Sometimes being lazy pays off. Jeremy and I were on our way up to Gulf of Slides Saturday morning when we saw that Wildcat was open still. In fact it was there last day open for the year and tickets were only $29. We instantly talked ourselves out of hiking up the 2.5 mile trail which we would also have had to hike a large portion out on too. Conditions were great and coverage was from summit to base with only a couple choke points that became fun mud pits by the end of the day. A guy got mad at me on one of my runs because I bombed by him as he stopped right in front of me in the middle of a choke point which was only about 4 feet wide. I laughed at him and told him he should have stayed home if he couldn’t handle thin cover.
Its been a slow winter for me as far as getting out for any adventures. Lots of little quick hikes but nothing epic to post about. Not bad news though because this is due to us having our second child born to us. Our daughter Acadia was born 2/25.
I got out for a quick get away after the storm Wednesday. I recently got new skis and this was my first chance to christen them. I only went skiing for a couple hours at Pats Peak. To my surprise when I checked the snow report the next day there was a picture of me on their website. I like how it came out.
Sunday morning we woke up to an inch of crusty ice on everything at home. I assumed that the hill got ice too, but when I took my dog out for a walk I was surprised. Up on the mountain less than a mile away from my house boot top powder covered everything. It was an unexpected treat. I have mostly been skiing lately and this was actually my first time on a snowboard since going down Left Gully last spring, so my first too turns were a little tentative but then I got my legs back.
We received about 8″ of wet and heavy snow last night, and a lot of the snow stuck to the trees. The woods seemed to have less snow in them on the mountain than I had in my backyard. But I decided to make some turns anyway. The skin up was nice but the ski down was pretty brutal. I picked my way through the trees and thicket and introduced my skis edges and bases to many rocks.
I wore the Gopro and shot a little video. Thanks for watching.
I was unable to run The Goffstown Gallop this year. This is my favorite race of all the races I run primarily because it goes right by my house, and secondly it is the course I train on the most, so I kind of feel like its my home field. I couldn’t run this year due to injuring my knee and tearing the meniscus while forgetting that I’m 40 now and jumping on my son’s trampoline. The recovery has been slow and mornings are really painful. Usually it takes until about 9AM before my knee loosens up to move freely.
I had my race application filled out and on the counter in case miraculously my knee got better overnight, but I had no such luck. I’m normally completely fine just pushing through pain as long as I’m not doing more damage so I woke up Saturday and took a little jog to see if I should just go for it, but I could not get it to loosen up and I could not convince myself that I wasn’t going to set my recovery back another month if I ran the 5.2 miles. I was especially concerned about the damage I might do on the long downhill part of the run coming back in to town.
So since I couldn’t run, I went out on the course and took pictures and cheered the runners on.
There are over 100 pictures of the race and runners in the attached link to Flickr. If there’s a picture of you that you like feel free to take an electronic copy Flickr allows you to download any size. If there’s a picture of you in this public album that you don’t like and would like removed please let me know and I will take it down.
I headed up north on Friday for my annual late April pilgrimage to Tuckerman Ravine. Although it has been a very lean snow year in New Hampshire and Tuckerman Ravine was less filled in than usual, the colder than normal April has sustained the snow that we did have and even added a little more. Last Tuesday we had received several inches of snow in northern New Hampshire and additionally some of that snow had been transported by the northwest winds into Left Gully. Left Gully was skiable from the top of the head wall to the ravine exit.
On the way up, consistent snow cover began at the last crossover to the Sherburne Trail on the hiking trail. Since I knew I would be carrying my board for most of the trip I took along my resort board and boots instead of my backcountry splitboard setup. I love the performance of my real board so much better than my splitboard.
There were very few tracks yet as I ascended the gully. As the sun warmed the snow it got softer and softer as I climbed. The unconsolidated top layer was tough to climb with my soft boots on because it just wanted to slough away on the harder bed surface below when I put my weight on it. Even with microspikes on it was tough to get traction. I was wishing I had worn hard boots to kick steps. It wasn’t avalanche type slab but very sloughy slab. Even on the descent I had to be careful not to sideslip too much because it would just set off huge sloughs of wet snow and I wanted to preserve the surface for others as best I could. I took a couple runs and then headed home to enjoy the rest of the day with my family.
The Ravine with Left Gully looking like the best option
I was able to go for a little hike outside the city limits in an area of Driftwood on Onion Creek. This was actually in a restricted area that I was permitted to be in. A few pictures of the prairie and creek I enjoyed.:
Lots of cactus, and apparently this is what their oak trees look like:
I got out for a little ski today. I’ve been out snowboarding several times this year but this was the first time this season I put skis on. We had about 2 inches of ice as a base on the local mountain in the spots where the snow had made it through the trees on Saturday. But for most of the mountain there was less than an inch of crusty snow covering the rocks and roots before last nights storm. This morning we woke up to 3 inches of pretty fluffy powder and strong winds. I hiked up the local mountain as high as there was still snow and the wind had not scoured it away. I didn’t want to totally destroy my AT skis, so I used a pair of skis I found at the dump last year. As I clipped in I realized I had adjusted the bindings on these beater “rock skis” to my other boots last spring. The bindings were barely gripping. I probably had a DIN of about 3 as I knocked the skis against a nearby tree to see how well they would stay on.
