Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Lowell Lake – a spectacular Summer Solstice

Friday June 21, 2013
Site 27, Winhall Brook COE Campground
South Londonderry, Vermont


You meet the nicest people at campgrounds.  

Our neighbors Tom and Diane from Massachusetts have come to Winhall often and they save us a lot of investigative time by suggesting things they’ve enjoyed seeing and doing here.   Most of the things we do for the next several days were suggestions they made to us.  And I was so busy listening and thanking them that over the course of the 3 days they were here I never once got their picture.   I’m really sorry about that.  One of the biggest drawbacks of doing a post after the fact by even a day or two is that some things you discover you don’t have, you cannot get.

Tom and Diane tell us about Lowell Lake.  We decide to celebrate the Summer Solstice with a paddle there.


Lowel Lake



Lowell Lake is a natural lake, undeveloped with no facilities.


No camping, no restrooms.   It is actually a State Park and I hope they don’t do anything to change it.  The park was created in 1981 when the state purchased 207 acres from the estate of Arline Weiss Gardner on the southern end of Lowell Lake.  The area included the dam, a cemetery and what they called an “informal car top boat launch”.   This is all here today along with a very small parking lot for those boat top cars.  A perfect lake in my opinion, natural and no motors.


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In 1996 an additional 154 acres were purchased which included a former summer camp with a rustic lodge and numerous lakeside cabins, two islands and a residential structure used now as a caretaker’s residence.  Now there’s a job I might like to have.   The property includes some significant wetlands.






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On a board in the parking lot they explain that there is a plan to rehabilitate and use the lodge and cabins but that has clearly not happened so far and they are falling into disrepair.  But if it does happen it will really change the character of this beautiful totally natural spot.

There is also a loop trail of 3.5 miles that circles the lake and from which you can visit the summer camp buildings and the revolutionary war era cemetery.




But we are here to kayak and experience the lake.


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We tend to paddle around the edges of the lake to see what’s going on in that zone between two habitats.   What we find here is that this lake should be called Beaver Lake.  All day long we never saw one of them but their lodges are all over.  7 in all.  A couple are clearly old but the others look  like they might well be housing beaver families.   The architects have a variety of styles.  Don’t you think at least one of these guys would want to come out and slap his tail at us for noseying around so much??


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We spend the entire day here just drifting along by the banks discovering one thing after another.


The lodge and cabins from the camp.   One cabin has a green roof.  Not exactly the kind currently being designed but it’s pretty none the less.

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We are really surprised at the absence of waterfowl on the lake.  True we are not there in the early morning or the early evening.  David hears a loon call but we never see him.  This cormorant is definitely king of the rock here.   No one else around but us paddlers.


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Today may be the first official day of summer but many of the flowers we see are those of early to mid spring in Virginia.   


Mountain Laurel by the water reminds me of Ohiopyle.  This time VERY pink.



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Blue flag is abundant.

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Not everything is happening along the shoreline.  Some of it is happening on top of my boat.  Apparently these lovers think it is still spring too.   I’ve never seen a chain this long.   Usually only two.


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The banjo frogs are serenading us.  I can’t find them but this green frog poses for me instead.  Look at the size of those ears.  All the better to hear you with my dear.


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In all this wonder, the huge highlight of this day for me is when we see these flowers. 


I’ve been trying forever to see pitcher plants and today they are waving their amazing flowery flags.


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These two guys better be careful how closely they explore.

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Once we’d spotted them with their flowers, we began seeing them everywhere with and without the blossoms.   Notice the other carnivorous plant at the base of the pitcher below.

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Again once I’d seen the Venus flytrap they too were everywhere in huge clumps. 

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   Growing on fallen logs.

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Look who else has found them.  Clearly too large to be in danger of being trapped.  I didn’t see these blue damselflies until I was putting this post together.   What a surprise!


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This has been a really exciting day for me.  I am definitely a happy camper.   But it’s not over yet.

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David’s more of a tree man so he hangs out underneath this giant hemlock while I take just a ridiculous number of pictures of pitchers and their flowers and the Venus fly traps.


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Can you help me identify either of these beauties?


  These little pink bells are thick along the shore in some sections of the lake.  

**update thanks to Sue Malone I now know the little bells are Twinflower.  And thanks to Jan Goldfield who identified the white flower as Arrow Arum.   I do have THE very best readers!!!


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There is beauty everywhere I look.


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Just can’t get enough of these.  All too quickly the flowers will be gone.


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The clouds and the grasses are stunning.   This day is just marvelous all day long.   Everywhere I look is beauty.  I spend a lot of time just laughing out loud at my great good fortune on this special day.


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Doesn’t this guy look like he’s telling me to buzz off?  If I used Picasa and learned my lessons at Rick’s IT school, I could have given him a thought bubble.


