Snowflakes

Snowflake photography is hard.

It’s snowing lightly this morning, quite a change from the 50-degree sunny weather that has worn hard on the snowbanks this past week. It’s a welcome opportunity to pretty-up the view of the nearby hillsides and to coat the dirty old snow in a fresh coat of white.

I recently read a New York Times article about the amazing snowflake photographs produced as a hobby by Nathan Myhrvold, a retired Microsoft executive, like the one below.

Image copyright Nathan Myhrvold, from the New York Times.

I decided to dash outside and give it a quick try. Needless to say, my attempts – photographed in about five minutes using a handheld Nikon camera and a routine lens, of flakes freshly fallen onto a microfiber cloth – are not even worthwhile saving. Myhrvold’s work has taken years of experimentation, custom-designed equipment, travel to remote locations, and incredible persistence. It’s beautiful work, and I highly recommend a scroll through the photos in the article.

Who knew microfiber cloths have such texture?

Welch & Dickey

A perfect day for these two popular peaks.

One never hears of anyone climbing Mount Welch, or Dickey, or Dickey & Welch. It’s always Welch & Dickey. These twin mountains are a popular pair of small peaks in central New Hampshire, on the south edge of the White Mountains. Part of their popularity is the loop trail that goes over both peaks, making a far more interesting hike than the usual out-and-back route one might use to approach a single peak. Today, a brilliant late-winter day, Andy and I followed the classic route and enjoyed perfect trail conditions, blue skies, and crystal-clear views. Read on and check out the photo gallery!

Mount Dickey (left) and Mount Welch, White Mountains of NH.
Continue reading “Welch & Dickey”

Avalanche

It was just a matter of time before it struck.

An avalanche just struck the house, in a massive rumble that shook the foundation. Ok, that’s a bit melodramatic, but it’s true! I opened the front door to see what was the matter and found a foot-high wall of snow had pressed up against the door:

Front door blocked by an avalanche off the garage roof.

This morning’s warm weather (35ºF and rainy) finally convinced the snowpack on the garage roof, which had accumulated over months and had slowly melted down to 6″ of thick heavy wet stuff, that it was time to go. Fortunately I could sneak out the side door to get a more complete picture.

The garage is to the right, that front door is to the left.

The good news: the snow came off in one quick motion, overshooting much of the walkway, meaning there is less of it we need to shovel away. The bad news? Forecast is for temps to drop to 3ºF tonight, so this stuff will freeze up like concrete unless we move it today. Gotta go get the shovel…

Al Merrill Loop

A quiet, snowy day for a snowshoe.

As I rounded the corner on the broad turn east of Orfordville I could see that the summit of Mount Moosilauke was in the clouds, consistent with the mountain forecast. The NH summit forecast was for clouds, plummeting temperature, and hurricane-force winds, so I’d chosen instead to snowshoe the Al Merrill ski loop on the east side of Mount Moosilauke. It turned out to be an excellent choice – with plenty of untracked powder and not another soul in sight. Read on and be sure to check out the gallery for full-size images and more.

Ridge trail, upper bridge over the Baker River.
Continue reading “Al Merrill Loop”

Shedding snow

Avalanches off our roof.

A few years ago we put a standing-seam metal roof on our house. They are more durable than asphalt shingles and do not accumulate snow or form ice dams. Well, they do accumulate snow during colder periods, like the last week, but when it gets warm (like today), that snow slides slowly off, often in huge sheets. Whump! it hits the ground. When Pam re-did the decking, a few years ago, she had the clever idea to make a section of the deck fold up against the house, allowing the snow to fall through to the ground below. I’ve written about this before – but today I captured a brief video for you. These are small, compared to what they can often be! The whole house shakes several times every minute, as this snow load drops off.

Skiing

Beautiful conditions for the past week.

I’ve been fortunate to be out skiing five out of the past six days – the exception being the snowshoe day on Pico Peak – because the conditions have been so lovely. Last week the temps hovered around freezing most afternoons, softening the snow surface, but a dusting of fresh powder most nights have freshened-up the trails and skiing surfaces. Here are some photos from today’s ski tour in the outer reaches of Lyme.

The trail conditions are excellent.
A view of Smarts Mountain from the ski trails.
One of the many pretty brooks over which the ski trails pass.

Pico peak

A glorious afternoon snowshoe up to Pico Peak.

I count myself lucky to spend a day snowshoeing through fantabulous deep powder snow in the Green Mountains of Vermont, as I did last Thursday on Worcester Mountain. But I count myself uncommonly lucky to spend another day snowshoeing through spectacular deeper powder snow, exactly one week later, as I did today on Pico Peak in Vermont. Read on, and don’t miss the photo gallery!

The trail up Pico Peak crosses an access road and dives back into the woods in deep snow. Photo by Ken Kaliski.
Continue reading “Pico peak”

Snow returns

A nor’easter brings winter conditions back home.

Although the mountains still hold fantastic winter conditions, as I found last Thursday on Worcester Mountain, the immediate Hanover-Lyme area has little snow left. Our yard was still covered in an inch or two of old hard snow, but the neighboring woods were becoming largely bare. All that changed today, as a powerful nor’easter swept up the coast. We accumulated 8.5 inches of fresh white stuff, far less than what some saw down east – the coastal regions received a foot or two – but eight or nine inches is quite nice indeed. It was a bit warm here – topping the freezing point for the afternoon – so the snow is a bit wet. At higher elevation I hope to find deeper, lighter powder. Read on and check out the gallery of photos.

The hill behind our home is blanketed in snow.
Continue reading “Snow returns”