Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lots of new folks

This year at The Ledges has featured quite a number of new folks, along with some problems.  Saturday of this weekend (yesterday) was a lovely day, which drew people from all over, despite the poor forecast for Sunday.  A lot of regulars have made their yearly pilgrimages as well.  Not too much rope swing activity lately -- but there have been a number of younger folks in their teens and twenties visit this year, which is all for the good.  A couple of weeks ago the Chelsea Mermaid and five of her friends came by, as they have in prior years, and even stopped over to talk to the older folks.  Nice touch! Last weekend and this weekend had several younger folks too, although their interaction with the community ranged from chatty to non-existent.

Water level has now dropped to the point where major amounts of the main ledge, and some beach, are available. This is a big improvement over the way it has been most of July.

The road closure I mentioned in my last post did not happen yet.  It has been rescheduled for the weekend of August 8th.  Please be aware that Rt. 100 will be closed that weekend, for sure.

As for the problems: one of the newer visitors last week picked a spot very far from the main beach area on Saturday, and wound up having some creepy dude set up right next to her and exhibit sexual behavior.  She was rightfully angry about this, and it hasn't been the only such incident this year.  The Ledges regulars do their best to patrol the area on foot and in kayaks, but we are volunteers and our reach is limited.  We reminded this person that, according to Vermont law, the perpetrator of this act was in fact committing a felony, and that she should immediately have asked him to stop, and/or come and notified any of the regulars of the problem.  (She'd already figured out that setting up nearer to the main beach area was a good idea -- that's what she did on Sunday.)

And, if you happen to be one of those people who think that just because you are in a remote rural setting, you can get away with anything, think again.  We take our beach very seriously and will not hesitate to enforce its rules, even if that means calling in the cops.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Road closure

Conditions at the Ledges have been seasonable and nice, especially Saturday and Sunday of the July 4th weekend.  The only downside has been a very high water level, which if anything has been climbing rather than declining.  It's pretty much at historical highs at the moment, which makes for a very cozy beach experience.  Nevertheless, that hasn't much interfered with festivities.

For the weekend of 8/8, however, Vermont Route 100 is due to close between Jacksonville and Boyd Hill Road (the road to the Ledges) between August 8th and the following Monday for a bridge repair.  For people coming to The Ledges from the south, this will be a problem.  The official detour is quite long - 26 miles, via Route 8 and Searsburg.

There is a much easier way, however.  Here's a google maps link showing the route:,-72.8721489/Jacksonville,+Whitingham,+VT/@42.8249381,-72.8494111,13z/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!3m4!1m2!1d-72.8377908!2d42.851509!3s0x89e0e692ec6ebe2d:0xf82a6e6fb8ec481f!1m5!1m1!1s0x89e0e75b0606363b:0x481a3bd1338f555e!2m2!1d-72.8217628!2d42.7970266!3e0?hl=en

In short:

- From Jacksonville, instead of taking Rt. 100 North or following the State's detour, proceed straight up the hill on Gates Pond Road.  Where the blacktop bears to the right, go straight up Parsons Road.  At the top of the long hill, turn a slight left onto Shearer Hill Road.  Descend to intersect Route 9, and turn left.  Turn south on Rt. 100 in the outskirts of Wilmington just before the flea market.  Proceed south to Boyd Hill Road, on the right.

Hope this isn't too confusing, and hope to see you there this weekend!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Life is Good

This past weekend saw temperatures in the mid 80's both on Saturday and on Sunday.  Visitors from New York City who normally don't come up unless there's at least two good days together were not disappointed.  Even the water temperature was a cool but tolerable 64F - although I seemed to be the only one doing any significant swimming.

We did have some rope-swing jumpers for the first time this season.  A few others came by to spend the day who were on break between classes.  It has surprised me lately how few college students stop by at the Ledges even during break times.  I am concerned that we're becoming an almost-exclusively indoor culture.  But there were neighbors from my town in the area, and all the regulars as well.

Next weekend looks somewhat cooler but very sunny.  It is usually the sun that really matters for the Ledges experience to be what it should be.  It's easy to tolerate cooler temperatures on a sunny day than on a cloudy day, and the combination of cold and wind makes the experience more like an arctic expedition than a naturism retreat.  But none of those conditions are forecast at the moment, and if the current forecast can be believed, Monday is going to be a good day as well.  I may take a day off to enjoy that.

The only downside is that the lake level has been rising.  This is typical for June, as the power company accumulates water then to run air conditioning in July.  We've lost almost all the lower ledge now, but with luck that's as far as it will go.  Some years, we lose the upper ledge as well, and then it's really crowded.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Thank goodness winter is finally over

Winter has finally gone.  And a long, cold Winter it was -- followed then by a cool, rainy Spring.  There was so much cold and rain that many of the trees still aren't leafed out, and climate-wise I'd guess that southern Vermont is running about two weeks or more behind.

On the other hand, the power company that owns the Harriman Dam seems to have taken pity on us.  With the rain we've gotten, in years past the lake would be brimming, and visitors to The Ledges would typically be finding spots mostly in the woods.  But on Memorial Day weekend, which is usually the start of the summer season, to my surprise the lake levels were very good -- a good part of the main rock is out of the water, even.  Weather Saturday was rainy, but Sunday was fabulous -- sunny, moderately warm (70's), and with even a few visitors from Chelmsford Massachusetts who were new to the place.  Water temperatures, though, are a very chilly mid-50's (although one person claimed 64, which was totally unbelievable based on my highly-tuned foot sensors).  Monday was warmer still, but with little sun.  Still, I'm planning to attempt full immersion next weekend, weather permitting.  Stay tuned!  Or better yet, stop by!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Calling Noah...

