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Weekend Walks

redpoll

I went for two long walks last weekend. Along the way, I enjoyed my Vermont backyard from bottom to top. On Saturday, Marion and I wandered the Champlain Valley lowlands that stretch from our front porch south to Button Bay, making our way back home along the wooded shoreline of Lake Champlain. Then, on Sunday, 4000 feet higher up, I shared a walk to the summit of Camel’s Hump with a group of friends.

Saturday’s walk gave us a chance to pause and observe. We walked at a relaxed pace, stopping to identify tracks in the snow, and wondering why the robins had lingered past such a cold, snowy December. I took the time to photograph a flock of unknown birds that flew in tight formation across the wind-swept farm fields.  We eventually identified the red-capped cutie as the common redpoll. Marion is very good at getting me to slow down and experience my surroundings a little more intimately.

camels hump

Sunday’s hike was equally enjoyable, yet for very different reasons. It was a physically challenging walk that took us to one of the state’s most exposed mountaintops. Camel’s Hump is Vermont’s third highest, but it is the most “peak-like” among the three. Our route took us on a loop, up the western slopes on the Burrows Trail, over the summit to the Long Trail and down the south face, eventually returning via the Forest City Trail.

camels hump

The winds and the ice at the summit were strong enough to make balance and footing treacherous as we began our descent. No time to linger on this walk. We paused on the summit only long enough for a quick photo before heading down. Next stop, Nick’s house for a soak in his wood-fired hot tub and a hearty, home-cooked meal.

camels hump