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?

Champ Spotted!

Champ is taking advantage of the high water in the lake to make the rounds to businesses he can’t normally reach. Here he is outside the Vermont Lake Monsters front office down at the King St. ferry dock in Burlington.

Champ, Lake Champlain's lake monster, is back in his element.

He’s not very bashful right now and hung around for a few portraits while I was walking around the waterfront.

For those of you that haven’t made it down to Perkins Pier to see the flooding, here are a few shots of what it looks like now. According to NOAA, the lake is at 100.7′. I’ve heard reports that it is supposed to crest 101′ and with 80″ of snow remaining on Mt. Mansfield I have little doubt that we’ll get there.

Normally, these benches are a nice place to watch the sun set and be safe from waves. Today, you’d be hard pressed to get out there without hip waders.

For comparison, here’s what it looked like last March. The dark line on the water is the Burlington breakwater which is completely submerged right now.

An early March sun sets behind the Adirondack mountains and Lake Champlain.

Unplugged Half Marathon

Note – all of these photos and many, many more are available on SkiPix.com. If you ran, you should hop over and check it out. There are prints, posters, magnets, and even digital downloads if you want to use these on Facebook.

This past Saturday, Run Vermont organized the 5th Annual Unplugged Half Marathon along the Burlington, VT waterfront of Lake Champlain. 600 runners pre-registered for what can be a questionable day by the lake. Some years, we get freezing temperatures, cold winds, and even snow. This year, it was in the mid to upper 30’s at the start and it got downright warm once the race was under way. Even standing at my first location, I was able to take off my jacket, roll up my sleeves, and enjoy the sunshine.

The course is the same every year, as far as I’m aware. It starts in Colchester, just over the Burlington line (aka the Winooski River) where it makes a quick loop through some neighborhoods before joining up with the Burlington Bike Path and heading due south along the lake shore. This is the third year I’ve photographed this event and I try not to shoot the same location twice in a row. This year, I was drawn back to the bridge over the Winooski where the curved lines make for interesting framing and the sun really highlights what a beautiful day we had.

Most of the events I photograph are filled with a relaxed crowd, out to have a good time, but this one seems exceptional. Some people will run through the “photo trap” with arms around their running partners,

some smile & chat

make a point to wave hello and / or thank me for being out there (it really is my pleasure)

or suggest that world peace is the answer (at least, I think she was saying that and not whirled peas.)

When I moved to Oakledge Park to take some photos by the lake with Burlington in the background, I came across this group of fans cheering for someone’s mom if I remember correctly.

They certainly caught the runners’ attention as they came through the park!

Near the end of the race, they really encourage you to finish strong.

No, seriously, the truck drivers that go through there did an amazing job navigating the fans, runners, and cones. And the runners knew the trucks didn’t really want to run them over.

Thanks for putting on another great race, Joe!  I’ll see you next year.

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!)