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Road Trip, Part III – The Road Home. June 26, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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So after we both had stupendous omelets at a breakfast place in North Conway, Lizz went off to scout Autumn foliage shoots for some friends who would be coming by in October, and I set about noodling my way home.

Being in North Conway, and having frittered away the better part of my youth rock climbing there, I was drawn to the two big ledges looming over town.  I started with Cathedral Ledge:

…four hundred feet of splitter cracks and corners, providing some of the most satisfying climbing in the East.  There were plenty of Young Bucks (and Does, presumably) engaged in The Frittering this day, including a party on The Prow, a steep line up the tallest feature on the cliff:

I did this route too many years ago to recall much besides the weight of the load in my pants and the exhilaration of flowing upwards with the trees below looking like moss.  The top-out was a mixture of relief and disappointment, with the last step signalling both safety and the end of the adventure:

But on this day I was only an observer.  I took the photo and moved on, driving to the top with clean shorts and a diminished appreciation for life.

A short hike took me to a view of White Horse Ledge, another of my old haunts.  It’s totally different in character, slabby rather than steep, but lacking anything like positive holds and requiring delicate balance and precise footwork:

I’ve found the climbing here to be much more Zen-like, with the finality of a misstep mitigated by the focused flow of upward motion.  No thoughts about the terminal road-rash of 800 feet of Dynamic Retreat are allowed as one balances upward on unseen bits of friction.

But then it was time to head out and begin the Southward trek.  I headed down past Conway, where the Swift River flows into the Saco:

…beneath a scenic covered bridge:

…where butterflies played on hawkweed:

…and dragonflies warmed their wings in the cool summer sun:

… then headed up the Kancamagus Highway through the Pemigewasset Wilderness toward home:

The trip was short but sweet, with good company, great memories and the rejuvenating essence of Nature all around.

Then it was back to the Real World of work and home.

And that’s OK too.  😉




Last Weekend In The White Mountains. February 9, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I spent last weekend in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, diggin’ the Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival, a yearly celebration of ice climbers and their craft.

I used to be part of that scene, back when I had rotator cuffs, and will post a little bit about that later.

But for now, here are some scenic shots from my trip.

Firstly, Mount Washington, as seen from the banks of the Saco River just outside of North Conway:

This is the highest point in the Northeast, and though it’s not much over 6,000 feet in elevation, it hosts some of the most extreme weather in the world, for many years holding the record for recorded wind speed at over 230 miles per hour.

That’s windy.  I spent three weeks on Alaska’s Denali, and despite the fact that we hunkered down in some of the worst weather they’d had in a decade, it didn’t hold a candle to what I’d endured on numerous winter Mount Washington trips.

Anyway, here’s a Gizmo (my 400mm L-series lens) shot of sunset on the summit:

Taken from the same place, at about the same time.

Gawd, I loves me some Gizmo!

I was there with my photographic mentor Lizz, who had scoped out this spot on the banks of the Saco River.  She was busy snagging images as I did the same:

There was plenty to see, from the grand scenic down to the details.  Here’s one of a stranded ice chunk and a waning crescent moon:

The day ended with bitter winds which drove us to the pub for burgers and nachos, but not before I stopped to snag a quickie of the developing sunset:

The next day was spent in a slow retreat southward, with a couple of stops along the way for photography.  Here’s a view eastward from Kankamagus Pass, of a snowstorm in the area I’d just left:

And another of a footbridge ove the Pemigewasset River:

All in all, it was a satisfactory trip, though I froze my butt off, did minimal climbing (more on that later,) and got only a few photos for my efforts.