Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Huntington Gorge, VT

When I visited Huntington Gorge, I was living in a friend’s house in Vermont for a month, part of a four month extended summer road trip before starting school.  My memories of the Gorge as a place are inextricably entwined with my memories of that summer, and of being in the still eddy just before the waterfall - on the brink of something big and sudden and new.

Summer in Vermont is sitting on porches drinking cheap beer, riding bikes for long distances with no destination, rounding up a car full of people to go get creamies at the farm (locally made, maple-flavored ice cream).  And swimming holes.  Summer in Vermont is being naked in the sun at swimming holes.

The Gorge is a popular place (swim suits), down some country roads and a short hike through the woods.  There is no parking lot, no sign - you have to know where it is, which means someone else has to show you.  So even from the outset, the Gorge as a place carries with it a sense of a community, an initiation of sorts.

Huntington Gorge is a living play structure as well as a place of trespass.  In places the rocks are worn smooth by the swift river current that carved out the Gorge.  Geological time is laid bare and you can feel the power of the water by trying to swim against it for all you’re worth, yet staying in one place.  In other places, the rocks are jagged, eroded, their bases uncomfortably shaved away, holes worn through in strange and delightful places.  The rock serves as a place to sun bath, to climb, to sit, to eat and drink.  It is beautiful and strange and interacts with you at all scales in the narrow canyon.

The Gorge simply exists.  It is a place outside of the realm of property rights, rules, legal restrictions.  The Gorge is dangerous, and this is part of its appeal.  To be able to feel the force of a river means risking getting pinned up against a rock and experiencing a brief moment of pure terror.  Or just imagining that such a thing is possible, and knowing that there is no proscribed dictates mitigating your experience of the landscape.  There is a raw poetry and a deep sense of connection that comes from such experiences of nature.

If I went back, maybe it wouldn’t be the same Gorge I experienced.  Maybe I wouldn’t be the same person who experienced those things.

1 comment:

Greg @ gparsons66@hotmail.com said...

is this posted as "no trespassing" now? I've heard a rumor...

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