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What a spectacular paddle this was.  It really does seem to me that I have the most wonderful experiences on the Solstices and Equinoxes.   They are special days for me and this certainly was one.

And this is only part of this Solstice day but clearly the later afternoon will have to wait for another post.

I hope you had a spectacular Summer Solstice day too.



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  1. Good day for sure. I've never seen that kind of pitcher plant nor a Venus fly trap. Nice find!

  2. First you bring beaches alive on your posts, now it's the lakes! So happy for you.

  3. Nice place to paddle around. There must be a a bunch of beavers in that lake.

  4. Looks just like our western twinflower, Linnea borealis, although I would imagine maybe there is eastern version of it. It is an indicator of nice moist forest out here. Of course I pinned this lake for kayaking someday. Beautiful, Sherry!

    1. Thank you Sue. You are exactly correct it was the twinflower. So good to know!!

  5. Outstanding! What a perfect day. Thanks for sharing!

  6. It is a great looking lake,bet it held a few nice size fish in it also...

  7. Lovely, peaceful lake ... and pitcher plants to boot ... hallmarks of a great day for a nature lover.

  8. Oh, what a beautiful place you have found there. Love it! Your pictures of the flowers and wildlife are amazing. So glad you enjoyed you very peaceful day on the water.


  9. Beautiful pictures and what a beautiful lake. It's definitely on my to-see list. Thanks for sharing your Solstice with us. What a perfect day.

  10. A great way to spend a special day! I loved all your photos, and especially the ones of the pitcher plants and flytraps.

  11. I've said it before and I'm saying it again.... nature is the bomb... all that stuff you just posted?! flowers and insects and amphibians and calm serene water and green and blue ... amazes me each time I see such beauty ...

    I never thought about frogs having ears ... especially big ol ears... no kidding. hah! frog ears. hahaaaa

  12. Absolutely a special day with stunning pictures of nature's wonders. How great you were there to enjoy this wonderful day and took the time to share it all with us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    A slice of heaven on earth for sure! :c)

  13. What a wonderful day. If you had had more wildllife and birds to entertain you you probabably wouldn't have even noticed all the wonderful finds that showed themselves to you. Variety is indeed the spice of life!

  14. Oh...My.. that is beautiful. the red flower is a helibore (sp), mom called them her 'Lenten rose' have one in my yard. very pretty in the 'wild' kayaking looks so fun, relaxing, one with nature...

  15. Your white flower with arrowhead looking leaves is an Arrow Arum (Peltandra virginica).
    They are bog plants and will also grow in water. Beautiful photos. Love reading your words.

    1. Jan thank you so much for this identification. I hope you see this comment since I don't know how to contact you by email.

  16. Imagine this... Yesterday, we were hiking the Coastal Trail at Quaddy Head State Park here in Lubec. At the end of the trail, we went through a bog and there were Pitcher Plants everywhere!!! The first time I had ever seen one also:o)) I also took photos of those little pink bells and also need to find out what they are???

    Great Lake... Fantastic Kayak Trip!!!

  17. What a beautiful day that was! The flowers are so unique and beautiful. I liked the cabins, the turtle (giving you attitude ;) ) and the frog with totally round ears. Nature is amazing!

  18. Well Sherry, today was probably as close as I will get to having a kayak ride. You gave me the paddle of a lifetime. Thank you. So, so beautiful too.
    Laurie and George and Joe and I had a wonderful time getting acquainted over lunch at a restaurant near our home and we plan on taking a Sunday drive to Cedar Creek Fish Hatchery soon to see where they work. Blogging is a wonderful way to see the world or at least the USA through your eyes until we can be on the road again. And it's a wonderful way to meet new friends.

  19. No, we unfortunately did not have a wonderful summer solstice day. Nothing special here, but thank you for sharing yours.

    What a beautiful paddle you had despite not seeing much waterfowl. The flowers and plants were spectacular and you captured them so well in your photos.

    I was glad to see the pictures of the beaver dams. When we were hiking in the GA mountains at a stream, we saw some huge piles of trees like in your pictures. We wondered if they were beaver dams, but decided the trees were way too big and probably just fell down into the stream. Maybe not.

    I have never seen a beaver. Too bad you didn't see one on that paddle.

  20. Wow, what an amazing place to paddle. The resort looks like I remember a Great Aunt had on a lake. Being a caretaker there would be awesome. Then maybe you could be slapped by a beaver ;) Those flowers are magnificent. I've never seen venus fly trap in the wild. You certainly did have an awesome Solstice morning, and afternoon too.

  21. We were loading our Uhaul but we had a very nice dinner with our friends afterwards. I love a lake with no motors- the best place to paddle


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