Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bus, Ride, Hike, Camp, Ride - Elmore State Park

My favorite: Oreo-colored bovines.
1:30 p.m. bus ride to central Vermont. Head off on back roads. Not in shape for steep, winding, tough country lanes. Blissful scenery. Buttercups galore, yellowing fields. Admiring cows.

Earlier rain equals good dirt road riding. Dustless and smooth. Mountain views, west and east.

Obligatory covered bridge photo in Stowe. "No trucks or buses allowed. Per order of selectmen."

I'm slow. Transfer to busy route 100. Loud. Ample road shoulders. Traffic turns a headwind into a neat tailwind. Make tracks and arrive at Elmore State Park at 6 p.m.

No vacancy. But it's serendipity. All Vermont Parks do not turn away cyclists and pedestrians. "I'm sorry you'll be far from facilities." I set up in day use area. Under apple tree. Secluded. Big lawn. Ranger housing is only a hedge away. Perfect for me.

Scramble to set up tent. Pack food, water, jacket in backpack. Think ahead. Toss in towel and toiletries, preparing to take shower on way back. No time to lose. I head for Lookout Trail. Purpose of this trip: climb Mount Elmore.

It turns cloudy. I hike fast. Encounter no one else. Push worrisome thoughts away. Watch footing. Thunder rumbles.

Storm never materializes. Enjoy tower climb. 60 steps. My family raved about this hike. I had to do it too.

It's windy. Gorgeous view of Lake Elmore. It's 7:30. After two minutes I descend stairs. Need to move.

Scramble. Take care on way down. Follow blue markers. Stop at overlook. Don't recall this spot, but am blown away by rainbow above water.

Favorite bridge created from one half of crooked trunk. Lovely.
Consult map. Going opposite direction. Longer. Forms a triangle to end where I started. Go for it. Have flashlight, though plan to get down before dark. All alone on trails. Ridge hop on soft, rich earth. Less traveled. Comfortable. Waist high ferns. Eventually cross wetlands. Frogs chirp. Interesting bridges. No two alike. Sneaker sinks into bog. Wet. But I keep moving. Smiling.

Complete loop by 8:30. Take shower. Back at tent site by 9:00. It's a chilly evening. Achy legs. Restless. Wide awake until 1 am. I sleep little. 

Pedestrian/cyclist only bridge in Montpelier.
Next morning I realize I've forgotten to bring matches to light stove. No hot tea. Too early to borrow from another camper. Gobble banana, yogurt. Drink lots of water. On the road by 7:30. Follow lake. Sore legs. Opt to take shorter route back. Still need to manage 50 plus miles. Route 12 is forested. Moose crossing signs. Ponds. My presence elicits bullfrog croaks. I laugh. Wild daisies, paintbrush, purple blooms (I wish to know your name). Long, sweeping, big chain ring downhills.

Arrive in capital, Montpelier, at 10 a.m. Cell phone heaven. Farmer's market. Though without bus service on weekends. I confer with husband. Will rendezvous later to save ugly last miles into Burlington. He's my hero.

Follow Cross Vermont Trail for alternative to Route 2. Dirt roads, back roads. Not well marked. I go 3 miles wrong direction. Disheartened. Get back on track after consuming chocolate milk and overstuffed seafood sandwich. Revived.

Beautiful gorge.
Single track crossing of bridge reveals dirt road. Back on track.
Only single track stretch of any significance: half mile to bypass downtown Waterbury.
Once in Waterbury, I ride familiar ground. Husband's commute. River Road, Duxbury Road, Cochran Road. Deer leaps from river bank, crossing in front of me. Winooski River serenade. Numerous cyclers. Both directions. I cruise over bridge. Swing into park. Meet husband and kids. Happy to be done. Just in time for Father's Day.


  1. Well done! Looks like a successful effort. I need to use a packlist each time or I'll forget to bring something vital. For both the Esbit and my cannister stove I carry both a small butane lighter and a firestick.
    Looking forward to more camping reports.

    1. I used a packing list, but unfortunately matches weren't on it. They will be now! My goal is to put the list on the computer and print it out each time, then check off items. I have a friend that does this.

  2. What a great trip! I like seeing photos of your countryside too, so different from ours. Vicki

    1. Thanks. It was fun, though demanding too, to meet my goals. I like reading others' ride reports also for the very same reason: to see unique countryside.

  3. Looks like it was a great little adventure.

  4. Looks beautiful - makes me want to holiday there. Thanks for sharing the trip


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