Tesla… not

A month of body work awaits!

Sadly, I lost my brand-new Tesla one week ago.

damage to my Model Y after another driver rear-ended me.

Well, to be more precise, my Tesla is now in the shop, after a distracted driver rear-ended me last Thursday at a remote intersection in Vermont. (Nobody was hurt.) I’ve spent the last week on the phone with Tesla, two insurance companies, and a couple of body shops trying to make arrangements. Not easy!

As it turns out, there are no Tesla-approved body shops in either Vermont or New Hampshire, so the closest realistic option was to tow my car about 20 miles from the accident to a garage, and then 160 miles from that garage to the body shop near Boston. Tesla cars require special training and equipment to repair, because of the high-voltage electronics and because of the aluminum body components.

On the other hand, a major advantage of Tesla cars is that they have cameras all around, always recording;* I was able to pull the USB memory stick after the accident, giving me a several dramatic views of the incident. Check out the gallery for two photos and two brief videos.

Now I’m in this Toyota RAV4 SUV rental car. Very odd blue!

* If you’re really into this stuff, check out the YouTube Channel Wham Bam TeslaCam for dramatic video captures by Tesla cars around the world. Ironically, I was watching video from that channel before I went out last Thursday.

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.
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Worcester Mountain

A snowshoe hike in to-die-for conditions.

Since the impressive snowfall we received in mid-December, I’ve been dreaming about another opportunity to snowshoe in deep powder through a forest of snow-covered trees. Today my dreams came true, in an absolutely incredible hike on a mountain I’ve never visited before. Read on… and be sure to check out the photo gallery!

On the summit of Worcester Mountain, Vermont.
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Ascutney

A fine hike in fine winter conditions.

The snowstorm five days ago brought us a sudden beginning for winter, laying down deep powder across the mountains and trails. I’ve been out every day to enjoy the snow, prime conditions for skiing and snowshoeing. With bad weather looming for tomorrow and the next day (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), Andy and I set out today to make the most of the snow before the rain spoils it.

Tracks in deep snow on Mount Ascutney’s Windsor Trail.

Although we were interested in a return to Moosilauke, the favorite, the forecast showed morning sun with increasing clouds and I feared we’d simply climb into the clouds. So I selected Ascutney; it has lower elevation but 360-degree long-distance views. And heck, it’s been more than four years since I was last there in winter.

The Windsor Trail is very popular, so it was not surprised to see it broken out. Indeed, it had clearly seen a lot of traffic… skiers, snowshoers, and bare-booters. Andy and I made good time in bare boots for the first half of the climb, passing only three other hikers, and then switched to snowshoes as the snow became deeper and softer.

Andy hiking up Mount Ascutney on a snowy winter day.

Soon we were at the summit, climbing the observation tower. There’s really no way to capture the scene with a mere smartphone camera, but the 360-degree views span nearly all of Vermont and New Hampshire.

Andy surveys the wintry view from Mount Ascutney.

Clouds were moving in, pulling us under an overcast sky… but to the northeast, the summits of Moosilauke, Franconias, and Presidentials were blindingly white in the afternoon sunshine. (No wonder the range is called the White Mountains.)

Our descent was speedy, boot-skiing down the trail, passing only two other hikers. A fine hike indeed. A few more photos in the gallery.

Hike stats: 5.6 miles (per the guidebook), elevation gain 2,800′ (per Apple Watch). 4 hours.

The Windsor Trail begins at Parking in the upper right and ends at the summit (the middle yellow peak).

Bobcat visit

A special treat.

We’ve lived in Lyme for over twenty years and I have spent time in the woods of New Hampshire for over thirty years. I’ve seen nearly every large mammal – deer, moose, bear, coyote, fox, and more – except a bobcat. So I was especially excited to spot a bobcat, at a distance and from behind, at the edge of a cornfield in September. Even then, because of the distance and the circumstance, I was unsure whether it was a bobcat until I’d returned home for close examination of the two photos I managed to snap before it disappeared.

