Thursday, August 21, 2014

Exploring Green River Reservoir

Last Friday I drove north and west en route to the northeast corner of New York state and Lake Champlain.  Having an extra day off from work and it being a weekday, it occurred to me that a paddle in Vermont's Green River Reservoir might be in the cards.  After all, it's pretty much on the way.

Over the years I've heard many good things about this body of water located in Hyde Park, Vermont about 27 miles to the north of Montpelier.  Green River Reservoir State Park is comprised of 5,503 acres which includes the undeveloped 653 acre reservoir where motorized watercraft are prohibited.  The reservoir has 19 miles of undeveloped shoreline and 28 primitive campsites accessible only by water.
 
The only fly in the ointment was the stipulation that when the relatively small parking area is full, the park is then closed until sufficient spaces open up.  That fact inspired me to hit the road at 4 am and I ultimately arrived there at 8:30 am to find several parking spots still available.  The road into the park from Route 15 is Garfield Rd.  If there was a street sign, I never saw it. 

Once at the park a friendly staff member handed me a map and pointed out some of the more interesting nooks and crannies.  There is a $3 Day Use Fee.

While the skies looked ominous, and there was a feel of fall in the air, it rained not a drop.

Early on I encountered loons...
It had been too long since I'd last heard their call.

Some of the nooks and crannies...

In one such nook I came across a rock doing yoga...

A closer inspection failed to provide an explanation for the rock's perfect state of balance...

Paddling to the NW the reservoir narrowed for a long stretch leading to Beaver Meadow...


At the reservoir's northern tip, just downstream from a beaver dam, this osprey kept watch...
 
 
 
In addition to loons and osprey, other birds seen were belted kingfishers, cedar waxwings, swallows, and blue herons.
 
Heron Cove is closed to paddlers between ice-out and August 1st (for bird nesting)...
 
 
Little Picnic Island is a designated Day-Use Area...
 
...where lunch was enjoyed before heading to the coves at the reservoir's southern end.
 
Until entering the very last cove, not a single bit of trash had been encountered.  In fact, I was beginning to forget what litter looks like.  But then, in the Day-Use area closest to a roadway, the distinctive glint of a beer can was detected and upon closer inspection, this gang of refuse was found clustered in their hideout...
 
Leaving the cove with my newfound friends I watched a young loon receiving diving instructions from a parent...
 
Back at the boat takeout area, park staff helped to ensure the cans and bottles found their way to a proper disposal.  In this case they made an exception to the park's policy of "Carry in, carry out."  It's a policy that has resulted in this place being quite special...
 ...and a place I hope to return to someday with my tent and sleeping bag.
 
Leaving the park, and resuming my drive west, I did the same as the Green River and followed the route of the Lamoille River to Lake Champlain.  From South Hero Island I caught a late afternoon ferry to Plattsburgh, NY.







2 comments:

Bernie Paquette said...

Yup, there is a sign (Garfield Road) however it is indeed easy to miss. Such is often the case with such quiet solitude's abound with Nature's beauty as is Green River Reservoir.

Suasco Al said...

Hi Bernie, I'd read accounts of others getting lost while trying to find the way. It occurred to me that maybe it should be like that. At any rate, it's certainly off the beaten path.
Found a nice history of the place on the Morrisville Water and Light website.