Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sandwich Dome via the Algonquin trail

A few weekends ago we were in New Hampshire and the weather was a little iffy, so we decided to do a low-level hike with "interesting" terrain.  Sandwich Dome is the highest peak that is less than 4000-feet, and it can be ascended by the Algonquin trail which is one of the optional hikes on the "Terrifying 25" list.  This seemed like the perfect objective for a early season hike.

We did a little online research to find the way to the trail head, and we dropped Zealand off at 'puppy day-care" promptly at 8am.  We then proceeded to drive south towards the Sandwich range, and onto the dirt road that would take us to the trail head.  The Sandwich Notch Road was quite an exciting drive with lots of drop-offs, narrow sections, and dodgy surface conditions!

Once we were on the hiking trail it was quite overgrown and during the winter a lot of trees had fallen down.  It had also rained heavily during the preceding 24-hours.  Hence, there was quite a bit of bushwhacking to do and in addition we found ourselves scrambling up the trail on steep wet rocks covered with moss and slime!

Eventually we emerged onto a series of rock ledges that gave us some good views of the Sandwich range and peaks beyond.  As we hiked higher the views got better and we were able to sit in the sun and dry off a little.  Finally we reached the summit in time for a late lunch and to meet the first fellow-hikers of the day.

The route back to the car was a reverse of the way up, and it was equally exciting!  Fortunately we avoided seeing any bugs (black flies & mosquitos) which are often prevalent at this time of year, and we made it back to the car in time to pick up Zealand before the doggie day-care closed!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Strawberry fields forever

We have been putting in new strawberry plants the last couple of years.  This spring the conditions have been idea it seems, i.e.,  not to wet, not to cold and plenty of sunshine and warm weather at the right time.  We also covered the strawberries this year with netting which means more for use and less for the birds!  

Zealand has been having fun in the garden too.  He "helps" a bit but picking berries with web feet is challenging.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Visit from DiAnn

We recently had a visit from DiAnn (Sheri's mom) to help out with Zealand whilst Bruno was in Madison.  It was a great visit with lots of puppy fun and games!

Short trip to Madison WI

Bruno writes:

I have been helping to teach a short-course on the basics of pharmaceutical formulation development for about fifteen years now.  The course is organized by the University of Wisconsin, and hence I get the opportunity to travel to Madison each year in May.  This year the weather was mixed, but I did manage to take a short walk to the newly renovated student union terrace and saw our good friends Mike and Sue for dinner.  It was great to see them and to catch up on all of our news.

Nancy Cascades

A few weeks ago we were in New Hampshire for the weekend, and trying to figure out what hike to do in-between the seasons.  The clouds were low, so we opted for a waterfall hike to the Nancy Cascades.  The trailhead was also nearby to our chalet which was another good reason to try out this hike. When we reached the cascades there was quite a bit of snow, so we stopped at that point and didn't attempt to go any further!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pet update

On Saturday we welcomed a young pup, Zealand, into our family. He is 3/4 poodle and 1/4 golden retriever and he comes from near Fryeburg, New Hampshire. He is 9 weeks old today and is fully of energy and awe for the world. Needless to say we aren't getting as much sleep as we should! The cats are also re-learning what it's like to have a share their house and owners with a dog.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mount Moosilauke

Mount Moosilauke is one of the 4000 footers in the White Mountains that we have been eager to climb.  It is situated on the western edge of the White Mountains and is a favorite summit for hikers for the 360 degree views which include the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York.

Plans to climb "The Moose" on April 23rd had been in the making for several months and were hoping for a clear day so we could make the most of the views.  After several days of clouds and rain we woke to a clear day with temperatures predicted to reach the low 60's by late morning.

We approached the summit from the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge using the Gorge Brook Trail.  The trail surface was packed snow and we found microspikes helpful for the entire ascent. Plenty of others were in boots but watching them slip and slide made us thankful for our 'spikes.

