Category Archives: Adventure

Ice on Bee Brook

Ice on Bee Brook

Dave, Bill and I took a hike up to the Pinnacle overlooking Lake Waramaug in the Macricostas Preserve yesterday. The ice on Bee Brook was stunning where the stream braided and the flow of the water was disrupted. Had it not been in the 20′s (F) we’d have hung out longer looking for more patterns but cold hands and Christmas eve pulled us away.

Ice on Bee Brook

Ice on Bee Brook

Ice on Bee Brook

Ice on Bee Brook

Dave shooting on Guilder Pond

Dave shooting on Guilder Pond

Mt. Everett Reservation, Massachusetts. We hiked up Everett and then around Guilder Pond and I caught Dave out on a cliff shooting an island in the pond. Everett isn’t a hard hike although it’s the second highest point in Massachusetts. Guilder Pond is a jewell that makes the entire hike worthwhile. In July the mountain laurel around this pond is mind-blowing.

Ice

Ice bubbles

While hiking up Bear Mountain today we stopped a few times to take pictures of ice. As someone with Raynaud’s syndrome (cold hands from a faulty thermostat) it’s tough to take gloves off and take pictures on cold days. A solution for me is carrying hand warmers and more serious mittens for the times I get in trouble. I used both today and the problem abated quickly and we had a great hike.

Running stream under ice

Grass and leaves under ice

Leaves under ice

Mt. Race hike

Dave shoots a porcupine

Southwest Massachusetts. Just as we started to hike up Race Brook Falls to Mt. Race we saw a porcupine at the edge of a field. This was a beautiful little animal, no danger to Dave (they don’t shoot quills, you have to touch them) so he got close and got some nice shots.

Dave on Mt. Race

Many people who climb up Mt. Race don’t realize that if you keep going south on the Appalachian Trail there’s a great cliff and viewpoint on the southeast shoulder, maybe 1/4 mile past the summit.

Here I’m looking north towards the summit from that cliff edge and caught Dave coming back from photographing some lichen.

Sophie and Liberty come across some starlings

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

Sophie and Liberty run into a “murmuration” of starlings. I must disagree (which I rarely do) with my most excellent source Jason Kottke, the quality of this video is perfect: it’s what my wife and I would make if we kayaked out to an island and caught a murmuration of starlings doing their thing. Including the look of awe and wonder on Liberty’s face at the very end. In many ways, I like this better than a highly produced National Geographic video.

Power to the people (of Warren, Connecticut)

We just got our power back, took a bit of the cable to come back but it is and our network is back up and running.

Today we’ll clean the house, top to bottom, run wash, run the dishwasher and enjoy hot showers.

Let me tell you, being without power for 5 days is a serious problem and you don’t realize how much you depend on it until you lose it. It’s not just falling behind on reading feeds or watching the news on TV, its also flushing toilets, washing dishes, cooking easily, showering, and just communicating with the outside world.

I hope heads roll at Connecticut Light & Power Company, they took too long to fix this problem and they need to hire more line people to handle emergencies. The scuttlebutt is that they hired lots of out of state line crews after hurricane Irene but failed to pay them (until now) and so many crews were reluctant to come help until the State of Connecticut stepped in. If it comes out that this was the cause of our problems the head of CL&P should be fired as well as his entire upper management team.

Time will tell and of course, now that most of the state is restored and digging out of the mess few will press this. I won’t forget it, let me tell you and if nothing is done in the next few months I’ll be looking for a new utility company (there are alternatives).

Our backyard the morning after the big storm

Our backyard the morning after the big storm

Warren, Connecticut. We still have no power and may not until Sunday and I’m posting this from a friend’s house in Goshen where they got power yesterday. Anne and I got our first shower since Saturday, it was heaven.

We had a lot of damage at our place, the oak trees hadn’t lost their leaves yet so got burdened down with snow and ice and the tops broke off. One of those tops gently landed on our roof and was hanging by a thread; our good friends at Arbor Services of Connecticut came by and took care of it for us (thank you Leonard and whoever else helped out).

Today I cut up all the big downed wood and piled the brush for the birds to make nests in.

Anne and I are roughing it but we have a great wood stove and plenty of dry wood so we’re warm. We’re using stream water to flush toilets and cooking on a Coleman burner on the deck.

Last night we went out and had a pizza and put the leftover pizza in a secure box on the deck along with our milk and other refrigerator stuff. Unfortunately a raccoon found my pizza and ate it and opened all our boxes and pawed through everything getting red sauce on most of it. Sigh, if life weren’t tough enough.

I’ve been going to the Danbury Mall to use the Apple store wifi network and the mall is nice enough to let people plug into the mall’s power outlets. I bring a power strip and recharge both iPhones, both iPads, both computers, and my iPal radio that I listen to updates of our situation on NPR on.

We’re frustrated but we’re very lucky to have wood heat and we’ll live.

More off the grid

I’m back at the Danbury Mall to charge up our electronics and be online for a bit. Today I brought a power strip and I’m sitting on the floor near enough to the Apple Store to get on their network which is fine and far enough away from the mall walkers so I’m not distracted by tweens and teens marching around.

We still have no power and may not have it for the rest of this week. Not sure about that and no one seems to know when our inept power company, Connecticut Light and Power, will get to our little town. Amazingly, a mile away down the road there’s full power so the post office, gas station, restaurants and some stores are open. This is a good thing but it frustrates us since power is so close.

A large tree came down on the east side of Lake Waramaug and cross the road and maybe took out the power. That may be the only problem or the largest problem and if it is, as soon as they get a crew on it they’ll have it restored in a day. But no doubt there are other problems too.

