Saturday, August 31, 2013

Yes, Gayle... another Whitecap Hike (18/60)

I suppose it's about being able to do it on a moment's notice when I have 2 hours or so to spare. I suppose it's about the mountain views, the little streams, the exercise, and the alone time (not that we writers don't have massive amounts of that each and every day). And, I guess, somewhere tugging at my gut, hiking my backyard mountain is about getting older and knowing that climbing mountains won't always be part of my life's repertoire. It's great to keep collecting these memories. To see the whole slide show of photographs, a lot like all those other Whitecap photos I've posted (Gayle!), just click on this sentence.

Grabbing some shade on a lazy hazy August day. 

Hazy western mountains before the storm

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hiking Glass Face Mountain (17/60)

In our backyard, just beyond Joe's Pond, is Glass face Mountain. I haven't ever been to the top of this mountain, but I went nearby on my mountain bike in the 1990's. This 3 hour and 30 minute hike took on an incredible twist as I thought I'd be bush whacking through the back country only to discover new roads having been built for logging and then .... (this is the hook)... you can read more about it and see more photos by clicking on this sentence!

Joe's Pond with Glass face in the background.
Joe's Pond is about a 45 minute hike from my home. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mid-day ice cream cone... (16/60)

Over the past ten years, I've been pretty dedicated to my eating habits. Except for late at night after a glass of wine or during a mindless afternoon meeting of talking heads, I don't snack between meals. But today, a steamy day in Maine with an afternoon Red Sox game on television, I tossed caution to the wind and made myself a two-scoop Black Raspberry Yogurt Ice Cream cone... on a sugar cone no less!

So, for #16, ice cream right smack dab in the middle of the afternoon.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bald Mountain (15/60)

A former colleague of mine at UMaine just started cancer treatment today. She had surgery. On her Facebook site she posted her smiling face with a huge wink ... and the following caption:

Surgery is done! A little sore, but
no pain and no pain meds. 
Step 1 of Operation FU Cancer. 

And I got to hike a mountain on a gorgeous summer's day.

Bailey waiting for Dad on Bald Mountain, Weld. 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Making a Difference (14/60)

I've enjoyed watching the Soccer Team Notebook roll out to various teams. Recently, Poland Regional High School adopted the notebook. Their coach, Brant Remington, sent along this photograph of the notebooks as he prepared them for distribution to his team at their opening-day party. I love the idea of these books getting athletes to think more deeply, to reflect, and to become students of the game.

Gifted an Oil (13/60)

I've got to add this gift to my 60 for 60... I'm the proud owner of an original oil of Lake Webb and Byron Notch in Weld thanks to my sister-in-law, the artist Anna George.

I know I didn't do anything to initiate this 60/60, but I do feel that one of the gifts of getting older is learning how to accept gifts. And I did... and happily so.

This photo doesn't  do justice to Anna's work... I'm really quite smitten with the painting. As an artist--a writer--I so value the effort it takes to create a well-crafted essay, a book, or a painting like Anna's. Such a gift is, indeed, a treasure.

Exploring Sunday River 30 Years Later (12/60)

When I returned from Indianapolis in 1979 to write, I discovered writing didn't pay a whole heck of a lot. As I've probably written in this blog somewhere, I made $5 in the first three months by selling a poem to Maine Life. But that one poem led to another... and then magazine articles... and then my chapbook Entering Weld. And then my soccer novel Play On!... But whoa, let's get back to the first few months.

To make money to support my writing life here in Maine, I substitute taught, coached skiing, and directed public relations at Sunday River. Back then, the area was in the hands of Les Otten who had come over from Killington and bought The River. I landed my job with that help of Jim and Jolan Ippolito. Jolan worked with Les Otten, and she told me about an opening in their leadership team.

Back then, working at Sunday River was like being in the wild west of ski area development. Each of us did a little bit of everything. During the busy Christmas holidays, I remember going around to pick up money at the various ticket booths. I'd stuff the cash into all the different pockets of my parka and then when I got to my Ford Torino Limited, I'd stick the money under my car seat and drive on to the next ticket booth.

