Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Caps Ridge Trail – Climbing Mt Jefferson

We were lucking out. Our first day in the mountains and all was going in our favor. The road to the trail head had been opened that morning, the sun was shining for the first day in a week and we only had a 2.4 mile, 2000ft hike to the summit.

The first mile of the Caps Ridge Trail climbs straight up through dense forest then opens out just below the first Cap. From there you could see

everything. From Vermont to the west flank of the southern Presidentials, to the summits of Mt. Washington and Mr. Jefferson. We could also clearly pick up the trail, and all the Caps between us and that summit.

The trail descriptions mention the glacial bowls occurring in a the large boulders just inside the tree line, but geologically what really stands out, for me, is the massive jumble of volcanic rock that make up the summit cone. Lots of lots of sharp, bumpie igneous rocks, three conglomerates of which have been named “Caps” and then just lots, and lots, literally a boulder field of others. Jefferson’s summit being the tallest pile.

We made it there in good shape and took a scenic route down to the Gulfside trail and around through the alpine meadows. A perfect start to the week, and only 8 more 4000fters to go.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Reluctant House Hunter

The Hubba Hubba
 We've been stalking 'the perfect home' for the last six months. An amazing fact in and of itself because since selling out of my last one, I've been a very happy, care-free renter. The prospect of being tied to or owned by a solid architectual structure on an improved piece of land doesn't appeal to me half so much as the ability to throw what little I have on a bike, kayak or car and go, sans worry, into those wonderful un-improved places that still exist, leaving as little trace of my passing as possible.

But in the interest of being able to maintain the carefree, low-impact life long into the future, it appears that the best plan at present is to a get a house.

not the actual house
So we've been hunting. Hunting with very specific criteria. Stalking not just any house, but intending to bag the Big One. Domesticus Dralvius. 2 or 3 bedrooms, 1 or 2 baths, 1000-1500 sq ft, in a quiet location within walking distance to the commuter rail and a short drive to Gloucester, with a 1 or 2 car garage/toy box, that doesn't need a lot of work.

Elusive prey, to be sure. But given this market, this time of year, and a recent expansion of the hunt zone, this weekend we cornered two.  Haven't bagged either yet but it feels unexpectedly comforting to be close.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

New England Flatlander Microclimates

Tuesday afternoon I went from 85 to 55 in 1.6 hours and a drysuit. Boston was hazy, hot and humid when I boarded the Rockport Express to Manchester (By-the-Sea). 50 minutes later I stepped onto the platform and into a sunny, summer afternoon. Not too hot, not too cool, with just the slightest of on shore breeze. From there to Conomo Point took less than 15 minutes. A simple flip of the kayak later and I was enjoying the refreshing 55 degree water of the Atlantic Ocean.

Tuesday morning I had been speaking enviously of the microclimates of the Southwest. Of how wonderful and unique it was to escape the desert heat by hiking down into a slot canyon or climbing up a butte or mountain a few thousand feet to experience a cooler weather zone.

Heck, I've even bemoaned being away from the zones of the White Mountains.

Today I realized that I live in the middle of the New England Flatlander Microclimate with weather variations all around, and down.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

ERBA Guide Shoals

photo by Carrie
The US Hydrographic Office in association with NOAA, announce the amendment of chart 13279, to include ERBA Guide Shoals. Located .4 miles East of the South end of Crane Beach, the Shoals present a significant hazard to kayakers and operators of other inshore small craft.

Breaking waves form over these shoals without a moments notice, taking paddlers unawares and indiscriminately knocking them, and their rescuers over. Once over, kayakers are advised to "get in your  boat". While others are to continue paddling, even as such activity will not move them forward, and to keep an eye for the formation of breakers where they sit.

ERBA Guide Shoals
The ERBA Guide Shoals are named after the group of intrepid ERBA Kayak Guides-in-Training who first encountered these dangerous hazards to navigation on a beautiful May Sunday, and spent considerable time perfecting their rescue and maneuvering skills in the ever-changing
waters over the shoals.