Walking along the Burlington waterfront

Lake Champlain has crested 103′ for the first time. We’re more than 3 feet above flood stage and about one foot over the previously highest recorded lake levels. And lake levels are expected to continue rising over the next day or so.

So, to continue with my flood-related photo activities, I went for a walk along the Burlington waterfront to see the sights. I saw a lot of people doing the same thing, nearly everyone with a camera in hand. The first thing I noticed was our buddy Champ. A few weeks ago, the water was high but I could walk next to him. Now, it looks like he’s been shifted by water that’s a foot or two higher. He’s now looking the other direction almost as if he can’t believe how high the water is either.

Continuing down the waterfront there are some signs that spring is making an appearance, but mostly there’s just a lot of water. Even in places where the lake hasn’t swallowed up the land, there are standing puddles of water. The breakwater is nowhere to be seen; the coast guard launch is non-existant;  the pier just north of the waterfront is at lake level, if not a bit submerged.

If you haven’t been down to the lake to see it first-hand, you owe it to yourself to make it to the waterfront. The photographs in the Burlington Free Press are impressive and the aerial photos that Governor Shumiln posted to his blog are great, but there’s nothing like seeing it in person.

It just keeps coming; Vermont flooding gets worse

The rain keeps coming, the rivers are raging, and the lake is rising. I’ve taken to going on a quick walk at lunch time or at least making a brief stop on the way home to check out some of the flooding in the area. Today, I stopped at the IBM dam on the Winooski River. Last October I had stopped here to snap some photos of the flooding we were experiencing then. Conveniently, I had taken some photographs a few weeks before so I had some nice before and after shots of the river. I decided to stop at the same location today to see how it compared. I think, actually, that the river was probably flowing faster in October.

I think this next photo gives the best comparison to what things looked like last September and October in the same place.

I was intrigued, today, with the way the bubbles danced as the water cascaded over the falls.

The flooding in the Champlain Valley and on Lake Champlain is definitely worse right now. You only have to see these aerial photos to understand that.  I think, though, there was more water coming down the Winooski last October. What do you think? Drop me a comment below and let me know.

More flooding in Vermont

I was in Washington D.C. early this week and was supposed to travel home to Vermont during the thunderstorms Tuesday evening. The flight was delayed and eventually cancelled which meant I flew up over Lake Champlain at around noon on Wednesday. I was greeted with sights that I’ve only seen in photos from other flooded areas. Silt and debris flowed out of every river and stream into Lake Champlain creating plumes of muddy water. The photo below is of the mouth of the Winooski river with the silt streaming north past Colchester point and towards the mouth of Malletts Bay. Usually I travel with a decent camera, but this was a quick trip and all I had on me was my iPhone.

Silt and debris floods into Lake Champlain from the Winooski River

After dinner, Tawny and I decided to walk over to the farmer’s field near our house to see what the flooding had done. Earlier in the day Route 128 was closed right here, but the waters had receded enough to re-open by early evening. The flood waters had eroded large parts of the shoulder but the traveled lanes still looked structurally sound.

Erosion undercut many roads in the Burlington area. Route 128 in Essex is open as of this evening, but it's a little more narrow than it used to be.

I can’t imagine this truck is going to move for a few days. Earlier this morning, Tawny informed me, there was a tractor in the middle of the field across the road. The tractor made its way out, but there were some serious ruts that indicated where it had been.

We walked around for a few more minutes as the sun set, enjoying the near 80 degree weather.   It’s hard to believe that this is a farmer’s field. Usually photos like this are down at the lake shore looking over at the Adirondack mountains.

It’s been an exciting year for weather in Burlington. What’s mother nature got in store for us next?

Winter releases her grip on Vermont’s fields

This time of year is special in Vermont. Most of the country is talking about how nice it is to have spring; farmers are planting crops and flowers are in bloom.  Here in Vermont, we might have snow on the ground or we might have 60 degree days.  This week, we had both.

On my drive home yesterday, I had to pull over to the side of the road to photograph Mt. Mansfield basking in the late afternoon sun with the golden, just barely uncovered, fields in the foreground.

It reminded me of the trip that Tawny and I took to Iceland a few years back. It was April 29th, and the landscape looked very similar. Snow in the hills, golden grasses and fields clinging to the volcanic earth. It was all very beautiful; I’d love to see it in both full summer and winter.

I love living in a northern climate. Sure. Sometimes it’s hard that the days are shorter than most of the country, that we have feet more snow to shovel, that you sometimes don’t see your neighbors for weeks at at time because it’s too cold to venture across the street. I think it makes you appreciate the change of seasons. I’d get bored if it was always perfect weather all the time. Plus, it’s hard to ski when it’s 70 and sunny (though I’m told that Vermont’s headed for 60 this weekend and there’s still plenty of snow in the mountains!)

Happy Babies

I was going through some photos recently and came across these pictures of a friend’s baby. He is one of the happiest, most adorable, easy going babies you’ll ever meet. Tawny & I went over for dinner not long after he was born and decided to throw the cameras in the car. I don’t photograph a lot of babies, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. He was pretty cooperative, though, smiling every time we asked.

I love the way this first photo shows the connection between father and son.

Vermont Family and Baby Photography

Vermont Family and Baby Photography

Vermont Family and Baby Photography

Vermont Family and Baby Photography

His parents think this look is his “time to take over the world” look, but I think he just looks overjoyed to have his photo taken. 🙂

Vermont Family and Baby Photography

Vermont Family and Baby Photography

Vermont Family and Baby Photography

Hug Your Farmer: A Night of Music to Benefit Pete’s Greens

On January 12th, Pete’s Greens of Craftsbury, Vermont suffered a devastating fire. They lost their barn, equipment, crops & more. The community has rallied by collecting donations and holding auctions. On Thursday, Love Tomorrow Today and Select Design put on a benefit concert at Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vermont to help Pete’s Greens rebuild. The show featured Page McConnell and Jon Fishman of Phish, Clint Bierman and Peter Day of the Grift, Dave Grippo, Russ Lawton, Ray Paczkowski, Rich Price, Jer Coons, Will Evans, Matt Hagen, Mike Clifford, Joshua Panda, Brian McCarthy and more. The concert raised $26,000, all of which will go directly to Pete’s Greens.

The all-star cast of musicians played for about two hours, interrupted briefly by Peter Shumlin, the Governor of Vermont, who spoke about local food & renewable energy. I was impressed that he hung around for the rest of the show. As I was working through the crowd, I nearly bumped into him dancing up a storm in the middle of the room!

And for a quick reminder about why we were all there.  (Yes, that’s a carrot in his hand.)

While the fire is a real tragedy, I’m impressed at how it has galvanized our community and sparked a lot of great conversations about CSA’s, local & organic food, and what it means to live in Vermont. I can’t imagine living anyplace else.