|West River at South Londonderry Report|
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[For private use only, not for re-publication in any mass media. Copyright 2005 by El Dorado Hot Springs. No part of this report may be reproduced in a public forum or printed in multiple copies without the express permission of Camilla Van Sickle & Bill Pennington.]
From Londonderry, Vermont on Rt. 11, take Rt. 100 South to South Londonderry, then go two miles farther. At the second left after Three Mountain Market, turn into Winhall Brook Camping Area. At the gate, say you're going to the swimming hole and you'll be waved through. Go down the hill and take the first right across the small bridge, immediately turn left and continue 2.4 miles to a small parking area at the end. Walk 75 yards farther to the river where there's good sunning and a small swimming hole where a railroad bridge used to cross the river; it was taken out by a huge ice jam in 1987. Walking farther downriver leads to even more privacy and more sunning and swimming spots. Enjoy!
From Townshend Dam, a neat free camping and nuding area, just a couple of miles down river from Winhall Brook Camping Area in Ball Mountain State Park.
For years, we'd guessed there was a nude swimming area on the West River here; in fact, we predicted it back in '89, based on what we saw on a brochure we found on the other side of the river at Ball Mountain Dam--see 094WestRiver. Much to our surprise, that brochure prohibited nude bathing; the prohibition was so totally UN Vermont-like, we surmised the rule must have been put in place to protect the resident skinnydippin' population from gawkers, preverts, and postverts. Said we at the time, "the regulations prohibited "Nude Swimming", but we very, VERY HIGHLY DOUBT that it's enforced more than 100 yds. (or feet, probably) from the public area." It makes us feel good to know our guess was, in fact, an educated, correct one. Having now logged 17 Summers of nuding Vermont, we feel we have a reasonable knowledge of the unique state of mind that Vermont is.
The credit for the actual (un)coverage of this beach goes to Johanna Moore and Lee Baxandall, however, because they were the first to write it up during a whirlwind tour of that part of Vermont on August 18, 1992. Johanna & Lee should spend MORE time Nuding Vermont and writing up areas! Compared to we slow-moving (except for certain things) Nomads, "with a heavy throttle foot" (L. Baxandall), they (un)covered more areas in ONE DAY than we would ordinarily cover in TWO WEEKS, because we like to spend at least a couple of days at each area, we've become so lazy = it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. If Johanna & Lee spent a couple of weeks in The Green Mountain State, they would probably come up with 100 Natural spots because their energy is so much more focused than ours!
Johanna and Lee learned of the area from folk at the fuel station in Londonderry; a uniformed Army Engineers Corpsman confirmed it, so we have the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the state (of mind) of Vermont, to thank for this peaceful spot which features camping, picnic facilities, and privies. Clothing should be worn when using them, except for those farthest down river = on weekdays, we have no doubt AT ALL they could be used unencumbered by (useless, unhealthy) cloth; as always, use discretion = despite the fact this is Vermont, we don't want to push our luck.
At that point, the West River is "generally shallow and rocky [typical of the West for it's entire length, except for small, but numerous, deep spots], broad and scenic...". The whole Ball Mountain/Townshend Dam area is one huge Bird Sanctuary; with a bit of patience, one may enjoy many rare, beautiful sightings, including the VERY rare (in Vermont) Osprey and Pileated Woodpecker. When one hears a sound as a distant jackhammer out in the middle of the boondocks, it's a Pileated Woodpecker; they are the only bird we know of that can make a tree look like it's been attacked by a chain saw in less than ten minutes!
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