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

Henry David Thoreau

Down by the Riverside - South Londonderry, VT

Wednesday August 16, 2016                                                            Most Recent Posts:
Winhall Brook Campground                                                              Vermont Country Stores
South Londonderry, Vermont                                                            Vermont Hiking-Angel Falls and Beyond



A couple of days ago we took the West River Trail and went South to Angel Falls.  I went all the way to the Ball Dam.  That post is the purple one above.   Today we’re going the other way on the West River Trail.   This time we bike to the trailhead since it is across the brook and through the other side of the campground.

On the map you can see in purple  lettering the “Winhall Campground North Trailhead.   Today we’re hiking to South Londonderry at the very top of the map.

West River Trail






One of the highlights of the hike is being right along the river almost the entire way.



Another highlight is the number of mushrooms.   So many pictures of them.  I’ve tried to pick my favorites but I’ve left out a lot of them.  



The size of many of these is really something.






Don’t think I’ve ever seen them growing up a tree like this before.






David finds a tree limb rope that careless boys no doubt use to throw themselves out into the river.  Lots of rocks down there if you don’t swing far enough.  It isn’t until you reach a “ripe old age” that you recognize how dangerous the things you never gave a thought to in your youth really are.



At first I thought someone had left some trash on this stump.   I thought I’d pick it up and put it in our trash bag.



And then I looked closer.





We don’t have any climbing like on the other side of the trail.  It’s mostly flat but changes from a wide pine needle strewn path to a narrow walk through the grass several times.



Lots of fabulous ferns and big trees line our walk.



This would be a pretty scary tree reaching out to get you if you walked the trail home after dark.


BIG mushrooms but what’s that on top?

I’ve never seen an acorn embedded in a mushroom before.





All along the trail we can hear the water sounds.  It’s really lovely.  Sometimes we are some feet above the water and other times right at the same level.








We’re walking along just enjoying the riverside when I look over and spot this. 



There are a few residents going in and out that dark black hole near the bottom.  You can see one there to the right.



The nests are really beautiful works of art but it’s usually hard to notice that for the instant fear that arises when I see it.  Love my zoom lens which allows me to look at the beauty but not upset the makers.



David, of course, finds other not so scary things on the trail edge.







Those who follow along probably already know that I find the rock walls, which were once the edges of fields, fascinating.   In this case, how did the builder move that huge one over the little stream running down to the river?




So much work totally abandoned.  Makes me wonder what normal part of my life will disappear into the woods over time.





The number and size of the mushrooms along the river side are unusual.



The trail comes out on a gravel road and we assume if we turn left we’ll head into town.


Many different houses are along the road.  This one looks like it has been under construction for some time.  The builder appears to be living there anyway.



We also pass newer completely finished houses



As we near the main road we find that this is an old one.  A National Historic Register plaque names it as the F.O. Pierce House 1850.  She sure looks good for her age. 





We have to walk all the way to town for a bridge to cross the river but we can see interesting houses on the other side along our way..


We reach the end of the road where it intersects with Route 100.  The South Londonderry Train Station has been completely restored and turned into a Visitor Center.  It looks great, except that when we go to the door we find there is nothing inside.  What a shame.  It’s so cute and such a good idea.  Someone is clearly taking care of the lovely flowers all around the station.



Looking south down the road toward the campground.



Looking north across the river.



The West River as it flows through town.



I walk over to see The Pantry.  From a distance I can see it advertises beer/wine, market, sandwiches, Vermont cheese.



But when I get closer I see that it is closed and there appears to be a building permit on the door.  I go up on the porch and find the permit was dated April 2015.  Looking in the windows, nothing has been done.  Wish the Visitor’s Center could tell me the story.  It’s a great old hotel looking structure.



Nothing else to see in South Londonderry other than the homes.  There are no businesses here any more.  Very sad since it is a cute little town but I guess with Londonderry being relatively near by, the folks here go there for services.

On our way back on the trail we find some winged beauties of different sorts.  Just goes to show walking the same trail multiple times and in different directions can provide a variety of new pleasures.

I think this may be Vermont’s State Butterfly the Karner Blue.  Wish I could have seen the back of his wings to know for sure.  He’s an endangered species and quite rare.  The pictures of him on line are quite varied.


Little Cabbage White Butterfly.


What fun we have watching these Red Breasted Mergansers play in the water.   With their red rather than black heads, these appear to be a group of females and juveniles.






We see more and different mushrooms on the way back.  They must have been there on our walk to town but we sure didn’t see them.  Time for some lunch and what a sweet spot. 



We hiked about 6 miles in total.  It is a lovely easy walk along the West River to a sweet little village that I hope will get its Pantry and Visitor Center back.  A fun walk at any time.


  1. The field stone fence marking a field left to return to forest was a real find. So much effort to clear the field of trees, the labor of moving to rocks off it then in time the trees are allowed to return.
    I'd heard of that happening in Europe after the Black Death plague had run it's course, not enough people/need to support the already cleared farm land.

    Thanks for sharing that...

  2. Time spent alone with nature often leads to wondering. That is why I find it wonderful and am so glad you do too! I love this trail in particular and could walk it every day I think.

  3. You nicely point out all the beauty in mushrooms with your pictures, sadly so many of us just pass them by and never look at them. Nature has such beauty even in the smallest creature if you just take the time to look. ;c)

  4. Beautiful day and hike. David, the Berry Man, always seems to find the stash;o))

  5. What a great time I had on our walk through the woods to town. I never saw so many mushrooms in my life. Do you know the poisonous ones from the good ones? Not that I'd pick any--they are beautiful right where they are. These are the kinds of walks I miss so I'll be walking beside you when you go. I'm trying to decide which direction to take, today. Housework to do. Funny how a little trailer can get so messy with just a few things out of place and I have to fix a cabinet this afternoon.

  6. Loved all the mushrooms, my favorite ones were the corral looking one and the yellow one....what great color! Loved the house tour too and the little cabbage butterfly. A great day to be out on a hike!

  7. A wonderful place for a hike. The mergensers look like real characters.

  8. Amazing the different kinds of mushrooms there are. Such beautiful shapes and colors. Nice find with the hornets nest. Good thing it wasn't kicked accidentally!

  9. Love all the gorgeous fungi!! What great shapes and colors! Love that acorn that is embedded in the mushroom cap:) Looks like a super fun hike!

  10. The mushrooms are all beautiful, but the red ones are stunning!

  11. You found so many amazing gems along the trail - fungi are such beautiful artistry. The little yellow one is my favorite. The ducks definitely look like they have bed-head :-)

  12. What an incredible variety of mushrooms! This is my kind of walk, nature and neat old buildings, a little bit of wildlife...perfect!

  13. Looks beautiful. Sad that the town has faded away, but maybe it helped preserve the area in the end. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Your photos of the mergansers are wonderful! Love their mohawk hairdos. :-) Beautiful lavender colored butterfly, too—that would be very cool if it's the endangered one. Love all of your photos of the varied fungi along the trail. The one that looks like a piece of white coral is especially lovely—I wonder if any of them are edible? Expanding my repertoire of wild edible mushrooms is on my list of things to do. (Carefully, of course.)

  15. Love all those colorful mushrooms and bet some are edible. But then I'd settle with the berries. A lovely walk.

  16. Fungi always grab me and you have found so many in your walk!
    Those playful Red Breasted Mergansers have just given me my bird fix :)
    I hope you will be able to confirm that that butterfly is indeed the endangered one, and you can count yourself lucky for finding it and capturing it.

  17. Lovely walk ....beautiful variety of mushrooms on a pretty trail near the water. Pretty houses too. That Karner Blue is amazing.


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