March 25, 2007 - Last runs of the season, Blandford
The last runs of the season were made at Blandford Ski Area this Saturday. There were a few kids out there taking lessons, but the mountain was generally deserted. Temps in the high 40s-low 50s, sunny, and generally excellent spring-skiing snow. Definitely shows you who is used to it and who is not, just take a look at the sprawled bodies.
This season certainly was a short one, thanks to mother nature. Now "mud season" will be upon us, which means...hiking time! The site will be updated and switched over to a spring theme soon!
March 17, 2007 - ANNOUCEMENT, SKI MOVIE
Two entries for the day. I have decided to make "accouncements" headlines a different color to grab attention.
Several people have asked about the "ski movie" after one did not get produced last year. The official word is..there will not be a ski movie for the 05-06 season. There were several factors for this, but the most influencing one is lack of usable footage.
Last year the temperatures were at or below zero for the majority of our vacation, with windchills as low as 40 below. This was not a suitable environment for my camera. The footage that I did end up getting, after trimming and editing, was not enough to produce the movie.
I instead have started making a compilation movie of all of our years, but this is by no means a priority project.
In addition, we did not shoot any footage this year while on vacation. There were too many people coming and going at odd times; I would have had to break the camera out every day to get everybody involved in the film. Honestly, I'm also concentrating on changing my skiing technique. This fact, coupled with the excellent weather we had, basically ruled out with me fiddling around with the camera. (When one skis with a $700 camera around one's neck, that person is not able to "fool around" without signifigant risk to breaking the equipment)
March 17, 2007 - Skiing & Hiking after the freshies fell
Well, I am currently settling in to a night of Harry Potter and the Sorcer's Stone on ABCFamily channel, drafting up a summary of today's events. My faithful furry feline would also like you all to know that he is here, judging by his most vivacious triumphant meow when he jumped up on the sofa.
Last night we got about 10" of snow here. Blandford got about 10-12, I would estimate. This was nature's last burst of wintriness before mud season. We got up early to ski for a few hours in the freshies. Several first tracks were made, but it turns out that the freshies actually had a mild crusty on the outside. Like an M&M...cruchy outside and yummy underneath. Personally I loved the snow, although others weren't so fond of it.
The terrain resembled a minefield of fallen skiiers (suprisingly not snowboarders) as the day wore on. It was mildly amusing to watch people learn how one's technique must be adapted in the "powder" or you will not survive. And in the crusties...ya gotta use those edges. If you try and shoulder turn you will fall. How did I fare? Pretty well. Only had one real close one, but thankfully my ankle only mildly complained when I attempted to turn it in a direction of which it is not supposed to. Why? I turned to look behind me, the shoulder came around, one ski accidentally did...and the other one most decidedly did not.
It was also nice to see the board members and other personnell from the mountain out on the slopes for some free time. Lessons? Hah! There were no lessons today. Only the die-hards got up in the morning to dig out their cars and trudge up the side of a mountain. Oh, and here's a tip...MINIVANS are not suituable for driving in a half-plowed parking lots of ski areas. Any avid skiier knows that, so please do not make me wait while you perform several humorus attempts to go around a corner in 10" of snow. (All I can say is the AWD Subarus rock! I didn't even have to dig out of the hood-level hard wall of snow the plow in the parking lot left behind. Put in gear and go...simple.)
Upon returning to the nice warm house, I decided to take what is most likely the season's last jaunt out on snowshoes. Went up to the Holyoke state park, route 141 side. Followed the Fire Road trail which was untouched, less several animal tracks. (rabbit, racoon, and something large that I had no idea what it was...moose? Nah. But big!)
I can't give an honest "Review" of the Fire Road trail for snowshoe hiking because I am just starting the whole snowshoeing thing. I don't even have a hiking pole or gaters. What I can say is that it took me an hour and a half because I stopped to smell the roses quite often. There is one steep descent and one moderate ascent, and one steep ascent at the end. I'm not quite sure what the proper technique is for snowshoeing like this, so I made several switchbacks. This made it doable.
March 9, 2007 - What is Geocaching?
On the link section, right hand side under "GPSing", you will see a link to www.geocaching.com Frequently, when I mention geocaching to people, they ask what it is all about. Well, here is a short explanation for you.
Basically, Geocaching is all about being outside, learning new places, and going on a treasure hunt. The service on the website itself is free, although there are benfits of choosing a higher paid-based membership. All you need to participate is a handheld GPS, a desire for adventure, and a computer connected to the internet.
The process works like this: You go to the Geocaching website and log into your account. You search for coordinates where "caches" are located, the hints to find them, and program that into your GPS. Then you are on your way. Typically, geocaches are 'hidden' and you must follow the clues that you gathered on the website to actually find the cache. ("Coordinates" usually get you in the general vicinity) Once the cache is found, you usually open the weather-proof container to sign a logbook. Some caches even allow you to take a trinket and leave a trinket. Literally, a little treasure box!
What makes it clever is that there are more than one type of geocache. Some geocache coordinates are part of "multicaches". You arrive to the coordinates listed on the website, where you are instructed to follow some sort of rule/forumla to obtain another set of coordinates. You go to the other set of coordinates, etc...until you reach the end of the journey and find the true cache. Other types of caches would include a "virtual cache", where you arrive at a location and there is no actual 'box of treasure', but instead the site itself is the cache. Typical examples would be memorials, "this spot in history" type things, etc.
Regardless of the type of cache you find, when you get home you go online and log your visit. The great thing is that the type of cache is categorized online, so before you even leave you know whether or not the cache is for you. There are also terrain and difficulty ratings. Several caches are suitbale for kids and walking the dog...others are not.
Overall, the online experience is a great opportunity to share stories with other people who enjoy the outdoors. And you will be AMAZED at how many of these things are sitting in or around very populated places...yet the "muggles" (non geo-cacher civilians) don't have a clue it is there.
I use geocaches to find new hiking places, learn about the history of the areas, and occasionally run into other cachers and share stories. There's nothing like going on a long hike knowing that there literally is a treasure at the other end.
March 2, 2007 - Workin on the site
Well, working on the website some more now that I am back from North Conway, NH. We had a great week of skiing, but of course the snow held off until we left. Grrr.
While we were up in North Conway, we were able to hit Loon, Cranmore, Bretton Woods, and Black Mountain. The snow remained good through most of the week, the only place that I didn't like was Loon. There was too much traffic on the trails, and it seemed like everything was hardpack. Flume was good though, with it's nice pitch I was able to get the skis workin like they should.
The best place was probably Cranmore. We had some springlike conditions on Wednesday. Personally I rather like the heavy, slushy springsnow. As long as you are prepared to do some work in it you can have a buttload of fun.
I also had the opportunity to test out my snowshoes, which worked great. They actually have snow up there. Here? Nope, pouring rain today (after the icestorm this morning). The beginning of the end of skiing for this year is upon us. Very soon I will start performing inventories of my hiking gear to make sure I have what I need. Then I'll be breaking out the hike books and planning my trips.
February 11, 2007 - Introduction
Ya so this little site is up and running now...somewhat. I'm not really sure what I'm going to be putting up here quite yet