It’s familiar drive by now… over half a dozen Vermont trips now under our belt… the stop-off at the Vermont Welcome Center, the turn through Brattleboro onto Route 30…
Every mile up and down the 8% grades, our four year old shouted, “Mom! That’s OUR mountain!” Miles and miles of mountains tied by a curling ribbon of road.
Emerald Lake can be spotted as a flash of water and lick of beach between the green pines… if you know where to look, that is… otherwise, it’s a mostly hidden gem, and one I’m delighted we’ve discovered.
Our campsite – Apple, this year – had it’s own doorway: two trees growing just far enough apart to walk through! The boys ran in and out and around their “secret” doorway over and over. Or stare at our neighboring campers, hoping their dogs would come over and visit!
Living in the woods for a week is always full of surprises. Like a raccoon who left his curious muddy pawprints all over our bins and boxes. Twin salamanders in their orange coats hiding out under tree roots. And the sudden discovery of a frog by our two-year-old… we still don’t know how he spotted this little hopper.
It was rather chilly this August, so instead of swimming in the lake (which is truly a deep emerald from many angles), we ventured onto the water. First, we tried the paddleboat – quite fun, although a tight squeeze with two small ones. Our baby fell asleep on the ride.
The next day, we took a canoe out and around the small island, landing to have a little picnic and a hike up the rocky slope… where the boys saw a snake! We paddled by water lilies on the way home, admiring their pointed cups of white amid the green.
Our little paddler fell asleep again, dozing on the picnic cooler by the time we beached the canoe again!
We meet all sorts of folks camping… the bearded man with the teepee, a family who turned out to be former homeschoolers, grandparents camping with their granddaughter who played so nicely with our boys. I love how friendly everyone is when you’re camping!
The boys made friends with everyone they saw, it seemed. And enjoyed the beach even though the water was chilly. Guess what? I actually got to sit down for 15 minutes in a row while the boys threw rocks with dad and practiced their karate moves on the sand!
One morning, we got ourselves down to the lake early for a guided hike with the resident naturalist. Our boys outdid themselves hiking for nearly an hour. Inspecting flora and fauna (not much active that morning though!), and observing the work of beavers in the slowly moving stream coming off the lake.
We were sad to see the sun rise on our last morning in camp (our boys wake rather earlier than usual when we camp!). Home once more… and there’s no place like it… even for happy campers.