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

Henry David Thoreau

No Idea Where We’re Headed–Two Hikes in Vermont

Sunday and Monday                                                              Most Recent Posts:
August 21 and 22, 2016                                                         Grandma Miller’s & The Answer – South Londonderry VT
Winhall Brook Campground                                                    Loons & Carnivorous Plants – Paddling Lowell Lake VT
South Londonderry Vermont



We decide to do the short half mile trail that runs primarily behind the campsites in the woods.  It comes out at the end of the campground road and is a mile round trip if you come back on the road by the river.





We acutally didn’t know there was a stream on the other side of this trail.  It feeds into the river of course.


Mushrooms everywhere.  They are so bright on the forest floor.


And if they are not bright then they are many.




The trail dead ends into another which take you, to the left, down to the road near the West River Trail so you could access that trail without walking the road.  I tell David I’m going to the right instead to see where this trail goes.  He doesn’t want to climb the hill so he heads back to the rig.




There is no indication where this trail goes.  It isn’t marked in any way except by the well worn path so someone is using it.



I think this is my favorite mushroom of the day.







From the ruts, it looks like someone is not obeying the rules.  I keep going, along the edges.



Shortly I find myself coming out onto a gravel road. 



For no reason in particular I turn left and end up here.  I seem to be in a sort of a subdivision.  I follow the road on to the right.  As long as I can remember how to get back I’ll be OK.



I come around the corner and find a half dozen houses with lake front property.  This is not Lowell Lake so I have no idea what lake it is.  I didn’t know there was a lake this close.   Walking along, on the other side opposite these very nice houses
I see this little pull out and something in the woods.


What is it?







Once I’ve hit 2.5 miles and the road seems only to be going on and on with houses, I turn around and do find my way back to the path and more mushrooms I didn’t see the first time.

This one is teeny tiny.  I wear a size 7 shoe.  I wouldn’t have seen it at all if it weren’t such a bright orange.






Unlike a lot of people, I don’t really have a desire to know which ones are edible.  I’m not willing to take any chances at all since the consequences can be quickly fatal.   I just really enjoy looking at them, their shapes, their colors, their sizes, their designs, such amazing creations.




The little stream along the way babbles and sings.  My favorite music.



I spend some time sitting nearby enjoying the small cascades.  They have such lovely songs.




Soon enough I’m back at the spot where David turned back.  The sign from the campground tells you to turn left here rather than go straight ahead if you want to take the Winhall Woods Walk from the lower edge of the campground to the top where we are. 



This is the third hike we’ve been able to take from the campground.  We find out there is one more. That’s for tomorrow.






We have now hiked in 3 different directions from the campground so it’s time to check out the 4th.  We don’t know we’re going to do this actually.  We just want to take a closer look at some of the “lean tos” that the campground has at various sites.  There are some on our side across the bridge on the short stretch from the bridge to the electric loop and some down a dirt road to the left just before the bridge.   It’s these latter we go to see first.

Before we cross the bridge I want to walk down close to the brook.




When we get down there we look up and a 5th wheel is starting across the bridge.   David is carefully watching and says he doesn’t think he’s going to be able to make it without taking off the side of his rig.



He goes forward and back and has clearly changed his mind about going over there but can’t get himself backed up.  Not sure if he is new or what.    We left him at this point for fear of sticking our noses is or making him self conscious and went on around the bend in the brook.








There is a nice sand bar on the edge during relatively low water times like this.  We have seen and heard people in the water here but not this morning.



By the time we get back, the 5th wheel is gone and we are glad he got out of that spot.  Unfortunately we later learn from the ranger that he went on down to the north side and got into another situation where a tow truck had to come and extricate him.  Not a good day for him for sure.

The lean-tos that we drive by on our way to our site do not have screening over the front and we speculate that this little group of 3 in a small clearing near a tributary of the brook do because of bugs.  With these one you could easily just bring your sleeping bag and set up camp inside and forget your tent.   There is a nice open area for family fun or a group of 20 somethings.   The water is off to the left beyond the second lean-to.






Nice little private water place to play in for this group.



Of course David discovers Nature’s free snacks.   I know about wild apples and pass on a bitter bite. 







We head back across the bridge to see the non screened lean tos.  There are another 3 overlooking the brook but they are right across from the paved dumpsite circle which wouldn’t appeal to me particularly





From there we notice a path going along the river.   We hadn’t intended to go off wandering around but who can resist?




Eventually it widens  into a road and at one point has a gate across it like the two which are at the trailheads of the West River Trails.  We’re not sure where the park boundary is. 



We follow the road along the river.  I have the same problem I always do.  What do I look at?  The little cascades, the lovely water or the other side of the trail.



Here are a couple of things on the other side.



I’m very excited to see this group of Indian Pipe which looks like a fungus but isn’t.  It has no chlorophyll, so is not green and thus cannot make its own food.  It is a parasite having a relationship with a fungus and a tree. It takes nutrients from both and is found most often under American beech and pines along with types of parsitic mushrooms.  Its roots tap into the mycelia (thread-like roots of the mushroom) and takes nutrients from it. The mushroom takes its nutrients from the tree which also takes nutrients from the mushroom. The tree and the mushroom have a symbiotic relationship but the Indian Pipe is a parasite.   It lives where there is decaying organic matter close to tree stumps.  Just more ‘Nature Is Amazing’ facts!!



