Winter in the Offing

The October 17th entry in our house journal marked the first measurable snow of the season. Large lazy flakes began to fall as we put the finishing touches on the area under our new barn’s forebay section. We’d had 15 yards of hard pack trucked to the meadow’s entrance on the day before. From there, we moved it, a tractor bucket at a time, through the orchard and to the barn, where we spread it, raked it, checked the grade, then packed it firm. A level surface took shape – a rarity on this landscape.

The snow began to accumulate as both darkness and temperatures fell. The next morning we left for the drive to the Northeast Kingdom and a visit to Meghann.

I hope to get up there someday when the ground is not covered with snow. We came close this time, but the inch or so of white was beautiful atop the remaining colorful leaves that would soon fall from the trees.

Meghann and Andy took us to a favorite overlook to enjoy the sunset. Snow squalls continued to move through the valleys surrounding Lake Willoughby as we watched from the ridge above.

For a brief moment, sunlight shone through and the valley glowed. Beyond, darkening skies and winter are in the offiing.

Our visits to Meghann’s home in the Northeast Kingdom (NEK, or, simply, “the Kingdom”) are relaxing and rejuvenating. (Thank you, Meghann!) On our way back south we decided to hike to the summit of Mt Pisgah, above a Vermont jewel I’d never visited before, Lake Willoughby. The trail up Mt Pisgah passes through a wooded swamp before quickly rising to the top of the cliffs that tower above the lake’s eastern shores.

Late in the foliage season, we hiked through a thick coating of leaves on the ground while each breeze shook more color loose from the trees.

Midway up the trail, snows from the previous day’s squalls remained.

From the summit, views to the south include Burke Mountain and beyond to Killington (which had opened a couple of days prior to claim the prize for the first ski area in the country to welcome skiers for the 2015/2016 season).

Lake Willoughby stretches across the foreground in this view (above) from the north lookout.

On our way back down, we stopped to savor the panorama from Pulpit Rock. Creeping carefully toward its edge, I set up my tripod above a drop that fell away to lake level below. With waters that reach to a depth of over 300 feet, Lake Willoughby is a magnificent, fiord-like beauty that stretches between Mt Hor (background) and Mt Pisgah (on whose flanks we sat).

En route back to Tunbridge, we stopped for dinner at my favorite hometown restaurant, the Colatina Exit in Bradford. Never wanting to take the simple pleasures for granted, I now reflect back on a day filled with everything good – a nourishing mix of family, the amazing landscapes that stretch between Meghann’s home and ours, and a belly full of good food.

 

  1. NikkiNikki10-23-2015

    Beautiful photos, and the lake does look fjord-like! All I know about Lake Willoughby is from one of Robert Frost’s darker poems, but I never knew where it was, and assumed it would be in New England somewhere: ‘To step outdoors and take the water dazzle / A sunny morning, or take the rising wind / About my face and through my wrapper, / When a storm threatened from Dragon’s Den, / And a cold chill shivered across the lake. / I see it’s a fair, pretty sheet of water, / Our Willoughby!’

    • KevinKevin10-23-2015

      Nikki,

      The weather in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom offers plenty of Frost’s “cold chill,” yet there is so much beauty in its raw, and oftentimes harsh setting.

      Thanks for sharing the lines of the poem!

  2. MegMeg10-23-2015

    Great post, Kevin! I always enjoy having you and Mom up to visit and you have once again made some amazing photos. Maybe someday you’ll get to visit when we don’t have snow, but it’s a small target to aim for.

    • Kevin RoseKevin Rose10-23-2015

      Meg,

      Always a pleasure to spend time with you, too!

      And, yep, that moment of green in the NEK is indeed a small target, but I’ll hit it next year. I’ve mapped out a nice 50-mile bike ride from your place, down around Willoughby, then back.

      See you at Thanksgiving!