Monday, June 29, 2015

Champlain Obsession

South Burlington, VT

We have a few rainy days, time for indoor activities.

The other day, I hiked from our campsite to the other side of .Valcour Island.  From the other side, I could see East to the Adirondacks.  There were puffy cumulus clouds over the whole region.

The view to the West is shown in the picture above.  The same pattern of clouds can be seen over Vermont's Green Mountains.

Over the lake, indeed over the entire Champlain Valley, the sky was almost totally clear and cloud free for the whole day.  

I think this is a great example of a micro climate.   I've read that Champlain is too small a body to give rise to a micro climate.  I disagree.   Many times over many years, I've seen markedly different weather over the lake as compared to over the land.

Most striking (sorry no pictures) occurs in the fall.  I used to drive from Burlington to Schenectady every week, usually crossing the lake at The Champlain Bridge.  Once or twice every fall, approaching that bridge I was treated to a fantastic sight.   A bank of clouds came up to the lake shore, then stopped sharply as if it was cut off with a knive.   The visual impression was a vertical wall of clouds, 20-25 thousand feet high.  That is five times higher than the local mountains, and a very impressive sight.   I think that claiming that Lake Champlain does not create a micro climate is very wrong.

In the past, I think I wrote about the jet stream, and how it's customary path goes north of Albany and south of Burlington, thus dividing them into two climatic regions.

Everything about the lake and the valley continues to fascinate me.  In the past I've written about the geological history of the valley, and the lake bottom.  I consulted with geologists and studied geology books about this region.   Now, I write about the weather here.

Other times I've written about the views of the mountains from the lake and the views of the lake from the mountains.

Still other times, I've grown interested in the history, and studied that.   The time of The Revolution and the history of Bendict Arnold stand out.   Last week we saw a video documentary about the Abenaki Indian life in this region.  It struck me as likely false, reflecting only the white man's view.   Unfortunately, the true history and accounts of pre-explorer life and times are not available to us.

Did I ever mention that my obsession with Champlain began in the 1970s.   I had a sailboat on Sacandaga Lake in NY.  One year, as the water levels in that man-made lake dropped in September, I got the idea of trucking the boat to Champlain for a sailing cruise around October 1 when fall colors peak.  That trip was huge fun.  I repeated it year after year, with my son John, my father, and my friend Walt as companions.

Years later, when moving the family from Sweden back to the USA, we chose to move to Burlington because it was such a pleasant stop along the lake.

Am I Champlain obscessed?  I guess it must be true.

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