Spring Visitors in NH

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sun-edged clouds

You can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

the Whitehouse

It’s still cool enough for the woodstove, but Spring is definitely arriving.

The coming of spring brings blue skies, warming temperatures, and a transition from white to green.  The first to arrive are the birds.

Tom Turkey.  He's been around all winter, but looks dazzling in his spring finery

Tom Turkey. He’s been around all winter, but looks dazzling in his spring finery

Coopers Hawk - Hunting Doves and preparing a nest nearby.

Coopers Hawk – Hunting doves and preparing a nest nearby.

Indigo Bunting.  The first one we have seen in years.

Indigo Bunting. The first one we have seen in years.

The small critters show up next.  They have been denned up for the winter and
the warm weather brings them out.

PEEK!!!Chipmunk.

Diving in for a Drink

Diving in for a Drink

Porcupine.

Porcupine.

Weasel.

Weasel.

Last of all come the Hibernators. (Amphibian and Mammalian).

Snapping Turtle in a local pond.

Snapping Turtle in a local pond.

Spring, and Thoughts of Love.

Spring, and Thoughts of Love.

We have taken down the winter birdfeeders, but the hungry bears still need to check to make sure.  This female showed up with her three yearling cubs.

Mamma Bear

Mamma Bear

one happy family_edited-1©

The cubs are very curious, but Mom is on the constantly alert

Did there used to be a birdfeeder here?

Did there used to be a birdfeeder here?

These cubs have been with their mother since late last winter and are just about ready to go out on their own.  Mom will soon shoo them out of her territory and be ready to mate again.  That’s probably why this male has been hanging around.  The female will not tolerate him around the cubs, but he usually shows up sniffing around an hour or so after the female and the cubs.

big boy!_edited-1©

First Visit.

AH!! life in the country_edited-1

The male does not stick around long.

Second Visit.

Second Visit.

Winter Fun in NH

It’s been a while since we posted here on the blog, but we wanted everyone to know that we are still alive and well, and just because we’re not traveling right now doesn’t mean we have given up our crazy outdoor lifestyle.  We are fortunate to live in an area with vast recreational resources at our doorstep and right now the snow conditions are perfect for all sorts of winter fun.

riding the flat tube_edited-1

WHOOOSH! Is that the sound of air leaking from your tube?

heading for crash_edited-1

Three Man Train headed for a Train Wreck!

You know, you don’t have to be 12 years old to enjoy sledding.  Get out there and play in the snow whatever your age.

Just up the hill from our house is a farm with a bunch of open, yet hilly, fields.  The owners of the farm have been most generous in allowing us to play in their fields. On Sunny days after a good snow, half the neighborhood is up there.

Mother-daughter cruiser_edited-1

Mother Daughter Cruiser

T& L trudging back up_edited-1

The Downside of sledding…or is it the Upside?

enjoying the ride crashed and burned_edited-1 doin 12 in a 71_edited-1 tubing ted crazy lady

Seriously, with snow like we have now, you’re really missing some great fun if you’re not out there playing.  A cheap sled, a modest hill, and a 12 year old still residing somewhere inside is all it takes.

gotta do it again_edited-1

Gotta Do It Again.

If you can get there before the plow, even a road will do.

here she comes it's a bird, it's a plane, it's Cheryl Flyin' C

When the snow is Really Really Good, there’s Telemark skiing in the woods.

just havin fun!_edited-1

Always wear helmet and goggles in the woods.

If you are luck enough to be in the woods, You qre lucky enough.

The Uphill side of Downhill skiing.

Look at the spaces, not at the trees.

Look at the spaces, not at the trees.

The Formula:  Up, then down::Repeat.

The Formula: Up, then down::Repeat.

reasons to be happy_edited-1Conclusion:  Go out and enjoy winter.

Glacier NP – Scenic Point

Glacier National Park, one of America’s oldest parks was established in 1910, but archeology tells us that Glacier has been regularly inhabited for over 10,000 years.  We have visited Glacier several times over the last decade, but on this trip we visited The Two Medicine area in the southeast corner of the park.  Two Medicine has a campground on the shore of a small pond adjacent to Two Medicine Lake, a ranger station, and a small park store.  Far away from the summer crowds in the park at this time of year Two Medicine is, to my reckoning, the spiritual center of Glacier National Park.  And, it’s great place to see the summer wildflowers of the Northern Rockies.

