Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day

Hudson and Barbara Kent 

Happy Fathers Day. Five kids and shift work at the paper mill would have done me in... My father organized the cans in our pantry by height and expiration dates––he knew their prices through the years by heart. At camp, he'd pick up kindling and make sure each stack was of equal length and thickness. I never saw him mow the lawn or shovel a walkway. On occasion, after an 11:00pm - 7:00am shift at the mill, he took us kids to Razanno's for grilled blueberry muffins slathered in butter. Once, our mother brought us to town and he leaned out the window of the brick building where he worked and waved. On the 4th of July, he'd load the family canon that his stepfather made. At 9pm, Dad would light the fuse and run like the dickens. The crackling report ricocheted across the lake off Tumbledown, Little Jackson, and Blueberry Mountains then back to our beach. My brother Fred continues the tradition. Dad smoked Kent cigarettes and wore Aqua Velva––I never once heard him swear. Each day for work he'd make a cheese sandwich with A&P mayonnaise on pumpernickel bread and wrap it in waxed paper. I don't recall what else he took to eat, but he placed his daily meal in a wicker lunch basket. Two things I know he'd appreciate today--his son still has his lunch basket and his great grandson has his name.

Hudson Stephen Kent

Dad's lunch basket

Saturday, June 20, 2020


One of my high school classmates, a hard-working forester, now retired, posted the following on Facebook today: 

Here’s one of the many things wrong in today’s society! So on my way uptown today I saw a guy sitting on a bridge holding a cardboard sign and the only word I could make out was Help as there was traffic behind me. So on the way home there was no one behind me so I stopped. He wanted help buying food and may God bless me. First of all he’s sitting not standing. So I said you know god helps those that help themselves so did you ever think of getting a job! So he says I’ve tried but I can’t find one! So I fired back BULLSHIT! There’s jobs every where if someone wants to work! I won’t repeat what I said as I drove away!

 Then, a host of his friends chimed in, beating up on this man who's out in 90 degree heat on a Saturday morning asking for help. For the next hour I mulled responses, from looking up quotations about compassion and the poor from their Christian Bible to giving a small lesson on systemic poverty. Right now, the only thing I've done is write this lame blog post as my heart rate and sadness build. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

That look...

This is a "I want another treat" look, or a "I'm not moving" look, or a "who do you think you are?" look... Among others...

Wright Trail at 93 degrees

Western Mountains of Maine

For the past month we've been treated to fabulous weather, including warm temperatures. One of the best hiking trails for us during heat waves is the Wright Trail up in Newry past Frenchman's Hole. The trail follows Goose Eye River and that provides a relief for Bailey--a quick swim and drinks galore. 

On the trail again... 1. 

On the trail again... 2. 

On the trail again... 3. 

Cool swim 

Camping spot at 2.6 miles, 1100 feet

Information board at trailhead

Low water

Backyard deer


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Friday, June 12, 2020

Hiking the AT South off East B Hill Road in Andover.

Click on photos to enlarge. 
Just outside of Andover the Appalachian Trail crosses a back road names East B Hill. Ii'd hiked the trail north from East B but never ventured south. Duh. The water falls, even when the water is low, are wonderful. And the pools, as Bailey would attest, are enticing. Just goes to show that there's lots to see near the old home town. Thanks to Patrick Hurley for pointing the way! 

The AT weaves through great pine forests and has spots where it goes 1/4 mile above the stream. It's a fun hike that reminds me of the Long Trail in Vermont and the Wright Trail just over the mountains in Newry.

We need some rain. 

I pictured many a thru hiker swimming in this pool just off the AT.
Imagine how good that felt after many miles on the trail.
Notice the falls up above. I would have climbed higher but there's a root
system, that looked slippery. I'm not taking any chances before our journey.  

Loved the moss on this section of the stream. 

Not the white blaze--the AT marker.  

Look close--you can see the Berner's butt as he waddles into the water. 

The moss in this shot is striking--the pictures doesn't do it justice. 

Another great pool. 

Pondering life on the trail. We're at 213 hikes for the past 12 months (some were wicked quickies) and we're about to start this summer's journey to hike ski areas.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Another Gift...

