Old friends and new at the NFCT Freshet Fest

051315 1 campsite

The NFCT held their first-ever Freshet Fest this past weekend.  Here are old friends, Katina and Sam, sharing their delicious breakfast with me at our campsite in Grand Isle State Park.  This was my first look at Lake Champlain and first taste of the fabulous baked goods from Hero’s Welcome, on North Hero Island, which I hope to paddle to this summer.  Katina and I talked for hours and Sam was very patient, while making us an endless quantity of delicious coffee.

051315 2 Arrowhead Mt Lake
Our group paddle on Arrowhead Mountain Lake on the Lamoille River
051315 3 osprey nest on water
Have you ever seen an osprey nest right at lake level?

051315 4 friends

The evening gathering at the Splash Boathouse in Burlington was a great chance to meet lots of kindred spirits, including Dan and Michele Brown, on the left, with Sam and me.  Talking with folks from the NFCT staff and fellow paddlers who I only knew through blogs or emails was very neat and they all expressed their confidence in me and my planned trip.  That meant a lot!

051315 5 through paddlers

The through-paddlers who shared their stories definitely helped me visualize the trip and made me realize that they just went out there and took a day at a time.  Here we have Mark Fromm (2012), Skip Ciccarelli (2011), Dan Brown (2014), Katina Daanen (2011), Paul Heintz (2008), Nicole Grohoski (2006) and Peter Macfarlane (2013).  Just a sample of the advice I came home with: paddle from your torso, travel light, don’t be afraid to knock on doors, and stop along the way for some chocolate milk and Milanos.  I’ll close for tonight with flowers and a sunset.

051315 7 flower
Yellow trout lily at the campground
051415 8 trillium
The trillium were thick in the campground woods.
051315 6 sunset Splash Boathouse
Sunset over a quiet Lake Champlain…a fitting farewell to a wonderful day!