From my new place of residence in Keene, NH, the big storm yesterday seemed like kind of a dud. Yvonne and I had been planning to try a dayhike on Monday just to explore the area some more, so when we awoke to sunny, blue skies with crisp, dry air, things seemed perfect. We got a late start and headed over to Mount Ascutney, another monadnock a little further away than the Grand Monadnock looming over Keene.
|From Blood Rock, the White Mountains to the left and Cardigan on the right. Down below is the swollen Connecticut River.|
The first indication that anything was not quite right was that the bridge over the Connecticut River on Route 123 was blockaded by fire trucks and police cars. Hmm. Continue along Route 12 North until the next bridge lets us across the river, I guess. We made it into Vermont at Bellows Falls just fine, but the reason for the bridge closure jumped out at us as soon as we passed that first bridge. The river, normally flat and dull, was several feet higher than normal, muddy brown and rushing along with bits of debris. At Bellows Falls, the river looked like something out of a horror movie. People were lined up along the road and bridge, snapping pictures and looking generally bewildered. Islands in the river were completely submerged, the only evidence a few unhappy-looking trees sticking out of the chocolate milk.
With that behind us, though, it seemed as if nothing had ever happened. The road to Ascutney was dry and clear, just like the sky. We showed up at the Windsor Trail, had a relaxing and steep climb to Blood Rock (views of the White Mountains and Mount Cardigan), then Castle Rock (views of mounts Sunapee, Kearsarge and Monadnock), and the observation tower at Ascutney’s summit (views of everything from before, as well as Killington, Okemo, Stratton, and more). What a gorgeous day! The streams on the trail were the only indication that a tropical storm/hurricane had hit the day before, and even they weren’t running much harder than after a normal day of showers.
|Killington, due west of Ascutney, looks perfectly peaceful today.|
While the news from Vermont continues to sound pretty nasty, let’s also remember that we at least had a beautiful day after the storm. Get well soon, Vermont. I still want to hike the Long Trail one of these days.