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A Porcupine and I Surprise Each Other

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!


  1. We've never seen a porcupine in the wild before. Thanks for educating us about them!

  2. As Jim and Gayle mention thanks for the information on porcupines - never seen one. But so impressed that you had the falls to yourself! Unheard of on the left coast!

  3. Porcupine...so cool!!! Love that farmers market. Sure wish there were more local markets that were "Farmers" markets and not just resellers.

  4. OK, That's it!! We are convinced. We will be going there in the spring. We need to take our new tagalong someplace near and that is the best place that we know of. LOL
    Hope that we can make the bend and clear the bridge :)

  5. A porcupine is one of the coolest animals ever! What a great sighting! We've seen one once in Grand Teton NP. How very exciting for you.

    You were so very fortunate to have the falls all to yourself...that is my kind of day out in nature!

  6. Love the porcupine! Great photos:) Beautiful farmer market! Both falls are lovely:)

  7. The porcupine is darling! He looks soft but I know he's not. Poor things falling out of trees. Why wouldn't they stay on the ground? They do have a pretty good defense system. The falls are beautiful. I can see why you'd want to stay there. I love water and the sound of water moving. The carrot display is really beautiful! xxxooo

  8. I saw a porcupine once just walking along the side of a road. I didn't get much of a good look as I was driving in a car at the time. You sure had an amazing encounter, how cool to get such great pictures of the little guy! :c)

  9. I drove by a porcupine early one morning who turned around and raised his tail and quills. I was glad I was in the safety of the car!

  10. How delightful to have the trail and falls to yourself. Those rocks are so sculptural. And then to see a porcupine, how cool is that. When I did beading a friend brought me a roadkill porcupine for the quills. I couldn't believe how many there are. Gonna' miss that market.

  11. Never seen a porcupine in the wild. Mui's known to give melons the sniff test, too.

  12. Porcupine medicine is Innocence, with a very interesting lesson to go with it. How wonderful to encounter one in the wild - at a distance :-) Love your water pics and that you got to spend so much solitary time in a lovely place. I agree the carrots are beautiful, like a bouquet of bright flowers :-))) I know I'm going to see wonderful things we missed at Delaware Gap a couple days ago, but snow was knocking on our back door :-(

  13. How cool to see a porcupine like that! They have such cute faces:) Can't wait to read about Delaware Water Gap and how you liked it. Lovely place!

  14. I've only seen a porcupine once, crossing a trail. You captured this one beautifully!

  15. Steve is so jealous you have sighted a porcupine! He has been wanting and wishing for that rodent to cross our paths. Now knowing how deadly those quills are I should not approach it should we encounter one someday.

  16. What a fun encounter. The only one I have ever seen was walking towards us down a trail in Acadia last summer. We just kept backing up to a trail junction to let it go by. I love how they walk humped up with the appearance of bowed legs. I certainly don't mind doing hikes over and over again. For me part of the experience is exploring for the first time a new location but the other aspect is just experiencing the wonder of nature and being open to all the little discoveries of vegetation, lighting, weather differences and animal appearances. I can drink in all of those differences over and over as they make each visitdifferent for me. Awe, the wonder of nature!!!

  17. I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to ride past the porcupine. I'm currently in CO visiting the kids and have Clear Creek with walking n biking trails behind the RV park and an organic produce market just down the road, so I'm a happy camper as long as we get a mild winter.

  18. Love the photos of you by the falls. I'm always happy to repeat hikes, too—there's always something new to see. I've hiked the same trails in our hometown of Ashland thousands of times (really!) and never tire of them. And how cool that you saw a porcupine! We've never seen one in the wild. Beautiful farmers' market—I agree the carrots win "best in show." :-))

  19. What a beautiful little guy and a great looking market! And, so nice that you had a good bit of time by yourself with feet in the water - looked divine!

  20. Thanks for all the porcupine info, one animal I've never seen either I know they spend a lot of time up in the trees and therefore out of sight.

  21. Sorry to have missed that porcupine! What a wonderful encounter that was. I have never seen one in the wild that I can recall. Nice that you had the falls to yourself for such a spell as well! Another great day to be outside in nature.

  22. Wow a porcupine I bet that is a rare sighting in the middle of the day! What beautiful falls I am glad you had so much uninterrupted time there to enjoy. The farmers market looks fantastic. I like that candid shot of dad smelling the melon.


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