It was August 2009 and we were vacationing in western Maine at the Sunday River Resort in Newry. A spectacular evening was upon us as we had just finished dinner and the boys wanted to go fishing, driving a few miles east to North and South ponds in Greenwood. Locals had told us that fishing from Johnny Bridge Road was good, so here we stood. The boys were becoming professional weed fisherman and dad an expert lure changer. Another cast another clump of weeds. Well when they reeled up this clump it began to move only to reveal a small mouth bass. To say Michael & Max were ecstatic would be a slight under statement. It would be the perfect ending to a beautiful evening with my boys.
New England Rendezvous
Finished with exploring Henderson lake I reloaded all my gear into and onto my car and began the slow journey from New York to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Making a quick stop in Ticonderoga for fuel and food before crossing at Crown Point. There is no highway that runs west to east in Vermont so the 158 miles to my destination was slow but the scenery more than makes up for it. Leaving the Champlain Valley my favorite section of this adventure is on route 17 as you cross the Green Mountains and descend into the Mad River Valley. There are six hairpin turns I believe on this section of road.
I would spend the next several days visiting with friends and doing what I enjoy most. Roaming around Vermont and New Hampshire taking in their beauty. Over the past several years I have visited the town of Newport, VT and Newport has really grown on me. Nestled along the US/Canadian border, Newport sits at the southern end of Lake Memphremagog. Lake Memphremagog stretches 32 miles to the southeastern Quebec city of Magog. I hope to someday kayak parts of this lake which oddly enough is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. After a long day and as we were 200 hundred yards or so from the house my friends truck would lose its brakes to a ruptured brake line. All I can say is thank goodness it happened close to home.
On our way to Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch State Park we are climbing route 112 which is also called the Kanc (Kancamagus Highway) cresting near Beaver Pond we noticed smoke along the Kinsman Range. It appeared that a small forest fire had started and personnel were on the scene. Continuing on to Cannon Mountain we would take the tram to the summit. As the tram car climbed the winds increased quite considerabley and the temperatures dropped as well. At the top we made our way to the tower, a viewing platform where on a clear day you can see for over one hundred miles. The fog and clouds were rolling over the mountain tops playing a game of hide and seek with the sun.
Afterwards we stopped to check out the “The Basin”. The Basin is a 20 foot diameter granite hole at the base of a beautiful waterfall. Some say it had been eroded 15,000 years ago while the North American ice sheet was melting. Over time The Basin has been smoothed small stones and sand, whirled around by the Pemigewasset River.
Stopping in North Woodstock, NH at the Woodstock Station Inn & Brewery for lunch it was so sunny and warm at this point we chose to sit outside. I sampled some of their beers with my favorite being the 4,000 footer IPA. For lunch I would knock down their adult grilled cheese sandwich with a side of chili.
Heading back west over the Kanc we noticed there was a lot more smoke than earlier this morning. A helicopter was also on he scene making water drops on the mountain side. We would spend the next 90 minutes watching and photographing the efforts of all involved. I’ve never witnessed a forest fire of this size about (5 acres) at the time up close. Looking at the sheer rock cliffs one could see the firefighters trying to advance. The aggressive sound of their chainsaws cutting timber in efforts to battle the blaze could be heard echoing down below. The heat from the fire was causing slides and I could see trees falling. According to news reports that I have read there is speculation the fire was caused by a meteor strike which is unconfirmed at this time. As a note this section of the White Mountain National Forest is also part of the Appalachian Trail.
The next afternoon I would begin my long trek back home taking me 6.5 hours. The traffic on route 4 across Vermont was horrible and slow going. I was glad to be home!
See you in Old Forge….
It’s September 22nd 2017 4:02PM and I am teaming with excitement as the Autumn Equinox has officially begun. Fall is by far my favorite time of the year. There is so much to be excited about. Crisp temperatures, changing and falling leaves and the fall harvest of fruits and vegetables. I personally love the apples and squash that come into season this time of year.
For me Autumn also enhances my love of running and canoeing. There is just something peaceful and magical about the crunching of leaves underfoot, our hillsides burning with reds, yellows and oranges or a placid lake at sunrise or sunset. No matter what you enjoy doing Autumn is a perfect time of year to be outside!
Tranquility in Vermont
Recently I was in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont near Island Pond exploring the Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge with my two sons and friend. As always we were on the hunt for moose. I must have had my moose kryptonite on me this time because we didn’t see any moose. However we saw all sorts of fascinating birds.
If you know me or have read my many posts you won’t be surprised when I say “I have a major affection for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail”. In all honestly I have only paddled small portions of this beautiful flowing highway system spanning 740 miles from Old Forge, NY meandering into Canada and finally terminating in Fort Kent, ME. The Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge sits in the Nulhegan river basin, wait for it, which is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.
