Nov. 13-15 in Fairlee, Vermont on the grounds of the Hulbert Outdoor Center, a decades old historic camp on the shore of Lake Morey. It sold out, as usual, with 100 winter campers and a few snow walker wanna bees in attendance.
Last year at this time I made an entry about the Snow Walker’s Rendezvous, where the big event was Alan Brown “torching some tents” , generating over a thousand of hits on my YouTube channel. The Snow Walkers’ Rendezvous (SWR) is a November weekend focused on old-school human winter travel, be it assisted by snowshoes, cross country skis, dogsleds, or rubber boots.
We had a never ending ride over there from Lincolnville, ME taking a full 7 hours due to a wrong turn that put us in Portland, where we made the best of it by decimating the lunchtime Italian extravaganza at Ricetta’s which has a huge pizza/ salad/ smorgasboard of delights.
We got to Vermont in time to indulge in libations and snacks and then settled into supper and the evening program.
The folks who are regulars at this event continue to amaze me. Marcia and I ate our dinners next to Joel and Bev Hollis from MA, a normal looking couple who have no problem taking off for a couple of months each summer and canoeing some arduous boreal rivers that have killed a number of lesser folk.
“Hey, Joel, where did you go this summer, ” I asked, not even considering the possibility that they do normal things, like remodel their kitchen?
“Northwest Territories,” he replied.
“And kayaked some river? ”
“Yep, the Yukon” , he replied.
“How much of it”, I asked ?
“All of it.” So that would be about 2,000 miles, which took them some 70 days. Unsupported. Yep. The Hollis’s are the real deal.
Then I turned to my friend Dick Hampton, and asked him what he was up to. He talked about heading up to do a 35 mile loop off the St. John River this winter. We’ve done a couple of winter trips together, and when I asked him to give me a call if he wanted company, he sheepishly replied, “Every once in a while I do crazy things, like walk over frozen rivers alone. I am thinking I will do the trip solo.”
So a small sample of what this crowd is up to.
The program ran from 7:30- 9 PM.
The talks were started up by three readings from Willem Lange, who also opened up last year. He even asked one of my friends what he had read last year, and then proceeded to read the same three stories. Didn’t matter, I have one of his books, with those stories, and still enjoyed the surprise endings.
Next was Sayward Chartrand’s commuter assisted presentation about the past three years she had spent teaching in a tiny high school Kangiqsujuaq, Quebec.
Zabe McEachern wrapped up the evening with a photo presentation and stories of a recent winter skiing trip she made to Norway, with close commentary of the snowshoeing and skiing cultures.
The Saturday program looked to be one of the best I’ve experienced there. Insert a bunch of sleep relted-images here and then catch Saturday’s entry.