I cut up some of the big downed branches and did some yard cleanup in wet snow this morning. It’s warming up so the snow should melt pretty fast now, we sure hope so since we still have maple leaves and now a load of oak leaves to get up before “winter.”

AT&T restored power to the one tower we can get a signal from (2 bars if we’re lucky) so we have very bad but some cell coverage.

My theory on why iPhone 4S phones are having battery problems (I have one, I have battery problems) is that using Siri and many of the new iOS5 location aware utilities off wifi and on a cell network, especially a weak one, draws a lot of current. Couple that with the new A5 chip in the 4S and you have a problem.

Once we have power and our home network is up I’m going to experiment using my 4S without Siri just as I did my 4 to see if it’s only Siri or it’s also the new stuff in iSO5. Anne is running iOS 5 on her iPhone 4 and it’s definitely draining faster than it did before. Both phones can go from 30% to empty while in sleep mode so since we can’t charge at home at the moment we’re shutting things down overnight. This is helping. More on this soon when I get recharged myself.

Stay warm wherever you are, not sure when I’ll post again but I’ll try to get here or somewhere from time to time.

We’re off the grid for a while

My apologies for lack of posts or attention to this web site. The storm that hit the east coast killed our power and we may be without power for as much as a week more. It sucks. But, we have a wood stove and we’re warm.

Many trees down at our place, a huge amount of cleanup to do over the next month or so. This was a freak storm for this time of year and it hit oak trees with leaves still on them, weighing them down and causing a lot of them to either lose limbs or fall over completely. We have a lot of this around our place. No damage to the house thank god but there’s a large limb on the roof that’s a bit too precarious for me to get and our good friends at Arbor Services of Connecticut will help us with that.

We have no network and so, this site sits unattended for a while. If you post a comment and it’s in moderation be patient, I’ll get to it as I can.

Not much we can do except roll with it. Thank god for Danbury Mall and the Apple store there.

More soon, hope you’re warm and safe wherever you are.

Climbing Denali

The Cookiedoughs

“Myself, Trav and Melissa pictured with the sign at Wonder Lake, the starting point of our climb up Denali. We took the Muldrow Glacier route, so the first week of the 30 day climb was spent ferrying gear, food and fuel across the tundra which my dad was kind enough to help with. From there on we were on our own, taking the next twenty days to reach the summit, and three more to get out.”

Joe Stylos has a great flickr set on his climb of Denali (Mt. McKinley) in Alaska. Amazingly, he carried a Canon EOS 5D and an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens up there.

What a fantastic adventure. I’ve been on this mountain (never got to the top) and it’s one of the most spectacular (and dangerous) places on earth. Well done Joe, Trav, and Melissa.

The Final Push

“Climbing by a massive cornice on the summit ridge.”

A hummingbird told me Irene is over

You know the storm is over when a hummingbird hovers in front of the living room window glaring that his feeder isn’t up yet.

All bird feeders back up, our stream is down a foot already, the yard is littered with tree detritus but hey, the trees are still standing so a bit of cleanup is no problem at all.

Many roads in our town are still flooded and closed and some big trees came down but they’ll get it fixed. Snow plows are going by pushing branches off the road (genius).

May all of our hurricanes be this easy.

We are in the direct path of Irene

We are in the direct path of Irene

The path of Irene’s eye will take it pretty close to our house. Looks like Torrington, Connecticut will be where the eye hits. Mt. Greylock near Pittsfield, Massachusetts where we were the other day will get hammered this afternoon.

Town truck just went by with a snow plow on it, scraping up downed branches on the road of which there are plenty.

Our Stream in Irene

Our stream pre Irene

Warren, Connecticut. Standing on the bridge I made out of telephone poles and 2x pre-Irene (yesterday). Stream running from recent rain but nothing big yet. This stream’s entire drainage is less than a mile before it joins another stream 1/4 mile down from this.

This is 3/4 of a mile of watershed drainage.

Our stream morning of Irene

Standing on the bridge this morning. Stream getting fuller, making a lot of noise.

The eye of the storm won’t hit for another 6 hours so the stream will most likely top our bridge which I’m standing on as I take this (getting soaked).

Bridge over stream pre Irene

Standing near the bridge yesterday, pre-Irene.

Bridge over stream morning of Irene

Standing near the bridge today, during the beginning of Irene. Water will most likely top the bridge, shouldn’t wash it away (telephone poles are heavy) but who knows?

Nora and Dave on Money Brook Trail, Mt. Greylock

Nora and Dave on Money Brook Trail, Mt. Greylock

Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts. We hike Greylock quite a bit but we’d not done this particular trail which was wonderful. About 12 miles on varied terrain; up the Hopper trail, over the top, down the Appalachian trail, then connecting to the Money Brook trail through Money Brook falls and the switchbacks (this shot) and the ravine. Very nice hike and we had a nice time.

Rattlesnake on Schaghticoke Ridge

Dave shooting a rattlesnake

Schaghticoke Ridge, Appalachian Trail, Kent, Connecticut. We’ve been hiking this section of the AT between Bull’s Bridge and Rt. 341 for three years now, done the hike dozens of times all year round and have never seen a single rattlesnake. This ridge is sometimes called “rattlesnake ridge” because of the number of snakes on it. Everyone seems to see snakes but us.

Well, today we saw one and not anywhere near where we thought we’d see one. Dave came close to walking into it and backed off as it rattled. We took some pictures and it crossed the trail and went into the woods. I’d say it was between 3 and 4 feet, Dave thinks maybe a two year old animal.

It scared the shit out of both of us.

Rattlesnake