We arrive at the summit in full sunshine and were rewarded with the views we had heard so much about from fellow hikers.   We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the top while we chatted with a few other seasoned hikers.  We were amused by a few novice hikers who showed up in tank tops and shorts that were incredulous over the 4-5' of snow still clinging to the summit.

We descended via the Carriage Road, and connected back to the Gorge Brook Trail using the Snapper Trail.  By early afternoon the snow had softened and we were happy to have snowshoes for the descent.  We were speeding past others in boots and microspikes and leaving the trail in good conditions.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hiking in Evans Notch: Blueberry Hill

On Saturday April 22,  March for Science and Earth Day, we were in Fryeburg Maine visiting with our 5-week old puppy.  Since we were so close to the Evan's Notch area we decided to hike to Blueberry Mountain.  We have wanted to hike in the Evan's Notch area for sometime.  It is a bit of a drive from our Chalet in Intervale.  Also, many hikes in Evan's Notch  are inaccessible in the winter, and still were on this day in April.  However, the trail to Blueberry was accessible and was an obvious choice for the day.  

We fueled up with coffee in Stow, ME at the General Store. You can't miss it, it is right in the center of town.  The coffee was fresh, the proprieter friendly and the baked goods tempting.  At the trail head, which was still under a little snow we set off with our microspikes and a light lunch in our packs.. We never needed the microspikes but the lunch was welcome at the summit wich afforded views of trees within a 10ft range.  

Although the day wasn't as clear as we hoped, there was a lot to keep us interested at low level, streams, rocky ledges and a gorge that was full with rushing waters from snow and ice melt at higher elevations.  The large pool at the end of the gorge was beautiful and would be a great place for a swim on a warmer day.  We plan to make a return trip in the summer on a clear day with a puppy who would love a swim!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Puppy Pick Day

While we were sorry to miss the March for Science and Earth Day celebrations in New England, we were very excited to pick our new puppy today. The puppy is one of nine  Goldendoodles (Dam is a poodle, and Sire is a  goldendoodle).  All the puppies were great and we would have been happy with any one of them (or two or three?). The pups ranged from dark red to light apricot shades. They are 3/4 poodle and 1/4 golden and most have wavy or curly coats which means they are non-shedding and hypoallergenic (to most!).

After much deliberation we chose "Green" boy, as indicated by a green ribbon.  We are looking forward to seeing him in three weeks when he comes come with us. In the meantime we are catching up on sleep and thinking of suitable names.   For those who are interested here the rules on names:

1. No food names (e.g., biscuit, cookie muffin)
2. Two syllables, and preferably starting with.a hard sound.
3. No common "people" names  (e.g., Tom, Dick or Harrry)
4. Must be able to shout 3 times from your front door or in the dog park and feel good about it

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dale & Ray

Last weekend we celebrated our anniversary with a trip to the Stone Mountain Arts Center to see a performance by Dale Watson and Ray Benson (of Asleep at the Wheel).  We are fans of both artists and they have recently released an album together.  It was a fine evening of traditional country music tinged with a strong sense of humor.

You can listen to a track from the album here.

Image result for dale and ray

Back in the mountains

Last weekend we made a trip to New Hampshire to enjoy the end of the winter season.  We were blessed with decent weather, so we were able to enjoy one last day on our cross country skis and a hike using our new snowshoes.

On Day-1 we went to Prospect Farm in Jackson and skied practically every trail there.  Conditions were possibly the best conditions of the season because it had snowed earlier in the week and there were very few people out on the trails.

On Day-2 we drove to the Waterville Valley and enjoyed hiking up Mt Tecumseh (4003').  This summit is next to a down-hill ski area and we were able to get great views of the slopes along the way.  They still had plenty of snow, and the sun shone on the skiers and hikers below.  To finish the day we had dinner at the newly re-opened Thompson House Eatery (T.H.E.) in Jackson and really enjoyed the experience.

Perfect conditions at Prospect Farm

A dead moose.  Was it hit by a skier?

Bright skies and sunshine on the trail

Fantastic views

Using our new snowshoes