Trail to Scenic Point.

Trail to Scenic Point.

We could see Scenic Point from the shore of Two Medicine Lake.  At 6.5 miles round trip this would be a relatively easy hike from the campground and promised magnificent views of the east side of the park. We rode our bikes, loaded with daypacks and hiking poles, to the trailhead about 1/2 mile away from the campground.  We often ride to the trailhead if the distance is reasonable rather than drive.  It saves fuel, builds muscle, and parking is easy.

Trail to Scenic Point.

Trail to Scenic Point.

The trail was rugged and steep, covered with loose shale and gravel, but beautiful. This was going to be a tougher hike than we had supposed.  The trail wound up the valley between two peaks and as we got higher we could see Lower Two Medicine lake to the east.

We reached a saddle (low place between two hills or mountains) and found that we still had a mile to go to Scenic Point.  This was feeling like a very long 6.5 mile hike.

Trail to Scenic Point – the point is out of the picture at left.

From Scenic Point we had good views to the east and the north.

Two Medicine Lake and Rising Wolf Mountain from Scenic Point.

Lower Two Medicine Lake from Scenic Point..

On the way back we had a big and pleasant surprise when we crossed the saddle.

Bighorn Sheep – Ram (Photos, courtesy of Elliot Hammer)

Six rams were grazing on the side of the trail. Cheryl had camera trouble but to our great good fortune we were hiking with  a couple from New Orleans and they got these great pictures of the sheep and were kind enough to share them. Thank you Elliot and Elizabeth.

Grazing Rams.

These Rams are quite willing to share the territory at this time of year, but in a few weeks, when the rutting season begins, they will be banging their heads together for mating rights.

Bighorn Ewe.

Bighorn Ram descending a cliff.

As we descended, the rams crossed the trail and descended the steep cliff face on the north side of the saddle so we hurried back up to catch a view of them going down.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington – Retrospective

Seventeen Days we have been in the Park and it feels like we could stay for another 17, but other things call us away. There are a few things we did while camped at White River Campground for 10 days that didn’t quite fit in to the other posts, but I wanted to share some of Cheryl’s wonderful pictures.

Mount Rainier – 5:45 AM

Mount Rainier at 5:45 AM. At this point the day’s climbers are well up onto the mountain and with a bit more light will be in view in our binoculars.

Along the banks of the White River.

Pretty Good Campsite, eh?

First Light

Late Afternoon / Strange Clouds.

Some of our Hikes from White River.

Historic Park Ranger’s Patrol Cabin. These were placed a day apart on the 93 mile Wonderland Trail.

Rare Stormy Day in July.

Trail Bridge on the White River.

The heavy load of silt and glacial flour (very finely ground up rocks suspended in the glacial ice} cause the river to be various shades of grey and brown depending on the temperature and the rate of melting. This day the pale gray fits the name White River.

This is the last post from Mount Rainier and the last post of our westward journey. We will head east with possible stops at North Cascades National Park and Glacier National Park.

This will be the last time I send an email announcing new posts, so if you haven’t signed up as a blog follower either do so or check back regularly for new posts on our way back home and future trips. thanks for joining us, Ted & Cheryl.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington – Wonderland Trail to Summerland

Summerland doesn’t quite look like summer yet, but it will soon. the snow is still hanging on the trails, but as you can see the flowers are getting ready to pop along the sides of the trail.

The hike to Summerland was pretty easy so we decided to continue along the Wonderland Trail towards Panhandle Gap at 9,000 feet, just to see what was on the other side of the gap. We were pretty sure the snowfields would be too steep to get there, but there was still lots of hiking we could do until then.

Wonderland Trail above Summerland.

After the park called Summerland the whole area opens up, free of the forest, and into the open bowls of the upper mountain. Most of this terrain is still snow covered, but the warm spring sunshine has made the snow soft and easy to traverse. The Wonderland Trail in this area was mostly snow covered, but we could find enough of it to stay on track.

A herd of 41 Mountain Goats crossed the snowfield above us.

Shortly after reaching the top of the Summerland area and heading up into the snow fields we passed a large open bowl.

Temperatures were in the upper 70s, the hiking was great, and we made up into the last bowl below Panhandle Gap before the terrain got too steep to continue.

Way too steep.