One of my favorite stories about working at Sunday River happened during the snowless winter of 1980. The Christmas holidays were just days away and with no natural snow, the snow guns were cranking. However, there was no way at that time to snow certain sections of T-2 (T-bar #2 at Barker Mountain). Les, his wife Chris, Wendy, and I were in the office talking over options when I suggested bringing my ski team up to the mountain. We'd snow the T-bar line in exchange for ski passes so we could train during the vacation. At the time, Black Mountain did not have snowmaking.

One of my student-athletes worked up at Sunday River
in the 1990's; when they replaced signage, knowing
the story, he brought me this sign for my home gym.

The Rumford skiers--about 55 of them--descended on the mountain with baskets, boxes, and shovels. The kids formed a human chain and brought basket after basket of snow in and around T-2. I forget exactly how long it took us--my guess is the better part of a day, maybe 4-6 hours. When we finished, I saw Les in Barker Mountain Lodge and said, "It's done." He broke into this  huge smile and then gave me a big hug.

Soon, South Ridge Lodge was built. All of our offices were moved down there. Over the next few years, Les and a group of ski area architects made a plan for mountain development. That plan went up on his office wall in the form of a big map that included new lifts, trails, condos... In my mind's eye, with the blur of 30 years influencing my memory, that map looks a lot like what Sunday River is today.

So today, for my 60 adventures for my 60th birthday, I hiked around Sunday River. Bailey and I explored South Ridge, Barker, and some of the side trails... and I remembered fondly working in the wild wild west of Sunday River's development with some very nice people.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hiking with an old friend (12/60)

Hiking with an old friend combines so much in life that's fun, from catching up to getting good exercise to 360 views. Tanya Baker and I went through the Maine Writing Project's summer institute together way back in 1997. She now works for the National Writing Project at UC Berkeley. She happened to slip into Maine for the weekend and--lo and behold, we figured out that a hike would fit her schedule. What a great way to spend a Sunday.


Monday, August 12, 2013

We keep on learning...

Who left great-smelling garbage overflowing in his kitchen and then headed off to the grocery? Who came home to find the garbage strewn all over the kitchen and then blamed--and guilted out--the furry creature who shares the house? We do keep on learning, and sometimes it takes a good dog to teach us. Sorry, Bailey. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hidden Trail near Mt Blue (11/60)

I drove up one of the many dirt roads around Weld and pulled into a grassy area where I spied an overgrown trail. Off we went for an hour's run. The overgrown trail merged with a well-maintained all-terrain trail. Suddenly, 45-minutes into the run, a view of Mt Blue. Go new places, see new things...

Click on Photos to Enlarge. 

Mt. Blue with (Ssh!) Homeland Security Tower on top. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Climbing Zircon

We hiked Mt. Zircon in Rumford again. Last time we hiked in May. The weather was looking iffy, so staying closer to home made sense. Earlier in May when I wrote about this hike, I highlighted the Mt. Zircon spring water called Moon Tide Springs.  I took a picture of the old spring house and have included it below. Randy Bennett, one of my neighborhood friends from the 1960s has written a book about the Moon Tide Springs called The Mount Zircon Moon Tide Springs. In the promotional materials, he writes,

Click on pictures to expand. 

Sounds like a terrific book, and one I'll be ordering.

Western Mountains of Maine

Moon Tide Spring House

Rich and Bailey

Friday, August 2, 2013

A 70-minute run (#10 of 60)

Every once in a while I have a burst of good energy and perform well during training. That experience happened a few weeks go when I ran 70% of Whitecap's Connector Trail. It happened again yesterday as I had a terrific run with Simon up near Joe Pond. For the first 45 minutes or so, Bailey took off with Simon, and I ended up running along the various trails at different speeds. My legs felt great, and when Bailey and Simon returned from their extended jaunt, I ran the last 2 miles with them down over the logging roads and snowmobile trails, onto Highland Avenue, and down onto Prospect. I'll always remember training days like these.