It seemed as though real spring would never arrive, but overnight, the leaves popped and it was here. Most of these are in the town of East Montpelier, VT.
- Black Lives Matter, Vermont State House
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- 2019 International Biathlon Union Trials
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- 2018 Super Tour Finals @ Craftsbury
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- 2011 NCAA Nordic Ski Championships
- Craftsbury Eastern Cup
Category Archives: Spring
A funny spring so far: warm and then cold with snow sweeping across the highlands. Now we have the leaves ready to pop and the mountaintops are white. Makes for a nice contrast of green and white, but warm temperatures are coming and in about a week it will really look like spring. These are all in the stately rolling town of East Montpelier, VT.
It started snowing in early November in Vermont and kept snowing, with a few rainstorms in between, well into April. At its deepest, the snow on top of Mt. Mansfield, the highest point in the state, reached 10 feet. And the manmade snow on the ski resort slopes hung on well into May. These pictures were taken May 5 and people skied for weeks after that, skinning up the slopes on climbing skins and gliding back down on corn snow. A winter and spring to remember.
It was all big: the barn dance in Dave Rowell’s big yellow barn in East Craftsbury, VT, last night; the crowd (hundreds); Dave himself (at the mike with the Starline Rythmn Boys); the fried chicken sandwiches served up by the Craftsbury General Store; the rebound in the barn’s wooden floor when the band played Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On. The biggest Northeast Kingdom social event of the spring. To benefit the Craftsbury Public Library and the Craftsbury Chamber Players. Only in Vermont does a rockabilly band play to nurture the appreciation of chamber music.
Happened to be at Class Day at Yale University last week. It’s a convocation of all the graduating classes, undergraduate and graduate, the day before commencement. A big, colorful event. We could make some jokes about the fact that Yale calls it Class Day, but in some ways it was one of the most diverse events I have been to: many colors of graduates, many languages. I was stuck with no camera except my lowly iPhone 4S, but it worked.
Spring is on the move in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, in this case in Albany and on the ski/bike trails at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. You be the judge about the wind turbines.
The April you want is not always the April you get. Especially in this state. From my favorite viewpoint on the North Branch of the Winooski River, Montpelier, VT.
Montpelier, VT, above; below, Green Point, Brooklyn, NY; all the rest, East Montpelier, VT. All taken with a Fuji X-E1, except the whitewater photos. The X-E1 is small retro-looking camera with an electronic viewfinder and a relatively large sensor (APS-C), that is now on sale all over the place because the X-E2 is out. Doesn’t quite fit in your pocket, but smaller than a DSLR and with a sensor as big as most entry-level DSLRs. X-E1 review here. If you wonder why green is a big deal around here, look at the shades of brown in the April post below.
The St. John River is just about as far north as you can go in Maine, paralleling the Quebec border where the river begins in the ponds, streams and bogs of the North Woods. It runs 418 miles from the middle of nowhere, north and then east and south to the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. The St. John is surrounded by land owned by paper and lumber companies. You pay their fees ($24 per day per person) to run it and you spend hours rattling over their dirt roads (made for logging trucks) to get there. But the Maine branch of The Nature Conservancy has bought 40 miles of shoreline, there are no dams on the northern reaches, and the river feels wild and remote like few, if any, others in the Lower 48. For mile after mile, tinged like tea from the tannic acid of the woods runoff, the river turns past shores lined with spruce, fir, pine, and poplars and birches in their lightest spring greens. It is narrow and shallow at the top but grows wider and deeper with every branch and brook that enters. It’s northern river and shore country, but for the East, it’s also big sky country: big expanses of weather stretching out over the trees and water. It has to be run during spring runoff because, barring storms, it’s too low in the summer.
Paddling down the river last week we saw moose every day, including a calf so small it must have been only a few days old, and a big moose splashing across the river in front of us, high-stepping from shore to shore. Unfortunately, it also rained every day, culminating in an all-night rain, followed by an all-day rain, headwinds, rising water and plunging temperatures. When we pulled off, a day early, record river heights for the date, snow and temperatures in the 30s followed. We were happy to head for the Northern Door Motel in Fort Kent (La Porte du Nord, as the sign says) and burgers at the Swamp Buck. I should have more pictures of the rain and foul weather and the big white- and brown-topped waves in the Big Black Rapid, but — except for the one of Lisa and Andrew and their border collies Rigby and Nitro, below — I kept the camera in its waterproof box when the weather turned bad and stayed bad. Need to get a waterproof housing. And I need to go to Maine more often.
A classic article on the river is John McPhee’s 1976 New Yorker story, “The Keel of Lake Dickey”, which describes a trip down the river and concerns that the proposed Dickey-Lincoln dam would flood much of it. The dam was never built.