Camping 2003 - Smugglers Notch

Camping 2003 - Smugglers Notch State Park

Smugglers Notch is a favorite hiking area of mine. It's on the opposite side of Mount Mansfield from Underhill State Park, and the views are worth every mile of the trip.

The camp site is all new this year with free showers (yeah!) powered by solar panels on the roof. The staff kept the toilet facility immaculately clean. The roads to the camp site and parking areas were all freshly paved.

Our site (#17) was well hidden and required walking in from a small parking area. It's actually to the left of Smog (my car) and about twenty feet down.

When we took the stairs down from the parking area, the site became visible.

The area was spacious, with room to easily accomodate three large tents, the picnic bench, the fire pit, and a good wood pile.

A typical Og camp meal. Although it should be noted that other guests are fed a more balanced meal.

Ernie made what I named a "squash grenade" by hollowing out a summer squash and filling it with a peeled garlic, an entire stick of butter, and two Jalepenos. Fortunately, I didn't take part in consuming that side dish.

Jaime was a bit camera happy, but we appeased him. :) It is a cool camera.

Something resulting in ROTFLOL always occurs during the card games.

While describing the close approach of Mars, Jaime stared in its direction. (Although that must have been difficult with a finger in one eye.)

Proper drinkin style. There's only one manly way to drink a growler: over your wrist.


We really need to get that camp fire under control.


What evil lurks in the woods of Vermont?'s just an Og.



As with any good fishing story, the tale is bigger than the fish. :)

On Saturday in the area of Stowe and the Notch the fish were nibbling. But after about 4 hours of trying none bit. Ernie noted there had been a lot of rain the past week or more, and so the fish had already eaten plenty from the debris the rain brought done. Certainly seemed that way since they would swim up, take a small nibble without quite catching the hook, stare at the bait, then swim off. Trout can be cruel.

Sunday was a lot better, although hard earned. On the way down I-91, I stopped in Windsor (conveniently near the Harpoon Brewery again) at the Mill Pond. The lake is small, but big enough for a healthy fish population. People kayaked and a bunch of us fished.

I started off into the woods guessing the fish would be less spooked out a ways since a couple other fishers, a father and daughter, were near the parking lot and not being very quiet. I set off a mighty cast....and the line dropped almost straight down. My fishing line got tangled inside the reel. All that could be done was to let out as much line as possible and dangle the lure in the water. Just like Saturday, however, the fish were only nibbling. I walked a bit further out and found a nice secluded spot. The only problem was it was down a steep slope with no flat area at the bottom for good footing. It just went almost straight down into the water. I used trees as hand-holds to get myself down there and wedged my feet into the dirt. Still nothing biting. I decided to try further along the path, and started back up to the trail. Unfortunately, the tread of my sneakers is worn down, so I slipped and started sliding down the hillside, straight into the water. On the bright side, the water was only about eight inches deep, so the only damage was to my shoes, the bottoms of my pants, and my pride.

I headed back to the parking lot and swimming area. At this point, a group of four women also joined in. I walked further along the fishing area to a little point (just in front of the tree in the below image) to try my luck. One of the women pulled in three small bass within about a ten minute span. A couple of them came out to the far side of the point and tried their luck, but only the one woman had caught anything. Finally, all six other fishers at the site left.

At this point, I decided to try something different. I put on a smaller hook, since the fish did appear to be small with small mouths, and put on one of those bright yellow rubber worms. By plopping the lure in for a few seconds, removing it from the water, then plopping it somewhere else, I got the attention of a small group of what appeared to be bass or perch and a young trout. The trout was as cruel as all the fish on Saturday. But the bass were interested and kept nibbling. Occasionally one would make a grab for it, but not quite catch the hook. Finally, after an hour in Windsor, I got one!

Yeah, he (errr...actually I think it was a she) was only about six inches, but it was a victory for me. I actually convinced already satiated fish to eat more. And tonight I convinced a reasonably well fed Og to enjoy a little fresh catch buried in butter, salt, and pepper while frying. Mmmm....good snack.

By the way, if anyone can identify the fish, I can update the page. (And credit will be given, although I no longer have the fish to give as a prize. :)

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Pictures marked with an "*" © 2003 by Jaime Schulte. All rights reserved.

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