Kayaks on Grout Pond

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Grout Pond, VT

Grout Pond is a wonderful little gem of a quiet water kayak site located in southern Vermont about 20 miles north and west of Willmington off Rte. 100. Only about a mile-and-a-half in length and ringed by a number of man-made and clearly-marked hiking trails, Grout Pond provided me and Chris with a wonderful afternoon of paddling, hiking and picnicing.
Grout Pond: Kayaking in yellow; hiking in red.
     The paddling was easy as there was no current or wind--an issue at times on some of Vermont's bigger lakes/ponds we've heard--and there were a few inlets to explore as we tried to find a way to connect to Somerset Reservoir west of Grout Pond. A part of the pond was dammed by beavers and this made for some careful paddling through the fallen tree limbs and uprooted trunks, but this is something we both enjoy working through and it provided some interesting pictures. There was not a lot of wildlife to be seen, but this was probably more of a function of when we were paddling rather than where we were paddling, though a woman and her daughter did report that she had come across a bear during their hike. We only saw a Canada goose family foraging on the shore line. Interestingly, the family had a nest on a beaver lodge, which seemed to provide excellent protection from nocturnal predators. We heard a number of very interesting bird calls and songs, but we really did not see anything out of the ordinary.
     We pulled in to a neat spot along the bank of the pond that was designed for the purpose of pulling in, and we had a great picnic and stretch before we hiked the south bank of the pond. It was an easy stroll of fairly level ground that scooted past a number of campers and campsites along the pond. We tried to convince ourselves that camping in the woods and sleeping on a wooden platform would be cool, but we just could not get there. We determined that "car camping" was for others--we'll visit the woods and hike and paddle, but then we're going back to the Crafts' Inn and soaking in the hot tub, enjoying the sauna, happy houring on the porch, and dining in a restaurant.
    The path to the put in on the pond from the drop off point was a fairly steep grade and walk of about 150 feet and it was here that we discovered we were in possession of one of man's greatest inventions: the stowaway kayak and canoe cart from LL Bean: http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/502150?nav=cb3-118 . This device absolutely rocks AND rolls--no more carrying a cumbersome kayak any distance over rough or graded terrain. Simply attach the cart to the back of the kayak, pick up the front end by the handle and roll your kayak to the water. Chris and I highly recommend everyone have one of these tools to help you move your boat. It truly enhances the kayaking experience.
     So that was our trip to Grout Pond. It was a nice 3 hour experience outside of the drive from Wilmington, which was about 30 minutes or so one way. There are restroom facilities throughout the area, and there are a number of donation boxes also. Do donate, this place deserves it.

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