Thursday, September 6, 2012

Labor-Day Barbeque

Labor Day has come and gone.  I can hardly believe the summer passed so quickly!

Labor Day weekend at The Ledges is a special weekend.  Unless a natural disaster strikes (e.g. Hurricane Irene), it is traditional for folks to bring a potluck dinner on the Sunday afternoon before the holiday - or on Monday afternoon if Sunday is rained out.  Food is usually plentiful and good, and the festivities tend to involve progressively sillier activities - for instance, hula hoops and not-very-in-tune guitar playing - as the evening wears on.

This year the weather was quite good, and there were many familiar faces of regulars present, along with their extended families.  I was surprised, though, at how few non-regulars stopped by, given how perfect the weather was.  Water is still perfect, and the water level is still high enough to dive off of the cliff (as long you aim away from the big underwater boulder to the left).  I guess summer now ends before Labor Day for too many people.

It is looking, though, like a warm fall, which means we may well be swimming well into October.  Trees have not even developed a hint of color, which is unusual for this time of year.  If you are visiting the Vermont foliage, make a point of stopping in.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Where DID all these people come from??

I visited The Ledges last Friday, and also on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  Weather on Friday was perfect - clear and sunny, warm, not too much wind - but given the perfect conditions, surprisingly few people were there.

Saturday was an entirely different affair.  It was warm and humid and unstable, but nevertheless 200 people showed up, many of them apparently new - and many via boats and rafts.  It looked like the beginnings of a regular party!  But the weather took a hard turn for the worst at about 2:30 in the afternoon, and we had thunder, lightning, torrential downpours - which just did not let up.  Surprisingly, most of the visitors stuck around, hiding under tarpaulins or in the woods.  After a while I gave up and walked back to my car, which was far enough for me to be thoroughly soaked - but I'm told others stuck it out until 5:30 or even later.  Hardy bunch!  I shudder to think how they managed to paddle those rafts back across the lake during the storm, though.

Sunday looked like it was going to be a repeat of Saturday - but although we had rain showers, there was no thunder or lightning, so people just swam around in the rain.  The rain showers started earlier, so the number of people were less, but still substantially above Friday's numbers.  Lots of extended families came, which was nice - even though not all of them were nudists, of course.

Monday it was cooler and breezy but quite sunny.  The place looked almost deserted.  I had the entire main ledge to myself.

I suppose it is inevitable that The Ledges becomes more or less a weekend phenomenon.  There are many reasons for this.  For one thing, it is becoming ever more unusual for families to spend significant amounts of their summers in the country.  People are working more and more, and when they aren't working they're paying their bills and doing their taxes.  Also, the school year is also growing in length - which is something I'm not sure I approve of, since I think we're already in danger of overemphasizing formal education at the expense of what I would call "life education".  But that's a good subject for a different post.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weather at The Ledges

I spent most of last week at The Ledges.  Weather was perfect, water was just cool enough to be refreshing, and the water level was at exactly the average height for this time of year - well, the average ever since TransCanada bought the dam four or five years ago, anyhow.  Level is just about perfect for cliff jumping/diving (I dive quite a bit myself), and there's enough room for most folks to find a place, if they're not too terribly shy.  Water level continues to drop, so by the time you read this, there will no doubt be even more real estate available.

As usual, the weather (especially on July 4th and again on July 7th) did not behave as the weather forecasters predicted.  Both days were largely lovely, even though they were predicted to be cloudy with occasional showers.  I feel sorry for the weathermen who try to put together a decent forecast for southern Vermont - all the hilly terrain must upset their models significantly.  But even if you just look at the Lake Whitingham weather versus the rest of southern Vermont, there's often a huge difference.  The Lake is in the lee of the main spine of the Greens, and I think this messes things up quite a lot.  It's pretty typical, in fact, for there to be clouds on days that are supposed to be clear, and visa versa.  Lately, the luck has been in the direction of better weather than expected... so let's hope that continues for the rest of the summer.

Honorable visitor mentions this past week included a delegation from Troy, NY - always great to meet people from the RPI community - and a shriek-tastic bunch of local teens who obviously had a great time.  I also chatted with a couple from Saratoga, NY, who had been visiting Abbots' Glen for years but who had never even heard of The Ledges.  Furthermore, the information they got from the Town of Wilmington about the place turned out to be wildly incorrect.  This makes me think we may want to advertise a little - maybe cards and/or tee-shirts.  What do people think of the following tag lines?  Whatever I'd do would of course link back to this blog.

"Swim Naked - it's Cooler and Way More Fun"
"Dare To Consider a World Without Tan Lines"

 Comments welcome...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Memorial Day

I stopped by The Ledges twice on Memorial Day weekend.  Weather was fantastic (despite the forecast), and the water was cold but quite swim-able.   The lake level was high but not excessively so.  Some of the flotsam and jetsam has been floated by the higher water and I'd certainly recommend caution if piloting a motorboat, but otherwise it was a fairly minor problem.

I think the weather forecast may have frightened away quite a lot of people, because there were fewer people there than I would have expected - but you can never frighten away The Ledges regulars.  Looking forward to the next weekend that's decent weather-wise, and when I have enough time to stay a while.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Some good news

I stopped by at the Ledges two weeks ago.  We've been having unusually warm and dry spring weather, and I wanted to check out how things stood after last fall's hurricane.

The good news is that the cleanup has been completed.  It is (nearly) impossible now to tell that the lake was basically a disaster zone for most of September and October.  The only signs of how it was that remain are some conveniently-placed log bridges that were not there before, and a new picnic table right alongside the entrance path.

Lake level was very low, however.  Part of that was the drought, but also I was told that the State of Vermont had been looking for a tank that satellite photos had identified as having washed into the reservoir, and wanted to fish it out.  I don't know if they found it or not.  Water level is almost certainly up now, since we've had a significant amount of rainfall since early April.

Indeed, the State apparently worked tirelessly all winter removing debris so that the summer season would be as beautiful and pleasant as always.  Kudos!

In a few short weeks they will be opening the main gate so that people can park in the recreation area.  The entrance road is not good - too much traffic during mud season - but perhaps they'll grade it before Memorial Day.  Looking forward to seeing you there this summer!