Summits: Mount Moosilauke (4,802′), Mount Moosilauke South Summit (4,523′)
Trail route: Gorge Brook to Carriage Road (AT) to Snapper
Trail conditions: Dry and well maintained
NH 4,000 Footers: 1 of 48
NH 52 with a View: 1 of 52
AMC New England 100 Highest: 1 of 100
Every journey has to begin somewhere, and my quest to climb all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000 foot peaks began on Mount Moosilauke. It was a beautiful day shared with my oldest son before he left for his freshman year of college. The views were spectacular from both the Moosilauke’s main peak as well as its South Summit. One down, 47 to go!
No, I am not referring to the song by Staind, despite being quite fond of Aaron Lewis’ tune. Instead I am referring to the fact that, as hard as it is to acknowledge, seven months have elapsed since my last post. It has indeed been a while!
Why has this happened? Great question. I’d love to place blame on a huge problem with several layers of complexity. The truth is that I’ve simply been busy and preoccupied with other things. Family and work obligations take precedent over my pursuit of outdoor adventure and writing about it in the pages of this blog. The second half of 2015 was nuts, primarily due to work, and thus I went dormant!
It’s sad to say that I never once got out during whitetail deer season in Massachusetts. I was, however, able to make my annual pilgrimage in November to partake in our family deer camp in Michigan. This I will not miss! This year we secured a new 80 acre piece of land to hunt and it showed quite a bit of promise. We had a good amount of deer activity, however through trail cam footage we learned that the deer were staying mostly nocturnal due to the unseasonably warm temperatures. Despite the fact that no one took a deer, our annual camp served its intended purpose… rest, relaxation and great camaraderie with friends and family.
So it’s on to 2016. Do I have plans to get outdoors more this year? You betcha. Will it happen? I hope so, but time will tell. I can promise you that no matter how much I get outside it will never be enough. With time, it will happen. In the meantime I stay focused on finding opportunities where I can while remaining connected to the outdoors via blogs, magazines, youtube, books, etc.
I hit one of my favorite outdoor retail stores earlier this week – Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, ME. This fine Southern Maine retailer has been serving the needs of New England’s outdoor sports enthusiasts for over 75 years and they’re still going strong today.
Kittery Trading Post, otherwise known as KTP, has something for everyone. When I say they’ve got it all, they’ve got it all. Hunting gear, guns, ammo, reloading supplies, archery gear and accessories, camping gear, casual clothing, shoes & boots, skis and winter weather apparel, fishing gear, and the list goes on. KTP has a department to serve anything you’re looking to do outdoors and these guys definitely have it all.
I can spend hours poking around KTP, and on this particular day I did just that. I enjoyed checking out the latest bows from the many manufacturers that KTP carries. Always appreciated by this lefty archer is that there are several different left-handed bows always in stock at KTP. I perused the gun inventory, both new and used, and fantasized about the autoloading shotgun that I will someday acquire. I spent a good amount of time in the fishing section checking out all the newest fly fishing gear and I also looked at their vast array of knives, turkey calls, tree stands and ammunition.
Any visit to KTP is a success as it stimulates the senses with many thoughts of outdoor adventure. On this particular day I’m proud to say that I kept my expense in check and I only purchased four items: A Quaker Boy box turkey call, a pack of Thingamamobber strike indicators, a Simms wader bag and a Silva Huntsman compass.
If you are ever driving through Southern Maine, a visit to KTP is a definite must-stop destination. Enjoy!
This past Friday I was presented with an opportunity to grab a day off from work. What should I do with this gift of time? I decided to do what a lot of people do to recharge their batteries … I’ll make a visit to the spa. The difference, however, is that I set out to visit a spa of a different nature than most. In fact, my spa is nature.
Eager to take advantage of the historic snowfall that we’ve experienced and to try out a new pair of snowshoes I recently purchased, I set out on my mission. The plan was to enjoy some fresh air while hiking and scouting for deer activity. I’ve been concerned about the deer throughout the entirety of this brutal winter and I was eager to see some sign that they are alive and well.
I planned two hikes for the day; the first one got underway at 9:45 am. The weather was crystal clear skies, 15* temperature with a reported windchill of 7*. Perfect weather to throw on a pair of snowshoes and get after it; there certainly was no worry about getting overheated!
I hiked a loop through mostly hardwood forest and encountered some deer sign, but not a lot. Total distance of this hike was 2.1 miles and it took me 1 hour and 11 minutes. For the majority of this hike I was off trail and I found blazing my own trail quite easy with the new snowshoes. It was a beautiful hike.
The second hike began at 11:30 am with a temp of 19* and no wind whatsoever. This hike was far more productive in terms of deer sign. This was a 1.6 mile hike in a new location; total time spent hiking was 1 hour and 4 minutes. This hike was at a much slower pace because I encountered a lot more deer activity. At one point I decided to follow the deer sign and it took me on an adventure through some incredibly thick underbrush. I’m glad I stuck it out and inched my way through it; as a reward for my efforts I discovered a deer bedding area that I was previously unaware of.
I had a great day. I encountered promising deer sign, I found a new deer bedding area and I saw plenty of other wildlife activity including that from coyote and raccoon. It was a perfect say at the spa, one that left a big wide grin on my face!