Monday, May 28, 2012

SHREWSBURY PEAK VT 35'ER (The "Exploring Vermont" Hike)

I decided to hike Shrewsbury Peak in Vermont, but since it was a shorter hike I would add on a kayak and maybe a swim after. I arrived at the closed gate on the CCC Rd. (closed since Hurricane Irene) and walked a short distance to the start of the Shrewbury Peak loop hike. I ran into a couple who were just getting back from a night on the mountain at the Shrewsbury Shelter. The weather was humid and the blackflies were out. Very soon after leaving the trailhead I arrived at the Russell Hill shelter, complete with a loft!...
I continued on as the trail gradually climbed up through a deciduous forest. I came upon a lot of moose sign along the trail...


The wildflowers (White Violet, Painted Trillium, Purple Trillium) were also a nice diversion along the way as the trail steepened and entered into the evergreens ...


As I neared the summit there was all evergreens and the terrain became steeper...
The summit had mediocre views at best, with a small viewpoint to the South... 


And after a little searching a little nicer view East...
I ran over to the North Peak nearby but no views there either. I headed back to the col to take the Black Swamp Trail down, near the junction was a nice garden of Painted Trilliums...

I stopped to snap a picture of some British Soldiers...
After descending for a short time I came to the Shrewsbury Shelter, complete with a bunk!...
After the shelter I followed the Black Swamp Trail down to a clearing where I took a series of snowmobile trails back towards the trailhead.... 
I stopped to check out some Blue/White Violets? along the trail...
I came out near an old stone building, an old ranger/ski  hut?
The CCC Rd was nearby and just as I reached it I stumbled on a couple Tiger Swallowtail butterflies on some Yellow Hawkweed...
The trip back to the car along the road was easy and short, I passed a family on their way to the Stone Hut to check it out. I arrived back at the Jeep still early in the day so I decided to go for a paddle. I headed for a small lake, Lake Ninevah, nearby. The small boat launch parking area was full on this holiday weekend, but I was fortunate to snag a spot as somebody left. I got my stuff together and pushed out on the nice pristine lake. The first thing I noticed was an island posted as a Loon Nesting Site. There were a few camps along the shores but it was a quiet area and I enjoyed the views and breezes as I paddled the length of the lake...




 I took pictures of a Pitcher Plant flower and a spider on a Yellow Pond Lily...

On the return trip, I heard something in a tree alongshore and was pleased to look up and see two bald eagles right above me!...

video


I also had a Loon pass under my kayak in the water a very cool experience. I was talking to a fellow kayaker about my sightings when all of a sudden one of the Eagles swooped down and grabbed a fish out of the water right in front of us, what a cool thing to see close up!

I headed back and loaded up the kayak. I still had time to burn, so I decided to check out nearby Clarendon Gorge. I drove over to the AT crossing where a group was hauling out a huge load of trash along the trail, enough to fill a pick-up! I checked out the gorge and it was nice...

There were too many people around and not enough decent swimming spots, so I drove to antoher swimming hole further down the gorge. I made my way upstream to explore the gorge and some waterfalls...

 Had to watch where I put my hands...


I came upon a nude guy and his woman and thought I'd take the road back to the car since it would be easier. I explored the cliffs above the gorge when I got back and found some Columbine...
I went back down to the water swam and cooled off and then packed up and headed towards home. 
It was a great day exploring Vermont on foot and in the water!



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