Friday - Sunday, September 28-30th, 2007
September 28-30, 2007 Vermont Campout and Canoe Trip
The plans originally called for a trip down the Battenkill in NY. But I heard from a friend that it was running pretty dry and there was lots and lots of portaging. It would not have made for a fun trip. Instead we changed plans to camp in Vermont at the Running Bear Campground (www.runningbearvermont.com) and paddle down the Connecticut River doing a 12 mile trip. North Star Canoe helped make this happen. (http://www.kayak-canoe.com/)
We left the temple late Friday around 6:20pm. The weather down here was great, warm and sunny. The trip north was a pretty straight and quick shot to Ascutney, VT. But the further north we went the more overcast the skies became. Then it started to drizzle. But luckily, no heavy rain and as we pulled into the campground, the drizzle stopped.
Once the trailer was parked, the boys set up camp with a little help from the adults. If youíve never seen them work, they do an awesome job. The Senior Patrol Leaders and his helpers organize the younger scouts and it all goes up quick and easy. Once the cooking are is set up, everyone goes and sets up their tents. Once all that was set up everyone munched on cracker barrel. Some of the boys played catch with a glowing Frisbee or with light sticks.
Saturday morning came around quick. Friday night was cool but comfortable. Everyone enjoyed a casual breakfast of barf in a bag and had some time to relax before we had to pack up for the canoe trip. Lunches were made and packed in dry bags (just in case), everyone changed into comfortable paddling wear and off we went arriving at North Star around 11:30am. North Star equipped us with paddles, personal flotation devices (pfd) and loaded the boats onto a carrier and off we went.
We were taken approx. 12 miles up the river. We went across the Cornish covered bridge which is the longest covered bridge in the United States! We finally pulled into a boat launch just below Sumner Falls in Hartland, VT. Sumner Falls is a favorite place for white water play boaters. But we put in just below them. There were 5 of us in single kayaks and the rest as pairs in 7 canoes. North Star said it should take us about 4 hours of paddling to do the trip.
We took some group pictures at the launch area and then got in and took off downstream. We were lucky to have a BSA lifeguard with us (Peter Beauregard from Troop 101). Pete held up the back watching everyone. He was in his kayak and kept in touch with me (Larry Krainson) via ham radio. I kept to around the middle of the group, Travis and Chris watched the front.
Everyone remarked at how clean the water was as you could see the bottom all the time. The water level was real low in some places, low enough to make the boats bottom out on them in some places. In other places the water was rushing across them so fast we just cruised over the rocks very quickly. There were some mile riffles that made for some quick water. Nearly everyone got stuck at least once in some low water.
The first 5 miles were pretty uneventful. Everyone enjoyed the views. At about 5 miles, we stopped with another group (who left a few hours before us from the same spot) for lunch. The opportunity to stretch was welcomed by all. Most could not believe that there were still 7 miles to go! But we were moving very quickly. According to my GPS, we were averaging 3.9 miles per hour. Much faster than we expected.
After lunch we took off again. We had magnificent views of Mt. Ascutney and surrounding mountains. Very quickly the Cornish covered bridge appeared and at that point we had about 4 miles to go.
About a mile before the covered bridge, Melvin and Killian snuck up on Jim Dowd and Greg Major and surprised them with a blast of water from a squirt gun (belonging to Jake K and instigated by Larry K). A water fight ensued. For everyone who witnessed it, there was water going everywhere. The deep and loud laughs from Jim and Greg could be heard up and down the river valley. Even looking at the pictures now, itís hard to now laugh about the goings on. Needless to say, Melvin and Killian got soaked. Jim and Greg had the water guns and went out in search of other prey. No one was safe (except Larry the photographer!) and they snuck up and struck on many people. Everyone had a great time and good laughs about the whole thing.
All too son the big field and the red barn appeared. This was our take out at North Star who was very surprised to see us so soon. We were a good 90 minutes earlier than expected and we stopped for lunch too!
All in all, according to the GPS our maximum speed was 8.1 miles per hour. That explains how we finished so quickly. But everyone was tired from paddling and happy to be standing up again.
Once back at camp, food prep was started. We had an exciting addition of corn on the cob which was delicious! That went great with chicken fajitas. Mark Devin surprised us with some Dutch oven made cherry and blueberry cobbler. Jim Dowd had run out for some ice cream which went great on the yummy, hot cobbler. We were all stuffed.
The boys played more Frisbee and glow sticks in the dark while us adults sat in chairs around the fire. There was big conversation going on but in between we were snoozing in our chairs. By 10:30 we were all asleep in our tents. It was a chilly night dropping down to around 38 (per the campground).
Morning came and we were enveloped in a low flying cloud which made it chilly. Tear down came quick. Good food and hot coffee, OJ, hot chocolate was warming and before we knew it we were heading home.
If you didnít go, you missed out on a very fun and enjoyable trip. Maybe it will be one to be repeated next year?
For those that are interested, I will burn a cd of pictures. Please ask or email Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org