I guess winter is over – sigh…

Alright, I finally need to admit it.  Winter is over.  Although many folks in the northeast are tired of winter and are glad to see signs of spring, I have been relishing every last opportunity to enjoy the incredible winter conditions Nature delivered to us this season. I’ve been out hiking the past three Sundays, and for a week prior I was out skiing nearly every day, soaking up the beautiful scenery, outstanding ski conditions, and incredible hiking.  I brought my camera along for many outings this winter. Here’s a quick recap.

2015-01-02-12729January 2: hiking Moosilauke with son Andy and with friends (Lelia, Jen, and Lars) in a snowstorm. Cold temps, fierce winds, and blowing snow led Andy to bundle up and exclaim “I feel invincible!” as we climbed the summit cone. [more photos]

 

 

2015-02-28-13174February 28: Mark and I skied up and down the Carriage Road on an intensely sunny day, catching the powder before it softened and with noontime views from the summit. [more photos]

 

 

 

March 14: hiking Moosilauke again with son Andy and his friend Sam, plus friends from Thetford. We made it to South Peak but were socked in by clouds. [more photos]

 

 

March 16: When I feared winter was almost over I spent a week skiing every morning in Lyme, often with impressive dawn views of Smarts Mountain.  The ski conditions were absolutely fantastic.

 

 

March 22: A bitterly cold morning on Cummings Pond, one of the last good mornings for skiing.  A day later I had the chance to ski at sunset, and completed my longest-ever loop on that trail network. [more photos]

 

April 5: Easter hike up Mount Moosilauke; a fresh early-morning snowfall was followed by a brilliantly sunny day.  The deep snowpack was decorated by a soft covering of fresh powder, and the summit lent me great views of the Franconia and Presidential ranges. [more photos]

 

April 12: a sunny jaunt up North Kinsman with close-up views of Franconia Range and awesome butt-sliding back down the Fishin’ Jimmy trail. [more photos]

 

 

2015-04-19-13879Finally, April 19, an awe-inspiring morning in the northern Presidentials, freshly dusted by snow and rime ice, capped by a deep blue sky and bathed in intense spring sunshine.  I was up Madison and Adams before noon.  Incredible day. [more photos]

 

It’s now time for the trails to rest.  Meanwhile the ice on the river is out and I’m looking forward to boating season!

Three short days in Bangalore

Last week I returned to Bangalore for my annual visit to the NetHealth workshop, which is always a fascinating combination of academic research and real-world insights from Indian health-care and public-health experts.  Unfortunately my visit was constrained by other commitments so I was in India for 72 hours (at the cost of 54 hours to get there and back).

photos of carefully piled powder, red and yellow
Vendors of colored powder, Sampige Rd, Bangalore.

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Moosilauke in a snowstorm

As we drove toward Mount Moosilauke on New Year’s day, we caught a glimpse of its summit, brilliant white under the high cloud deck, and thought eagerly of our plans to hike to that summit the next day.  Lelia and Andy and I hiked in past the Ravine Lodge, finding the going easy on a shallow but firm snow cover, with the last of the deep-pink sunset fading as we reached John Rand cabin. In a couple of hours the cabin was cozy and warm and we welcomed the arrival of friends Jen and Lars. After a wonderful pasta dinner and conversation, we settled in for a cozy first night of the new year; all in all, a great foundation for a big hike the next day.

photo of David, Lars, Jen, and Lelia
David, Lars, Jen, and Lelia on the trail after visiting the summit.

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A fine year it was

family photo at Bryce Canyon National Park
David, Pam, Mara, Andy, and John, at Bryce Canyon National Park in July.

