Friday And Saturday Most Recent Posts:
August 26 & 27, 2016 Finally – Vermont’s Hamilton Falls and Overlook Rocks
Winhall Brook Campground A Fantastic Bookshop and a Waterfall Bust
South Londonderry, Vermont
It’s Friday afternoon and I want to hike to Angel Falls again one more time before we leave Winhall Brook. I decide to bike down to the trail and cut the hike shorter to have more time at the falls. Because it is Friday the campground is more full. Folks must live close by or have taken off a little early from work to be here by 3:30.
I lock my bike to a tree at the end corner of the trail where it meets the road.
The trail is rooty, rocky and uphill just like last time.
Eventually the path widens and gets back along the rive though higher up. This is not flat and right next to the river like the West River Trail though given its width I suspect it must have been some sort of road at one point.
There are some good views through the trees.
Lucky for me, all of the campers must be setting up. I have the falls all to myself for my entire visit. In fact, I see no one coming or going on my entire hike/bike. Feels wonderful to have the whole place to myself.
I hang out taking pictures of the falls and enjoying its music. It suffers from the drought but is wonderful just the same.
I’m not a cold water swimmer but I do have my feet in the water most of the time I’m here.
I spend over 90 minutes here and take this one final picture before leaving. This is just such a wonderful spot and so close to our campsite. I’m thrilled to have had it to myself for such a long time.
Not only do I really love the falls but I like the trail coming to and from them as well.
On the way back, in honor of David who is back at the rig doing the never ending “medical stuff” that is required for him to be on the road with his illness, I have some blackberries. I’d bring him some if I had a container to put them in. But I’ve come with nothing but water.
My bike is waiting for me at the junction and I start on back toward home.
I am actually looking at the river on my right while peddling along and for some reason I look up at the road. farther in front of me. Way down there is a dark spot. If it is a rock, it is pretty big and I hadn’t seen anything like that on my way here.
I can’t tell what it is so I stop the bike which by now is closer to it. Now I can clearly see it is moving in my direction. I get out my camera to take a picture.
It’s a Porcupine!!
We stop and stare at each other for a long time. Neither of us moves. These pictures are taken with my zoom lens.
After a while and lots of pictures I decide to try riding by him moving WAY over to the side where he is not which is the river side. As I start to move he does too and moves toward the side where I’m headed. I make a quick turn to the left and get over by the rock side. As I go by he raises his “tail” and it spreads out almost into a flower. He looks like a turkey with quills from the rear. It is really fantastic looking, beautiful really, but my intuition tells me not to stop for a picture.
I am so excited. I’ve seen lots of possums and groundhogs and even a hedgehog in England but this is my first live wild porcupine sighting. When I get back home I look on line for information about the Porcupine. Here’s some of what I find.
A porcupine is a rodent. It has hairless soles on its feet that help it climb trees. It spends much of its time in trees. So watch out overhead. It is a very vocal animal and has a wide-variety of calls including moans, grunts, coughs, wails, whines, shrieks and tooth clicking.
It may have as many as 30,000 quills. The quills are hairs with barbed tips on the end. They are solid at the tip and the base and hollow for most of the shaft. It has no quills on its stomach. The longest quills, up to 5” long, are on its rump and the shortest, about 1/2”, on its cheeks.
Amazingly it is a good swimmer. Its hollow quills help keep it afloat. Wish I could have hung around to see if he was going down to the river to swim across.
The porcupine uses its quills for defense obviously but it doesn’t shoot quills. When a predator approaches, the porcupine will turn its back, raise the quills and lash out at the threat with its tail. The quills detatch easily. The slightest touch can detatch dozens of quills. If the porcupine hits an animal with its quills, the quills become embedded in the animal. Body heat makes the barbs expand and they become even more deeply embedded in the animal's skin. The barbs on the end make them difficult to remove. Pretty sure he was making preparations as I headed by. Glad I peddled as fast as I could as far away as I could.
Lucky for the porcupine, his quills grow back just like hair. Unluckily for the porcupine because he’s a fairly large animal for tree climbing he falls out of trees regularly and then sticks himself with his own quills. Lucky for the porcupine and his enemies each quill has a greasy coating that contains antibiotic material which protects the porcupine from developing infections when he accidentally sticks himself. Lucky for me I got to see him but not up tooo close.
Wonder who pulls his quills out for him? Not me that’s for sure.
This morning is our last visit to the Londonderry Farmer’s market. This market is one of the finest small markets I’ve seen anywhere and it’s one of the reasons we keep coming back to Winhall Brook, one among many reasons.
How about the scurvy ad! “Fight Scurvy Drink Lemonade”.
If there were an award for “best display of carrots for sale”, this would win it.
David’s on his way to stock up on Veggies at the Clear Brook Farm booth.
He’s inspecting his choices.
They are many.
Subjecting the melon to a more serious test.
Of course there are two or three vendors selling maple syrup. We purchased ours last week.
Clear Brook Farm is at the far end of the market which is bordered by the West River. It’s everywhere.
A more scenic location for a farmer’s market I have never seen. This is the view from the market’s far end.
When we arrive back at the campground to begin packing up for our move tomorrow, one of the women from the ranger station is cleaning up after a black bear who tried to rip off the dumpster lid despite the bear bar in an effort to get to the cheesy yellow popcorn that someone didn’t want to eat.
After two wonderful weeks here at Winhall Brook, tomorrow we are on our way to the Delaware Water Gap, a place we’ve never been. We’re really excited!