I thought I had seen everything during my many years of camping.
I was wrong...
But let's get caught up first.
After leaving Half Moon Pond State Park I headed north a bit to Branbury.
This is a smaller park with less than 40 sites, but it's location on the shore of Lake Dunmore at the base of Mount Moosalamoo (love that name) make it a popular spot.
There is a concession stand and boat rentals near the beach as well.
The campground has two distinct areas.
On the beach side of the road are open grassy sites, like numbers 6 - 10.
Not much privacy but great for groups. One spot stood out because it was separate from the rest. Number 17.
A few hundred feet away are the shady sites. Number 29 is a good pick.
I did not have reservations and nabbed the last spot. It took some tricky trailer skills to get camp set up.
I made some popcorn for the first time on this trip. It was good.
Next up was DAR State Park on the shores of Lake Champlain. I will be visiting several parks of this huge lake both in Vermont and New York.
DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) is located in one of the earliest settled areas in the state, with evidence of human habitation dating back over 7500 years. That's almost as old as my Dad.
The 47 sites are grassy, with most offering a bit of privacy, such as 2, 17, and 26.
I stayed in number 49.
A short walk leads to views of the lake and steps to the beach.
A nice park, especially compared to my next stop, Button Bay.
It was like camping in the middle of a football field.
No privacy whatsoever.
With no natural shade I rigged up a spare tarp to provide some relief.
A spider hid in my car.
I walked down the steps to the shore to check it out.
The beach was rocky so I left my sandals on while I waded out into the lake.
Turns out the bottom is comprised of sandal sucking mud. Took me quite a while to find it.
I don't like to disparage campgrounds but I would not recommend this one unless you are here strictly for the paddling opportunities. Or are an exhibitionist.
Little River State Park was next.
It is the most popular park in central Vermont.
Last Tuesday morning I took a walk along Waterbury Reservoir next to the camp.
There is no day use here, so you have to be a camper to enjoy the sandy beach and boat facilities.
The sites are large and shady.
I liked 4, 24, 52, and my site, 58, which was next to the beach path.
The campground is only a few miles from the town of Waterbury. In fact, it is just across the reservoir but you have to drive around. Or you can paddle right across and end up at this place.
Maybe this will help.
Yeah, that place.
And it was packed full of tourists like an overflowing pint of Cherry Garcia.
The wait was an hour for the tour so I passed on it but found a neat old bus around the side of the building.
I flagged down somebody who looked important and asked if the company would consider converting it into a half motorhome half ice cream truck and I could drive it around to campgrounds and hand out free samples.
I thought it was a good idea but I guess I was the only one.
Anyway, after leaving Little River and passing through the nearby town of Stowe, I wound up at Elmore State Park last Wednesday.
The ranger told me that severe thunderstorms were coming in that afternoon so I quickly walked the 44 campsites, of which 4. 6, 39, and 40 caught my eye.
I finished up just as the thunder started and lightning split the sky apart.
Several inches of rain pounded the area for the next several hours.
Thursday morning was beautiful, so I celebrated with a taco breakfast.
The Town of Lake Elmore calls itself "The Beauty Spot of Vermont".
It's about 30 miles from Waterbury, less than half that distance from Stowe, and close to the state capital of Montpelier. Lots of fun stuff to do in this area.
I walked down to the lake.
And found a nice sandy beach with boat rentals.
There is also a beach house with a store, the whole area being looked over by 2608 foot Elmore Mountain.
On Friday I drove to Lake Carmi State Park just a few miles from the Canadian border.
It is the largest park in the state with 139 sites and I was welcomed by a gang of half-grown ducklings and brazen tree rats.
I had a great site, number 100.
Lakeside tacos for dinner made it perfect.
Saturday morning I walked to the lakeshore by the beach.
The lake actually drains north into Quebec's Pike River and then into Lake Champlain.
I walked back to camp for some lakeside pancakes.
The campground was full so I waited until Sunday to take pictures.
There are quite a few wonderful sites here in two sections.
In Area A sites 8, 12, and 16 stood out.
In Area B, aside from my site, numbers 98 and 101 were good lakefront sites.
Directly across from the beach area, 142 and 143 are huge sites with great full views of the lake.
Those last two would be great for families with their kids along with them.
Another storm hit on Monday morning as I left Lake Carmi.
I arrived at Grand Isle State Park in pouring rain that did not let up all day.
I hid out in my trailer and read a few books.
Grand Isle is the the number one state park in Vermont for campers. It is located on South Hero Island, the largest island in Lake Champlain at 14 miles long and over 3 miles wide.
It is the second largest park with 116 campsites. On a beautiful sunny Tuesday morning I walked down to the lake.
The picnic area overlooks a beach filled with perfect skipping stones.
I am an early riser so I had the beach to myself. Got several good skips too. some in the teens.
The campground is a mixture of open and shaded sites.
Shaded ones I liked include 1A, 2, and 3.
More open sites that caught my eye were 29 (my favorite), 91, and 112.
As I walked by site 93 I had flashbacks to my camping trip in 2012. The wet west coast in a tent.
The family had moved their car out of the site and had ropes across the the front of it holding damp clothing and blankets from the previous day's storm.
Behind that was a familiar sight. I asked if I could take a photo and they obliged.
Yep, the old mud soaked tent bottom drying out. I do not miss those days.
I will be leaving the fine state of Vermont tomorrow, July 31, for a month and a bit in Adirondack Park, New York.
I can see the mountains rising in the west and I look forward to exploring them.
But I want to end this post on a unique (to me) experience from last weekend at Lake Carmi.
Friday night I heard the notes of the song "It's a Small World" drifting through the campground. Getting closer and closer to my campsite.
It seemed to stay in one place for a spell and then come closer.
When the sound reached a crescendo next to my site, I grabbed my camera and took a look. It was Mr. Ding-A-Ling.
I had never seen an ice cream truck in a campground before. I was not prepared. But the next night I was ready for him.
I'd had lakeside tacos and lakeside pancakes while camping at Lake Carmi.
Why not complete the trifecta with a nice lakeside Big Dipper as the sun went to sleep.
So I did.
And it was good.
But that song took three days to leave my head.
Regards, Park Ranger