Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Therapy for the Soul

Valcour Island
44 37.332 N 073 24.417 N

We are spending three days on Valcour Island.   The weather has been partially rainy every day, but on this island we don't care.  

Regular readers know that I've blogged numerous times singing praise for Valcour Island.  We think that it is the most idyllic place we know.  I have been visiting this island for 40 years, and every time I come it brings out feelings of contentment and satisfaction.   My soul is happy here.   If it wasn't reserved as a "forever wild" place, I would have tried to live here.

I also have recurring fantasies when visiting Valcour.  My favorite is living here and using the deep water in the lake as a near infinite heat sink to provide heating and cooling.   I could also gather firewood from numerous downed trees to fire a boiler to make steam and drive a turbine to make electricity.  Of course, I would also use solar and wind power too.  It would be a tinkerer's dream for an engineer like me.

Valcour lies at roughly 45 degrees north, halfway between The Equator and The North Pole.  But the climate, geology and ecology must more resemble Scandinavia at 65 degrees north.  That makes it unlike nearby wildernesses in New York and Vermont.   This week we were delighted to find a bumper crop of wild strawberries, that we never saw before.  Libby pointed out that we arrived here several weeks earlier in the summer than we ever did before.  Wild strawberries are called smultron in Swedish.  They are the sweetest and choicest of all berries, and they grow only at high latitudes (and on Valcour).

Yesterday we went hiking on the trails and found several places on Valcour that we've never seen before.  It is nice to know that we still haven't seen it all.  We hiked 7.5 miles.  Foolishly, we forgot to bring drinking water, so we were bushed and dried before finishing.   However a skinny dip in the clean, cool, sweet, fresh water refreshed me.  Poor Libby though over-stressed her back, so she has been laying low since then.  She is substantially better today.

Severe thunderstorms are possible yesterday, today and tomorrow.  But we're well sheltered here and pretty secure.

By the way, the place we call "Pearly Gates" on the Pasquotank River is our second favorite beautiful spots.  But that is in the middle of a swamp.  We can't go ashore and explore.  On Valcour we can and do explore the trails and the cliffs, and the limestone rock formations, the fungi and the wildlife.  I've published hundreds of pictures of Valcour on this blog over the years.  It inspires.

Tomorrow, the stormy weather is supposed to pass before the evening 4th of July fireworks in Burlington, so we'll move down there.   Friday the 4th, we'll anchor near Shelburne Farms to listen to The Vermont Symphony concert on the lawn at Shelburne Farms right on the shore.  At the end of the symphony we'll make a night passage to somewhere fun to anchor.   Nighttime boating on Champlain on a calm night is a delight.

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