Forty years ago today

I became a member of the Dartmouth family.

Forty years ago today I started classes as a first-year undergraduate student at Dartmouth College. As I headed off to find my Physics, Math, and Geography classes, I surely did not anticipate that I would return, less than a decade later, to join the faculty … or how the years would turn into decades and I would take on increasing responsibilities. It has been truly an honor and a privilege to serve this institution on behalf of current and future students. Read on!

My 1982 Dartmouth ID, which received a new validation sticker each term.
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Chugach State Park

Many thanks to Steve – a fellow Dartmouth alum and long-time Anchorage resident – who took me along for a hike in Chugach State Park, on the east side of Anchorage.  We climbed up the slopes of O’Malley Peak and into an alpine plain called the “ballfield”, to an overlook of the Williwaw valley.  It was a beautiful day with plentiful sunshine and some clouds passing through the peaks.  Great views, near and far.   More photos in the gallery!

David at the overlook into the Williwaw valley, Chugach State Park, outside Anchorage.
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Pinnacle meadow

The quiet days of August.

August is a time of quiet in the meadows and forests of New Hampshire, as the plants and animals enjoy the long days of late summer after the busy days of spring and early summer. This afternoon I strolled down from the summit of Lyme Pinnacle, through a mature meadow filled with goldenrod and Queen Anne’s Lace, with the crickets chirping and a light breeze blowing puffy clouds in from Vermont. Very peaceful.

What’s in my pack?

Pays to be well prepared.

When I’m out for a dayhike I tend to carry more than most hikers – because I often hike solo, and because I keep my pack pre-filled with the essentials. Below is my full summer kit, which weighs about 10kg (22lb) in typical configuration. Heavy! But I like to be prepared. So what’s inside?

Mindshift Rotation 180º pack.
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Moosilauke

I can’t seem to get enough of this place – my third overnight visit in two months. The weather was hot – with a high in the 80s at the lodge and in the 70s on the summit – so the conditions weren’t great for hiking. But my group took our time climbing and descending, enjoying the summit breeze and the mix of clouds and sun (and a brief sprinkle) the weather delivered us today. It was my great pleasure to introduce the mountain, and the lodge, to a new group of people.

View of the ridge and South Peak, as we descend north peak of Mount Moosilauke.
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Camel’s Hump

Hot and hazy hike!

Today I climbed Camel’s Hump – the third-highest peak in Vermont, along the Long Trail as it travels over the spine of the Green Mountains – with friends Lelia and Kristin. We spotted a car so we would not be constrained to one of the standard ‘loop’ hikes, getting underway just before 10am near where the Long Trail crosses the Winooski River. The 10km hike to the summit is grueling, with many steep sections and several rocky scrambles over the cracked granite of Vermont’s spine. The hot, humid weather made it even more challenging. (The last time I climbed Camel’s Hump, the conditions were very different!) Check out the photo gallery!

Lelia and Kristin reaching a viewpoint on the Long Trail, with Camel’s Hump in view at rear.
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Ammonoosuc River falls

A natural waterpark.

On the final day of my vacation we took a late-morning walk along the Ammonoosuc River, upstream from the Mount Washington Hotel. This is a beautiful mountain stream formed upslope in the Ammonoosuc Ravine on the slopes of Mount Washington. Along this section, it passes through several narrow cracks in the granite, forming cascades, waterfalls, and deep pools of cold, clear water. Beautiful, yes … but also a great playground on a hot summer’s day. Check out the gallery.

People swimming at the Upper Falls of the Ammonoosuc River, White Mountains.

Hike stats:
Distance: 6.27km
Time: 2h19 with many stops
Gain: 54m

Mount Willard

A favorite morning jaunt.

Today broke clear and cool. I wanted to get out for one more hike, before we had to head home. From the Mount Washington Hotel I have found many lovely, short hikes, doable before breakfast. I selected the most convenient, the short jaunt up Mount Willard. It’s one I’ve visited many times. It includes a nice waterfall and a grand view south along Crawford Notch.

Early morning view from Mount Willard, looking south through Crawford Notch.
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Mount Pierce and Mitzpah Hut

View of the Presidential Range from near the summit of Mt. Pierce, White Mountains.

Back in New Hampshire, I spent the weekend at the Mount Washington Hotel in the White Mountains – with perfect weather and a grand view of the Presidential Range. Pam joined me for the two-night stay. On Saturday morning the day broke cool and clear so I headed a few miles down the road to Crawford Notch and headed up the Crawford Path. This path is the oldest continuously used mountain trail in the United States, dating to 1819. There were few people on the trail this early in the morning (7am), but that would soon change. Read on, and check out the photo gallery.

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Jordan Pond peaks and popovers

Two loop hikes separated by a popover and ice cream!

Thursday I had a full day with no real itinerary, so I decided to head to Jordan Pond and climb some of the peaks beside this lovely, deep, clear lake. Arriving at 8am was the trick – although filling fast, the parking lot still had a few spots. I strapped on my trusty pack and headed out for the first of two long loop hikes – with a sweet lunch stop in between. Read on.

Sargent Peak, seen from Penobscot Mountain. Acadia National Park.
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