Panhandle Gap is around that last corner in the upper center of the picture. We made it to where you can see other hikers at the left.

This is about as steep as we felt we could safely handle with the equipment we had with us.

The side edge of Emmons Glacier’s accretion zone, from above Summerland.

A Hoary Marmot – Sunbathing.

Anemones just starting to open.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington-3rd Burroughs / Winthrop Glacier

The Way Up.

While we could have hiked to Third Burroughs when we were hiking First and Second Burroughs, we didn’t because there is another way to Third that looked a lot more interesting, if a little bit longer. We would hike up the Glacier Basin Trail again, cutting off after 2.4 miles to hike 1.7 miles up to the saddle between Second and Third Burroughs. From there it’s a quick mile to the summit of Third Burroughs. Adds up to 10.2 miles – Yikes! Oh Well.

Elegant Jacob’s Ladder. (not to be confused with Showy Jacob’s Ladder – another flower entirely).

Climbers above Glacier Basin on the way up Steamboat Prow to Sherman Camp on the Inter Glacier. These climbers will rest a full day at Sherman, then get up at midnight to start the summit climb. Note the ski tracks around the climbers and to the right. There are some hard core backcountry skiers in the Northwest.

Winthrop Glacier from Third Burroughs.

Winthrop Glacier’s Ablation Zone.

Crevasses

This is why glacier climbing is so dangerous. These crevasses are hundreds of feet long, who knows how deep, and as you can see some of the snow bridges that render them invisible are still remaining here in late July. This is Winthrop Glacier from Third Burroughs Summit.

Being chased by a Giant Cloud Chipmunk – very dangerous critter.

The view west from Third Burroughs.

Twenty-nine Mountain Goats seen on our way down from Third.

Steamboat Prow to the right, Mount Ruth to the left, climbers near the saddle.

We’ve got one more hike to do here, to Summerland, before we leave Mount Rainier National Park and end our westward journey.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington – Mount Burroughs / Emmons Glacier

From the visitor center area at Sunrise we could access the Mount Burroughs trail. Named after the naturalist John Burroughs (a contemprary of John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt and author of many fine books on the natural world) the Burroughs Mountains are a small range containing 3 peaks, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Burroughs between the Emmons and Winthrop Glaciers, two of the largest glaciers on Mount Rainier. From sunrise we will hike 1st and 2nd Burroughs and hope to finally see some Mountain Goats up close and personally. Word is there are several herds hanging out in the area.

In the picture above Burroughs 1 & 2 are marked, as well as the trail back down to Sunrise. As you can see, much of the snow is gone in this area although there are still several rather large snowfields we will have to cross.

Frozen Lake

The Northern route which we will take out to Burroughs meets the Burroughs Trail at Frozen Lake (perhaps half frozen lake at this time of year)

The trail proceeds up along the flank of Burroughs 1 in a series of long switchbacks to gain altitude.

One of the snowfields we will have to cross. It doesn’t look like much but the slope of that snowfield is sufficient that falling would definitely mean a long slide if you had no means of arresting yourself. We have our hiking poles (an Ice Ax would be better) and figure they will be enough for these short crossings.

Looking down into Berkely Park, a plateaued valley north of Burroughs. It’s an especially lush valley and often filled with flowers at this time of year.

The upper slopes of First and Second Burroughs are mostly comprised of steep debris fields of hard slatelike rock. It’s difficult to walk on the unstable plates of rock and easy to stumble on, so we’re always thankful for well trod trails.

Even in this harsh environment the flowers always find a way to spring forth. It’s truly marvelous to walk along these forbidding mountain trails and find these meadows of brilliant wildflowers looking like someone had just planted them.

As we crested Second Burroughs we got this fantastic View of the climbing route from Glacier Basin. The large arrows outline the route up through the glaciers. The little arrow in the center points at 3 climbers crossing an Ice Fall on Emmons Glacier.

The Route Down.

Looking down into Glacier Basin from Burroughs 2. The Arrow shows the high point of our hike in Glacier Basin a couple of days ago.

Mountain Goats

Heading down on the south side of Burroughs 1 we finally found our goats. A small herd of 7, including 2 kids, was grazing away contentedly on the very sparse vegetation.

Looking back to the White River and the Campground from the Sunrise Rim Trail.

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Sharing our love of America's Natural Wonders

Outindewoods

Sharing our love of America's Natural Wonders