After arriving back in the USA from our break in Canada, we stopped in Syracuse, New York for the night where we stayed at another Americas Best Value Inn. The next day, we were back on the road and made our way to our 24th state, Vermont. We were now officially in New England and the scenery around us instantly changed. We were suddenly surrounded by mountains and greenery after weeks of being surrounded by flat plains. Vermont is known as the Green Mountain state and that is exactly what we were looking at. As a result we’d decided to make use of the tent again and go camping for the next four nights. First stop was the Half Moon Campground in Hubbardton, where we would be spending two of the four nights. We’d checked the weather and it said it was going to rain and that there was a chance of a storm. Feeling brave and not wanting to miss out on the great outdoors, we threw caution to the wind and pitched up anyway, making sure to cover our tent with the tarp we’d bought to ensure the rain couldn’t get to us.
Once we were all settled, we went for a walk around the campsite. We were situated right by Half Moon Pond with had a small beach so this was our first stop. Once we’d arrived, Barry regretted not bringing his camera so went back to get it. Whilst I waited by the pond, I could see the sky turning from blue to grey and the clouds started to move over me. In the distance I could see rain starting to fall. It only took Barry about five minutes to grab the camera and come back, but by the time he returned, the rain had reached us so we ran back to the tent!
Luckily the rain passed over pretty quickly and because trees overshadowed our site, we were able to sit out and cook our dinner. Soon after, we retired to our tent to watch a film and get an early night, for tomorrow we were going on a 4½-hour hike!
After a nights sleep which saw us stay dry throughout a storm thanks to our brilliant tarp covering skills, we got ready and started our hike that would see us walk about 8 miles. The track took us through a number of places including Beaver Meadows, Moscow Pond and finished at Glen Lake. This trail didn’t have a man made path like ones we’d done previously. Instead it was a real wilderness trail where we had to play ‘spot the blue mark’ to know which direction we had to head in. That was all part of the fun though and made the trail much more interesting.
As we made our way through the woods, we saw lots of intriguing wildlife that we’d never seen before, such as a little orange newt. Once we’d seen one of them, we started to spot dozens along the trail. They were only about an inch long at the most so we had to be careful not to step on them. We also saw a little yellow frog, which again was tiny at only about 1cm big. And this trail also saw the start of Barry’s obsession with photographing mushrooms – but I’ll tell you more about that in the next blog!
After we’d been walking for about two hours, we finally reached the lookout point over Glen Lake, where we had an amazing view of the lake and the surrounding mountains. It was the perfect place to stop for some lunch. Luckily the flies that had been following us along the trail decided to stay away whilst we ate. They were more of a nuisance than the ones in Australia. Not only would the normal flies you get be swarming round our faces but there were also little ones that were attracted to your eyes. I had to pick at least three out after they became wedged between my eyelid and my eyeball! We were doing the old Australian wave along the majority of the trail.
Once we rested, refuelled and cooled off, we got back on the trail, where we walked round the edge of the lake and then out into an apple orchard. This saw the end of our wilderness trail and now it was just a long walk back on the road. This was the hardest part. We were hot, sweaty, exhausted and the road was mostly up hill. After about half an hour, we finally made it back to the campsite entrance and after another 20-minute walk through the surrounding woodland, we made it back to our campsite. I’ve never been so happy to see a pair of flip-flops and a chair!
The next day, we packed up our tent and made our way up north to see some famous sites of Vermont. First stop was the world’s tallest filing cabinet. I have nothing else to say about it, except it was bizarre.
Our final stop in Vermont (and the most delicious) was the Ben and Jerry Factory. Vermont was the home of the ice cream factory so we felt that we just had to go there. We booked ourselves a tour upon arrival but we had an hour to wait. The place was rammed. Apparently they get over 300,000 visitors per year and this was the busiest time for them due to it being the summer holidays. With an hour to kill, we took a walk to the flavour graveyard. Here lied the gravestones of all the flavours that had been and gone.
Once the hour had passed, we made our way back to the factory to begin our tour. We were shown a film all about Ben and Jerry and how the ice cream makers began and then we were shown where the magic happens and the tubs get filled. We weren’t aloud to take pictures in case any of us were spies from Haagen Dazs and took back their trade secrets. The final stop on our tour was the best part – the Flavo Room. Here we got to sample some of the tasty delights and today’s treat was the old favourite Broccoli Cheddar Chunk – mmm? Unfortunately, they had sold out by the time we got there, so we got stuck with the Cotton Candy flavour. I wasn’t going to complain though, as it was yummy!