Mount Cube

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.

David enjoys the view from summit of North Mount Cube; Moosilauke is at far left.

Check out the gallery for more, notably, the panorama from the North summit.

Hike stats:
Distance 7.2km
Time: 2h31m with stops
Gain 473m

Bear crap

Big and hairy.

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…

Ready for winter

Warms you twice.

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.

Halfway done!

When done, our woodpile looks tidy and ready to spend the summer drying out. It’ll warm us again when the snow flies!

Stacked two deep and about 5-7′ high.

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!

Post Mills Balloon Festival

A colorful delight for photographers.

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!

Some of the 21 balloons I saw launching this morning.
Continue reading “Post Mills Balloon Festival”

Rowing season

A joy to be back out on the river!

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.

Forest spring

Spring arrives in ‘my’ forest.

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.

Green-up day

Our annual ritual.

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.

Continue reading “Green-up day”

Dartmouth Powwow

The 50th annual powwow at Dartmouth.

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.

Beth Regan, vice chair of the Mohegan Council of Elders, in an honor dance with the Head Man and Head Lady dancers, at Dartmouth Pow-Wow 2022.

The event was also another opportunity to recognize the recent return of Samson Occom’s papers to the Mohegan Tribe; indeed, Beth Regan, vice chair of the Mohegan Council of Elders, was present to make some remarks in remembrance of that event.

For more photos, see the gallery.

Hummingbird

The hummingbirds are back.

With spring emerging further every day, it was time to restore the hummingbird feeder. I had a chance to capture photos of two visitors.

Nikon D500, with Nikon 200-500 at 500mm, 1/2500 at f/5.6, ISO 8000
Nikon D500, with Nikon 200-500 at 500mm, 1/2500 at f/5.6, ISO 8000

The photos are not as sharp as I’d like, but good practice!

First river outing

Time to get out on the river!

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.