Saturday, June 30, 2012

Undercliff, Overhill

Kat joined me for a quick hike in Cold Spring.  We took Undercliff to Brook to Cornish.  I've done this particular loop many times, but climb at the beginning seemed much more difficult this time.  I was out of breath, heart racing, by the time we got to the first overlook.

For me, a real highlight of the hike was that we were able to pick wild blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries (first of the season) -- all on the same day! 

Is this the Year of the Toad?  I've seen one on every hike!
Lovely birdsong throughout the day; I always notice this, and think of Bill Bryson.

View from our lunch spot
I saw a snake late in the day, just the s-s-s of the tail as it vanished into the scrubs on the side of the trail.

Back in town, flowers along the side of the road
 Afterward, we graced the Foundry Cafe with our patronage.

It's not Crabbie's, but it will do.

A lovely spot to wait for the train

We were too far south for Bannerman's Castle, but I like these bits of pilings

Afterward, I met up with Christelle to see Comedy of Errors (production by Hudson Warehouse at their usual location).  It was a lot of fun, but it was interrupted about 4/5 of the way through by an audience member who apparently lost consciousness and fell off the balustrade onto the steps below.  He fell silently -- without a word, without a cry -- almost as gracefully as a stunt man.  They interrupted the production and called 911, while another member of the audience who is fortunately an M.D. stayed with him.  The man regained consciousness and spoke before the medics arrived, so there would seem to be hope for recovery.  

Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?
The paramedics got a round of applause as they carried the man off to hospital, and the actors got a round of applause when they resumed.  Like several other Shakespearean mistaken identity comedies, this one ends with a bit of over-explaining.  One of the actors dealt with this by delivering his explanation with truly extraordinary rapidity.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Recommendations

On the Mythgard discussion boards for the Modern Fantasy class, one student asked the rest of us for book recommendations, specifically one life-long love and one recent fave.

This is, of course, utterly impossible.

The closest I can get to a "life-long love" is to list some long-term favorites that have (for me) stood the test of time:

  • Nostalgic early favorites: Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak); Surprises!; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (Dr Seuss); Elidor and the Golden Ball (Georgess McHargue).
  • Favorite books since elementary school: The High King (Lloyd Alexander); The Spirit of Jem (PH Newby); The Silver Chair (CS Lewis).
  • Favorite books since junior high or high school: The Great Divorce (Lewis); Something Under the Bed Is Drooling (Bill Watterson), The Essential Calvin and Hobbes (Watterson), basically any Calvin & Hobbes collection.
  • Favorite books since college: The Cyberiad (Stanislaw Lem); the essay "On Self-Respect" from Slouching Toward Bethlehem (Joan Didion); the essay "On Chasing After One's Hat" (GK Chesterton).
  • Favorite books since law school: Black Hearts in Battersea (Joan Aiken); High-Spirited Rose Is Rose (Pat Brady); The Girl in Blue (PG Wodehouse) and many, many other Wodehouse stories (I love the Blandings stories, but despise the Jeeves stories).
I also love and have re-read numerous times the Lord of the Rings trilogy, although I can't bear to put it in the list above for some reason.  Nor can I put any of my favorite Shakespeare plays in there either.  Not sure why.  

There are a lot of other books which I liked a lot at the time and place that I read them, and some of them are still quite good (or even better) on re-reading... but they don't have the same emotional pull on me.

The closest I can get to a "recent fave" might be better titled Books I've Liked a Lot Within the Last Year But Will Probably Not Read Again.  In this category, I'd put The Red Pyramid (Riordan), Hunger Games trilogy (Collins).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fishkill Ridge

This was my first venture to Fishkill Ridge loop.  Most of it was in shade, through the forest.  Blueberries were starting to ripen, and I ate quite a few!  There were long grasses much of the way. My legs were bare so I checked for ticks afterward (didn't see any).

Flowers at the trailhead

A friend for the Flying Ford Anglia?

Waterfall!  I chilled my feet in the cold pools on the way back


Rocking chair summit

Dozer Junction

On his way to Toad Hall?

After a long and leisurely dinner at the Beacon Falls Cafe (same server as last time), I caught the 9 p.m. train.

Bannerman's Castle, from the train.

I was so tired, I slept most of the way back to NYC.  The main hall of Grand Central Terminal was far brighter than I'd ever remembered it, and for a heartbeat I had the sense of a sudden and mysterious shift in time (as if it were broad daylight).  Apparently they were setting up for a photo or film shoot.  I took advantage of the lighting to take a few pictures of the ceiling which ordinarily require a far better camera than mine:

Accidentally turned off the pedometer at the 4.5 hour mark, 8.22 miles.  The total trip was about 7 hours (including all stops except dinner), and I believe 13+ miles.  I missed a turn at one point and ended up on a very wide and well-trodden footpath for long time.  This is actually an issue at several points on the trail, where a clear footpath appears to continue the official trail straight ahead.

Wore toe shoes for the hike, and it got painful after a while - particularly on downhills.  I'm thinking 5 miles is the upper limit if there is steep terrain.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

First Ascent in the Ossipee Range

Well, no.  This was not the first ascent ever of Mt Roberts.  But it was my first ascent of any mountain in the Ossipee ring dike complex.  (Red Hill, though nearby, is not within the Ossipee circle.) 

Mount Roberts is on the outskirts of the Castle in the Cloud site; we entered from Ossipee Park Rd.  There is a parking area right after an old gatehouse, then you walk up a bit to the trailhead.  The fresh whiff of a horse farm livens the first few yards... 

The ascent was shady and cool through the forest, at a moderate grade, and the midges didn't bother us much until we stopped to admire the view.

Sun and shadow on the green hills

In front of the middle cloud, look for the small speck (a turkey vulture)

Intrepid Explorers

Our motto is "Do Lunch or Be Lunch"

 At our lunch stop, we smeared ourselves with citronella.  We then walked up further to a second ledge, and a few of us headed for the last mile up to the summit.

The little-known New Hampshire Moai?

A shift in the vegetation as we ascended

Mountain laurel

I liked the soft grey lichen on this rock.

Celebrating at the summit!
The summit provided views to the north of the White Mountain range.   (Perhaps the hill in the foreground might be Larcom Mountain.)
Mt Chocorua and others in the distance

An eerie landscape

These flowers looked a bit like a (low-growing) dogwood cover

Orange blaze with oxidized iron

Nicely camouflaged toad (he's got a white stripe on his spine)

The entire journey was about 5 miles round-trip.  Very enjoyable.