I listen carefully but I don’t hear the rock singing “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”.




Untimately, as all roads from the campground seem to do, this one comes to a house.


We keep going though to see where it ends.  It continues to follow the river.



On the non river side, some folks want to make it very clear you are not welcome to come up their driveway.




We’re still right along the river when the road ends at a T and a bridge is to our right.  We walk across to see the river or brook or whatever it is.




There’s only one house across the bridge and the road then seems to go up and into nowhere.  So we turn around and follow it a bit in the other direction past some very pretty houses.




Looking this way, you can see the road we came up from the campground on angling sharply off to the left just immediately at the end of the bridge.



These houses are all fairly new and have lovely perennial gardens.







More houses the further we walk but we are walking away from the river so we turn around and head back.  As we turn down our gravel road we notice the sign warning those whose GPS has gotten them this far that they cannot access the campground this way. 

“NO ENTRY TO CAMPGROUJND TURN AROUND”.   Guess you’ve been told.  Sure hope no one reading this  is in a big rig. It will take some doing to get out of here although Jodee could no doubt do it.




More lovely views of the river.




On the opposite side is a piece of a nice rock wall around a huge rock face.  I wonder who built it and why.



My second favorite sighting of the day is a mushroom not a parasite.  Wonder if the water will draw in some insects for a drink.  I love its shape.







This is the last house we pass before we are back behind the gate and on the path to the campground.  What a beautiful view from here.



This is the 4th hike we’ve found from the campground.  We had no idea where we were going either time on these last two but we managed to keep from getting lost.  I love it when I don’t have to drive to enjoy the natural world.   But tomorrow I am driving in order to hike a section of the AT in the Green Mountains of Vermont.   It’s my 4th AT hiking state.


  1. You've captured some beautiful scenery here. Those tree roots growing around that rock remind me of some similar scenes I've seen here.

  2. LOVE all the mushrooms! Such beauty and variety! It's always nice to find unexpected treasures right from the campground!

  3. You two always seem to find the best places to hike. Bookmarking your Vermont adventures so we can retrace a few of your steps in a couple years when we head back that way.

  4. Collection tank for maple tree sap

  5. What beautiful woods for walking and exploring.

    I can't believe anyone pulling a trailer of any kind wouldn't be well aware of where they can and cannot fit. How embarrassing to have to be towed out of a spot.

  6. May I suggest that you visit Hildene-The Lincoln Family Home that is close by your location in Manchester

  7. Lovely woods. Vermont is certainly very pretty! That big rig driver must be like me...no depth perception...probably was overly optimistic about his driving abilities. Not fun. Neat mushrooms...so many colors!

  8. Nice hikes right from the campground. Hiking along water is always a treat:) What gorgeous, colorful mushrooms!! I keep forgetting it is still summer in your posts. Lucky you to spot some Indian Pipe:)

  9. Those houses are lovely. Nice to have some pretty flowers and gardens around them. More nice mushrooms too. I don't really like mushrooms, so I wouldn't have any problems with knowing the poisonous ones, I avoid all of them!

  10. Isn't it true that fairies live and move around mushrooms? With your fascination about mushrooms, I'm getting suspicious you might have been a fairy in a previous life... :cD

  11. What pretty hikes...need to do a little exploring in Vermont!!! You final photo is beautiful...what a view!

  12. It's always great being able to hike right from your campground.
    That Indian Pipe is so amazing!

  13. We love when we can hike right from our campground! The Indian Pipe is so beautiful—I'm always delighted to come across it in our hikes, but we don't see it very often. The trumpet shaped coral colored mushroom is wonderful, too—I don't think I've ever seen that one.

  14. Oh how I miss the song of flowing water. The only shroom I see here that I'd eat is the Puffball, if it's fresh. What a drag to get your RV somewhere you don't fit. Very nice you can hike so much right from the campground, even if there are houses.

  15. I love all the exploring that you find to do. No where in particular can often reward you with unexpected sights as I take the time to really see all that surrounds you. I too would not ever take the chance to sample the mushrooms or fungi as I would surely be the dead example but I love taking the pictures of each one. It is an amazing world filled with such variety.

  16. Next to birds, wild animals and flowers my other favorite nature offering are mushrooms/fungi. I find them interesting but your orange one that is triangle shape is new to me.
    We were in Vermont for only three days and did mostly touristy stuff. Now i know there are hiking trails right from your campground.

  17. Your mushroom discoveries are so beautiful, love the little yellow ones. Thanks for the vote of confidence on the blocked road - yep, I think I could do it :-))) Love the Dead End Dino sign - guess they got tired of folks saying "Sorry, didn't see a sign..." The cascading water and well-hugged rock are equally fun and magical. What a great couple days on the trail.

  18. Love that last mushroom, never seen one shaped like that myself.


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