All posts by dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

Bigelow Range

After a summer of hiking and the completion of my Adirondack 46, I still have an itch to get out hiking.  This weekend’s blue-sky weather beckoned, despite the unseasonably hot and muggy conditions (highs in the 70s and 80s in late September?), so I turned my attention to the Appalachian high peaks of Maine and headed for the Bigelow Range.  My campsite, in the col between its two major peaks, allowed me to enjoy sunset on the western peak and sunrise on the eastern peak, followed by a beautiful ridge walk. Read on, and check out the photo gallery.

Sunrise from Avery Peak, Bigelow Mountain, Maine.
Sunrise from Avery Peak, Bigelow Mountain, Maine.

Continue reading Bigelow Range

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Connecticut River canoe trip

Pam and Andy on our CT River paddle trip.Every year we paddle a little further down the Connecticut River.  Five years ago we started at its source, on the border with Canada, and two years ago we reached our home in Lyme NH.  Not satisfied, we decided to keep going!  This year we paddled from Wilgus State Park (near Ascutney, VT) to Bellows Falls VT.  Although a short trip – two short days with a beautiful sunny Saturday in the middle – it was a lovely trip.  We camped riverside the first night, arriving after sunset and “making do” with a less-than-ideal location.  The second night we stayed at Lower Meadows campsite, a pretty location on a spit next to Meary’s Cove and the lake formed by the dam at Bellows Falls.   Continue reading Connecticut River canoe trip

Rooster Comb

View of Giant Mountain from the Rooster Comb in the Adirondacks.After completing my Adirondack 46ers on Whiteface Mountain (Thursday) and my New York 4000-footers on Hunter Mountain (Friday), I was still drawn to the mountains. On Saturday, my father and I co-led a group of Camp Dudley alumni to the top of Rooster Comb, a small peak in the Keene Valley region of the Adirondacks, which has a fantastic view of Giant Mountain and even Mount Marcy.  [photos.] What a treat!

An osprey perching on a pole in the Champlain valley of Vermont.On Sunday, I left the Adirondacks and crossed Vermont on my way home to New Hampshire. It was such a beautiful day that I had to pause and photograph the ubiquitous Osprey in the Champlain Valley, and take a hike on the Long Trail to catch some views toward New Hampshire from the Middlebury Snow Bowl. [photos.] We are lucky to live in such beautiful states.

Hunter Mountain

View from the outlook near the summit of Hunter Mountain.I took a quick trip up Hunter Mountain, in the Catskills of southern New York, to top off my list of 4000-footer peaks in New York.  (There are two such peaks outside the Adirondacks, both in the Catskills; I climbed Slide Mountain in 1976.)

A nest of three juvenile garter snakes on the summit of Hunter Mountain.It was a pleasant day on the Becker Hollow trail, which provides a steady but stiff inclined route up the side of the valley.  As it nears the head of the valley the trail becomes steep, finally topping out at the flat, tree-covered summit at 4,046′.  I explored a side trail to a nice westerly overlook on some sunny rocks, only to discover I was not the only one enjoying those sunny rocks: a nest of small garter snakes writhed in one small niche, while another larger snake patrolled nearby.  See the gallery for a video.

Distance: 5.0mi round-trip.  Elevation gain: 2,219′.  Time: 1h9m climb,

Completing the Adirondack 46

David on the summit of Whiteface.
David summits Whiteface Mountain, for the second time, to make it “count” for his 46.

It took 45 years, but I finally completed what I started.

When I was a young boy my family would make frequent trips to the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York state, camping and hiking in this beautiful “forever wild” region of high peaks, beautiful brooks, ample wildlife, and pristine lakes.  Inspired by my father’s love for these mountains, and his encouragement, I started racking up the miles and the mountains.  I discovered the concept of a 46er – a person who climbs all 46 of the peaks thought to be over 4000′ elevation, at least according to the 19th-century surveyors.  I was hooked, and set out to achieve this goal myself.  Today I finished – read on, and check out the photos.

Continue reading Completing the Adirondack 46

Total eclipse

Total solar eclipse viewed from South Carolina.
Total solar eclipse viewed from South Carolina. See the gallery for hi-res photos.

We traveled to northwestern South Carolina to visit family and view the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse – and were totally impressed!  We launched a boat onto Lake Keowee so we could view the partial eclipse and, if needed, relocate to avoid any late-arriving clouds that might obscure our view of the total eclipse.  Darkness arrived suddenly as the moon crept into place, lasting a bit longer than two minutes.  At this point we experienced a 360-degree sunset.

Although I made no specific plans to do serious photography, I found my Nikon D500 with 300mm telephoto was  capable of capturing decent shots of the eclipse, hand-held.  Looking forward to the 2024 eclipse in New Hampshire!

eclipse