Category: Blog

Carter Notch Hut

Spring training continued on May 31 with a hike to AMC’s Carter Notch Hut.  The weather was perfect (finally), and I observed a pine marten hunting along the trail while hiking in.IMG_0639

Wildcat ‘A’ is a short side trail from Carter Notch which allowed me to add a 4000-footer to my spring training regime.  The Hut is visible in the lower center of the photo, 1200 feet and 1 hour below.IMG_0640

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Bring on the mountain (a walk in the woods part 3)

May 24 allowed me to finally set foot on Mt. Washington.  The day remained overcast with a threat of thunder showers, but conditions were OK for a hke.  My initial objective was Hermit Lake at the foot of Tuckerman’s Ravine.  It’s a comon spring hike for me.IMG_0613

I saw only one other hiker on my solitary spring hike.  Hermit Lake shelter was easily reached.  I considered continuing up to the actual base of the ravine, but I was met with ice on the trail above the lake.  As always I was unwilling to contend with ice, so I turned back.  It was a good start.


I paused on the deck at Hermit Lake as a thundershower rolled into the area.  It stayed below me in the valley.

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A Walk in the Woods, redux. . .

The training continues.  The day after my fire tower adventure, I headed north.  The weather in the valley remained nice if a bit dry.  The forecast in Franconia Notch was for snow showers as I left for Lonesome Lake Hut.

We had a little more than snow showers.  I was hiking alone and not equipped for heavy winter weather.  I was forced to turn back.  It was a beautiful day though.

The Pemi in the snow is a beautiful thing
Know when to turn back

I returned a week later and finally made it to the hut on May 3.   The weather was still overcast but passable.  The hut was yet to officially open for the season, but I had a nice conversation with the caretaker.

Lonesome Lake


Same spot, one week later.
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A walk in the woods. . .

Spring is here. With my impending hike of Mount Washington, I have felt the urge to get out on the trails and warm up a bit.  Yesterday I had an hour to spare, so I took a brief trek to the fire tower at Pawtuckaway State Park.

Best laid plans. . .

I took a wrong turn and explored a few extra miles of fire roads and Jeep trails with Mrs. Mack505’s truck.  Her 7000lb, 2500 series, 4-door GMC Denali Diesel truck.  I made it to the trailhead without a scratch somehow.

The trail is a short jaunt measuring 0.4 miles from parking lot to tower.  It’s a popular and highly recommended hike to a good lunch spot.  I found the tower manned with a ranger straight out of a 1960’s Disney film.  He had gray hair, wire rimmed glasses, a red and black checked flannel shirt, and a pleasant demeanor.

The day was dry and windy, a Class 4 in ranger-speak.  The radio crackled with conversation among the fire towers.

Before I could say hello the radio reported heavy black smoke in our vicinity.  We both looked out and saw nothing; then I moved slightly to one side and this popped out of the blind spot of the tower:


That would be a barn fire just down the road from our farm.  Fire units were delayed because many of them had to respond from another neighboring fire. The radio traffic was interesting.

I would have gone to ‘buff’ it.  Alas I did not have time to spare.  I bid the ranger ‘good day’ and hiked onward to my next appointment.


In the last two weeks the boiler has malfunctioned and tried to kill us; we discovered that the VW bus needs a motor rebuild; the dog attacked one of the cats (both are OK); and my debit card was compromised and started buying a lot of Uber rides and Grubhub deliveries.

Oh, and Mrs. Mack505’s horse and best friend both made strong attempts at dying.

I could be forgiven for feeling stressed out, yet I’m not.  It’s just life.  Perhaps a rough patch.

The CO alarms worked. The boiler was fixed without further incident. The VW is a toy, so we will save up the cash to rebuild it when we can. Like the bionic man it will be stronger and better afterwards. We think we know what occurred between Cricket and Saffy, so we can prevent a recurrence.

The bank caught the debit card problem within 24 hours. I have a new card already. (Yay TDBank!) They were much more efficient than other banks have been in the past.

The vet and the doctors did their jobs with skill and luck. Everyone will be OK.

The decluttering continues, and I am looking forward to warmer weather.

