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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Wilkinson: Respite From The Heat

Brooke Wilkinson
An assortment of pond-side floats await the next dip.

Vermont rarely sees temperatures in the triple digits. The National Weather Service recorded 104 degrees in Vernon on July 4th, 1911. And in 1995 we saw temperatures in the hundreds a few times. But with climate change, warmer temperatures may be a more frequent trend - so even we Vermonters are learning how to take the necessary measures to stay safe in extreme heat.

Hydration and shade are among the most important precautions, but the good news is that Vermont has a big advantage over other states when the thermometer climbs: water.

We have freshwater everywhere. Our rivers and lakes are great places to seek respite from this extreme heat.

And luckily, I don’t have to go far at all as my own pond lies no more than 10 feet from my house. It’s quite clear and stays cool - sometimes too cool for my taste - but if the day calls for it, you’ll often catch me lazily floating there.

Other times, I venture out to other bodies of water for a change of scenery or a change of activity. Boating on the Connecticut River can lead to various islands and rope swings. Tubing on the White River is pretty much good anywhere - at least I can attest to the part of it that meanders through the Upper Valley.

Rock formations on the White that jut out into the center of the river are good spots to while away the time - some are even sufficiently safe to jump from. And if you’re a local - or know someone willing to reveal favorite swimming holes - there’s an abundance of gems.

Vermont has plenty of still water, too. Lakes and ponds abound and those with public access usually have some sort of sandy beach with a gradual slope into the water - perfect for my young ones who aren’t quite old enough for swimming yet. Some have playgrounds or swings to keep the kids interested in a longer day by the water.

Of the 60 or so Vermont State Parks, more than half have swimming options and boat rentals. They’re always in beautiful spots - they wouldn’t be state parks otherwise - so it’s hard to go wrong at those - especially if they sell ice cream.

With our rafts blown up and swimsuits at the ready, I am all set to keep my family cool this summer.

From farmer to teacher, Brooke Wilkinson now works to bring music to young children throughout the region. She lives with her husband and two children in Strafford, Vermont.
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