Posts Tagged ‘new hampshire’

Socked in at the Summit

October 10, 2018
It wasn’t until college that I learned about “leaf peepers.” Having grown up in Maine but never having thought very much about the changing colors of autumn — except that I loved the season — I didn’t realize that people travel hundreds of miles — often by bus tour — to view the brilliant foliage. (Yes, I was naive!) Last weekend, Patrick and I joined our friend Paul and son Ethan for a day hike in New Hampshire. The 2.5 hour drive provided opportunity for lots of knitting on my latest project, the Starshower shawl-cowl hybrid.
(Wish I could remember what yarn I’m using, but it was unlabeled in my stash. I’ll poke around and see if I can find the rogue yarn band in the bin.) Fortunately, we had no expectations of solitude or a quiet ascent. The small parking area at the trail head was full when we arrived at 10am, so we joined a dozen or so “overflow” vehicles along the dirt road and began our ascent. We passed and were passed by a range of hikers and dogs — small and large — on the steady climb over rocky trail and switchbacks. Recent rain and mountain springs made the going quite muddy and occasionally slippery, especially on moss-covered rocks. On a clear day, Osceola’s summit offers expansive views of surrounding valleys and peaks in the White Mountains, but when we arrived 1 3/4 hours after starting, it was shrouded in misty clouds.
As we ate our lunch and stretched out on the rocks — joined by 20 or so other hikers, about half of whom were Quebecois visiting for the long Thanksgiving weekend — the sun threatened to burn through the clouds. Standing at the edge, we watched the air currents flow up from the valley and glimpsed birds flying through the mist. Suddenly the clouds opened, giving us a view to the bright carpet of leaves across the valley and nearby peaks, including a ski area.
After five minutes or so, the curtain closed, and we were again surrounded by swirling clouds. We took that as the cue to begin our descent, returning via the same trail. Our route from the National Forest provided a brilliant reminder of the season’s beauty. Count me among the leaf peepers for life.
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Solo to the Summit

July 12, 2018

When last week’s heat wave broke, I felt the need to get outside and move. What I needed was more than my usual early morning outing, which is an everyday necessity. So after Mom and I returned from Mass, I quickly changed, put some supplies into a small pack, and hit the road. Patrick wasn’t able to join me, so I headed north by myself (technically, it was northwest but let’s not quibble).

After an easy 90-minute drive, I arrived at Monadnock State Park. If anyone has wondered why New Hampshire is called the Granite State, a hike up the White Dot trail will provide all the evidence needed.

Rocky-trail

The trail is mostly a mix of rock- and boulder-scattered sections and sheer rock faces, all of which can be climbed without gear although not without a fair bit of scrambling. But that’s a big part of the fun.

The trail gets above treeline about two thirds (or maybe three quarters) of the way to the summit. The views, especially on a clear day, are spectacular.

monadnock-selfie

Along the trail edge and occasionally in the cracks between ledges, I discovered low bush blueberries. It’s still early in the season, which doesn’t really peak until mid-August, but it wasn’t hard to find some purple berries. Several were tart, but plenty were sweet.

blueberries

I pointed them out to a family resting nearby, explaining to the two pre-teens how to spot the leaves and berries. Having done a fair bit of hiking with my three when they were younger, I’ve learned it’s always helpful to have a goal — other than the summit — to keep them moving along the trail.

As I moved past them, I heard the mother tell the kids, “don’t eat anything of those berries or anything else you pick.” I resisted the urge to turn back and explain that I wasn’t trying to poison them. As my friend Kristen would say, “so many people to teach.”

The bare summit — 3,166 feet/965 meters elevation according to the rock carving — provided 360° views of the surrounding area: the White Mountains and Presidential range to the north east and, just barely visible (like a mirage that disappears and reappears), the Boston skyline to the southeast. In the video, you can hear the crows – or maybe ravens? – cawing as they rode the air around the summit.

I lay back on the warm stone, savoring the view, sounds, and breezes for a while. Then I enjoyed a snack and a few rounds on Sock #2 before heading back down.

sock-summit

You didn’t really think I’d leave home without my knitting, did you?!

 

 

 

Porch knitting

June 25, 2017

As the rain passed and the sky began to clear over the White Mountains, we spent a lovely hour or so of our anniversary weekend on the hotel’s big front porch.

About a dozen or so people sat in the white Adirondack chairs, in small groups or solo, chatting, reading, “phoning,” or just sitting.

As luck would have it, a fellow knitter appeared, swapping out her newspaper for circular needles on which was a cowl-in-progress, knit in a gorgeous variegated yarn of blues and speckles of green, black, yellow, and purple.

Of course, I had to strike up a conversation. It’s what knitters do. And like most knitters, Annie was more than happy to talk about her project, where she got the yarn (vacation to the Cotswalds in England last year), the other project she’s working on (a drapey cardigan by Brooklyn Tweed, the name of which escapes me and I’d get lost looking through their wonderful patterns), and her next project (Purl Soho’s Ombré Wrap).

Woman knitting on porch

I’m curious — when you see someone knitting, do you strike up a conversation?

Fiber on the Mountains

June 24, 2017

In celebration of our 25th anniversary, Patrick and I are spending a few days in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Our plans for hiking every day have been dampened a bit by a combination of rain, thunder, and lightning — not a good combination if you’re above the tree line!

Before a low elevation hike yesterday, we wandered into the hotel’s barn where we discovered dozens of fiber producers: sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas, and a litter of six-week old rabbits.

alpacas

Before being spun into yarn skeins, the fiber is stored in bins, each labeled with the name of its “source.” Love the names: Frisbee, Mariposa, Chaplin, Millie, and Ginger.

fiber-bins-namedjpg

There’s a display of different fiber types, just around the corner from the alpacas and llamas.

As part of its programming, the hotel has needle felting workshops and demonstrations on turning sheared fiber into yarn (washing, carding, spinning — and everything in between). They also sell rovings, yarn in a variety of weights, felting kits, and felted insoles to keep your feet warm and cozy.

barn-fiber

Much to my delight, the hotel sells yarn from its own animals. I haven’t made my choice yet, so more about that in a future post.

 

 

 

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