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).
Last summer had a wonderful opportunity to complete 6 hikes in 4 days. I was fortunate again this week to have the same opportunity, completing 6 hikes in 6 days (Sunday through Saturday with a day off on Monday). It was the same time of the summer – the waning days of July and the first of August. The kick-off hike was once again with my friend Lelia, tackling a long hike that I had long desired to try. Last year, it was Mount Ellen, allowing me to complete my 4000′ Vermont mountains. This year, it was Tunnel Brook Ravine, a legendary bushwhack on the backside of Mount Moosilauke. I wrote about that epic trip last week.
After a much-needed rest day on Monday, I headed for Crawford Notch in the White Mountains. As before, I was fortunate to be staying at the Mount Washington Hotel for a few days, which is an excellent base for beautiful hikes both short and long. I revisited two favorites from last year – Mount Willard and the two Sugarloafs – with another friend Jon. For the first time I climbed Mount Martha, which has an astoundingly beautiful view of the Presidential Range. After the meeting concluded on Friday I bopped up Crawford Cliff, dodging a thunderstorm, and on Saturday at home I revisited the local Lyme Pinnacle for a quick overview of the Upper Valley. I snapped a few photos along the way (SmugMug).
Good weather, beautiful mountains, and wonderful friends. A great week!
Instant frostbite! That was my concern as we stepped out of the car on Saturday afternoon, stuck in deep snow at the unplowed parking area for the Appalachian Trail on the southwest slopes of Mount Moosilauke. The snows of Winter Storm Nemo had just ended, and were drifting deeply in strong cold winds that followed the storm. Although the New England coast had been hammered by this blizzard, at home in Lyme we received only 6 inches of snow and up here we found perhaps 8–10 inches. Not much, but very welcome replacement for the icy trails and bare brown fields that were here a few days ago.
By the time I had dug out a parking space and gotten the skis off the roof of the car, my fingers were numb and the kids were complaining about the cold. We strapped on our skis, hoisted our packs, and skied up the trail toward Moosilauke. Fortunately it is not far to Great Bear cabin – perhaps half a mile – and the fresh snow had been tracked earlier in the day by some snowshoers. We reached the cabin after skiing across windswept meadows, and were pleased to find that it was still warm from the prior occupants. Mara quickly had a roaring fire going, while the boys cracked the ice on the stream to bring back a pot of water. We settled in for a warm and cozy evening as the sky cleared, the sun set behind the trees, and the temperatures dropped below zero.
We played a few rounds of various card games, enjoyed a wonderful pasta dinner, and roasted in the sleeping loft as the wood stove cranked away all night. The next morning was lazy as we cooked breakfast, cleaned the cabin, and got ourselves out at the crack of noon. By then it had warmed up into the teens or maybe twenties, with a brilliant blue sky and sunshine, so we took a nice ski tour through the meadows and woods before heading home. We passed numerous hikers who were returning from the summit, who all reported spectacularly clear views and a stiff windchill up there. I was jealous.
A wonderful if brief weekend! Here are some more photos from that trip and also a walk we took near home on the weekend before.
Gosh, what a beautiful fall it has been. Although it has been rainy at time, the temperatures have been warm and the leaves bright! After our overnight hike along the Appalachian Trail of early summer, John and I have determined to hike every weekend in the fall and to complete the full section of trail from Hanover to Moosilauke. We’ve been on the A.T. for the past three weekends:
John and I took advantage of beautiful September weather to hike a classic loop in the Franconia Range of the White Mountains (NH). This 8.8-mile loop climbs from Franconia Notch up the Old Bridle Path to Greenleaf Hut, run by the AMC, then to Mount Lafayette. The day was warm and the breeze friendly, with just a few puffy clouds brushing the summits as they passed through New Hampshire. Check the photo gallery.
Although our original goal was simply to summit Lafayette and return, we reached the summit by 12:30 and the southbound ridgeline beckoned to us.
We popped south along the ridge, over an unnamed bump and then Mount Lincoln, reaching Little Haystack mountain by about 1:45pm. We then fell down the Falling Waters trail to our starting point at Lafayette Place. I’ve always wanted to hike the Falling Waters trail; aptly named, it passes five or ten gorgeous waterfalls in its lower reaches. However, I learned one painful lesson: one should always hike this steep trail uphill, never downhill! [My knees were screaming this lesson to me all the way down, and throughout the next day.]
As it was a gorgeous day on a Sunday in early September, there were many other people out on the trail. I estimate that we passed about 60 other people, most doing the same loop in one direction or another. On the summit of Lafayette we watched one youthful group repeatedly pose for a group photo, pants dropped and butts bared, the photographer using a self-timer so he could join the picture. Ah, I remember those days 😉
A nice hike today with long-time friend Lelia. We zipped up Mount Ellen, on the Long Trail in Vermont, from the west via the Jerusalem Trail. It was a cloudy day, threatening rain, but we reached the treed summit in two hours and spent a pleasant hour sitting at the top of the Sugarbush chairlift enjoying the sun-speckled view to the east. Continue reading “Mount Ellen, VT”
[see SmugMug gallery for more photos]
Every year I attend the MobiSys conference; this year it was held in the beautiful Lake District of northwestern England. I had heard so much about this area – a walker’s paradise, people said – so I decided to go early and to bring along my son John. We flew from Manchester to Manchester (NH to UK, that is) and drove to Ambleside, in the center of the Lake District. It was pouring rain, but the rental-car agent assured us that it wouldn’t last (more on that later). Continue reading “A week in the Lake District of England”