White Water Release 092609

This past weekend we headed to VT to check out the white water release in Jamaica (they only release from the dam in the fall and spring).  Check out our travel journal here and photos here.

On Thursday I checked room availability at a few hotels in Brattleboro(2 hrs from our house…our destination was 45 minutes from that)- I couldn’t book anything as we did not know what time Todd would get home form work Friday night- and it appeared that there would be rooms at the places I had in mind.  Friday night around 7 pm we headed out and arrived in Brattleboro a little after 9 pm.  We headed to the first hotel I was looking at – they had 3 rooms available..all smoking-  allset with that.  Next hotel, booked.  One after that, booked.  Ok, now I am getting a little frustrated…apparently a lot of people were on the same page as me that day and decided to head North without booking a room ahead of time (of course, foliage season has started and there were alot of folks in the area for the white water release).  To make a long story short- all of the hotels in the area were sold out!  Thank goodness for the GPS- we were able to find a room 20 minutes away in Keene, NH.

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After not so many hours of sleep and about 4 oz of coffee (not good!) we were off!  I will add that it was COLD (37°), but refreshing.  On our way to our destination we drove through Dummerston– had to stop and see the West Dummerston Covered bridge (as a child my parents would take us there often to play in the CT River- the water is low, clean, and clear)- and Newfane.  Travels brought us through Townshendwhere we saw the famous gazebo from Chevy Chase’ movie Funny Farm , a cool cemetary, and finally Scott Covered Bridge

We finally arrived at Jamaica State Park!  We were fortunate enough to be able to park next to all of the kayakers (when we entered the park, we were told we had to drive a mile back to park…then a guy came up to us and was like..park here!).  As we were getting the kids ready for our “walk/hike” we were able to observe the people getting their gear on to go brave the white water rapids in their kayaks and canoes.  After walking a mile out-of-the-way (some worker gave us wrong directions, which basically brought us around the ENTIRE campsite!) we were where the action was.  There were tents set up to buy new gear and food (some people were selling used equipment…holy crap is that an expensive sport!!).  As we headed to the beginning of the West River Trail to Ball Mt. Dam, there were two trucks parked waiting to be loaded- one to carry canoes and kayaks and the other to carry the enthusiests.

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The main road on the hike was one lane to the base of the dam, so we had to either squish up against trees along the river or trees along a mountain like cliff (…or if we were lucky there was an area for a pull off) when the trucks drove by.  Along the way we stopped to read about the wildlife in the area and off course, take pictures of those crazy people riding rapids (water temp that day was 58 degrees, air temp was 61 degrees and windy).  Initially, I didn’t think the hike was as long as it was- it is 2.4 miles to the base.  We did it though!  The dam was so tall and the water gushing out of the lock was just so incredible to see.  On the way back Jake had a little trouble- he had to go #2 (!) and the port-a-potty was “full”- he couldn’t do it in the woods either (he was finally able to go in a clean bathroom at the beginning of the trail…which was an hour away from where we were); then I stepped on the corner of his shoe because he wasn’t paying attention…so Todd had to help him out;  finally, he wanted to hitch a ride back on one of the empty trucks because he didn’t want to walk anymore (believe me, I thought about it but we didn’t!).  In total, we hiked 5.8 miles…it felt good! 

The next stop in town was over at the Ball Mt. State Park.  So beautiful- at one point I just sat on the ground taking pictures while Todd was in the car with the kids…I could have stayed there all day…it was so quiet.

After my quiet time, I was in desperate need of some caffeine!  What better place to go than the only coffee shop around…Jamaica Coffee House.  Awesome coffee, hot cider, wraps, chili, HUGE blueberry muffins, 2 inch thick banana-white chocolate chip bread, pumpkin bread, and apple-cinnamon bread- we went with coffee and a slice of the pumpkin and apple breads.  OMG…heaven!

The Java got us going for our last stretch of the trip.  I had to see the tallest waterfall in VT (125 ft)- Hamilton Falls.  Talk about being “out there”!  We did pass a total of 7 houses on 3 dirt roads (distance of 2.6 miles)- what I like about being “out there” in VT, if someone is out in the yard..THEY WAVE AND HAVE A FRIENDLY SMILE (in most cases)!  We finally reached “Switch Rd”.  WOW!  It’s not even a road but a narrow, STEEP trail to bring you DOWN to the falls.  The hike down went good- Kaleb had so much fun and did really well with the rocks and exposed tree roots.  At one point Todd was like “look up”…and did and got a little spooked.  What I saw reminded me of something out the Blair Witch Project- it looked kind of similar to this but was a triangle with twigs dangling from it (I tried to see how it got there, but couldn’t figure it out…and I was too scared to take a picture of it!).  Anyway…we made it to the bottom…so beautiful (sorry, but there is no other way to describe the things I see in VT)!  The water cascading down the rocks, the quietness, the clear water…just peaceful.  The hike back…not so good!  Steep DOWN = steep UP!!  I thought I was going to pass out, luckily I didn’t need my inhaler (Jake did awesome too!).  That trek was only .4 miles.

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On the way back home I tried so hard not to fall asleep, but with all the exercise and fresh mountain air, I couldn’t help it!  We did stop at Cracker Barrel for dinner on the way home- of all the places, we picked it so Jakob could pick up an exclusive Webkin you can only get there:  the Oppossum.

I wonder where our next trip will be?

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