Anyways, Kelly Stand Road is such a beautiful drive! The beech trees were really coming into color with some red maples to accent the landscape. The Roaring Branch River was high due to recent heavy rains. You could still see the remnants of Hurrican Irene's damage along side the river but they have done wonders to repairing the road and widening it in many places. Grout Pond was again lovely and we started our hike around what I thought was going to be an easy trek around the perimeter! However, the path soon turned to deep mud in places with many exposed roots. So if you are planning to hike it, wear waterproof hiking shoes and be prepared for a challenging hike dodging some pretty shoe sucking mud. Nonetheless, it was great being in the middle of the forest on such a wonderful fall day. The air was so clear! When we came to the south end, I was pretty exhausted and glad to be rounding the final loop. And then...……..
Lo and behold, there appears a recently fallen HUGE tree right across our pathway. I could neither get to the left or right of it and could not possibly climb over it! Hmmmmm, Charles says, "Wasn't here a couple of weeks ago". Really????? Charles was tall enough to climb over but due to recent soreness from horseback riding I could not even lift my leg high enough to get over even the lowest limb. Now what??? With Charles' help, he moved the largest top branch over and created a small V opening for me to slip through! Boy was I ever relieved! All in all, a great 3 mile (seemed like 5) hike through a beautiful forest!
From there we took Forest Road 71 to his cabin on Somerset Lake and checked it over. It's pretty much "off the grid"! Somerset Road to Somerset Reservoir was such a great drive and the color seems to be coming on stronger here. I've never been to this reservoir so up close and the view of Stratton Mountain was unreal when we arrived at water's edge.
The dirt roads are in excellent shape and they have widened/regraded and improved all the roads above since Irene. I wouldn't hesitate to come here by Columbus Day Weekend, because I think the color will be top notch! Not to mention the absolute beauty of Grout Pond!
We finished the day with a delightful dinner at the Publyk House in North Benn and I said my goodbyes to Charles until we meet again.
Charles, you added such adventure to my first weekend in Bennington and I thank you for being such a fine guide and host and being so PATIENT on the hike around Grout Pond. I'll never forget this wonderful day sharing Vermont's beauty with you! CT
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