(HOST) Every fall commentator Ron Krupp makes a pilgrimage to Central Vermont to celebrate the season.
(KRUPP) It’s late autumn and we’ve already had our first taste of winter with a heavy, wet snowfall, especially in the higher eleva- tions and along the spine of the Green Mountains. About a month ago, I took my annual canoe camping trip to Green River Reservoir.
My dog, Kaily Girl, had always accompanied me – until her death in the summer of 2003. She was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a great water dog who never sat or lay down in my old weather beat- en canoe. She could swim for more than 30 minutes before head- ing for shore and always set the pace.
Green River State Park is a 635 acre area, which includes about 19 miles of shoreline, the longest stretch of undeveloped shoreline in Vermont. This unique area supports the breeding of the com- mon loon, a universal symbol of wilderness.
I go to Green River because of the beauty and the fall colors – and, of course, the loons with their sounds of wildness, and the Cana- dian Geese who come in the middle of the night honking like they’re in a traffic jam.
This year was a bust. No frosts and little color. The patchwork quilt of the autumn reds and yellows was muted, like grandma’s faded comforter.
Two years ago, it got down to 15 degrees fahrenheit by morning. And daybreak was cold but glorious. The sun lifted slowly in strong reds and filtered through the trees and grayish/white mist on the water. I quickly packed up my gear and soon I was out canoeing. I wanted to experience the full strength of the cosmic rays with their warmth and sharp light. I could see the reflections of autumn color in the calm waters. There was a mix of green and red with hints of yellow and orange.
It wasn’t long before I found two loons, a mother and her young one, in a small cove, diving for fish. I didn’t want to disturb them, so I kept my distance and followed their progress with a pair of binoculars as I listened to their longing cries.
Behind them along the shore was a beaver searching for saplings for its lodge. What a morning!
I canoed back to the put-in area and carried my canoe and gear up to my car some 30 yards away. I wasn’t surprised when there were no other cars or campers in the parking lot. The cold had kept them away. And I thought of my trusty canine companion of 15 years whose presence was with me throughout the trip. Her spirit lives on.
This is Ron Krupp, the Northern gardener.
Ron Krupp is a gardener and author who lives near Lake Champlain on Shelburne Bay.