A Place Like No Other


In sharing with a co-worker that I planned to head to Vermont for the weekend alone – without my family – she wondered out loud if I would be afraid to be alone in the “Deep Dark Woods.”  Well no I answered, in fact, I’ll be at the lake, not really in the woods…

On Saturday after some morning errands near my Vermont cabin, I decided to drive from St. J to Craftsbury along South Wheelock Road and quickly found myself in the “Deep Dark Woods” for about 20 miles.  As I traveled along the dirt road, it turned into a rippled washboard.  This was all too familiar to me after having lived on a dirt road in Vermont for about 10 years!  I noticed the houses were looking weather-beaten.  I know that here in the Northeast Kingdom, the winter weather is quite severe and takes a big toll.  I couldn’t help but think that I was in the Appalachia of the north.

I passed one modest house which leaned this way and that.  At the last second, I noticed an elderly man bent over an aged woman sitting on the porch.  Wait, did I really see that!?!

I also passed an area where the trees bent and bowed over the road.  As I passed under the canopy, I saw branches woven through the limbs of two old maples, creating a true treehouse made entirely of trees.  I stopped myself from screeching on the brakes to snap a photo.  It just felt too intrusive.

I spotted a sign indicating a left turn to visit Chandler Pond Farm.  I had been following their Facebook page for some time and had always wanted to look them up.  I made the turn and was rewarded with an old-fashioned farmstand where products were actually grown on the farm!  Being seasonal, they offered asparagus, rhubarb, grass-fed beef, maple syrup, fresh cut flowers, handmade soaps, honey, and a few other odds and ends.  It was self-service and pay into a locked box with a slit on top.

I only had a twenty dollar bill plus a few ones, which I had been saving for the fair in Craftsbury.  This just seemed that much more important so I spent what I had at the farm.

As I left the farm, I happened upon 4 broken-free, not-yet-fully-grown cows, who had wondered out of the field and into the road.  As I slowed to a crawl, they blinked at me and looked guilty as they started to trot back into the field.  I spoke to them in a friendly voice and they hurried away.



Seaweed in a Lake!

“Seaweed is the common name for countless species of marine plants and algae that grow in the ocean as well as in rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.”



I recently spent a week at my lakeside camp in Vermont. I hadn’t been swimming there for a few years. And certainly not since I took up swimming laps at my local pool.

I was unpleasantly surprised by the amount of green things growing in the water. Is it called “seaweed” if it grows in a lake I wondered to myself. It grew so tall in patches that I could make out tiny tips just breaking the glassy water surface. My plan was to skirt the patches as best I could but it proved impossible. As the tentacles grabbed at my feet and legs, I hurried off in a different direction, in hopes of avoiding this more than unpleasant confrontation.

The second worry was the depth of the lake. One old-timer knowingly informed me that the lake is over 100 feet at its deepest, a glacier formed lake! I studied the lake’s depth map over the Internet and wondered if it is possible to swim across while avoiding crossing the most significant depths. I wasn’t confident in my map reading skills or my swimming ability without the security of knowing I can safely stop whenever needed.

At least in the depths, it would be very unlikely to experience the seaweed nipping at me! But while avoiding the depths, I would likely encounter the green stuff. I decided more than anything, I mostly needed someone to accompany me. No suitable companion was evident. Perhaps I’ll wait till next trip and bring a boogie board with a wrist strap to help build confidence in crossing the nearly one mile passage without totally panicking. There – I now have a challenge (or two) to look forward to!