Tag Archives: outdoors

Rowing the Connecticut

Summer is a wonderful time on the river, in part because the lengthy days allow me ample time to get out rowing.  I like to row well before breakfast, because the river is as still as glass and there are rarely any other boats.  Today, three days after returning from our canoe trip on the upper reaches of the river, I was treated to an unusual abundance of bird life.

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6 days, 6 hikes

Dave on Mount Willard
Summit of Mt. Willard, in Crawford Notch

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!

Snowy weekend

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.

cabin
Great Bear Cabin

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.

sunset photo
Sunset after the storm blew away

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.

Appalachian Trail backpacking

The boys and I recently took a three-day backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) not far from home. [See photo gallery.] Pam dropped us off at a remote road crossing on Cape Moonshine Road, Lake Armington and just south of Ore Hill.  Andy and John were wearing new backpacks and carrying more than they ever had before, which was helpful, but my pack still managed to weigh in at 52 pounds.  It’s a good thing we didn’t have an aggressive agenda.

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A week in the Lake District of England

map showing location of Ambleside in UK
Ambleside is in northwestern England

[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