Day 23: Brighton State Park to Vermont River Conservancy campsite on East Branch Nulhegan River (16.0 miles )

“A canoe with wheels. A canoe with wheels. Look, Daddy, a canoe with wheels.”  A sight this adorable little boy at Brighton State Park had evidently never seen… my canoe parked in front of my campsite, where I was enjoying the morning and letting my wet-smelling tent dry thoroughly.


This family, camped in the adjacent site, happily agreed to let me launch from there, rather than walking all the way back to the beach. First we visited while I ate the remainder of an apple pie and two glasses of orange juice. The world is full of friends we are just about to meet. (And I forgot all of your names except Colleen’s…could you please email me?)

Spectacle Pond, home to the state park, lies on the new and lovely portage route to enter the Nulhegan River.  The NFCT is continually  working to improve and add campsites and portage routes and each year completes a number of work trips, doing such things as building steps or privies or maintaining trails.

PADDLER’S NOTE – The total walking distance for this portage was longer than expected.  Yesterday’s 0.4 miles had a short, steep uphill barely wheelable to the RR tracks.  Then the pond paddling.  Then the walk from Spectacle Pond to the put-in to Nulhegan Pond was 2.1 miles.  The far side of the bridge was a simpler put-in than where the sign was.

Anyway, on to the Nulhegan, where I would paddle 7 miles and then walk 8 miles (due to technical whitewater.)  Like the Clyde, curve followed curve, this time going with the current, in places so narrow and choked with alder that my paddle would have room for only a single stroke.  This was a world apart, where beaver rule and their dams are frequent tollbooths.  Only those who persevere, I thought, will ever pass this way.

An impressive beaver dam…one of maybe forty or fifty on this section of the Nulhegan, spme of which could be run in the canoe or scrambled over with a certain wiggle and scoot.
A tiny treasure discovered along the river.

Next came the walking, which was enlivened by the search for moose in the wildlife sanctuary I was traversing. Well, I never did spot a moose, but enjoyed a snack in an elaborate moose watching platform along the way.  No camping is allowed in the wildlife sanctuary, so I continued on to a Vermont River Conservancy campsite on the East Branch of the Nulhegan.  Very buggy, but I discovered to my delight that I could immerse myself in the rushing stream and THEY COULDN’T GET ME.