Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

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ctyanky
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Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18926Post ctyanky
Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:09 pm

Here is part II of my blissful day in Southern Vermont! I have never taken route 9 from Bennington to Brattleboro and this was an unexpected and perfect "finale" for our 10 hour day trip today. As we got in the higher elevations of the section of 9 before Wilmington, there were significant changes amongst the trees - most notably in tree dulling as well as lots of maples in their beginning stages of turning to reds! If this didn't get my heart pumping, I don't know what will! :shock: Vermont's trees are lush and healthy and the canopies full! Maybe Charles or someone familiar with the route 9 topography can clue me in as to why the color emergence decreased after we reached the midpoint in Wilmington? Perhaps an elevation change heading east on 9?

Anyways, this is the first time I've passed the Harriman Reservoir and it was gorgeous. Full of boaters enjoying the summer weather on a top 10 day in Vermont! Again, as I saw it, the most color change was apparent from Woodford through Searsburg west of Wilmington. I think in the next 10 days the highlands will show a lot more color. Charles is the kingpin here on this area and hope he chimes in with updates!

Loved the view at Hogback Mountain as always, but geesh, cars need to SLOW DOWN! Pulling out of the spots is taking your life in your hands! Not to worry, ate more pastries and apples from the Apple Barn to calm my nerves! :wink:

Lovin' Vermont and can't wait to get back to Townshend and Chester for their craft fairs and more back roads, the weekend of 19 and 20 September!

It is going to be a nice season and let's not fret about the warm weather. Please let Mother Nature catch up and let her open her curtains to autumn in Vermont! :wink:
CT - Board Admin and Moderator for Scenes of Vermont
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Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot


courtmel
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18928Post courtmel
Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:32 am

I am happy to read your post about the beginning of the leaves changing. As you know, here in CT we are suffering from a drought. I haven't been following Vermont's weather but hope we all will be able to enjoy a long, beautiful autumn. IMHO, I can't imagine anything surpassing 2014. We have been coming up for years. Last year we came up the last week in September and didn't know where to look first. It was a visual thrill of a lifetime. I am praying to the leaf goddesses to put on another spectacular show this year. Once again we are coming up the last week in September with hopes of a repeat performance. ctyanky, what is your take on last season and what this season might look like? I just don't want to have a rainy 4 days which has happened more than once! Nothing worse than riding around in the pouring rain...
autumn leaf

ctyanky
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18930Post ctyanky
Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:50 am

Hi courtmel!!! Glad you are coming up again! Yes, we are in a moderate drought here in CT but expecting rain Thursday and Friday. I agree with you, nothing worse than riding about in rain when in Vermont for foliage.

I was not in VT for my extended trip in 2014 but was up there on many day trips in the southern tiers. I don't know if I can truly post a take on the season there out of fairness to others who were there. I spent most of my time in northern CT and western MA which were outstanding.

My take on this season? Probably in two weeks, a week before I leave, when the weather settles down, I will have a better idea! Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the last of this gorgeous (albeit unfortunately dry) summer!

I don't think anyone has any idea of what is to come yet because things can change in a heartbeat and there is no value in fretting over what we can't control. Mother Nature holds the reins! :P

From_the_NEK
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18934Post From_the_NEK
Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:07 pm

there were significant changes amongst the trees - most notably in tree dulling as well as lots of maples in their beginning stages of turning to reds!
I spent the weekend at the Stillwater campground in Groton and observed similar trends in the changing of the leaves. The reds are definitely getting ready to emerge.
Needed rain is coming this week which will hopefully re-hydrate the dulling leaves and improve the coming color.

deaner1971
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18938Post deaner1971
Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:50 am

CT,

Do you know if the viewing areas for Hogsback Mountain are only open when the store is open or are they accessible at all times?

Also, have you, or anyone else, ever done the hike to The Great Cliff (Brandon Gap on the LT)? It looks like it might be a good vantage point for some morning photos.

Thank you!

Dean


ctyanky
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18941Post ctyanky
Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:03 pm

Hi Dean: I'm almost certain the viewing areas are open despite the hours of the store. I did some research and found this link. You can get your answers there for sure if I am not correct.

http://www.hogbackvt.org/

I'm glad I found this link because they have fall 2015 guided hikes and I'm so excited about this find! I love hiking! If you are up in VT during the gang's timeframe I would be happy to join you hiking somewhere. JustI finding the time is a challenge due to our current itinerary. Do you think you'll be up on September 29th? I am hiking Nichols Ledge in Cabot on a guided hike sponsored by the Cabot NEK Festival. If you are interested, I could also do Elmore Mountain fire tower hike. Not sure when you have scheduled your trip to Vermont?

