Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cabin Life: A View of Vermont

I’m a traitor.  I went to Vermont to go hiking this week.  A friend and I hiked Elmore Mountain to an old fire tower.  The fire tower was open to the public even though it was decommissioned, which is a big change from New York.  Most of the fire towers here have had their first two flights of stairs removed, with the small, obligatory “Warning” sign attached somewhere.

When I went over Sunday afternoon on the Port Kent ferry, the overwhelming view of both Vermont and the Adirondacks was still green.  The shoreline of Lake Champlain on both sides of the lake showed little sign of the cooling temperatures of mid-September.

I met up with Mike in Montpelier and followed him to his house somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  It was well after dark by the time we got there.  We had a small fire and a couple of beers while Pico and Mike’s dog Sadie wrestled with each other and barked at the coyotes howling in the woods, not too far away.  We could hear cows mooing on a neighboring farm and a heavy dew started settling in while the fire died down.

When I woke up the next morning, I glanced out the window to see a gray sky and a fire red maple.  The feeling of waking up on an overcast day with a hike planned was somewhat offset by the brightness of the tree.  The window was open and the coolness made me both wide awake and reluctant to get out of bed.

I knocked on Mike’s door to wake him up for the hike, but he and Sadie were already awake.  After a beautifully fatty breakfast with a lot of coffee, we headed north to Elmore State Park to climb the mountain.  It was a nice trail, and because it was Vermont, basically everyone else we saw had a dog, so Pico and Sadie had plenty of butts to sniff along the way.

When we were done with the hike, we headed back to Mike’s place so I could go home and he could drive down to New Hampshire for a three day hiking trip.  I got back on the ferry in Burlington, and soon realized that the boat was going backwards.  Or, more accurately, the cars were facing backward.

As the ferry left Vermont, I watched as the lake gained in size while the buildings and boats shrank.  Camel’s Hump and Mt. Mansfield stood idly by while we went west across the lake.  I got out of the car and turned around.  Looking at the Adirondacks from the ferry with Vermont at my back, I realized that I while like the vibe of Vermont, it’s not the Adirondacks.  And I love the Adirondacks.

Justin A Levine

Justin A Levine

Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks and is currently living off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.




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