My wife and I had been trying to book a summer vacation at the same lake we’d visited in 2011.
It seemed that every place we were interested in was booked, so being believers in EASE, it felt better to abandon the search and just let things unfold.
Weeks later I saw a photo on Facebook.
It looked something like this…
Wondering where in the world this beautiful lake was, I followed a link and learned that this was Lake Willoughby, Vermont.
A minute with the Google informed me that this magnificent lake was a mere 3 hours from my home.
That’s all I knew about the place, well that, and that I was going to Lake Willoughby…
Five minutes later I sent my wife the link for a rental cottage for her approval. Done and done.
And a few weeks later, we were here… and ready to engage in a couple of my favorite activities: relaxing and exploring.
As you might be able to tell from its distinctive profile, Lake Willoughby was formed by a glacier cutting through the hillside, leaving two mountains to frame the lake — Mt Pigsah and curiously named Mt. Hor (sounds just like it’s spelled. I had to ask a couple times… Mount what?)
The ice flow cut deeply and the lake is over 300 feet deep in some places, making the water cold.
My father-in-law and I were in agreement that the water temperature was invigorating and refreshing, while the ladies in our party dissented somewhat on this point.
However, we were in full agreement that with the verdant hilly border, crystal waters, and quiet (no jet skis allowed, thank you), evoked the word “pristine.”
There’s not much going on in town. There’s not much of a town. So the environment begs for you to just be for a while.
Our rental came with a private beach and in between the daily traveling-circus-set-ups-and-tear-downs, we mostly read, ate, and stared at the view.
Karin and I look forward to having our own lake house, so whenever we visit a new place, I usually find myself inspired to check out the local real estate listings.
Searching through some properties in the morning, I found one that looked quite lovely.
The asking price was more than the current state of my bank account and normally this would lead me to start asking HOW was the money to buy a lake house going to come into my life…
With lots of practice, I’ve learned that this question is not a fruitful one to ask. Because I don’t know HOW this money is going to come to me, nor do I really care.
And most important, I notice that this question DOES NOT FEEL GOOD to ask. If I really want a lake house (and I really want a lake house), I know that my job is to keep my attention on what feels good.
So I sat and imagined how nice it would be to sit on my deck and look at something like this…
A few minutes later it was time to hit our private beach located across the lake. Each morning Karin would drive Alex around the lake to the beach while I would take my kayak the mile or so across to meet them.
This morning there were some wind and waves, making the crossing a bit of an adventure. Heading straight for the beach would have meant waves crashing into the side of my boat, so I focused on a large house to the north of my destination and began paddling with purpose.
As I got closer to the shoreline and raised my focus to the horizon, I noticed I’d drifted a few houses off course.
And there is was, right in front of me…
I could tell from some of the unique designs that I found myself directly in front of the exact property I’d just been looking at.
Out of all the camps on the lake, here it was.
Here I was.
Of course, the magical manifestation of getting so close to my desire so quickly thrilled me.
I was literally carried to it. How cool was it that the wind, the current, and my muscles all conspired to bring me here? (Very cool!)
The event told me “you’re right here, right now” with regard to being in alignment with my desire.
I was. And I am.
I’ll end this little story here, just know that it felt just as sweet in the re-telling of it here.
* * *
Let’s move on to rainbows and sunsets, shall we?
When paddling back to our place for the one evening, raindrops began to fall but the water stayed calm. The dark and the light engaged one another. As soon as I had the thought “this is rainbow light,” my manifestation appeared before me.
Oh, looking at the picture, you’ll notice one of the things I LOVE about Lake Willoughby. See any other boats? Me neither. And this was 4th of July week, the height of summer.
I could not believe how few boats were on this lake. And what I REALLY LOVED? The boats were small and quiet. Most of them literal and putted around the lake at 5MPH (though there were some delightful squeals from the occasional tuber or waterskier, too). It was like everyone had an unspoken reverence for the tranquility of the place.
Respect… I think it might just be a Vermont-thing.
(Yeah, I really don’t care for big, loud boats, machinery, or backyard fireworks in nature. Do whatever you want for your fun, but when your sense of fun impedes my sense of fun? Not so cool. Okay, end of mini-rant. Let’s get out the sunset pix…)
We had a good rain one day, and things started to clear at dusk. I knew what this meant and so I just waited on the dock in anticipation.
Getting some good shots was easy pickins.
And in the cool morning air, we were greeted by some lovely fog.
Of course, staring at Mt. Pigsah everyday (a view that you will never tire of), I knew I was going to climb it.
Alex naps for a couple hours shortly after noon, so I took this opportunity to take our 4Runner up the road to see what was doin’ from the mountaintop.
I didn’t want to leave my wife and and our toddler stranded (they would want to get back to the beach), so I found myself rushing a bit. Usually I research my hikes to get an idea of what to expect and get some tips on today I just headed for the trailhead. Eyeballing the hike, I thought “no big deal.”
Note to self: Avoid rushing. Especially when hiking.
The day was lovely, but over 85 degrees (hot for an Irishman) and I geared up and began my power hike from the south side (the right side of the slope in the photo above). Powered by Rush’s new masterpiece flowing through my earbuds, I made short work of the first view of the lake.
So I was feeling really good and strong (and sweaty), having reached the first view so quickly. I would be back before Alex woke for sure, I thought. I knew a couple clearings lay ahead so I resumed my ascent.
(Rule of hiking: Summits are ALWAYS farther than you think. Whenever you think you’re close, you’re not.)
Climbing the mountain like someone was chasing me in the heat started to sap my energy. Around every switchback, I expected to find the mountaintop, but the mountaintop remained unwilling to receive me.
I had to get back to my family. I had to reach the top.
I asked a descending woman how much farther I needed to go to reach the next viewpoint and she told me it was a ways on, but worth it “if I could make it.”
This made me smile and steeled my resolve. I decided Alex would sleep a little longer this day on my behalf and kept moving upwards.
Go far enough and you always reach the top.
I arrived back at our place pretty well cooked, but as per my intention, Alex had just awakened and it was time to hit the beach again.
Okay. Enough of my yakkin’… Plus I’ve run out of things to say.
I’ll end with some final thoughts and a few photos and a video…
This was a wonderful vacation. I love Lake Willoughby and look forward to returning with my family.
(If you found this post while researching Lake Willoughby, I hope you found it helpful in some way.)
It’s quiet. It’s wild. It’s full of peace and relaxation if’n you’re into these types of things…
Alex, his hat, and a lesson in parenting.
Reflecting on this trip makes me want to say how much I love the fact that life can be a permanent vacation, if that’s what you truly desire and allow.
That’s always been my vision of a Very Cool Life.
Freedom. Ease. Connection.
And I appreciate the hell out of the fact that this is what I have and more is coming!
Wishing you more of the same…