Mt. Madison 6/20/2015

Going for a hike in the whites on the third weekend in June seems to be one of my only set in stone traditions that I have been able to maintain since growing my family.  It helps that we always are staying at a family owned time share at Attitash this weekend.  This weekend has been really good to me the past several years providing amazing weather.  Saturday was a beautiful day to hike Mt Madison.  Jeremy my Brother in-law and I took the Pine Link trail to Howker Ridge.  I needed the lower section of Pine Link for my Redline map, and Jeremy needed Madison for his 48 list.
Pine Link doesn’t mess around, you gain some pretty serious elevation shortly after leaving the parking lot, and then follow the wooded spine of a ridge for a few more miles to tree line where we then began to follow Howker Ridge Trail.  Pine Link for the most part is a very dry trail with few and minimal streams. Howker Ridge above tree line has typical grades and terrain  for the Presidential Range with amazing views across Great Gulf.
On the trail:

Above Treeline, the road race was going on in the distance on the Auto Road.

Me and Jeremy at the Summit. Lots of Bugs. You can see a huge fly in this picture just above my head.

Found a few spots to do My Favorite Trick

We beat feet back down and followed the same path down so that we could get back to our families quick.  I had spotted a patch of Indian cucumber root on our way up, so we picked a couple on our way down for a refreshing little snack.  The hike ended up totaling a little over 7 ½ miles on my tracker app and we did it in 5 hrs and 15 minutes.

Ladder Trail Dorr Mountain 5/9/2015

We spent the past week on Mt Desert Island.  Saturday I hiked Dorr Mountain via the Ladder Trail and Schiff Path.  The trail ascends pretty steeply to the 1200 foot summit on mostly granite steps and a few ladders.

My favorite part of the trail was the little slot canyon you had to go through (A little video)

The sea breeze made the air chilly and foggy.  Even though it was in the 70s and sunny in land it was 48 and foggy in Acadia.   As I got to the top of The Ladder Trail I entered the clouds and caught my last view while ascending looking down toward my car in the valley.

On the Schiff Path there was unique cairns and large slabs to walk on that were pretty slick.

Near the summit the Schiff Path meets the Dorr Ridge Trail and you follow it for .2 miles to the summit.  The summit was cloudy, cold and windy.

Its probably not recommended to descend the same way I came because of the steep slick rock but I decided to following the Ladder Trail back down.  I didn’t see anyone else for my entire hike.

Hillman’s Highway 5/1/2015

I headed up to Pinkham Notch Friday morning without a definite plan, I was so indecisive that I had not even decided yet if I wanted to ski or snowboard, so I brought both my AT skis and my splitboard.  I still wasn’t sure if I was going to go to GoS or Tux yet either but I was just happy to be going.   Unfortunately I would only have time for 1 run today though no matter where I went.
At the parking lot you could not see either one, the higher elevations were still in the clouds.  With the Sherburne still skiable most of the way down, I decided to head towards the ravine.  The TRT was still about 80% skinnable and I made a new friend on the way up which made the travel time to Hojo’s go by fast.  At Hermit Lake the Avi Board was showing most of the chute center bowl to the lip to be moderate. And the ravine was not yet visible.  There were quite a few people already up there and they seemed to all be going to do Left Gully.  I thought about Right or Lobster Claw but noticed that nobody was on Hillmans.  So I choose to go up Hillmans.  It was a good choice because there were only 3 other people skiing that area the whole time I was in there and 1 of them was dropping Duchess.  When I got to the top of the right variation of Hillmans Highway the clouds lifted for a bit, so I dropped in while the light was not so flat.  The snow was really soft and there was a pretty deep runnel down the center of the gully, a lot of snow would sluff with you whenever you would make a turn.   I really enjoyed my run.

Tux when I got there.

Heading up

At the top

Heading Down

Back at Hojo’s views were good,
What I just skied:


The Sherburne was skiable down to the fifth crossover. But the last ¼ mile looked like this.  To me this is fun, because it becomes more technical when you have to avoid mud and rocks.

Skiing with Jake at 20 months

Last April Jake was only 8 months old when I took him skiing with me on my back for the first time and he smiled the whole time.  I hiked with him on my back a lot over the following summer and he really loved it.  However he hadn’t been in the Kelty pack since November and Every time I had taken him sledding on snow this year he got scared, so I was a little unsure if he was going to be scared this time on skis.  Yesterday it was warm and sunny so I skinned up pats peak with the alpine touring gear on my feet and Jake who is now 20 months old on my back.
I couldn’t get Jake to keep his hat on, and I was afraid he was going to get sunburnt so I had to stay in the shade on the way up.  I skinned about half way up before I converted to ski mode and descended with Jake.  To my surprise he didn’t cry on the way down.  He made kind of a nervous laugh every time I would make a turn, but he was smiling, which made me happy.  I’m hoping next April he will be on his own set of skis and still smiling about it.
Going Up.

Going Down

Derry Londonderry Exit 4 Beer Detour App

This works better as a mobile app.  To open with a device use the Following Link

Exit 4 Beer Tour

I work with GIS systems for a living and most of the Breweries below are customers of the water utility I work for.  I’ve been thinking about making a story map for “The Exit 4 Beer Detour”  (I think I made that name up)for a while.  I know Mead is not beer but they are customers of ours as well and worth checking out while on the tour.

