Monday, October 17, 2011

Somewhere in Charlotte...or is it Starksboro?

This past Sunday Art Clifford invited me to tour the Clifford Tree Farm with him and another couple. The tree farm is in the foothills of Charlotte and Starksboro, we rode Honda ATV's from his dairy farm up some logging roads and across some neighboring properties to get there. His family has logged the farm four times in his life, and it looks like nobody has ever set foot in it. Absolutely beautiful woods with mountain streams flowing through them, waterfalls, and some stone walls built in earlier times to line roads or mark boundaries that were washed away in the great flood of '27.

In the 70's, Art and his wife wanted to build a pond up on the hill. It would require a small dam to be built across a shallow little gorge. He went to the state and got permission to go ahead, with the proviso that the state would send somebody up periodically to check the status of the dam. The 4 acre pond is fed by a nearby brook, and drains back into the brook by a pipe that regulates the pond level. Quite an engineering feat. More recently, they built a small cabin with six bunks and a fireplace in it, a great spot to hike to and spend a night. The Cliffords don't discourage others from hiking there, they have an "open land" policy, as long as you respect the land and leave nothing but footprints.

This is a hunting camp (Deer Camp as it's known around here), Art on his ATV.

A Sugar House that was built before the war. A family of 5 lived here for several years. The shed on the right is connected to the house by a covered hanging trolley, so that they can supply dry wood for the sap boiler.

The pond. Art's wife, Suzy, mows the grass and maintains the property. He claims it keeps her off the golf course...

During the construction of the pond, some nice rocks turned up. Art planted them and had an artist come out and etch these footprints for Suzy's birthday.

Suzy's Glen, she cleared the brush and saplings to open this view of the waterfall.

Ok, I forgot to talk about the ATV I was riding. It was Suzy's, a Honda 425cc utility type, automatic tranny, power steering, independent suspension, 2 or 4 wheel drive, quiet, comfortable. So easy to ride it was really almost cheating. The closest I've come to just floating over the ground. I actually want one.

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