Another busy and exciting year for us, with lots of travel. David traveled to India in January,  Andy toured the Galapagos with his grandparents, Pam spoke at a medical conference in Hyderabad (India), John sang with his quartet at Harmony University, and the whole family paddled for four days on the Connecticut River. The big family trip, though, was to raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, then explore some of the beautiful National Parks in that region (read the posts beginning here, and check out the photos and an exciting nine-minute video).  We spent lots of time outdoors in both New Hampshire and South Carolina. I hope you enjoy the year-end slideshow of highlights, including some of my favorite photos from 2014.

Rowing through a sunrise

This morning I rowed through pink cotton candy. Sculling at dawn on the Connecticut River, as I passed the mouth of Grant Brook and the sun rose over the shoulder of Smarts Mountain to the east and lit up the first fall colors on the hills to the west, the first warm rays of the sun lifted fog off the surface of the river and turned it pink. I rowed through these pink clouds, and as I headed home the clouds turned orange as the sun rose further. With fingers chilled by the 40-degree morning, I was glad to be out on such a beautiful day.

Connecticut River paddle

Passing the Vermont town of Barnet.
Passing the Vermont town of Barnet.

We just returned from our third annual Connecticut River canoe trip [photos].  Two years ago we began at the Canadian border, visiting the river’s headwaters and the four Connecticut lakes; we put in at North Stratford (skipping the lakes and 60 miles of the river’s life as a shallow stream), and paddled for two days.  Last year we put in where we left off, and paddled for four days, ending at the Gilman Dam.  This year we launched below the dam and paddled for four days to Bedell Bridge State Park. Next year we hope to reach home! The trip gets better every year, as the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail expands its network of campsites and published an outstanding new map. Read on!

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Bryce Canyon

David pauses on his hike around the Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre, at some point between Sunset and Inspiration Point.
David pauses on his hike around the Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre, at some point between Sunset and Inspiration Point.

It’s not many days that I realize, before lunch, that I’ve just completed one of the most beautiful hikes ever. Even more amazing to have that experience at the end of two weeks hiking in spectacular canyons around the Four Corners region.

Today was such a day. Bryce Canyon at sunrise is so spectacular that I snapped hundreds of photos and found it difficult to select only a few favorites. Read on.

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Zion Canyon National Park

It’s not a long drive to Zion Canyon National Park from the north rim of the Grand Canyon, but it’s a different world – the typical visitor to Zion visits the park from the floor of the canyon along the shores of the Virgin River, whereas the typical visitor to the Grand Canyon views the canyon from the top, either the north or south rim.  Having come recently from a trip along the river in the Grand Canyon, winding down through eons of geologic time and with a different vista around every bend of the river, Zion at first seemed less than ‘grand’. Nonetheless, it’s a stunningly beautiful place – check out the photo gallery, and read on for more.

Andy leans on the railing overlooking Zion Canyon, along the trail to Angels Landing, Zion NP.
Andy leans on the railing overlooking Zion Canyon, along the trail to Angels Landing, Zion NP.

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Grand Canyon North Rim

We returned to the Grand Canyon to visit the North Rim for one night in the cabins at Grand Canyon Lodge. This gorgeous mountain lodge sits right on the rim of the canyon with a fine dining room and outstanding views from the nearby Bright Angel Point. This visit gave us a totally different perspective on the Grand Canyon, as we stopped by each of the roadside viewpoints. Just three days earlier we bobbed down the Colorado River at the canyon bottom, rarely able to see farther than the adjacent canyon walls or the next bend in the meandering river. Now we had sweeping views across the canyon, and could only catch glimpses of the river far below. Read on for more about our visit, and check the photo album.

David watches the sunrise from Bright Angel Point, North Rim, Grand Canyon.
David watches the sunrise from Bright Angel Point, North Rim, Grand Canyon.

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Where the deer and the coyotes play

While visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I took a short hike around the loop of Uncle Jim’s Trail, and caught on video one of the most amazing wildlife scenes I’ve ever witnessed – involving a deer, a fawn, and at least one coyote. Read on, and watch.

Deer chases coyote Continue reading “Where the deer and the coyotes play”