Tuesday, May 31

On The Islands

Islands, not something that most people would associate withe the State of Vermont - but I've spent the last two days plying the backroads of Grand Isle, North Hero and Isle La Motte on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain, which is the sixth largest lake in the United States (and was briefly designated a "Great Lake" - before Michigan complained). The lake and has always played an important part in the regions history and development, and today, the islands are surprisingly laid back (my view) with a combination of farming, vacation homes, and minimal tourist related activities coexisting - enough to do, but not overrun with people.

Three bridges connect the islands to the mainland (one to NY, two to VT)
The wood pilings you see in the first photo is all that is left of this old railroad bridge
You can reach Grand Isle via ferry from NY, and via a bike only ferry from VT


Out and about on the islands.

Just looking up
Grand Isle State Park


Sunday, May 29

Rained Out

I'm in the Plattsburgh, NY area and thought I'd take in a stock car race at the local speedway - alas, the rains came and the race was canceled. Until it started raining (late afternoon) I managed to drive some nice backroads, watched a couple innings of baseball, and take two walks - not bad. Then I stumbled upon the Champlain Valley Classic Cruisers Spring Nationals at the Plattsburgh Fairgrounds, they even had a stage with some pretty good entertainment. Had a nice walk around the show, plus a funnel cake - so the day was a success.

Just in case you needed a tow, Bubba was there


Saturday, May 28

Olympic Wonder

Spent today in Lake Placid, a small unassuming town in upstate New York that, remarkably, has hosted TWO Winter Olympic Games - 1932 and 1980. After visiting the Olympic Museum I walked around the too touristy town center, then went hiking. Nice day, although it was a little warm (hot) - up over 90, guess I missed out on Spring.

Olympic Torches


Friday, May 27

Ticonderoga, New York

Spent today in and around the small town of Ticonderoga, New York. First stop, Fort Ticonderoga which was built by France between 1755 and 1757 during the French and Indian War in the US. It continued to be of strategic importance as the site controlled a river portage between Lake Champlain and Lake George. The fort played an important role during the American Revolutionary War, and was destroyed several times as it changed hands. Lots of history.


Then a short drive up Mount Defiance and a look down at Fort Ticonderoga (850 feet below) which shows why the fort and its associated defenses were so important.

Lake Champlain, with Fort Ticonderoga between the two canon on the peninsula


After Mount Defiance, it was into the village of Ticonderoga for a walk along the LaChute Riverwalk. Again, lots of history, as the LaChute River provided the power needed for a wide variety of industries in the 1800s.


Thursday, May 26

Back in New York

Took a left turn today and just before I returned to New York State I made I quick stop in North Bennington, VT, because I saw this guy waiting for the train.

Restored train station, now city offices


Back on the road I headed to the Sarasota Battlefield National Historic Site, in New York. Here in the autumn of 1777, American forces met, defeated and forced a major British army to surrender. This crucial American victory in the Battle of Saratoga renewed patriots’ hopes for independence, secured essential foreign recognition and support, and forever changed the face of the world. The park has a very informative Visitors Center (movie and digital display of the battle) several hiking trails, and a nine mile self guided driving tour - interesting, and, as usual, I learned a lot.

Emplacement overlooking the Hudson River


On up the road I settled in for the night at Moreau Lake State Park, took a hike, and grilled a burger for dinner. Think it's time for an audible book, to finish out the day. Night.


Wednesday, May 25

Paddlin' The Ponds

After yesterday's rainout (and the temp falling from Monday's 80 to only a high of 60) it was back near 80 today with plenty of sun, a perfect day to kayak. So, I picked up a boat in Rawsonville and hit the ponds - yup, ponds - no whitewater, just a nice quiet afternoon on the water. First up, the Gale Meadow Pond then on to the slightly larger Grout Pond (where I'm camping tonight at a free NFS CG in the Green Mountain National Forest). Nice outings, and I managed to stay upright - which was a big plus.

Plenty of room
Campsites around the pond, hike in or water access only


Monday, May 23

Gorgeous Day

It will be hard to beat today's weather (sunny & 80) as I left Massachusetts and entered Vermont. Lots of small towns and villages along the way - I scored a good lunch, stopped at a cheese company, and spotted my first Vermont covered bridge. Ended the day at one of the nicest Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds I've visited - the campground host even shared a couple of her favorite secluded (primitive/free) campsites in Vermont so I can hideout over the busy holiday weekend.

Tonight's campsite
and my view