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13 June 2014

Unexpected Rainy Day at Vermont's Groton State Forest

On a day in mid June, I  headed off to spend the better part of the day hiking within Vermont's Groton State Forest, which is less than an hour's drive from my home in New Hampshire.  I've hiked here before. (Click HERE and HERE to read two of my reports.)  

It's not too surprising that there are still locations within the Groton State Forest that are new to me.  Especially considering that it's comprised of 26,000 acres which is Vermont's second largest contiguous land holding.  Mt. Mansfield State Forest is the largest at 40,000 acres.

Although the weather forecast indicated that there was a 20% chance of rain, this was of little concern to me.  I felt fairly certain that if it rained at all, then it would only be a brief shower.  Well, to 'cut to the chase', when I arrived  at Groton State Forest, there was an intermittent drizzle! That was okay for awhile.  However, when the drizzle changed to rain that showed no signs of abating anytime soon, I opted to cut my plans short!

Despite the unexpected poor weather,  I managed to complete two short mini-hikes to locations that were new to me.  One was to Owl's Head, and the other to Silver Ledge.  (Click HERE for a map and trail descriptions.)

Shown below are some snapshots taken during my two tiny treks at Groton State Forest.

My favorite view of the day was from atop Owl's Head overlooking Kettle Pond
Another pleasant view from Owl's Head is the vista of Lake Groton with several 4K peaks in New Hampshire on the distant horizon
Way off in the distance to the west, I was able to get a fuzzy highly-zoomed image of the top of Camel's Hump
This is a photo taken of a placard at the top of Owl's Head.  It identifies some of the more notable landmarks that can be seen. (Didn't realize until later that my photo cut off a small segment of the right side of the placard.)
Also at the top of Owl's Head is beautiful stone structure that was completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1935.

A view from inside the stone building looking out one of the windows
In addition to the stone building on Owl's Head summit, the CCC also built the still exiting roadway leading to the trail that takes you to the summit.  Along this trail are stone stairs constructed by the CCC that are still in place after all these years.  Plus, the CCC built a picnic shelter at the end of the roadway, and it also still exists.
These are a sampling of the wildflowers seen during my Owl's Head hike
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This photo collage shows the beginning of the Silver Ledge Trail (top) and a portion of the trailhead parking lot.  The lightly-used trail leads through a fairly thick forest.  Parking lot has room for at least 4 vehicles.
The view from Silver Ledge is quite limited, presumably due to tree growth over the years.  Big Deer Mountain is directly across from Silver Ledge.  It's the dominant peak seen in center of photo.  (A small portion of Lake Groton is visible at lower right.)
Although the weather caused me to shorten my plans for the day, there are positive aspects. First of all, the two small hikes were both new to me, and they were enjoyable.  Also, now that there is still some unfinished business at Groton State Park, I have a good reason to return to this location for other new adventures!



Karl said...

Very nice, Jon! You take great photos, even on rainy days! That first shot of Kettle's Pond is one of my favorites from this set. It's very nice and colors are great, even without the blue sky.

Do you know why the Civilian Conservation Corp built that structure? It looks really nice. I was wondering if it had a real function of it was meant as a picnic or meet up area. I like how you can see the Lady Slippers in the lower, left hand corner of the pic of the stone structure. Lady Slippers are always a plus in my book.

Great report!

Karl said...

Apologies - I spelt your name wrong, John, in the reply above...It was mistake due to hast in leaving the comment. Sorry about that.

1HappyHiker said...

Thank you Karl for such a kind and thoughtful reply. And please be assured that no offense is taken by a simple misspelling of ‘John’. :-)

I don’t know for certain why the CCC erected the stone building on Owl’s Head. However, I suspect that it fell under the category of ‘Forest Recreation Development’ which was one of the many types of work projects undertaken by this organization.

Although the link below doesn’t answer your specific question, nonetheless it is an interesting article related to the stone structure atop Owl’s Head


Steve Smith said...

You made the best of it, John! That early-arriving rain caught me by surprise also. As Karl said, that photo of Kettle Pond is a beauty.


1HappyHiker said...

Thank Steve!

I surely don’t envy the job of weather forecasters, especially in mountainous regions where there are so many ‘moving parts’ to consider when trying to arrive at an accurate prediction.

Further regarding Kettle Pond, one of my ‘rain-thwarted’ treks was to do the loop hike around Kettle Pond. Among other things, it looks like there would be some nice vistas of Owls Head while overlooking the pond. This will be an adventure I can look forward to doing when I make a return visit to Groton State Forest! :-)


One Day in America said...

Hi John,

I agree with Karl's comment about your pictures - they make this area look like a place worth visiting, even on a rainy day. And all that rain translates into a very green landscape! We could use some of that moisture here.
As you say, in a way it's a good thing that the weather gave you a reason to return to this inviting state forest to complete your unfinished business!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

Yes, the landscape here is northern New England is usually very lush and green from late Spring through most of the Summer months. Many of the areas where I hike are in Growing Zones 3 and 4, and so I think the trees and plants try to make the most of their brief opportunity to grow and be green! :-)

Thanks you, as always, for being a faithful reader of my blog.