As we exited the refuge the Nulhegan river was so calm and peaceful but just 100 yards away it’s rapids roared. Slamming on the brakes and testing the seat belts of the cars other occupants I leaped out to capture its serenity.
Wandering New England
Spending four days in Vermont and New Hampshire was a great way to wind down my vacation. Thursday evening was spent at Dartmouth college in Hanover, NH watching the Reel Film Paddling Festival by Rapid Media and sponsored by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail .
However the next two days (Friday & Saturday) was nothing but rain with short breaks in between. Friday was a total wash and we had spent the day kayak shopping over in North Conway, NH. Saturday morning the rain had stopped for a while and I was able to knock out a quick 5 mile run. Showered now we were off to harass the local wildlife. Sitting at Reeds Marsh in Orford, NH a local had tipped us off to a pair of Merlins who had been in the area lately. Sure enough we found them! They were beautiful to watch as the male had went a caught either a Junco or Chickadee and brought it back for his girl.
Sunday morning was the gem with a beautiful sunrise, partly cloudy skies and a light breeze. Although it was rather chilly when we set out for French Pond in North Haverhill, NH. It was a great start to the day. Afterwards I would pack up and make the six hour drive home, briefly stopping in Bainbridge, NY to order my custom kayak paddle from Dale Fox of Foxworth Paddles. Once home and car unloaded I was off for a great tempo run as the weather was still perfect.
2016 Vermont Covered Bridge Half Marathon
My previous post I wrote about running this race for fun and that is exactly what I did. The whole weekend in itself was fun. Saturday my friend Sue and I drove to Long Trail Brewing in West Bridgewater Corners, VT where we met up with her cousin Kaye-Lani from North Carolina. We also met up with our friends Chris and Lori who moved recently from Endicott to New Hampshire and as an added bonus my friend Ian made the hour drive from his house as well to join us all for some beer, food and laughs.
Kaye-Lani had rented a rustic cabin retreat about 8 miles outside of Woodstock, VT. After lunch Sue, Kaye-Lani and I got to the cabin, settled in for a bit. Shortly we were off to the pre-race pasta dinner at the Suicide Six ski resort. The evening weather was absolutely perfect, returning back to our cabin we spent several hours enjoying the rest of the evening chatting before crashing for the night as we had an early start to our Sunday.
Sunrise was beautiful as we got ourselves dressed and ready for the days race. Once parked and ready to board our bus that would take us to the start is when the rain began to fall and it fell. It rained during the entire race, after the race and all the way home back to New York. The rain during the race did however feel great, kept the body temperature in check. I did have one issue as my sock was quite wet and was chaffing at the bottom of my right foot making it a little uncomfortable.
We began the race together and I ran the first two miles at 8:44 pace stopped for a brief bathroom break and then gradually got into a really comfortable groove for the rest of the race. I finished the half marathon in 1:41:25 finishing 188th out of 1,890 runners and I had a blast doing it.
Cold and completely soaked I found the Harpoon Brewery beer tent and celebrated appropriately. Afterwards we made a quick return to our cabin to wash up and some dry clothes before heading into Woodstock for lunch. We met back up with Chris and Lori at the Worthy Kitchen, the “Worthy” is completely worthy of your business.
After lunch is when we all would part ways ending a fun weekend with friends in Vermont.
Vermont, Covered Bridges, Taking a Break:
By time you read this I will be on my way to Vermont with some friends so we can take part in running the Vermont ‘Covered Bridges” half Marathon on Sunday. Even more so I’m looking forward to running it for fun and not time.
Lately I feel burned out and that I need a break. Running seems to have morphed into a job and I miss just running for fun and social engagement. Just this past week I’ve dropped my mileage considerably and will continue to do so throughout the summer. It feels great! Last August I learned a valuable lesson during the Catherine Valley half marathon, I hate the heat and humidity. As the warmer weather approaches I get quite obsessed with my passion to be out in my canoe or kayak either by myself or with family and friends. There never seems to be enough hours in a day to do all the things we would like to.
My goal right now for this summer is to run 3 or 4 days each week, logging maybe 25 miles. Im just going to let my body and mind run the show.
So this Sunday’s race will conclude any racing for me until the fall and then again maybe until next April. I firmly believe we all need a break periodically.
Cheers and Happy Running!
Spring has Arrived: In Theory
The calendar claims Spring has arrived, however the mercury and Mother Nature aren’t quite so convinced. To say I have cabin fever is an understatement. This morning I looked at the extended forecast only to have my hopes thwarted once again. The weather just looks terrible for the foreseeable future or at least the next 7 days.
