." But, that's ok - I might be tempted to do the same if I had some property in the national forest myself.

A tad bit discouraged, but still believing in the energy of opportunities presenting themselves, we headed south again on 7 and Mitch said, "maybe we'll find one of those mom and pop campgrounds to park it at" (knowing if we drove to the next Vermont State Park, it would be well after dark). And, what - 30 seconds later there was the old school sign for the Otter Creek Campground. No credit cards, but luckily I had some cash for the purposes of buying strawberries and other delicious treats you find when backroading through Vermont. We asked the jolly "pop" of the mom and pop ownership about the national forest rule and he replied, "you can camp anywhere, but no one likes us 'round here - all those yuppies and tree huggers, ya ain't tree huggers are ya?" Mitch and I looked at each other and laughed, "Um, yeah we kinda are," I replied. "But the nice kind - do you have any wood we can buy?"

We had a perfect campsite along the Otter Creek, away from any neighbors and with a planetarium induced sky and gorgeous skyline against the Green Mountains with a lit-up farm as a backdrop. The nearest neighbors invited us to party with them and the main lodge had an outdoor stage set up for some kick ass bluegrass with a full sound system. Unfortunately there was no music that night and we decided to just enjoy the stars and fire although we appreciated the neighborly invite.

After a spankin' breakfast at The Hatchery in Ludlow, we hiked Okemo Mountain and were thrilled by the "presence of gnomes and wood nymphs" - Mitch and I's favorite woodland creatures (ok, yes tree huggers). We enjoyed panoramic views atop this ski mountain I have yet to ski, but did swing in a chair lift to enjoy the views, followed by a hike to the top of the fire tower (my fourth fire tower climb in Vermont).

Now, back to work in the world of public relations from my home office this Monday, but eager, ready, and highly anticipating the next embrace of the energy that flows through this state I love. Oh - that would be next weekend!!! We are camping at Wilgus State Park along the Connecticut River complete with some fishing, waterfall hunting, hiking Mt. Ascutney, and enjoying the Vermont Symphony Orchestra at Mt. Ascutney Resort! Yay Vermont!!!


tay said...

Sounds like a great weekend Rachel!
I have barely left Burlington all summer and I am starting to freak out. This weekend I did go canoeing for a couple of hours on the Winooski River - got in the water at the mouth of the Lake, and went up against the (very light) current. We explored a couple of little coves off of the river (like Lewis and Clark!) and I saw two geese protecting their baby geese!

a friend said...

Am coming to Vermont in late July. Too old and creaky to camp anymore, but will take in some music (festival at VonTrapp) and dinner with friends in North Hero. After reading your blog I should try to include a hike! Can't wait.... and I am sure it will be cooler than in southern New England, from which I will be traveling.

jevy420 said...

Any way you can post any of the pics from your weekend? I'd love to see all these places you talk about.....

Jen McColgan said...

ahh Rachel this post ALMOST makes me want to move back.. I'm thinking your next road trip should take you to the Rocky mountains of Colorado..

Rachel Carter said...

Yes, the photos - I gotta work on that part. First I should stop relying on my love of disposable cameras (I still get digital shots with them, but it just takes me a while) and second I need to figure out how to post photos in the content of my blog posts. Glitches, glitches can get a gal in stitches!