Rich, Bailey, and Nora Haynes (7)
Remember: Click photos to enlarge

Another gift of a teacher's life is meeting our former students' kids. My, aren't we all getting just a bit older. Today, while trucking up the granite on Whitecap's yellow trail, I met up with Sis and Don Haynes and their granddaughter, Nora... age 7. That's right, 7. The little wonder had trekked up a real climber's climb, the steepest section of the mountain.  Nora's dad is Chad Haynes who played soccer in the early 1990s on one of the best-ever teams I coached over my 20 years. Chad also endured my portfolio English classroom, Room 109. (He probably deserves a commendation and a hefty check for surviving that class and its portfolio requirement.)  

As parents, the Haynes were involved and supportive. At the end of each soccer season, they put together scrapbooks of photos and news clippings for the players and me (see below––yes, I still have them).  And at our championship matches, they made hand-painted banners celebrating the season. The one on the right hangs in my gym––it's faded, but on close inspection the banner showcases all the players' and coaches' names. 
That year, we went undefeated in regular season, but got knocked out of the playoffs with a 4-3 loss. But what a season... and as a sophomore, Chad and three of his 10th-grade classmates all started on the first 11 for the entire season. Yes, we did very well the next two seasons, too. 

Scrapbooks of our undefeated regular season by the Haynes

But let's get back to little Nora... holy flying cows, that kid's got wicked game. It'll be fun to keep up with her journey through Chad's Facebook posts.  

We had just finished the up's... now we're heading down. 
The ten-year-old mountain dog is pooped, but what fun he had.  

Bailey Tuckerman on back to back hikes trucking the steeps. 

Mount Washington and 
the White Mountains in the distance

The Haynes heading back to their car after a 4-mile hike 
on a real Maine mountain

Mount Washington in the distance

Thursday, June 4, 2020


My father worked in the local paper mill where all the other kids' fathers worked. He hated "the stinking hell hole." I wasn't old enough to know what bothered him about this job, but now that I've had a long life of work, I know. Shiftwork.

Every week my father worked a different schedule: 7:00am - 3:00pm,  3:00pm - 11:00pm,  11:00pm - 7:00am.  Week after week his sleep pattern changed; he came back to a home with 5 kids, a wife, and a dog and all that entailed. He wasn't good at balancing the home life work; he never attended our ski races or plays, though I do remember him taking us to a restaurant for a breakfast of big blueberry muffins. In the summer after the night shift, he tried to sleep in the loft bedroom of our camp where the sun heated the roof top and the air stood stagnant. I'm sure his balcony bedroom at camp hovered most days at 80 degrees-plus.

While in college, I worked the night shift as a cop at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. I drove to the oceanside beach community in the early evening and worked the 8:00pm to 4:00am shift. I usually made back to my fraternity house at about 6:00am. I'd lie in bed for a while and then crash. Some late mornings my friend Mike Abbott had his band Vehicle practice in the barn of our house. Vehicle had brass and sounded every bit like the group Chicago. There was no sleeping after they played 25 or 6 to 4. I was 20 years old and still those two summers had me walking in a haze. I can't imagine my father's life as a 50-year-old switching his bedtime every week throughout the year. I'm guessing he did better than I would have.  

Here's James Taylor playing Millworker. I always think of my father when listening to this song.

My parents' wedding picture. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020


I've got a new favorite song for the week. It's an old one by James Taylor called Wandering. Something about the song takes me out to the mountain trails, though the song focuses more on a life's journey.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Amidst a pandemic, protests, and riots... climbing Black Mountain.

Even my dog took a moment today...
After a few Zoom meetings this morning and the tragedies unfolding with the Black Lives Matter protests, I had to go to one of my churches this afternoon.  Twelve minutes away, Black Mountain is the most accessible.

The worst man. 
Last night, I watched while the Army, police, Secret Service, and the Park Service attacked the peaceful crowd near the White House. Then, I watched in disgust as Trump paraded himself, followed by his sycophants, to a little church. Nothing but a photo op... he held up a bible like a 4th-grade spelling champ with a ribbon and let the press take picture of him. What a fucking idiot.

This may not be the lowest point in American history, but I won't forget the idiot's smug face as he stood in front of the church.

How about some hiking pictures...?