The best thing about Vermont is the closeness to
There are a lot of opportunities to interact with wildlife. Most Vermonters
'interact' with a gun. I choose to do my shooting with a camera, though I certainly wasn't
against eating a choice venison steak.
One memorable trip I took in Vermont was to the Northeast Kingdom.
Angie was in Ohio, visiting her parents, so Indy and I took off in the car to explore some
lakes in the northeast corner of the state. We drove around Lake Memphramagog, but
it was too crowded. Late in the afternoon, we continued to Lake Willoughby.
As soon as Lake Willoughby came into view, I knew it was special.
Twin 1000 foot granite mountains, Pisgah and Hor, sit on each side. The foliage
around the lake was starting to turn color. The area was almost deserted.
I drove up an old logging road, looking for a hiking path up Mt. Pisgah. On the way
up the road, I startled a black bear. He deftly jumped up a 10 foot stone wall and
disappeared over the other side.
I drove to the end of the road, and Indy and I made our way up to the top of the mountain.
From there, we sat and watched the light fade, as the full moon rose behind us. I howled.
Indy stared at me, then licked my hand. Howl, you dummy, I said to her. She just smiled
back, and panted.
Finally, we headed down the hill. Just before we reached the car, we were
jolted by a gunshot. It was close. I picked up Indy and ducked behind a tree. I peeked
around the corner. Nothing but a beaver pond. In the dim light, I could make out
Beavers. I carried Indy over and sat on a rock. The beavers were oblivious. For half an
hour, we sat there, watching in amazement, as they went about their business. Finally, my
legs cramped, and I stood up to leave. A surprised beaver slapped his tail against the
water and disappeared. Another did the same, giving me my first two beaver salute.
During our time in Vermont, I also saw otters, skunks, coyote, deer, bald
eagles, and moose.
Vermont in a nutshell:
Fresh maple syrup. Fresh apple cider. Venison steak. If you haven't had
these fresh, you haven't had them.
Rollerblading in downtown Burlington or in Stowe. Great bookstores in Burlington.
Sunrise over the Green Mountains. Sunset over the Adirondack Mountains.
Yardsales. Vermont is Americas' attic. Anyone with a used toothbrush is holding a
For us, though, Vermont mostly meant nature and weather.
Our house was located on Keeler Bay, with two acres of land, and 200 feet
of lake shore. In the summer, we swam and rowed in the lake. In the winter, we
skated and snowmobiled on it.
We sat on our patio a lot, watching rainstorms, snowstorms,
lightning, whitecaps, fireflies, and lots of birds. Ducks and herons were regular visitors
to our yard.
We met a lot of people in Vermont. Good people. Not-so-good
people. Strange people. The usual mix.
The person who stands out the most in my mind, though, is our postman.
Keeler Bay by Moonlight
My first meeting with him was one week after we moved into the house.
I opened my front door, to find him standing there with about 20 letters.
"Are you Glenn Hughes?"
"Why didn't you tell me you live here?"
"How do I know you're here, if you don't tell me?"
Well, the 20 pieces of mail with my name should be a clue.
"That doesn't mean anything. Next time, tell me when you move in!" With that, he
handed me the mail and left.
Keeler Bay Sunrise
The next time was when Angie tried to mail a letter from our box. He
came to the door again that day with more questions.
"Do you know what the bumps in the bottom of a mailbox are for?"
Well, I'd never thought about it, but I am an engineer. They probably lift the
mail off of the bottom of the mailbox, so that moisture won't bother the mail.
"No. The bumps are so that you can set mail standing up. When I drive up,
I can stick my hand in and take away the mail without picking it off the bottom. If
everyone does that, my route will go much faster."
Okay. Not a bad idea, I admit. Can I ask a question?
"Sure." He actually smiled, having won a round.
Why don't you do the same for all of us, if it's such a great idea?
He glared at me for about 10 seconds. "It would take too long." He stormed
I'm convinced that the only thing wilder than Mother Nature is Human
Nature. Even in Vermont.