Biking and Boating ~ a Vermont Idyll

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4th of July Weekend Report

by Patricia Costa-Giomi

 

miramar-lodge
[click to enlarge]
It was my first time at the lodge during the summer, and I took my road bike and my kayak with me with the hopes of putting them to good use. The trip did not disappoint me, the weather was so beautiful, the lodge is so comfortable, and the Miramartians are so nice that it could not have been any better.

On Saturday I joined a group of three guests determined to do a hike that was not a “walk in the park.” Indeed the nine mile, 4000 feet elevation Camel’s Hump trail was definitely a challenging hike, but well worth the effort. The views from the top were stunning, despite the strong winds. In addition, we came across the wing of the B-27J Bomber plane that crashed into the side of the mountain near the summit in a training mission in October 1944 during World War II.

After the invigorating hike, I noticed the sun was still shining on the Mad River on my way back to the lodge, so I skipped Happy Hour, to favor delicious ice-cream from the Sweet Spot while lying on the rocky beach bathed by the end of the day sun.

On Sunday, Rose led the Burlington bike path ride which departed from Local Motion in downtown Burlington right on the bike path at the shore of Lake Champlain. We took the bike path to the end and then continued in the Colchester causeway, a narrow strip of land that takes bikers to South Hero in a Lake Champlain island. An opening in the strip of land allows boats to go through and bikers are able to cross it by means of a cute “bike ferry” that transports you and your bike across the short cut in the strip leading to the island.

Once on the island, Rose directed us to a beach with tables under the trees were we had lunch and some of us went for a swim in the unexpectedly warm, calm and clean waters of Lake Champlain. The water felt delicious after the long ride and the hot sun.

We rode back to the cars and the lodge while everyone in the town of Burlington was getting ready for the largest display of 4th of July fireworks in the state of Vermont (or so they say). I opted to leave Burlington behind and drove directly to Blueberry Lake for a sunset paddle.

Cars were leaving as I put the kayak on the calm waters of the small lake and the peaceful sunset paddle followed by a swim to an island in the middle of the lake was worth missing dinner at the lodge. I managed to put the kayak on the car before it got completely dark, and I did get a chance to have a drink at the lodge upon my return, a fitting end to an awesome day.

On Monday, 4th of July, I decided to celebrate Independence Day with a paddle at Waterbury Reservoir. I used the Blush Hill Boating access to the reservoir, there is just parking and a ramp at this site. The parking lot is small fills quickly, but cars also park on both sides of the road leading to the reservoir.

The weather was picture perfect and by 10:30 am, I was in the water. The reservoir is large, with an area for water skiing and, at that hour, was not very busy with motor boats.  I paddled for a while and settled on a small beach to swim and read. Finally, around 1:30, I reluctantly concluded the time had come to pack up and face the drive home to Summit, NJ. The ride back was cheered, however, with the prospect of a repeat Waitsfield respite come next Fourth of July, though I might try a paddle at Blueberry Lake this October.  I’m told it is surrounded by gorgeous autumn leaved hills in the fall.