Today, however, I had the good luck to look out the window, across the snowy lawn and the icy river to a dark figure moving along the Vermont shore. A bobcat was exploring the river’s edge, as if to test the ice and consider a move to New Hampshire. I grabbed my Nikon and the 200-500mm lens and collected a couple hundred shots in the two minutes it took him to walk out of sight. Even at 500mm it still takes a tight crop to get a good look, below. See the gallery for a few more, including a nice look at his face while he pauses to drink from the river’s surface.

A Vermont bobcat explores the river shore across from our house.

An uncropped example is below.

[uncropped] A Vermont bobcat explores the river shore across from our house.

Such a beautiful animal. I hope s/he visits again soon!

Winter wonderland

An early winter outing.

I had a chance to walk to a prominent outlook in Vershire VT, with two of my oldest and bestest friends. While we’re still suffering from a near-total lack of snow down here in the river valley, Vershire’s hills were covered in several fluffy inches of the freshest snow Vermont can make.

Fresh snow draped on every twig and branch.

With the sun now setting shortly after 4pm, as the days tick closer to Solstice, the late-afternoon clouds added a bit of color to the quiet woodlands through which we walked.

The long-distance views from this hill – merely a hill, but with a clearcut view to the northeast – presented a fine opportunity to pause while our conversation wound around the topics of the day.

A walk through winter wonderland in Vershire, VT.

Indeed, though it was lovely to hike through some of the season’s first good snow, the real treat was the time it offered to catch up with good friends. Looking forward to more such outings to come…

River trip – to Massachusetts!

We have completed the entire journey of the river through New Hampshire and Vermont!

Pam and Mara on our annual canoe trip.For the past six years we have been canoeing sections of the Connecticut River from its source at the New Hampshire-Canada border toward its mouth on Long Island Sound.  Each year we pick up where we left off the previously – so this year we launched our canoes just below Bellows Falls, and paddled three days to the first take-out inside Massachusetts. As a result, we have completed the entire journey of the river through New Hampshire and Vermont!  We’ve been fortunate to follow the string of campsites organized by the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail and their excellent map.  This year we paddled through a beautiful section of river, with good weather, albeit with some strong headwinds. We passed the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant (now being decommissioned), and the city of Brattleboro, and portaged around Vernon Dam.  Continue reading “River trip – to Massachusetts!”

Rooster Comb

My father and I led a hike in the Adirondacks, for alumni of Camp Dudley. Great views!

View of Giant Mountain from the Rooster Comb in the Adirondacks.After completing my Adirondack 46ers on Whiteface Mountain (Thursday) and my New York 4000-footers on Hunter Mountain (Friday), I was still drawn to the mountains. On Saturday, my father and I co-led a group of Camp Dudley alumni to the top of Rooster Comb, a small peak in the Keene Valley region of the Adirondacks, which has a fantastic view of Giant Mountain and even Mount Marcy.  [photos.] What a treat!

An osprey perching on a pole in the Champlain valley of Vermont.On Sunday, I left the Adirondacks and crossed Vermont on my way home to New Hampshire. It was such a beautiful day that I had to pause and photograph the ubiquitous Osprey in the Champlain Valley, and take a hike on the Long Trail to catch some views toward New Hampshire from the Middlebury Snow Bowl. [photos.] We are lucky to live in such beautiful states.

Adirondacks

I’ve been hiking in the Adirondacks for well over forty years – or so I like to think. Actually, I can count on one hand the number of Adirondack peaks I have summited in the past quarter century – all but one of which are small viewpoints outside the classic canon of the ADK 46, the elite group of peaks over four-thousand feet in elevation. (A historical curiosity, three of the peaks on the list of 46 have since been re-surveyed and found to be shy of 4000′ elevation, but remain on the list for ol’ times sake.)  I spent the summers of the 1970s hiking these peaks with my family, and the winters of the 1980s exploring the snowy backcountry with my high-school and college buddies. My last backpacking trip here was in 1990. Recently, I found myself drawn back to these ancient peaks – for they are far older than the Appalachians, and reside deeper in my own past – with an eye toward notching off the final dozen peaks on my own list of 46. I set aside three days on my calendar and struck out at dawn on Friday, with three specific summits in mind, and was rewarded with breathtaking scenery, fond memories of trips long past, a rekindled appreciation for this beautiful wilderness, and lovely photos. More after the break.

Heart Lake near Adirondac Loj.
Heart Lake near Adirondac Loj.

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