Our quest to visit every Vermont State Park continued as weather warmed in 2019. As the kids get older (9 and 11 now, how on earth did that happen?!) summers seem busier and other activities push into the summer camping season. We chose to clear the schedule, though, and include family and outdoor time. Watching and coaching our kids’ sports is great but it’s important to remember that a picnic in a park or a short, quiet hike is equally rewarding.
Our summer camping adventures this year included 3 new parks: Mount Ascutney, Wilgus, and Muckross. As we now have farther to travel to get to new state parks, we are checking them off a bit more slowly. In addition to the new ones, we returned to a local favorite, Elmore, for 4th of July and also took a fun day trip back to Burton Island.
We were excited to include a family mountain bike ride at Mount Ascutney. These are the moments we have been looking forward to, when our kids are big enough to do some of the things that we love to do! There was a great, kid-friendly trail right near our campsite that was perfect for beginner mountain bikers: long enough to feel adventurous, but not so long to be arduous for little legs pushing heavy bikes. There were a couple short, steeper hills, but for the most part everything was rolling and “totally do-able” as my mountain biking group says.
We also drove up the mountain road and took the short hike to the summit and fire tower. The hike up includes a loop, so we went up one way and down via the other branch of the loop. I’m really glad we did because there were some massive rock walls that were very impressive and beautiful. The trail was quite enchanting!
Wilgnus was a quick visit to see the Connecticut River and throw a fishing line in. It was also lovely, as all Vermont State Parks are, and seemed a bit quieter and more low key than Mt. Ascutney.
Muckross is a new Vermont State Park that has no infrastructure as of yet. It’s just a road with trees cleared but no actual campsites. Our 1.5 year old dog, Webster, decided he wanted some adventure of his own and took off to an upper ridge of the park. Leah, our daughter, was distraught, thinking that he wouldn’t come back. So there we all were, yelling for the dog, some of us crying, and others of us simultaneously trying to console crying kids while cursing (in our heads) the dog for taking off. He eventually came back but he definitely saw a lot more of the park than the rest of us did. I’m not sure the kids were too enamored with Muckross after our dog’s little venture, but Brian and I at least are looking forward to seeing it again once it is fully developed.
Our goals for the summer of 2020 include Coolidge and Lowell Lake and maybe Jamaica, which I think we have already scheduled twice and keep having to cancel for various reasons. We’ll get there eventually. We have to! We’re on a quest!