Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dodging the Rain Drops (and lightning bolts)

Click on Photos to Enlarge. 
We've had some pretty rotten weather lately. On Wednesday, after rain showers through the morning, I checked out the radar and saw a break in the action. So, I threw on some hiking cloths, packed a few dog treats, and headed out to Whitecap's Connector trail. We hiked this time--running felt impossible!

I love the artistry of the Whitecap cairns. The trail crew and other hikers have had some fun with the rock markers. My favorite is a Buddha-esque formation near the summit.

Bailey did suck some air on the way up, and I encouraged him to jump in the various puddles and drink from streams. He did. Rolls of thunder and then a light rain came as we headed down the East Andover Parking Lot Trail. On this hike I brought my collapsable LL Bean hiking poles. Naturally, they're metal, so when the thunder began to sound, I thought about lightning rods... and collapsed the poles. I don't have a PhD for nothing!

And so it goes. We were both pooped when we got home, but the Red Sox were on, and dinner was already made: a good evening with well-worn bodies.  
My Buddha Cairn on Whitecap's Connector Trail.

Carins lining the traverse from the Connector to Main Trail. 

Double water falls near the base of the Connector Trail. 

Bailey's cooling mechanism at full function. 

Looking out toward the White Mountains. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Magazine Article Interview

Writer Phyllis Hanlon interviewed me his spring about the place of journaling in sports, including the sport of cheerleading. Also included in the article are former US Olympic Bobsled athlete Alexandra Allred and Track & Field Olympian Roisin McGettigan from Ireland who said, "When you record your training, it crosses the line between being casual or serious about the sport. I was able to track my program, learn what worked and what didn't. I could figure out why I was tired and see if I over- or under-estimated my training." For my friends who coach cheering and for their athletes, this article found at the bottom of my WritingAthlete's webpage may be of interest.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A poem about ski racing in the 1960s (#2... of 60).

For several years, I've wanted to write a poem about skiing back in the day. I decided to try my hand at mirroring George Ella Lyon's fabulous poem, Where I'm From. If you're not a skier familiar with the sport c.1960, this poem could leave you wondering.


I am from long thong straps
and Marker-Nevada combinations.
I am from wooden Kneissls, plastic K2’s, and the
cold black steel of Head Competitions.

I am from boot-top fractures and hand-held timing,
from leather boots and bamboo slalom gates
whose many colors and random sets
tested our memories.  

I am from the opening day at Black Mountain:
4th tower, red hotdogs on a bonfire, hot chocolate,
and hay bales piled near the sleek new T-bar
that carried us toward the sky.

I’m from Scotty’s Mountain and
the hill in our backyard below Liberty's,
I’m from the graveyard ski jump at Sunnyside Terrace
and the night trail at Chisholm Winter Ski Park.
I’m from Titcomb, Saddleback,
Sugarloaf, and The River—
from Wild Cat and Cannon, Cranmore and Loon.

I’m from The Suicide and The Aurele Legere ski jumps
that we packed and packed and pack some more;
I’m from High School Hill and the Lower Quirion Loop,
            from Tuckerman’s and Hillman’s Highway…
And once, kept out of school, the slopes of  
Mt Abram with my mother and brother Rob.

I’m from the Telstar Shuush, the Wes Marco, and
the Saddleback Cup; from Mack Miller and Herbie Adams,
from Lufkin, Lutick, Miller, and Chenard,
from Blackie’s and Hamann’s ski shops, 
rope tows and poma’s, chairlifts and T’s.

I’m from the shores of the Androscoggin and Swift Rivers
where our fathers fit pipe, tested pulp, and
sucked in sulfur to make paper for our skis.

I’m from expert trails and community, from real snow days
and hissing radiators lined with mittens.
I’m from the western mountains,
the River Valley… my home.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Celebrating 60... with 60

For a year now, I've been thinking about a way to celebrate turning 60 years old this October. One thought was to train well and then to do a long run/hike in Weld across Blueberry Mountain over The Jacksons down onto Tumbledown Mountain. Another idea hit me today while, after a couple of good training days, I ran the Connector Trail loop on Whitecap Mountain. I say ran... I maintained some semblance of a run for 70 percent of the 90-minute trek.

After running the Connector Trail on Whitecap Mountain. 
While running across the rock face of Whitecap with that fabulous view up the Androscoggin River toward the White Mountains, I thought of undertaking 60 activities that make me happy and/or challenge me in some way. As I ran down the East Andover trail, with blood dripping down my forearm (the old man fell on wet rock), I decided that the activities would not all have to be physical in nature. If you know me well, I'm about as social as a dust mite in a dryer's lint filter, so attending a party (oh gawd, I'm not doing that), would be a challenge. However, having friends over for dinner or working on a new writing project would certainly count.

I may make a list of the 60, or I may not. But for now, check off #1, baby! Now what?

Friday, June 7, 2013

It's either sucking up Lady Bugs and Cluster Flies, or cleaning and reminiscing: Ways Not to Write.

I should be working on one thing or another with my writing--but, no... if there are no Lady Bugs or bloated Cluster Flies floating around the house, I clean. And when I dig into a desk drawer, anything can surface.

Take this lacrosse ball from our first-ever game (and first win) back in 1990. I stopped my cleaning and sorting ...  took a photo ... and posted it on Facebook ... and then read and responded to feedback from former players and friends.

It's a rainy Friday afternoon, and I have the author's ambition that's the size of a dust mite. But, my bathroom is clean, the laundry's done, pages upon pages of "stuff" has been filed, and I've enjoyed chatting with some former student-athletes on Facebook.

In the great scheme of things, I suppose that's not such a bad way to spend an afternoon.

MVHS Lax Seniors and their stylish coach... 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Climbing Whitecap

View west toward the White mountains.
Click on Picture to enlarge.  
We climbed Whitecap Mountain on Wednesday, the quintessential late spring day: the bluest skies, temps at 70 degrees, minimal bugs, and a light wind. The round-trip hike takes around 2 hours with a bit more added on for summit pictures and assorted gawking. Being on top of this mountain and taking in this view is yet one more reason why I live in western Maine A hike like this does a lot for my energy level, happiness factor, and caloric burn! As you can see below, Bailey was some tuckered out when we returned. Following his after-diner bone,  he curled up on the cool hardwood floor and napped for hours. For all the photos, click on this line.     
After dinner bone. 
Post-hike nap. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tuesday: 42 degrees with the furnace on... Saturday: 94 degrees

From 2011
I suppose that's Maine. It's just so odd to have the weather fluctuate so dramatically. But then again, I'm a Mainer... this is what happens.

We drove over the the White Mountains in hopes of escaping a bit of the heat, but no such luck. Still in the 90's at the base of the Mount Washington Auto Road. Even though there were spots of snow between 4000 and 6000 feet, no hiking for us.

So now this afternoon Bailey has taken up his morning place: under my work desk, sound asleep. And me? A to-do list that just won't quit.

Could be worse.