The Whole Picture is Nothing But a Compilation of Details.

Monday, February 20, 2012

3 in 1: Peak Bagging in the White Mountains

In cloudy conditions and light snowfall we left the parking lot behind us and headed east, following the steep and icy but well trodden 3.2 mile Falling Waters trail to Little Haystack. The trail was well marked and bordered by beautiful ice formations and the sound of water navigating its way under sheets of ice to end its journey miles away in the valley.
At Little Haystack we were met by strong winds whipping across the open ridge, severely limiting visability and quickly wiping out footsteps. We hesitated for a moment before sandwiching ourselves between several other groups of hikers traversing the well marked 1.6 miles across the open ridge Franconia Ridge Trail, checking off three peaks in one go: Little Haystack 4780', Mt. Lincoln 5089' and Mt. Lafayette 5260'. (If you are prone to vertigo, don't attempt this trail.) After gradually having gained 3900' in elevation and summiting Mt. Lafayette in 3 hrs 25 minutes, we picked our way 1.1 miles down to the Greenleaf hut where we broke for lunch before leisurely descending the final 3.1 miles downhill Old Bridle Path in clear sunshine. Total book time 5 hrs 35 minutes.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Daily Commute

  Commuting: A necessary evil for most: a fun excursion for those of us who live with our eyes open, able to inhale new impressions and moments to feed our souls like we all did the first day we were able to use our vision to take in the world around us.
  I'm wedged between a man with shoulders as broad as a barn door is wide, sleeping soundly, oblivious to the world around him, and a veterinary student, fervently flipping through the pages about birth defects in equines. Since half of the book is literally in my lap, it is hard to avoid learning one or two things: Admittedly, pretty amazing stuff...
  I gaze out the window as the train traverses the wetlands between Swampscott and Lynn. The sun is low on the horizon, softly illuminating the twenty or so clammers hunched over in their chest-high rubber waders, seeking bubbles of air in the sand, digging down and pulling up nature's siphons of salt water... Most animals travel halfway around the globe in search of food, water and an opportunity to reproduce. Clams have it all figured out you know: they set up camp on a chosen sandbank, and the tide brings them food approximately every twelve hours. Some types of clams can even reproduce on their own! Pretty genious, since finding a mate when you can't really travel would seem difficult.
  After stops at Riverworks, where General Electric made the first jet engine produced in America in 1942 (, and Chelsea, just across from the Mystic River, the train pulls into North Station. We pour out, like smoke billowing out of a chimney on a cold day, dispursing across the platform, disappearing into the city...

Origin of COMMUTE
Middle English, from Latin commutare to change, exchange, from com- + mutare to change 

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Alpine Zone

The Alpine Zone:
A zone above the tree line.
A very inhospitable place where the biting wind is free to dance across the snow and ice.
A different zone all together.

Mt. Adams. At 5,774 feet, the second highest peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and the one with the greatest elevation gain by any of the standard routes.

 Lowe's Path from Lowe's Store rt:
9.6 miles, elevation gain 4,400 feet. Worth every step of the way.