Friday, December 31, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010

As far as snowfall totals go, the blizzard of 2010 wasn't too bad for Cape Ann, but we sure did have a lot of high winds. I woke up the next morning expecting to see a ton of snow, but instead when I looked out my window I saw a huge tree half down in the side yard.

Pine tree debris everywhere

Close-up of the damage

A neighbor's tree fell onto the wall in between our yards

The view from our bedroom window

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter clamming

Even though it's December, Janda's still been going clamming! The neighbors think he's nuts. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010


The jack o'lantern that Janda carved

Our first and maybe only trick or treater

Cute little puppy dog eyes!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Camping in NH

Friday afternoon we packed up the car and headed to NH to try to recreate an amazing camping experience that we had a few years ago. Then we left on Friday afternoon, hiked for 2-3 hours in the dark, stumbled on a tent platform and spent the night before going up to Mt. Jefferson. The next day we took the Great Gulf trail to the Six Husbands trail and then came back down on the Madison Gulf trail. The Madison Gulf trail was such a hard descent that we joked to each other that in the future anything difficult would be rated against this trail. [Sidebar- we found out yesterday that descending the Madison Gulf trail is not recommended- I can vouch for that!] It was an amazing day and we hoped that our trip to Franconia Notch would be just as fun.

We should have known better than to try to recreate something that was so magical. After checking the forecast every day for a week and being assured that it would not rain, it began raining as we got close. We thought, maybe it will pass. It didn't.

We got our gear out and began hiking around 8:30pm. The plan was to hike 2-3 hours and then set up a campsite. We soon came to a fork in the trail and had to decide if we wanted to try to hike to the campsite or just camp out off the trail. We chose the trail with no campsite and headed off toward the Flume Slide trail. Not only was is raining at the time, but it had also rained earlier last week, so it was very muddy. It was a little hard to avoid the mud with our headlamps, but we didn't do too badly. Until we came to a stream crossing that was particularly tricky. As we walked off the path, along the shore, I stepped into a mud sinkhole above my ankle. I honestly thought to myself that my shoe was going to be stuck in the mud. I managed to toe up and get my foot out with shoe intact, but we still had the stream crossing to deal with. Remember that it's dark. Janda decided that the only option was to take off our shoes and wade across. Let's just say that I was not pleased to have to take off my wet muddy shoes and socks and then put them back on on the other side- not to mention how cold the water was! I may or may not have let out a few choice words while crossing the stream.

After that we crossed a few more streams and then set up camp for the night. That was a tricky endeavor, trying to keep the dry things dry and out of the tent. We finally got the tent set up (on a downward slope and on rocks- good thing we have air mattresses) and got the wet clothes off and into our sleeping bags. I tossed and turned a bit- mostly due to my cold feet, but I did get a few hours of sleep, as did Janda.

The next morning I pulled all of my clothes in the sleeping bag with me to warm them up. It worked a little. While Friday night wasn't too cold (we were hiking in tank tops), Saturday morning was extremely chilly, probably below freezing where we were and definitely below on the top, where it was snowing a little! Luckily we were prepared and had lots of clothes- too bad our shoes were wet! We had a nice warm breakfast and then broke down the camp before hitting the trail for the Flume Slide.

Our campsite

Janda making breakfast

Heading to the trail

The Flume Slide was quite a difficult trail and more so when wet- which the guidebook said is almost always! We had on big packs, 25 lbs for me and 35 for Janda. The trail basically felt like 2000 continuous step-ups for me! It was very steep and there were definitely some challenging parts where we needed to be extra careful. Falling off the mountain kind of puts a damper on the hike.

Stream crossing

Lots of scrambling

Steep wet rocks

View part way up

Part way up

We got to the top and had a great view from Mount Flume. The foliage was in full effect and it was a relatively clear day, so you could see quite far. We then walked across the ridge to Mount Liberty. As this is Columbus Day weekend, there were a lot of people at the mountain, most of them starting Saturday morning and going up the easier trail to Mount Liberty. We saw a lot more people on this mountain and then on the way down.

View from Mount Flume

Janda on top of Mount Liberty

View from Mount Liberty

The Liberty Spring trail was no picnic going down, but not as hard as the Madison Gulf (see, I told you that the thing that we judge all hard stuff against now). On the way down we saw what seemed to be a group of Chinese tourists from a tour bus and whoever brought them to the mountain and suggested that they go hiking did not warn them about the muddiness or the coldness b/c they were dressed to go to the mall! I hope that they had the sense to not go too far up the mountain.

Yet another stream crossing

The woods were beautiful, lots of yellows and oranges

After we got down, we thankfully dropped our packs and enjoyed some un-resisted walking! Then we headed to a parking lot to have lunch before we headed home. At about 2:30 on Saturday while we were heading home, the mountains were packed! There was no parking left and there was a very long line on the highway heading into town. So glad that we went Friday night and Saturday!

Cooking in the car

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On the Road

This morning the sunrise was beautiful as we headed up to Pumpkinman. No time to stop, so I snapped these as we whizzed by!

Camping on Thatcher Island

Last weekend Janda and I kayaked out to Thatcher Island and camped there overnight. Though we have lived in Gloucester out whole lives, neither of us had ever been on Thatcher Island; in fact we didn't even know that you could go out there until last year. It was only about a 12 minute paddle and then we landed on the boat ramp, hauled up our kayaks and set up camp right on the edge of the island.

At the top of the boat ramp

Our kayaks (the red ones)

The path to our campsite

The view from our campsite

We hiked around for an hour or so and then made dinner and watched the sun set. After dinner we watched the stars come out and then hit the hay in our tent. We got up before dawn to watch the sunrise over the ocean and then we went back to the tent for a nap!

Path to the North Tower

View of the South Tower from the top of the North

On the path along the water

Janda at the campsite

Sunset over Rockport

As the sun sets

Just after sunset

Sunrise over the ocean

After that we packed up the camp and hiked around a little more before we paddled back to Rockport. It was a fun getaway that was too far away!

Hiking on the rocks

Hiking on the rocks

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sunset Picnic

As we often do in August, especially when school is right around the corner, we headed up to Flatrocks to have a picnic and watch the sunset. I wish that we could stretch summer out a little longer!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gloucester Fisherman Triathlon

Despite a rainy start to the day (just long enough to get everyone and everything wet!) the Gloucester Fisherman Triathlon was a huge success this past weekend. Everyone had a great time and a lot of money was raised for the GHS athletics via the GFAA.

Waiting for the swim start

Swimmers heading to Pavilion Beach

Ethan Brown on the bike

Karen Smyers on the bike

Former World Champion Karen Smyers after her win

Crowds at the finish line

Spectators watching the runners head out for loop 2

Janda giving a speech

The women's podium

The men's podium