We had a free weekend and decided to go camping in Vermont! We recruited our friends, Jenny and Shaun, and their three pups to join us. Since it was last minute we figured we wouldn't find many open sites at campgrounds. We prefer more isolated camping anyway. We investigated primitive camping in Vermont and stumbled upon a list of several forest roads that have "campsites" ...basically an open space with a fire pit. Perfect. We chose Forest Road 35 in Pittsfield, Vermont because it sounded secluded and was near a brook which would be great for the dogs. And us.
We set out early Saturday morning and met our friends at the rest stop in Salem. It was a fairly uneventful ride. We utilized CBs along the way to coordinate bathroom breaks and gas stops. We got into Pittsfield, VT shortly after noon and turned onto Lower Michigan Rd. It started out as a regular dirt road with a few houses here and there and then became narrower and more like a trail. A road less traveled, if you will. We took this to be a good indicator that there probably wouldn't be a lot of other people on the road. The trailer did great even with the muddy potholes and ruts in the road. We eventually came upon a bridge. Unfortunately, there was a gate blocking it. At this point we decided we might as well make lunch because it was after 1pm and we were all quite hungry. We pulled the grill out of the trailer and the few things we needed to grill up some cheddar brats. Meanwhile, the dogs roamed free, swimming in the brook and frolicking in the grass and mud.
After our tummies were satisfied, we decided to head back out towards town. Over lunch, we had reiewed the map and found our error; we wanted to be on Upper Michigan Road, not Lower. We took Crossover Rd. to cross the brook and reach Upper Michigan Road. We saw a sign that said Forest Road 35 that confirmed we were on the right path this time. It wasn't long until we saw Green Mountain National Forest signs and began to see campsites. We were really hoping to get a site right next to the brook. Unfortunately the one that we had read about was occupied. We kept driving to see what else was open. We did see another site next to the water but there was a lady squatting next the the firepit. Literally squatting. No vehicle or tent was there. Just the lady, squatting. Shaun asked her if she was camping on that site and she responded that she was. We found it to be somewhat strange. But we moved on. After a good stretch of driving we found another site right next the water with open spots on each side of the road. Rob and I parked the trailer at the site while Shaun and Jenny continued on to scope out other open spaces. They continued until we lost radio contact. When they came back they reiterated that this was the best of the open sites so we set up camp. Rather, Shaun and Jenny set up camp. Rob and I just had to stabilize the trailer. It was so nice to park and not have to build the tent or make the bed. Instead we cracked open a beer and played with the pups.
After we were all settled, the ladies cruised back down the road a short distance to get some firewood from a neighbor who was selling it from the end of their driveway. Shaun and I stayed with the pups and parked our butts in our chairs on opposite sides of the trail. We sipped our beers and threw a frisbee at each other. When we'd miss, which was frequent, one of the dogs would fetch the frisbee for us, which was super convenient. We hardly had to move at all!
Jenny and I drove back towards town and gathered two bundles of firewood. When we went by the campsite that the lady had been squatting at we noted that the site was empty. On the way back in to camp however, there was a Subaru at the site and the squatting lady was now squatting in a different spot behind her (presumed) car at an adjacent site. So strange.
We got back to camp and found the men sitting and chatting while all the dogs were just laying around. It seemed like everyone was in full relaxation mode. I soon got to working cooking chicken and steak for tacos while Jenny got all of the fixings ready. Our kitchen setup worked wonderfully. And the tacos were delicious!
After we washed dishes and put everything away, Shaun set to work building us a fire. It's kind of his thing. If you recall from our previous overlanding adventures with Shaun, he built a fire every night. We let him have at it, and we always appreciate his efforts. This evening's fire was especially tough to ignite because the wood was all somewhat damp. He powered through, and soon enough we had a small, crackling pit of flame.
It seemed like a really long dusk for some reason, but eventually it started to get dark outside. We flicked on the rock lights on our trailer to help provide some ambient lighting away from the fire and to help us see our way around the site. Jenny busted out the 'mallows and grahams and chocolate before we'd had a chance to digest our delicious tacos. None of us were hungry but we ate smores anyways. We shared our beers and hard ciders, and argued over the pronunciation of "gose".
It began to drizzle, so we migrated temporarily to the awning, to stay dry. The rain let up shortly thereafter, and we all moved back to the fire. When it happened again, it didn't give up so quickly. We got cozy under the awning. Eventually, we were all feeling the effects of a long day, and were looking forward to a good night's sleep. We ensured everything was tucked into a place to stay dry that needed to be. Then, we brushed our teeth and snuggled up with Loki.
In the morning, we woke up not a moment before we were absolutely ready to. We checked the battery meter, which said our battery still had about 12.5V. We considered that it was disconnected from the truck around 2pm, and didn't really receive any direct sunlight after that, but the fridge ran all night, and the lights were on for a few hours. We're pretty content with the system performance; there was still plenty of life left in the battery as the sun was coming up.
Jenny cooked us up some awesome breakfast sandwiches, and we all had a round of cold-brewed coffees. We cleaned up the kitchen in short order, and then we spent the rest of the morning mostly standing around feeling awkward because we didn't have much to pack. We heckled Shaun and Jenny while they were dismantling their tent. And we played with the dogs, obvously. It was wonderful and relaxing and we loved it, but couldn't help feeling a bit odd, as it was so different than the normal packing-after-camping-in-the-rain that we're used to.
Once we were all packed and hitched up, and all our trash collected, we made our way back into downtown Pittsfield. If you want to call it that. We checked out the general stores, and got some beers and ciders that sounded good. We tossed them into the fridge to try out after we got home. Then we headed back the way we came.
As we approached route 93 on 89 near Concord, NH, Jenny radioed that we should divert from the highway to avoid southbound Sunday traffic. Good call Jenny! We took the scenic route through Bedford and got back onto the highway in Manchester. We caught about a mile of traffic, before things started moving freely again, which was not bad at all. The rest of our ride home was uneventful. We arrived home midafternoon with an exhausted puppy. He could barely get his butt up the 3 steps into the house while we unpacked the truck and tucked the trailer into the garage.
This trip was a fantastic first for our trailer, and was exactly what we were looking for. We found some minor things to work on on our trailer, but overall we couldn't be happier with its turnout. We love it.
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
- Bilbo Baggins
We're just an adventure-loving couple with a puppy looking to share our stories with the world.