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Jackson XC

From an ill-fated XC skiing trip earlier this month. The company was good, but the conditions were pretty bad. This winter has been hard on JacksonXC.

Shot on Kodak BW400CN in a Nikon L35AF.


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Rebooting the experiment

I tried, and I was good. I vacationed in consumer paradise. T-shirts, hats, pins, all manner of souvenirs; I resisted them all.  I browsed pens and notebooks, and I left them on the shelves. The family shopped a lot and bought a little, but I held fast to my pledge.

I did buy a bit of candy on Day 7, but that’s expendable.  It wouldn’t be coming home anyway.

Then on Day 8 the family went into a jewelry store.  I pulled up a bench outside to watch the shoppers stroll by in the sun. There was nothing I could possibly want in there, and the weather was wonderful out here.  That’s when I noticed it. . .

The spice and tea store.

A quick browse couldn’t hurt, right? After all, tea is expendable.  A bit of fresh Earl Grey would not be breaking my vow.

The Earl Grey is fine. So is the Oolong I bought with it.  I have no excuse for this though. (It does allow me to brew loose leaf teas, but. . .)

As pennance I have retired both of my old iced tea pitchers and my ratty Mr Coffee Iced Tea Maker.  One in, three out.

It’s like a diet. Failure doesn’t mean the end, just delayed success. The 30 day clock has restarted on the experiment as of 2/21.  Today I bought nothing. Tomorrow’s plan is trash bags and kitty litter.  I should own stock in the kitty litter company.


CLM update:

C: blogged, developed film, scanned one roll

L: I didn’t work on my Spanish today. I did read another chapter of An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

M: one camera shipped to new owner, plus the above mentioned pitchers leaving

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The Experiment

As usual, the decluttering spree went on for a while and then . . .

We are still aware of the process, and more things are leaving the house than in the past.  The KonMari method worked well for clothing, and it is great in the attic.  Where it has fallen apart is in the ‘everything else’ category.

One-in-one-out is a good mantra to keep the clutter from getting worse, but it only goes so far.

I have read various books and websites on simplifying, minimizing, and living a more purposeful life.  I daydream about some day being happy in a 500 square foot house.  Reality always drags me back though, which brings me to my latest experiment.

Starting today and for the next 30 days, I pledge to buy NOTHING other than necessary expendables.  Food, fuel, kitty litter, and toilet paper will continue to flow through the garage, but that’s it.  The next month encompasses vacation and my birthday, so this may be interesting.

So far today I’ve purchased kitty litter and chicken feed, and I got a haircut.  I’m off to a good start.  Wish me luck.


If you have followed NfMH for any length of time, you have seen many attempts at projects and self improvement.  Many of them have failed in the end.  I always mean well.  I think this one may have some traction.

In an effort to prevent ‘wasted’ days, I am now living with the following three objectives every day: Create, Learn, Minimize/Maintain.

Every day I WILL create something.  This includes photography, writing in my journal, and yes, posting here.

Every day I WILL learn something. My primary focus is learning Spanish via Rosetta Stone.  I have had the program for years and never gotten very far.  On days when this is not feasible I plan to focus on reading something non-fiction.

Every day I WILL minimize something from my life.  Today I took two bags of clothing to the thrift store and sold a camera on eBay.  On days when I am not home (and therefore unable to clean out) I will focus on maintaining my surroundings via cleaning or simple improvements.

I have been quietly succeeding for a week now.  I find that these three small things make me feel as if I have accomplished something, no matter what else happens to the day.

Bus life

It’s Halloween. Craziness reigned today. We had to retrieve the truck from the shop. In Salem. Did I mention that it was Halloween?

Soccer game (5-1 loss), frantic search for smoke machine and inflatable cat for the yard, cook dinner. . .

Kiddo dressed as a TARDIS and went off with her friend who is the 11th Doctor.  I am a man in a white van with candy.

I may not have completely thought this through. . .

Our driveway is long, dark and scary, so every year we set up at the street end to hand out candy. The first group of kids has passed. I can hear the toddlers shrieking in the next block.

But right here right now, it is so quiet I can hear the quartz clock ticking. Acorns are falling in the woods, and I just heard my neighbor’s boiler turn off.

Peace is where you find it. Watch out for zombies and men in white vans!

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