I've never heard of the Great Cliff in Brandon! Tell me more! 8)

ctyanky
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18944Post ctyanky
Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:30 pm

Dean: do you have this book? I think I'll go buy it. I saw your Brandon hike in one of the descriptions. Looks easy!

Does anyone have another good Vermont only hiking book they recommend? This one does look good.

https://www.trails.com/catalog_product. ... 212#trails

deaner1971
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18954Post deaner1971
Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:22 am

CT,

I saw that website and that is some very interesting reading. I would love to be able to spend more time in Vermont and get to volunteer with some of these groups doing such good work to preserve Vermont.

I looked at some additional photos of the walkway around the store (that seems to be the best vantage point for photography but, please someone correct me if it is not) and there appears to be access from the parking lot that would not be governed by the store being open (the pictures I had seen previously seemed to portray that the access was only via the store).

I had also debated the fire tower at Mt. Olga but, ever picture seems to show dirty/foggy windows as the only views from the top.

The Great Cliff looks like a decent hike. It rises 600 ft over 0.7 miles for an effective 16% grade which isn't too bad. I am just hoping that the grade isn't misleading. I have a short hike in Ohio that I love but, its whole 200 feet of elevation rise are in the first 400 feet! The whole hike is 4 miles so, that wouldn't look bad if it was spread out but, it definitely is not. Hope that The Great Cliff doesn't have all of its 600 feet rise right at the beginning. Especially as I might be driving straight there and hiking up before sunrise. Trying to do a steep grade after 10 hours in the car maybe not be one of my better ideas.

I do believe I have that book but, I need to go check the Vermont section of my books at home and make sure. If not, I will have to pick it up.

I plan to drive up and go straight to The Great Cliff and be at the cliff for daybreak. Shoot until light gets too harsh or until I feel like I have the shots I want. Hike back down and check the Mount Horrid (who names these things?) overlook which has a beaver pond and "The beaver pond is a good place to search for wildlife, such as moose and beaver..." (https://fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_MEDIA/ ... 315856.pdf)

I wouldn't mind starting off the Vermont trip with a moose sighting in a non-collision experience.

I plan to drive to Stratton (my base this time) on a circuitous route via 100 and the Stratton Arlington/Kelly Stand Road (scouting for locations) with a stop at the Chiselville Bridge.

After that I will try to get some food and check in at Stratton (dump cards, charge batteries, wash the road grime off, etc...)

If I am running late, I will shift to Equinox Pond and, if very late, the Old First Church for my first day morning shoots.

I am doing three days and they will all be mid-week so, I will probably have to wait to catch up with all of you next time.

With two little ones, it is much easier for my wife if I am gone during the week, rather than the weekend. I am bring the whole family with me next year and staying for a week or more so, I will have more than enough days to join all of you for a shoot or two!

My planned shoots are (and please, all of you, give input on any or all of these):

Old First Church
Equinox Pond
Hogback Mountain
Lye Brook Falls
Hamilton Falls/West River
Stratton Pond/Fire Tower

And whatever I see on mid-day drives around my beloved Southern Vermont.

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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18965Post ctyanky
Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:54 pm

Hi Dean: this sounds like quite an action packed trip! I hope you got your lodging??? The Hogback overlook is accessible from the parking spaces on the road to the wooden bridge so no worries about it closing with store hours.

I had a post awhile back on the Stratton fire tower and you should get unobstructed views from the top. A little shaky with wind so keep that in mind and don't recommend taking a tripod up there due to little space on the upper platform.

The views are incredible. I love fire towers and have climbed a couple in CT. 360 views are the best with views of surrounding states. I like seeing all the lakes and peaks of other mountains.

Are you still driving up Skyline Drive?

Have a great time and sorry we'll miss you! :(

deaner1971
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18973Post deaner1971
Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:58 am

CT,

I hate missing out on seeing all of you too.

I am hoping that next year my job will have a changed slightly and I will be less calendar dependent. That way I can match up to everyone else's travel schedules a bit better. Going early would also allow me to venture farther north than I have gotten to do to date.

Great to have the Hogback access verified. I am planning for that to be a final morning shoot. As I want to stay farther south that day to speed my journey home.

