The Green Mountain National Forest- Grout Pond

For the long weekend, I took Friday off and headed (with Kermit) to the Green Mountain Nation Forest, in Vermont. I have done very little hiking or exploring in the Green Mountains, so I was excited to check it out. Because of a minor injury in my foot, I did not want to do any strenuous backpacking or hiking, but I did not want to just car camp in a packed National Forest or state camp ground. Grout Pond Recreation Area seemed like the perfect fit for what I was looking for. A five-mile long trail circles Grout Pond, and within the first two miles there are several primitive camp sites along or near the pond. Additionally, there are several more miles of trails in the area around the pond. There is a small public access area to the pond, however, there is no boat launch, and motorized watercraft are not permitted.

The forest in this area is characterized by mixed hardwood and coniferous trees. To me, it seems like a semi-boreal forest, with some areas dense with fir, spruce, yellow birch, and the occasional mountain maple. Needless to say, it is very thick, and difficult to bushwhack through. However, we spent a significant amount of time exploring and bushwhacking off-trail.

Jewel weed (Impatiens capensis) is abundant along near shore and in the wet areas of the forest
Normally when I backpack I sleep under a tarp, but since it was not too far of a walk in, I chose to bring a tent, along with plenty of other items that I would not typically drag out on a real backpacking trip. 

Kermit was happy to rest after spending hours walking through the dense forest.
Some leaves are beginning to change 
I used a spruce twig bundle to start the fire. The first night it took me 2 matches (out of practice?), but only 1 the next day.

It’s always great to be out in the middle of the woods, by a fire at night. On nights like those, as I lay down by the fire, and stare up at the stars, a quiet calm settles over me, it is similar to the comfortable sensation one has after meditating.There is something ancient and primal about laying down by a fire and staring up at the stars. It’s an activity that connects us back to our ancient ancestors. Surely as long as humans and other related species have used fire, they have stared up into the cosmos, considering their place in the universe, and wondering what tomorrow will bring.The night sky in rural Vermont was incredible, as clear as the view is Springfield New Hampshire, where I grew up. I was able to see two comets streak across the sky, along with two satellites steadily float by. It was great!
Saturday morning I was up before sunrise, so Kermit and I headed down to the pond to see the calm morning water and watch the day begin.  

The first night and morning were pleasantly chilly (a low in the high 40s)
Kermit waited patiently as I explored the pond during sunrise
A view of the trail around Grout Pond, along a wet portion. 

On the second day, I walked the loop trail around the pond and explored along the shoreline. The trail cuts through several wetland patches, which is where I found this beautiful flower. I was taking photos to ID it, when this energetic bee stopped by!

Fantastic weather
A beautiful fungus 
Gold thread (Coptis groenlandica)

Some of the hobblebush, or moosewood, (Viburnum lantanoides) is beginning to change colors to an incredible deep-purple. 
Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana) is one of the plants I never encountered while was in Illinois. Unlike many edible plants, indian cucumber root has a decent-tasting root. 
Indian pipe! Such a cool little plant
Great-looking shelf fungus on a dead beech tree
I found this beautiful spider while I was out collecting firewood. As you can sort of tell in the photo, I accidentally damaged its intricate web before I noticed it, when I was dragging a dead sapling I cut down.
Even if you’re only able to stop by for a day, I recommend checking out Grout Pond. I certainly hope to make another trip this fall, but with a canoe. 

2 thoughts on “The Green Mountain National Forest- Grout Pond”

  1. Courtney! Great to hear from you, and thank you for the compliment. I just noticed your teach/eat/run blog, it's fantastic! I will definitely be reading it.

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