Without a doubt, this was the longest, coldest winter in Vermont since we moved here 25 years ago.

There were plenty of thoughts about places like Napa, Laguna Beach, Santa Fe and New Bern during the long, cold January nights…

By February, it was more than a struggle to get out and shoot in the early dawn hours, and even harder to get out and run on slippery roads. And winter didn’t even really oblige us with a January thaw/tease, much less a quick March melt. Even now, as the end of April approaches, it seems like spring is struggling mightily to push winter back in its box.

Winter Road

Winter Road

Yet last week we did walk to town in t-shirts and shorts and enjoy an outdoor gelato for the first time since September. And that makes it easy to forget that, up in the hills, the ponds and lakes are just beginning to thaw, the rivers only starting to rage against their banks.

Sunday I did a sweep through Groton State Forest, starting at Peacham Pond at sunrise. I explored the waterfall draining Kettle Pond, stumbled along the squishy shores of Ricker Pond, picked up a coffee and a Reeses at the Upper Valley Grill and General Store in Groton, then circled back towards Plainfield on Reservoir Road.

There was very little clear water, but the brilliant sunlight offered the promise of melt and runoff. And a few nice pictures were captured.

Dawn at Peacham was stunning and thankfully not too cold, offering some beautiful grey-blues in the sky and hints of yellow-orange. I was also visited by a busy marten, skittering across my frame before I could get a properly focused an exposed image…

Spring Sunrise at Peacham Pond

Spring Sunrise at Peacham Pond

Spring Sunrise at Peacham

Spring Sunrise at Peacham

Peacham Pond at Winter's End

Peacham Pond at Winter’s End

Peacham Pond

Peacham Pond

Reservoir Road from Orange back toward Plainfield was quiet and deeply rutted. It was a pleasant, slow drive, yet not one I expect to repeat anytime soon. The river flowing from the ridge down into Plainfield was underwhelming, the roadside dotted with crumbling shacks and peeling single-wides. I did, however, stumble across a small firewood harvesting operation with a huge, rusty saw that made for interesting images in the bright sunlight.

Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

Plainfield woodpile

Future heat

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