Friday, April 26, 2024

Bald Mountain, Oquossoc


Mid afternoon on this Friday, I trekked up to the town of Oquossoc and headed to Bald Mountain. No one was on the trail or, pretty much, on the roads in this tourist town. Bald is fairly benign for the first 80% and then ice, snow, and mud took over on the steeps. I probably should have brought microspikes with me, but then again, the trail was pretty firm. I remember hiking this mountain several times with Bailey. When I got to the tower at the top, I tied Bailey to the metal beams at the bottom. No way he would have climbed the stairs to the top. It's high! 

That's Mt. Washington in the distance

Saddleback Ski Resort

The Rig

Friday, April 19, 2024

Cataracts Trail


The Cataracts Trail parallels the Appalachian Trial just up the road toward East-B Hill. The heavy rain and flooding of December and January caused a lot of damage to the road and the trail. One thing about Cataracts, the green moss on the rocks and trees is mesmerizing. It's a bit like a fairyland. I'm not sure I've captured that in my photos. 

With each new hike I take these days, I recall Bailey's "way" on the trail. He loved Cataracts for the smells, of course, but in the summer he had boundless opportunities to slip into the river for a quick swim. Yesterday, he would have been a mud ball once we left the trail. 

Lots of damage on the trail. 


Can't help but thinking...

Hudson S. Kent, April 2024, San Diego

In the local mill of the 1960s, Oxford Paper, my dad rotated shifts each week: 7am - 3pm, 3pm - 11pm, 11pm - 7am.  As you can imagine, it's a grueling work schedule. Closest I ever came to such a schedule was as a police office during college. In the summertime, I worked the 8pm - 4am schedule at Old Orchard Beach and during the quiet times of the year, I worked a wide array of shifts as a reserve police office. Because of the changing sleep patterns, I felt like a zombie, especially when I had to stay awake for classes. But that didn't compare to my dad's life. 

Along with rotating shift work, my father had five kids at home along with a boat load of other responsibilities... I don't remember any moments of joy in his days, especially after my mother fell ill with cancer when I was 11 years old, and he battled heart disease and diabetes. Those illnesses claimed his leg, any chance at happiness, and his life.      

I can't help but think that seeing this picture of little Hudson trekking off across the baseball diamond would have brought my father great joy. In fact, I can't imagine he would have allowed himself to dream of seeing his name emblazoned on the back of a baseball jersey worn by a razor-sharp little boy whose questions amaze his parents and grandpa Rob and whose energy is an unending fire.  

Play ball, Hudson! Both of you.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Crashing on Whitecap


After our February 6, 2024 hike

I slogged up Whitecap last week thinking about Bailey and feeling sad about him. I probably had the beginnings of allergy symptoms. When I abandoned the hike, I turned, walked 10 steps down the mountain, and slipped in the mud onto my butt. At lest I could smile about that. I said something like, "Stupid dog." I should have said, "Clumsy dad." 


Great hike on Whitecap

Sunday River's Whiteheat

A few days ago I had a useless hike of Whitecap. In fact, I abandoned it and slogged back down. Yesterday, however, I shot right up to the Yellow Trail overlook to Bailey's cairn in 2:12 hours round trip. 


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

I went to an eclipse and stared at dogs

At totality. If you click on the picture
you'll see a few stars. It was dark but not
pitch black.  

Picture by a friend of totality
Click on Photos to Enlarge

On eclipse day, I still didn't know what I was going to do. Part of me thought about climbing Black Mountain and watching a partial eclipse. The other part heard Tyler Kent's voice: "I'll pay you to go into the zone of totality, it's that good." As a result, I buckled up and I headed west to Colebrook, NH in The Rig and pulled into a state rest area with all the amenities, including wifi and indoor toilets and ports-potties. I chatted with two astronomers from Colorado who had initially planned to watch in Texas. Once the weather issues surfaced in Red Star State (yes, that's political) it became clear they needed tp take  a hard left and head north to New England. 

I chatted and thanked the volunteers who worked the main gate and helped people park. I worked on my submission materials for Islandport Publishers, ate a Dagwood from Community Variety, drank coffee, sipped on Diet Pepsi, wished I had chocolate or a sweet granola bar, took a picture of four college guys drinking Corona and sent it to Tyler (I see the corona!) and...

I stared at people's dogs and smiled a lot. The truck next to me had a two-year old black and gray pointer who needed leash lessons... and who, out of no where, would start barking. His owners were great--they'd take him for a quick walk.  Three doors down a family had a little white Benji-type dog who pranced along with her owner and jumped into the person's lap each time she sat down in her lawn chair. One family had two Boarder Collies... one remained on a leash, the other darted around with a Frisbee in his mouth under great verbal control. And I thought about Bailey...   

Throughout the day I texted back and forth with family members and sent them pictures until the wifi got overloaded. My nephew Tyler loves eclipses and other natural phenomena. I spoke with Rob who was driving back from Palm Springs and a golf tournament with his new friend Patty. As a pair they came in tied for second at a fancy golf course near Palm Springs. Fred sent a picture from Daytona Beach, Allen talked about his PT class, and Tyler was jazzed.       

Here are some of my shots of the day and a couple that I snagged from friends. 

Grafton State Park a few miles from home. 

Borrowed from a friend. You can see sun flares
if you enlarge the photo. 

I arrived at the rest area about 10am, so did some work
while waiting for the eclipse. 

RVs and Trucks were ushered into one line. 
The Rig is second from the front. 

One of the astronomers from Colorado
taking a nap after one long drive. 

Early in the day looking across the rest area. 

State astronomers had displays up. 

Thoughtful volunteers in green. 

More of the display

More of the display 

College kids drinking Coronas... quite apropos.
"Tyler, I see the corona!"  

My picture early on in the eclipse. 

My picture later on in the eclipse. 

At totality. Enlarge to see stars. 

Old guy star gazing. 

I forget where I scoffed up this photo. 


More traffic. It took me 3+ hours to drive
the 72 miles home. Worth it! 

Another friend posted this drone picture of the
Height of Land. I'd have loved going here but was
frightened off by crowds and parking in The Rig.