I’m longing for the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the water and the ever quiet glide of my canoe. I hope to visit a few more remote ponds and lakes in the Adirondacks this year, return to some of my favorite places in New England but most importantly spend some quality time just paddling by myself or with my family.
Here is to hoping Spring actually does arrive.
I love history, more so if it involves historic photographs. I recently acquired a “Red Border” Kodachrome slide for my collection taken between 1950 and 1955 of the Mt. Washington Cog Railway in Bretton Woods, NH. I did a little research and discovered something I had never known. This particular locomotive was involved in a fatal accident in September 1967 in which 8 people were killed and 74 injured. I’ve taken this trip several times in my 44 years on this earth and each trip was amazing. However I’d be lying if I told you the thought of something going wrong never crossed my mind.
Here is an account of what happened that fateful September day in 1967.
Mt. Washington, N.H. (AP) — A mountain-climbing
rail excursion car jammed with Sunday sightseers
lost its engine while backing down the historic cog track on 6,288-foot Mt. Washington and leaped into a gorge, killing eight persons and injuring at least 74.
Gov. John W. King, who rushed to the scene, ordered an immediate investigation by state Public Utilities Commission officials. The 98-year-old railroad, a popular tourist attraction on this scenic centerpiece in the White Mountain Presidential range, spans 3 1/2 miles – 3 miles on trestle.
State Police identified the victims as:
BEVERLY RICHMOND, 15, Putnam, Conn.
ERIC DAVIES, 7, Hampton, N.H.
MARY FRANK, 38, Warren, Mich.
KENT WOODWORTH, 9, New London, N.H.
SHIRLEY ZORZY, 22, Lynn, Mass.
CHARLES USHER, 55, Dover, N.H.
A 2-year-old child identified only as the “GROSS child of Brookline, Mass.”
An unidentified female was the eighth victim.
At Mary Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, CHARLES GROSS, 31; his wife GABY, 34, and their 3-year-old daughter MELANIE, of Brookline, Mass., were undergoing treatment today. Their relationship to the dead GROSS child was not determined immediately.
Three passengers on the ill-fated car were in critical condition at the Hanover hospital. They were RICHARD LESLIE, 49, of Madison, Ohio, a skull fracture and other injuries; NORRIS BLACKBURN, 68, of Memphis, Tenn., spine and other injuries, and MRS. MARIE BUXTON, 49, of Clifton, N.J., back injury.
Most of the injured were taken first to the Littleton Hospital, where doctors put a disaster plan into operation and called all available help. Some 25 doctors and about 40 nurses worked through the night.
The injured were rushed over twisting back mountain roads to the hospitals in northern New Hampshire and Vermont.
Teams of rescue workers needed some four hours to bring the injured and the dead to a base station.
It was not immediately determined how many were in the excursion car when it broke free and rolled down 500 feet before soaring from the cog track and crashing.
The accident happened about one-third of the way down the 3 1/2 miles of track along the west side of the 6,288-foot mountain in the center of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains.
The descent is usually made at four miles an hour with the locomotive in front of the one passenger car backing down.
A passenger, Bertrand Croteau, 32, of Thornton said that when the train reached the first switch Sunday “the locomotive began to shake and just fell off the road.”
He said the passenger car began rolling free “and the brakeman tried to put on the brakes. We went about 500 feet and then we went off the tracks.”
He said he was thrown through a window and
“buried under a pile of bodies.”
Ralph Este, a technician at the transmitter on top of the mountain for WMTM-TV of Poland Springs, Maine, said the engine jumped the track at a point where there is a spur track.
He said the passenger car derailed at a shallow curve just before the track plunges down the steepest incline of the railway, a section called Jacob’s Ladder that has a grade angle of 37.41 per cent.
The passenger car was made of aluminum and reportedly was one of the railway’s newer ones.
INJURED ON MT. WASHINGTON.
Mt. Washington, N.H. (AP) — Here is a partial list of persons injured when an excursion train fell off the Cog Railway and into a gorge on Mt. Washington Sunday:
RUSTY AERTSEN, 19, of Bucks County, Pa.
FLOYD BAILEY, 40, his wife LOUISE, 41, and son KENNETH, 12, of New London, N.H.
MR. and MRS. ANTHONY BERTELLI of Haddam, Conn.
ROGER CARDIN, 47; his wife RITA, 42, and son ROGER, JR., 21, of Newmarket, N.H.
NATHANIEL CARTER, 23, of South Woodstock, N.H.
RICHARD CASPINIUS, 63, and JENNIE CASPINIUS, 60, of Falmouth, Maine.
GORDON CHASE of Lincoln, N.H.
BERTRAND CROTEAU, 32; his wife, EDMAE, 30; daughter DEBRA, 11; and son BERTRAND, JR., 6, of Thornton, N.H.
