Tuesday, November 30, 2021

#194... Black Mountain with Micro-spikes :-)

Looking south west

It's chilly today, but I felt strong and Bailey liked (loved) my pocketful of treats. They're making snow on the mountain--it's amazing to watch the snow pile up from the dust that flies out of the snowmaking fans. One thing's for sure: the snowmakers are a hardy bunch. They zip all over the mountain on little orange vehicles tending to the different machines up and down the mountain.  

Bailey must be wondering what-the-heck?

The lunch rocks.

AlleyLoop Glades


Monday, November 29, 2021

#193.... Whitecap

The Mahoosucs
Click on Photos to enlarge.

On Sunday, we hiked Whitecap after a light snow on Saturday evening. The upper section of Yellow trail had fairly thick ice and for some odd reason, I did not put on my micro-spikes. I just picked my way up, on, and around the ice to the granite slab. I suppose that's one of the dumbest hiking maneuvers I've accomplished in several years. Today, that decision feels a lot like a guy thing--you know, like not asking for directions. The only line that surfaces this morning comes from Forrest Gump: "Stupid is as stupid does." Indeed. 

Exploring after the second ascent on Yellow

The White Mountains in the far distance

The Mahoosucs with Mt Abram Ski Area on the far left. 


Old Spec Mountain on the AT


Bailey's Carin

The Presidential Range

Traversing the Orange

Near the Black-White Trail cutoff. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Azi's Thanksgiving... #191

Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Day Match.
A small but enthusiastic group.   

After Azi played in the annual Turkey Day Soccer Match from 9am - 10:30am, I said to him, "We're going hiking!" He's a good sport--especially after I explained Glassface Ledges only takes 25-30 minutes to summit (though that 25 minutes to fairly straight up).  

Thanksgiving dinner was quiet and as my friend Betty Wood would say, "I was a disgusted Pig" the way I stuffed my face. The best part of the meal was catching Azi in his post-turkey-dinner food coma (see below). Classic--and yes, we were watching American football. 

On Friday, our friend Marie took Azi and Kimey (Italy) on a Black Friday shopping excursion to the Portland Mall. What a time they had... and Azi, in typical American fashion, shopped his face off.  :-) 

Heading up to the Glassface Ledges

Posing on the summit

Great contrasting colors. 

Bailey gets pre-hike tummy rubs. 

The one disappointment: no cranberry sauce. 

Azi in his post-turkey-dinner food coma... Blaha!

Black Friday Survivors: Marie and Azi 

Yes, Bailey gets a special treat. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

#190... Mystery yet again

Oh, I know. I should be hiking trails in The Whites or even Tumbledown, but I just can't get myself away from reading and my writing during the morning hours. 

Today, in the 20's with a wind chill dropping the temps into the teens has been a refreshing day. Simply enough, we need the ground to freeze. We need the snow to stick. We need winter to kick in. 

Mount Washington is looking pristine. Can't wait to get my 
new iPhone 13 sometime after I figure out my retirement finances! 

Old guy

Older guy 

Presidential Range


The questions of a writer's life



My long-time friend Sue (Long) Wemyss, a coach, organizer, and... 1984 US Olympic Cross-Country Skier, has been spearheading the book, Trail to Gold: The Journey of 53 Women Skiers, about US women Olympians in cross-country skiing beginning in 1972. Here's the book's blurb from Amazon: 

Fifty-three American women have participated in cross-country skiing in the Winter Olympics between the years of 1972 and 2018. In 2018, forty-six years after the first team competed, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won Olympic gold in the Team Sprint, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the first Olympic medal for U.S. women's cross-country skiing. Five decades of women skiers stood up and cheered, celebrating this long-sought-after achievement. This book shares the collective journey of these women Olympians, with the skiers themselves telling the story. Part I combines individual stories along a variety of themes, to collectively demonstrate the challenges of competing against the best in the world. In Part II, virtually every one of the fifty-three wrote her own profile to describe her skiing career and post-Olympic life. Photographs throughout put faces with the stories and add vibrancy to the narrative. The anecdotes in Trail to Gold: The Journey of 53 Women Skiers, paint the picture of women's cross-country skiing over 50 years--a fascinating history recorded in personal heartbreak and triumph and in fun vignettes from life on the trail.  