Happily they stayed on all the way down as I tried be as light on my feet as possible for the survival turns in the dust on crust. About half way through the video you can see I hit an area where the wind had deposited a little more snow and it was actually pretty fun for a few turns. I kind of love these kinds of crappy little sessions even though they are not ideal they are exciting and memorable. Emily bought me a new GoPro for our 20th anniversary last fall and this was the first time I got a chance to try out the helmet cam, so I made a little video https://youtu.be/2VAsdkc7S_Y
Hunting season ended a half hour past sunset December 15th at 4:41PM with me in my climbing tree stand 30 feet up in the below pictured hickory tree with an unfilled tag. No Deer harvested after a 4 month long archery season in the woods. However I did have several opportunities and many beautiful wildlife sightings this year. It seems every time I go out in the woods I see something or experience something that makes the time spent totally worth it.
View from up in the climber:
I have two tree stands, one that is fixed and one that is portable and can climb trees. My fixed stand was on a Beech Tree 18 feet high.
Exciting experiences included having a bear walk by my fixed tree stand without noticing me, and having to walk by a Bull Moose in full rut mode while exiting the woods. Another experience I had was with a certain buck that I had been keeping track of and had seen on my game camera. Below is a video of him and a lesser buck. (Both are beautiful Deer) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0ss0fJJlfM
I tried to focus a lot this year on being more aware of signs of domain establishment and the section of woods I was primarily hunting for the above deer had scrape marks on pretty much every tree. One day in mid-November I had stuck my climber on a tree in the middle of a bunch of recent sign and decided to come back the next day. The next day I walked into my tree stand from the opposite direction as originally planned because the wind was blowing in the opposite direction as usual and I didn’t want my scent to proceed me. As I approached I came over a little rise and found 4 deer standing in a semi-circle facing me, 3 were does and one was the buck I had been looking for. Before I could process which one was the buck and draw back my bow, all 4 deer took off through the woods at mock speed.
The next day it was pouring rain so I decided to revisit the area. As I approached the same area I looked on the ground and nearby an area that had been disturbed I found an antler that had been torn off during a fight. I took it home with me but never saw the deer in that area again.
I learned quite a bit more this year about whitetail behavior and patterns and have developed quite a lot of respect for just how adaptable and elusive they can be when they are aware of you as a predator. As a hiker I see deer quite frequently and have noticed that they seem to be much more comfortable with me while just passing through than when I’m out hunting.
Remarkably this hunting season was very warm with no snow fall. Many times it was actually warm enough to not even wear gloves. I’m not sure how much this affected the patterns of the deer but it sure seemed that they would only come out after dark on the warm days. I ran my camera a few times near my stand and sure enough my favorite buck would come marching by at 6:30pm every night, 2 hours past legal hunting time.
Another lesson learned this year was how much more respect I have for someone who can get a deer with an arrow than someone with a gun. With archery so many more things have to come together just right in order to take a proper shot. My primary reason for hunting is for meat, and really I would have been happy to have just stocked my freezer at some point this year with either a gun or an arrow, but after this year I realize that I really do love archery way more than firearms and that it’s so much more of an accomplishment to harvest a deer that way. And preparing for next year this is where I will focus my efforts.
I will also begin scouting earlier and as this mild winter continues I will take advantage of the lack of snow to explore more sections of forest nearby to be ready for next September 15th. Scouting is becoming one of my favorite hobbies. I like scouting in a way more than hunting because I never carry a weapon for self-defense, for one it’s much more exciting to be out in the woods on the animals turf on their terms when you don’t have a weapon and secondly I think you carry yourself in a different manner when armed even if your not hunting, and you give off less of a predatory vibe that the animals can sense when unarmed, but primarily I like it because without a weapon it becomes more like being a hiker, but without trails, and hiking is still my favorite way to enjoy the outdoors.
Yesterday was Columbus Day and I hiked Mt Monadnock for my 81st time. I hiked up the Dublin Trail because I figured it would be less busy being a holiday. It was absolutely beautiful, the weather was warm for Mid-October and the tree’s leaves were in various states of turning red and yellow. The views were very colorful. I took a pair of trail runners with me in case I needed them but was able to stay barefoot for the entire hike. The Dublin trail has a low amount of gravel sections which tend to cut holes in my calluses, so it was probably the best way up to choose to go barefoot.