CAROL DAVIES, 9, and LORETTA DAVIES, 5, of Hampton, N.H.
EVERETT DEMERITT, 30, of Wolcott, Vt.
CAROL DORSAY, 26, of Woodstock, Vt.
JEFFREY GAINES, 2, of Rockport, Maine.
PAULINE GOTCHREAU and DAVID GOTCHREAU, 64, of Putnam, Conn.
CHARLES GROSS, GABY GROSS, 34; and MELANIE GROSS, 4, of Brookline, Mass.
GEORGE KALOCERIS, 28, of Lynn, Mass.
CHARLES KENNISON, 18, of Jefferson, N.H.
ROBERT PROVENCHAL, 31; and daughters, LINDA and SUSAN, of Biddeford, Maine.
JOHN RICHMAN, 12, of Putnam, Conn.
HAROLD ROGERS, 44; his wife FRANCIS, 34; and son DEAN, of Campton, N.H.
GRETA SCHOPE, 33, of Bridgeport, Conn.
JOSEPH VALLIERE, 59, of Methuen, Mass.
BERYL WARREN, 27, and his son PATRICK, 1, of Craftsbury, Vt.
MR. and MRS. JOSEPH LAURENDEAU and daughter LINDA, 3, of South Barre, Vt.
MR. and MRS. JAY WITMER of Roxbury, Mass.
MR. and MRS. MORRIS BLACKBURN of Memphis, Tenn.
A. RICHARD LESLIE of Madison, Ohio.
MR. and MRS. GEORGE BUXTON of Clifton, N.H.
Nashua Telegram New Hamsphire 1967-09-18
A cool breeze filled the room where I was sleeping in West Newbury Vermont, it was 4AM and you know what they say “The early bird gets the worm” or in this case “The Moose”. After throwing on some clothes I quietly went into the boys room, they were sound asleep. I woke them and asked them if they wanted to come with Ian and I to Long Pond in search of the elusive moose. They responded with a a groggy NO.
Downstairs Ian and I are prepping for our morning adventure. Coffee, breakfast and a ton of expensive camera gear. Canoes had been loaded onto his truck the evening before. It’s 5AM as we make the forty minute foggy trip through the Upper Valley to Long Pond in Benton New Hampshire. Long Pond is a remote 96 acre body of water in the White Mountains with an average depth of 4 feet and a max depth of 8 feet. Its so remote that you have to drive a 3 mile dirt road in order to launch your canoe or kayak. We arrived just before sunrise and the pond was extremely still, the only sounds were the erie call of the Loon. I took a real short video in order to capture their sound. In our canoes, we quietly paddle out into the pond. https://youtu.be/iN8NE9Zs_xI
Long Pond is abundant with wildlife. Otters, Beavers, Hawks, Osprey, the occasional Bald Eagle, Loons, Ducks, King Fishers, many species of birds and Moose make their residence here. I’ve been on the hunt to photograph the elusive moose in the wild for three years now with no luck what so ever. As Ian and I made our way around the pond we decided to split up in order to work several different coves. Paddling my way towards the south end I came across two adult Loons and their chick. I spent the better part of a half hour working with them before moving on.
I’m at the south end sitting in the shadows as the sun begins to highlight pockets of the pond. The water is like glass and I am just floating, thinking and taking in my surroundings. Actually I was really trying not to fall asleep. Then all of a sudden to my unbelieving eyes a young bull moose walks right out of the brush and into the shallows of the pond. I began to shake with excitement! I actually froze for a moment and then slowly reached for my camera. I was still shaking as I clicked off a few frames, my lenses imagine stabilization motor working making a humming noise as it works. The moose finally took notice of my presence and began to move around the shoreline. I clicked off a few more frames. The light was horrible but I didn’t care as this was my moment. This moose would stay in sight for about 10 minutes before disappearing back into the woods.
Putting my camera down, grabbing my paddle I raced back up the pond to find Ian with that triumphant feeling. A feeling of utter accomplishment that I have longed for. I found Ian sitting behind one of the many rock islands dotting the pond’s landscape in hopes of photographing the playful Otter’s. As I approached I was fist pumping and Ian knew right away what I had just photographed. We spent a few more hours on the pond pursuing the Loons, watching the Osprey fish and the King Fisher’s scramble like fighter planes on an aircraft carrier.
We would spend the next several mornings on Long Pond with the hopes of photographing another moose. Our hopes weren’t enough and we didn’t see another moose. However we the privilege of photographing more of the Loons in depth. I’ve been drawn to the Loon for quite sometime now as they are truly an interesting and beautiful animal.
At the end of this month Ian and I will embark on a trip through northern New Hampshire and Maine again in search of the moose.