Trail to Gold is Sue's first major piece and over the past year or more I've received a series of different questions from her. Yesterday's was the most fun: "Here's a fun question for you--what kind of pen do you think works best for signing books?" For those who don't write, the question may seem a bit banal or obvious. Thing is, ask a writer and here's what you get:   

What fun! Truthfully, the kind of pen is an important question. You don't want it to smudge. I use a medium black felt-like pen on my books that have regular paper that accepts the ink well. Monnie uses a regular blue or black pen... My friend Tom Newkirk uses a black pen. Test the ink on a back page that's similar to the page you'll sign on (I usually sign on the Title Page that contains the title, subtitle, the author(s), and the publisher’s name and logo. It is always on the recto... or right-hand side.) Monnie signs on the half title page see below. My friend, editor, and coauthor, Tom Newkirk, signs on the very first page... see below. It's all the fun of this work. 
From Monica Wood

From Tom Newkirk

I'm guessing Sue got more than she bargained for with my response. Thing is, many writers live vicariously through other writers' successes. Oh, yea, we get jealous... oh do we get jealous, but we also love a friend's success as a way of motivating us toward our own. 

Sue wrote back afterwards with the following: 

Thanks! Another new learning for me--the technical aspect of book signing! 😊 That's a really good suggestion, to test the ink out.  I predict a lot of our books will get signatures.

And I bet they will. In effect, there are 53-plus authors of this book, so there should be signatures galore. And book sales should go well and that brought about thoughts on book signings: 

Book signing advice: If you ever have to do a local signing, like at Great Glen... bring your journal and ask people to sign it as a keepsake for you. That way, if someone comes up to your table with a book and you forget their name, you can read their name from the journal. Facing 150+- people, I forgot a neighbor's name when signing The Mosquito Test. I just went blank--talk about humiliating. Monnie wrote about my embarrassment in her book, The Pocket Muse. My students use that journal-prompt book and love the story. (There's a lot people don't know about a writer's life. ;-)     

And Sue admitted: "Great idea! That would definitely happen to me, I am terrible remembering names!"

Man, can I relate. After that final note, I brought Bailey out and found a package in my garage and I immediately wrote Sue: "Serendipitous that today my copy arrived. Beautiful!"

The Writing Gods at work...



Sunday, November 21, 2021

Calendar Year Triple Crown Featured in the LA Times


Sammy and Jackson with Bailey at Height of Land in May.
My blog post for this encounter is Triple Crown.   


Sammy and Jackson completed the Calendar Year Triple Crown in late October. They're the youngest to have completed the 3-trail hike of nearly 9000 miles. 

The LA Times featured the guys in a fabulous spread on November 19. Click on the photo below to link to the article. The photos offer a stunning look into the work involved. 

My favorite quotation from the article is from Jackson: "At the end of the day, there was a lot that went into this that had nothing to do with our will and desire for it to happen,” said Parell, 21. “A lot of it had to do with the luck and privilege that we’ve been blessed with.”

Classy, thoughtful words from a young guy who sees life's larger picture. 


This morning my brother Rob sent a photo of the front page of the LA Times. The CYTC boys landed above the fold: 

Front page, LA Times, November 22, 2021

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Hike #185... Mount Will


Initially, I had planned to tackle Bethel's Long Trail today, but time kept ticking away and the thought of a 3-hour hike 40 minutes away in west Bethel felt unrealistic. Instead, we took the quick drive to Bethel's Mount Will and hoofed around that loop trail featuring glimpses of Sunday River Ski Resort (which opens tomorrow!) and a path to the Gray Memorial, the site of a small plane crash that killed 2 with one survivor. I've been to that site and decided to bypass it this time. Mount Will has fun views of the Androscoggin River and from the South Ledges views of the White Mountains. This AllTrails APP website has my pictures from the hike (scroll down on the left-hand side to reveal photographs). 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Hike #184... Yes, Whitecap again.

When I finish writing and other work between noon and 1pm, there's not much time to travel to a mountain beyond the River Valley, especially now that we're faced with Daylight Savings Time. I know I've said this before, but I honestly don't much care what trail I'm on as long as I'm on a trail. 

Today, the wind howled and the flurries flew... winter's in the air.   

A favorite.