After 14 years together, Tom and I finally went to visit Tom’s parents in VT for a week during fall foliage season. Foliage season in VT is a little like the Holiday season in other towns – the hotels fill up and are charging peak rates, there’re a million people running around with cameras, snapping shots of pumpkins and other squashes, sheaves of wheat, and of course the colorful leaves.
When I asked Tom what he remembered of foliage season in VT, he said that he mostly remembered October as being rainy and grey. Sure enough, it rained every single day that we were there. Fortunately, the clouds broke enough on a couple of days that I was able to get out and see what the wash of color looked like in the sun. It was amazing.
The Sierra gets color too. I’d say that we are near peak now – several weeks after the VT foliage passed its prime. The gullies fill with gold, and here and there a bright yellow big leaf maple, or a rosy dogwood, flashes in the sunshine. Le Conte gully, in particular, is full of these small bushes that turn a brilliant shade of yellow in the fall. Stavast has a painting called Golden Armada, and I’m convinced that these are Golden Armada bushes, whatever those are. One of my rescuers recently told me that when they airlifted me out of Le Conte Gully three years ago, the rotor from the helicopter picked up a tornado of golden leaves, rising up into the air around me. Would have been cool to see.
But VT really fills with color – so much so that sometimes it seemed like my eyes were attracted to the small contrasting bit of green among all the reds, oranges, and yellows. There are more deciduous trees and fewer conifers than here, and more mountainous terrain than my home state of MN, all of which combines to create a scene really worth traveling for. We took a hike down near Waterbury Reservoir, taking in the scenery and being impressed with the people who once made a living in that steep and rocky soil. The Ricker family cemetery was particularly impressive, with three generations of Rickers, marked with headstones like the one for Phoebe Ricker who lived to be over a hundred. They must have been a hearty crew, although the nearby headstones for an infant and two other young children speaks to how tough living there really was.
Of course, the other reason to travel to VT, in any season, is the chance to visit with Tom’s family. Tom’s parents were wonderful and welcoming hosts. Denis rescued us in the middle of the night when our delayed flight meant that we arrived after the car rental desk had closed for the evening. We had a dinner with him, his family, and Steve C. one evening while we were there. Tracy, Ron and Julia drove up just to have some lunch with us. Julia’s list of 101 things to do before she graduates from high school, inspired me to try to come up with a bucket list too. I’m still working on it. Dinner with Steve and Mary is always a pleasure, and we’re hoping to see more of them on this coast now that Andrew is out here.
As always, vacation is just a bit too short. The day our departure flight was scheduled was to be the first sunny day that week, and we missed out on getting to sail in a race with Denis aboard his J-24. It’s not that I don’t love Yosemite, and being in the Sierra, but vacation is always good.