3/25/15 Okemo Ski & Board

I haven’t had too many full resort days in recent history.  Most of my lift served turns come in 2-3 hour sessions after work at Pats Peak where I have a pass.  When I was invited by my coworker Craig to go to Okemo I jumped at the chance.  Craig had won some tickets in a contest and offered me and another coworker Alan free passes for the day. Conditions were loose frozen granular and packed powder when we first got there, and as temps rose throughout the beautiful day to almost 50 the snow softened and turned to corn and mank.  Even the glades which started out as being boiler plate softened up enough to ski on our last run. I skied until lunch time and then snowboarded for the rest of the day.  It was nice to get a full day in for the first time in a while.  I ran my altimeter and logged 23’200 feet of vert.

Alan and Me

Craig and Me

View from the fire tower:

Craig and me Making some turns:

2/28/15 We’re not Worthley of all this snow.

From across the valley you can see some little snow bowls on the steep side of a large nearby Hill.  I’ve wanted to tour for some turns up there for a while but usually opt for something bigger when I have the time.  Last fall I hunted up in this area and saw the definite potential for turns, so with many other spots tracked out by now I skinned out to the semi remote hill.  There was one very large Buck I had seen out here a couple time last fall, but could never get an open shot to take,  so I decided to head up the side of the hill I saw him at last hoping I might see him again.  I found his tracks and followed them uphill

The terrain on the way up looked promising.  A little bird watching might happen up here next summer

The summit area almost had a view of another great spot.

I converted to skiing mode and dropped in to the area I had spotted from across the valley.
It was apparent that the snow fields that were visible were actually the work of Mountain Bikers.  There were several drops and there was even a manmade berm feature about halfway down the hill

I made some really high quality turns on snow that was still fluffy.  However being alone in a spot that will probably not see any human activity until snow melts made me a little conservative.

I was able to ski out all the way to a nicely groomed snowmobile trail that wraps around the base of the hill.
That snowmobile trail happened to go towards another bigger favorite spot.  I wasn’t planning on it but the bluebirdies were singing and I wanted to tour some more.  So I threw my skins back on and started toward the bigger hill.  I took a few shortcuts through ungroomed areas but mostly I was able to make quick time on snowmobile trails to the bigger hill.  The west side of the bigger hill did not disappoint.   At one point near Moose Scat Rock I augered a tip into the snow as I skied over a downed tree, my binding released and I went face first into the snow.  Since I had all my vents open on my pants and coat the fluffy snow went everywhere.  It took a bit to for the snow in my pants to melt away.
When I skied out to the road I was about 2 miles away from my car and I had a pretty good blister forming.  I knew that Emily was on her way home from the store and picking me up would only put her mile out of her way so I made the call and got a ride back to my car.

2/22/15 Sunny Sunday on Powder

The parade of storms and arctic weather has made for amazing conditions, however it starts to become a little bit of a grind getting out and making your turns in subzero high wind days.  Yesterday we woke up here to 4 new inches of fluffy pow on top of our 4 feet of soft snow we had already received, but yesterday for the first time in a while the temps climbed to above the freezing mark.  I went out around 1pm and the sun was out the skies were blue and the skiing was great.  Even though I was once again skiing alone I found myself hooting and giggling like a crazy person at how good it was.  It might have just been that I was drunk on natural vitamin D from the first real sun I ‘ve gotten in a while. I took a few runs through a steep section of the mountain that in past years was unskiable due to rocks and boulders.  I rode skis today because I wanted to hit some trails that had flat run outs that would be a no go on the snowboard.  Skis ended up being a good decision and it ended up being one the best times I’ve ever had on skis.

I was surprised how much fresh was still available for how late in the day I got out.

Gtah. The best snow on earth. 2/15 -2/16/15

The recent blizzard gave us another foot of snow, and then turned on the wind machine. I went out for a lap yesterday and one this morning.  Yesterday there was a group of kids up there that were fun to meet and swap flask tastings, but today I was all alone. Wow it was cold out there.  We have enough snow now that pretty much everything is in play.  You really don’t even need to follow the cleared glades because most brush is buried now.  You really do have to stick to the steep stuff though or else you get too bogged down in the powder.

First Track up the trail.


2015 Blizzard Backcountry

We received about 15 inches of snow from the Blizzard on Tuesday.  Wednesday morning I ventured out solo into the local backcountry.  I brought both my AT skis and my splitboard, but I decided to splitboard because the consistency of the snow seemed to be more how I like it for snowboarding. I Made 2 summit to road runs one on the Chat Noir side of the mountain and one down the Son of Guido Trail.  The top 100 vertical feet of the mountain tended to be a little scratchy due to having less base and  the high winds carried a lot of the snow away.  In the Hemlocks it was only about 6 inches deep in spots.  But lower on the mountain conditions were epic.  Knee deep Dry Powder made for some of the best turns I’ve made in a while.  After 2 runs I went home grabbed some food and then headed back up the hill again with Jeremy.  Jeremy used my Icelantic Nomads and we hit up the other side of the mountain for 2 more runs.  Here’s some pics of conditions.  I’ll try to add some video later.
The wind had its way with the snow up high making for thin cover in spots

But down lower its was lovely