Labor Day weekend was a decidedly mixed bag this year, weatherwise.  Friday was fabulous, though lightly populated.  A new couple from Athol MA made a repeat visit, as well as a couple from the Catskills who had first come to the Ledges last year and were returning for the long weekend.  Other than that, there were a few regulars, but the incipient start of school seemed to depress turnout, even though conditions were just about perfect.  Saturday, on the other hand, was muggy and humid, but with occasional non-severe showers.  Camaraderie was excellent though.  Weather on Sunday was supposed to be about the same, which was good because that's the day the annual Ledges fall cookout/cornroast is held.

Sunday dawned clear and sunny, but by afternoon skies were overcast.  About the time I arrived there was a fairly intense shower, which resolved in about 30 minutes, after which some sun poked through for a while.  Despite the weather, a lot of people showed up and once again the camaraderie was good.  Food was distributed, beer and margaritas were consumed, and the cooking fire was started.  Some folks with foresight put up lean-to's made of tarpaulins.

Just as things were getting going, though, the rain came again - with thunder, and with lightning.  People crammed under the lean-to's.  The storm didn't seem to want to leave - rain was intense, prolonged, and although the food was good (it's always good), after an hour of eating corn and watching dramatic beach erosion take place, people were getting tired of the rain.  I waited for a lull and left at about 5:00, but I was astonished to find that the creek which crosses the trail was a torrent, and had to use the bridge upstream.  Even then the rain did not let up.  Oh well, I suppose there's always next weekend.

September and early October are often great times to go to the Ledges.  It's definitely quieter than in full summer, but there's more likely to be sun and there is plenty of real estate.  Cliff diving is usually out of the question because the water level is too low, but since all the teenagers are back in school, this doesn't take place much anyway.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cooler now

Last weekend the weather took a bit of a turn in a cooler, sunny-but-windy direction.  Water temps have dropped to about 75 degrees from their former high of 82 a few weeks ago.  But there's now much more beach available, which means at least that there are good places to set up that are screened a bit from the wind.

A fair number of new couples I'd never met before appeared last weekend.  There was a pair from Stoneham, MA who were very nice, who appeared both Friday and Saturday.  Another pair from Monson, MA stopped by to visit Mt. Snow, get massages, and go jet-skiing.  But they also happened to go to The Ledges on both days as well.

On a more somber note - the lake level is now low enough so that if you jump off the cliff by the spruce tree over the main rock you WILL injure yourself.  A young man did this Friday afternoon, without looking or asking anyone, and reportedly broke his arm.  Please, if you aren't sure, JUST ASK.  As of last weekend, it was still safe to jump off the rope swing, however.

We've also gotten reports from the Sheriff's Department that more than one person using the TransCanada picnic areas have called to complain that they can see naked people over in the Ledges area.  While this makes most of us think, "well, DUH," the Sheriff's deputy really doesn't think it is a good idea to ignore complaints.  The agreement is that nudists should avoid setting up on the side of the promontory which faces the textile area, or on the very tip of the promontory itself - at least during the peak season.  Historically the tip of the promontory has been the boundary of the clothing optional area, so we aren't losing much space under this agreement.  But I do hope this is not a sign of things to come.  The Ledges has been around for a very long time, and I hate to think it would be closed simply because some newbie Vermont visitors were trying to force their view of how the world should be upon the rest of us.  It would almost be better if the nudists had been doing something actually wrong - but near as we can tell, they weren't.  They were just there, and that was enough.

Weather this coming weekend is currently forecast to be cloudy with showers on Thursday and Friday, but sunny (albeit in the lower 70's) on Saturday and Sunday.  Monday is forecast to be a really nice day with lots of sun in the upper 70's, so I may take a vacation day then.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Excellent prospects

I haven't written a post for two weeks because I've basically been having too much fun.  So, my apologies, and I will try to do better.

Weather was perfect (and very hot) two weekends ago.  Lake level dropped almost six inches a day, and we now have most of the main ledge available, some significant amount of beach, and some of the stone enclosures on the south side of the naturist area available (and in use!).  On Saturday there were quite a number of new visitors, including an engaged couple hailing from Vermont and Alaska.  The Alaskan had (I gather) never enjoyed nude recreation before and totally loved it.  (The Vermonter was "yeah, I've been swimming naked since I was born, big deal." ;-) )  They made a repeat visit on that Sunday as well.

This past Saturday was great weatherwise too - maybe not as hot, but certainly with plenty of sun.  People seemed to take the Sunday forecast into account, and timed things to show up Saturday instead.  The parking lot was almost full by 12 PM.  Once again, there were a lot of people I did not know, including a first-time group from Keene, NH, who came along at the invitation of their neighbors, and a number of first-time couples I did not get a chance to talk to.  But those I did talk to were generally enthusiastic, and I think we will be seeing them again as well.

It's mildly interesting to me how people react to being naked in public for the first time.  Some people just have no problem with it whatsoever, and some require quite a bit of courage (in liquid form, often) before they try this - but then they're just thrilled at how comfortable and natural they feel.  Nonetheless, I've met a very small number who seem to have real trouble managing even after they get naked.  The female member of one couple this past Saturday definitely had issues of this kind; while her boyfriend was gregarious and clearly comfortable in his skin, she was clearly NOT comfortable, to the extent that she did not even seem willing to chat.  Obviously, if you discover that that's how you feel, there's no point in pushing the matter - nude recreation is not for everyone (strange as that seems to me...)  But I don't think you will really know until you give it a try.

For those who like jumping off the rope swing, the water level is still plenty high for that.  The other jumping-off place by the spruce tree, though, is probably too shallow now to jump off of safely.

I am looking forward to this coming weekend.  I will be taking Friday off, and if weather is good, Thursday afternoon as well.  See you there!