My lodgings are at Stratton so, my plan is to do that hike as either a day starter or a day ender. I may end up doing it twice with one golden hour for the fire tower and another for the pond. That may change (see below).

Skyline presently stands as a "maybe". I destroyed the brakes on a brand new car on that drive years ago (the car had a brake recall so, I need to let that go but, it gets stuck in your head) and I am driving a new car again so, I have this unnatural reluctance. Also, I am bringing the family next year and I know I will do that drive with them (rental car!). I also wish they would also extend the hours. 9 am to 4 pm isn't the best timing for us photography nuts!

The amount of hiking is going to be aggressive and will lead to some early rising (and careful headlamp guided walking) but, I want to get a bit outside of my normal shooting tendency of shooting within close proximity of the car.

The shakiness of the tower is not thrilling me and may cause me to rethink that one. I had strong winds on one of my days at Gettysburg and my shots from one of the observation towers there ended up being unusable. My plan to shoot from Stratton in lower light will mean I will need a tripod and longer exposures. Both seem less than conducive to the tower, as described. There is also the fact that I am not a huge fan of heights and I find it hard to compose photos well when I cannot pry my white knuckled hands from the railing.

Utah Baker
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18975Post Utah Baker
Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:07 am

Dean, we will be spending our last four days ,Oct 10-14th, in Wilmington. Since you know southern Vermont, could you offer some things to do and see in that part of the state. Thanks, janice

deaner1971
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18976Post deaner1971
Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:25 am

Janice,

I full disclosure, Charles knows it far better than do I. That said, I am more than happy to help but, will defer to him if he weighs in.

What are your interests? Are you looking for photographic locations or are you looking for the whole gamut? If the whole gamut, at what level of activity (e.g. moderate climbing in the cards or more of a historical tour)?

I will be driving/climbing like a madman but, if we are in the same vicinity at about the same time, let me know if you want to meet up and say "hi".

After all, I have to take breaks from energy bars and have real food at some point.

Thanks.

Dean

ctyanky
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18977Post ctyanky
Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:27 am

Hi Janice: not to overshoot Dean's expertise in the area but here are my top choices from past years:

Some of my “favorites” in Southern VT:

Bennington:
Carpenter Hill Road
Robert Frost Grave
Old First Church
Bennington Monument
Blue Benn Diner
Poppa Pete’s

Manchester:
Mt. Equinox Skyline Drive

Stratton:
Blue Bird Express Gondola for views of Somerset Reservoir

Dover:
I have some nice back roads if you are interested
Dot's of Dover

Dorset:
Dorset Quarry
Dorset General Store

Danby: (continue on to here from Dorset)
Danby Road, Danby Four Corners

Arlington:
Kelly Stand Road to Grout Pond
West Arlington Bridge
Chiselville Bridge

Beautiful SO VT towns:
Newfane, Grafton, Putney, Chester
Grafton Cheese Factory
Grafton Inn
Newfane churches for photo ops

Wilmington:
Lots of neat shops, eat at Dot’s
Hogback Mountain scenic overlook route 9

deaner1971
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18978Post deaner1971
Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:17 pm

Ct,

That is a fantastic list!

My only adds would be:

Stratton - the ski resort is set up like a Nordic town. There are some cute shops and restaurants there for your before/after the gondola.

Jamaica - great coffee shop, walk along the West River in Jamaica State Park, follow the spur from the trail to Hamilton Falls and/or enjoy the view from Ball Mountain Reservoir. Also, nearby is the Scott Bridge which has great views from the rocks slightly upstream.

Manchester - local art at Southern Vermont Art Center, breakfast at Up for Breakfast, walk around or dine at the Equinox, shop at the Orvis flagship store, shop at Northshire Bookstore, stop at the Perfect Wife for dinner (or later for live music and drinks), drive to Bromley Moutain (north on 30/11) to ride alpine slides, Equinox Pond has gorgeous views (on weekends it is often host to weddings so, try and go early on those days and park in the allotted slots and the nearby houses are cranky about parking and you will be towed) and/or tour Hildene.

Utah Baker
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Re: Today in VT Part II: Route 9 from West to East: Emerging Color in the Highlands!

Post: # 18979Post Utah Baker
Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:23 pm

Ugh!!!!! Just found out that due to a computer glich, the reservation we made last night did not go thru, and someone else snapped it up! Not sure where we will end up now, back to the drawing board. Man you got me all excited with your wonderful suggestions, hopefully someone reading can make use of them. Dang, but I'll keep looking! :oops:


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