A beautiful day with grand views – and wildflowers.
After a couple of months with little or no hiking, it was time to get back out on the trails. Traditionally, it is appropriate to stay off the trails after the snow melts, until Memorial Day… when the trails have hopefully dried out and are sufficiently stable to accommodate the foot traffic. This morning broke cool and clear, with nary a cloud in the sky. Although I started up the Rivendell Trail toward Mount Cube more than two hours after sunrise, I was nonetheless the first person up the trail this morning. I was treated to grand views from the outlooks and summits, and to the occasional wildflowers along the trails.
Check out the gallery for more, notably, the panorama from the North summit.
Hike stats: Distance 7.2km Time: 2h31m with stops Gain 473m
As the weather warmed, our local population of black bears started to stir. Since there is little natural food available yet, our birdfeeders and compost bin are an easy target. We try to remember to bring in the bird feeders each night, but sometimes forget… leading to damaged feeders and a hugely diminished supply of birdseed.
This weekend, while out for a stroll across the yard, I found this fresh evidence of our overnight visitor. Click on the photo and zoom in if you dare!
Two days later, after repairing our compost bin, he was back…
Today we took delivery of one cord of firewood – cut in late winter, then cut into stove length and split into quarters, the seller dumped it on the driveway this afternoon. In the evening, when it was cooler, Pam and I started stacking it in the garage. Halfway through, I paused for a photo of the remainder.
When done, our woodpile looks tidy and ready to spend the summer drying out. It’ll warm us again when the snow flies!
Green wood is heavy! It will spend the summer releasing all that moisture, so it will burn well in the winter. In the fall, if experience serves, there will be several families of mice who make their winter home in the deepest nooks and crannies, away from the chill (and the cat). So many uses for a pile of wood!
Finally, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Post Mills Balloon Festival has returned. This is one of my favorite events every spring, when hot-air balloon enthusiasts gather at the tiny Post Mills Airport for a weekend of ballooning and fellowship. The term ‘airport’ hardly fits, because it is a simple grassy airstrip nestled between a forested wetland and the town cemetery, but the lure of these graceful, vibrantly colorful balloons on a cool spring morning brings me back every year. Read on, and check out the gallery!
Finally. May has arrived, the docks are in, and the morning weather is warm enough for me to get out my shell and make a quick sculling trip before work.
Ever since the time I capsized in early April, some years ago – it was my first outing of the year, I was a bit rusty – and I experienced first-hand the danger of spring water sports when one is tossed into near-freezing water that can bring on hypothermia in minutes… I’ve set a personal rule not to row until May. Furthermore, throughout the season, I don’t row if the air temp is below 40º. Call me wimpy, but I skip sculling when it is raining or windy. I’m out there solo, so it’s best to be safe.
Today was a beautiful morning, with air temp (at the riverside) about 41º … and for the first time, just for yucks, I measured the water temp: 53º. Glad to say I stayed above the water today.
I often ramble along the forested hillside above our home – and often write about it – and this morning I had an opportunity for a quick walk before heading to work. It was a beautiful sunny morning, with temp in the high 30s, as I strode quickly up the steep slopes toward the ‘summit’ of this little hill. As I approached the top, a deer leaped across the path and down through the trees to my right – exactly the same place I’d seen deer several times before, and shared a video with you. A nice way to start the day.
Near the road, a spot that gets a bit more sunshine due to the gap in trees, I found spring’s first Trillium.
On my way down I passed a vernal pool I know well. It had been rather dull and quiet – but this week seems to have burst forth with new green.
I’ll keep an eye on it, as more vegetation emerges over the next few weeks, as the amphibians emerge, and as local critters visit for a drink or a snack. I made many visits to this pool last spring.
Every year, since the children were small, we walk up River Road in early May, scanning the roadside brush for trash and debris as part of New Hampshire’s “Green-up day.” It’s a perfect time to do this – after the snow melts and before the undergrowth reappears. (Most importantly, before the poison ivy emerges.) Our kids were always eager participants, scampering down the roadside banks to fetch a soda can or a beer bottle, a cigarette pack or a shopping bag. It was a great lesson in the importance of community service, and the callous disregard of those who feel it is somehow appropriate to toss their fast-food bag and beer bottles into the roadside brush, perhaps imagining the river would wash it away. Today I ended up filling two large trash bags, of the special blue variety designated for this day; read on.
The weather was wonderful for the return of the Dartmouth Powwow, celebrating its 50th anniversary as one of the largest annual powwows in the country. The event was cancelled the past two years due to the pandemic, so it was especially gratifying to see this special event back on the Green – especially this year, as Dartmouth celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Native American Studies program at Dartmouth.
With the warm weather this weekend, it’s finally time to get back onto the river. I pulled out the kayak and headed downriver to the mouth of Hewes Brook. On a tiny island, inches above the level of the river, I found a Canada Goose guarding her nest.
Shortly downriver, another goose hesitated until I was near, then launched out of the water and into the air.
On that island, a bit bigger, is a beaver lodge dating back several years.
Is it still occupied? I’ll check again another day.
See the full-resolution gallery for more/better pictures.