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With the border to Canada still closed and given the success and enjoyment of the LT painting trip (see below), as I worked in the studio while the snow fell through the late fall and early winter of 2020/2021, I considered how to keep the momentum going. I've always loved boats (canoes and sailboats particularly) and it hit me that the other great geophysical/habitat feature of Vermont apart from the Green Mountains is, of course, Lake Champlain. However, large lakes can be dangerous for canoes on long journeys and problematic for doing a lot of artwork. It can be done and I'd done it for years in the north of Canada and Alaska, but I decided that for this Lake Champlain Project, I wanted a bigger boat. Scanning the web for hours upon hours I dreamed of 40-foot ketches and other heady impracticalities. I'd almost resigned myself to doing the lake in a canoe catamaran (I have plenty of canoes to make a multi-hull) when I found her. She was at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. She had been in a barn for 12 years and needed some work, but she was sound and she was a beauty. All wood, handmade in Georgia, Vermont from plans by Steve Redmond in Guilford, Vermont, she is a 20-ft. sprit-rigged canoe yawl. Bonnie and I restored her in two months and launched on June 9th. Her builder had named her Eowyn, but since she was now to be my floating studio, we renamed her the "Artful Otter." We launched on June 9, 2021, and spent six weeks on the lake from End-to-End and Side-to-Side and back and forth through the summer and early fall. I mostly sailed alone, but six other artists joined me for short stints aboard or met me along the way.
Vermont's Long Trail 2020
With the border to Canada closed and therefore our usual plans to run a WREAF expedition shut down, it almost immediately occurred to me to come back to my roots. I had done much of the Long Trail over the years starting when I was a child but not the entire 273-mile length and certainly never all at once.
Our boreal forest WREAF expeditions tend to be big, both of necessity and because that is what appeals to me. Vermont has no 300-mile wilderness rivers, but the "LT" is long, rugged, and world-famous. At my age and as a Vermonter, if I was to ever do it, this seemed to be the opportunity. So I decided to do the whole thing and, moreover, to make it an art trip like the WREAF expeditions.
View west from the Great Cliff of Mount Horrid View NNW of sunrise from Theron Dean Shelter
Glacial erratic next to Shooting Star Shelter Frost on a beaver dam south of Tillotson Camp
Left, view west from Laraway Mountain Lookout
Above: Lake Memphremagog from Jay Peak