Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Websites: NOAA and Mt. Washington's Higher Summits Forecast

Instead of a Shout-Out this week, I'm sharing the two weather websites most northeast hikers depend upon.

Mt. Washington Observatory's Higher Summits Forecast


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Forecast

This week, I'm especially interested in both these sites this because Alex and I have three major, exposed peaks left on the winter 4K list: Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Mt. Monroe.  The three are right next to each other, and I'd very much like to get them out of the way at the earliest (safe) opportunity.  This means we're going to jump on the first day with "warm" summit temperatures (at least 15 degrees F), low wind speeds (less than 25mph), and good visibility (little to no fog or blowing snow).  With sunshine, good trail conditions, little wind and decent enough temperatures, I think we can get them all done in one hike.

The latter site, which I've linked directly to Mt. Washington's specific summit forecast, is useful for getting an idea of what the summit conditions might be like in a few days.  It's also fairly accurate in its predictions regarding today and tomorrow's weather.

The Mt. Washington Observatory's site is extraordinarily accurate, but it only forecasts today and tomorrow's conditions.  The good folks at the Observatory do not predict the weather more than a day ahead of time, since Mt. Washington's weather changes so quickly and radically.

Both sites are useful in planning hikes for Washington and its nearby, exposed, 5000 ft+ peaks.

So...not a real Shout-Out this week, but forgive me, I'm preoccupied.  I'll be very happy once these three peaks are in the bag.  Then we'll have only Flume left, which is a much easier mountain to hike.

If the weather does not offer the conditions we need before March 20, then those Presidentials will have to wait until the 2012-2013 winter season.  I won't take Alex up there unless I feel it's safe to do so.

Still, there's time...we have hope...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Tuesday Trip Report: North Twin, South Twin, and Galehead (winter 4Ks #42-44). Feb 22, 2012

Snowmobile trail, (closed) access road, North Twin Trail, North Twin Spur, Twinway, Frost Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Gale River Trail, cross-country ski trails.

Around 15 miles total.

We managed to snag this difficult trio of peaks while the conditions were just right.  Hiker traffic had packed down the trails; we only needed our snowshoes for the North Twin Spur, which is almost always filled in with drifted powder.  I knew the following days would bring a healthy amount of precipitation and I was anxious to cross these mountains off our list.  Many thanks to Hugh for taking care of Sage at the last minute so Alex and I could get these peaks while the going was relatively easy.

Alex and I used a snowmobile trail to get to the summer trailhead.  I now know there's a shorter route...oh well, we needed the warm-up...

At the summer trailhead for North Twin Trail...

There were a lot of ice formations to admire on this route...

Tim C. caught up with us at the upper portion of North Twin Trail.

We arrived at the summit of North Twin and checked out the view...

...which was the inside of a cloud.

The skies cleared up a bit as we hiked toward South Twin.

The summit of South Twin, just ahead...

The trail behind us...

Alex and Tim. C. on the summit of South Twin.

Alex hunkered down beside the summit rock to avoid the cold winds while I took some photos...

Tim C.

Moving on toward Galehead...

After a glorious 0.8 miles of butt-sliding, we arrived at the (closed) hut.  Forgive the quality of the next couple of pictures...I didn't notice the snow on the lens.

Galehead from the hut...

After taking a long break in the gloriously warm sunshine, we headed toward Galehead's summit.

Views from the outlook near the summit.

A close-up of the hut from the viewpoint.

The (viewless) summit of Galehead!

Tim C. took the following two pictures of a White-winged Crossbill.

After another long break, we headed down the mountain.  Alex, of course, used her sled as much as she could.

'Twas another great walk in the woods.

Thanks, Tim C., for your enjoyable company.

Three hikes, four mountains to go before March 20.  Let's hope the weather cooperates.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Monday Muse -- Book Trailer!!

For tonight's Muse, I was going to address The Washington Post's article regarding recent comments by Rick Santorum...but that's going to have to wait until next week.
Instead, I now give you...

Our Book Trailer!!

Many thanks once again to Jim Surette of Granite Films for all his hard work.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Friday Wrap: Book Trailer, Publicity, and Events

Lots of book news this week!  There will be even more next week -- these are exciting times.

Our book trailer looks great!  Jim Surette of Granite Films did a fabulous job.  As soon as the folks at Crown post the trailer on their site, I'll embed the link on my blog and my Facebook Page.  I'm so excited to share this video!

On April 3, the day UP goes on sale, Books for Better Living will feature one of my essays on their website.  The essay is related to, but not part of, UP; it's a new, previously unpublished piece, and it focuses on my youngest daughter, Sage.

I've interviews with quite a few newspapers planned.  I won't go into details about those until I know the print dates.

In addition to Kids Corner at Kindle Nation Daily, I've been invited to guest blog on a couple of prominent sites; details to follow.

Book signing events:
April 3 at the Harvard Coop in Cambridge, MA (Harvard Square).  7pm.
April 29 at the Father Roger Bilodeau Community Center, 194 Pollard Road, Lincoln, NH.  7pm


On the hiking front, Alex and I ascended North Twin, South Twin, and Galehead on Wednesday.  Our winter 4K total now stands at 44.  Four more mountains, three more hikes to go before March 20!

Have a great weekend, everyone.  Be sure to check back next week -- our book trailer will be available very soon!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Things -- Creative Differences and Fantasia

Before I write of our most recent Thursday Things, I have to say that our book trailer is finished and it looks wonderful!!  Keep checking this site and my Facebook Page during the next several days; the trailer will be available to the public very soon.  Many thanks once again to Jim Surette of Granite Films for making an absolutely stunning video.

Now, for Things...

This week's goal was to create a new face for our broken cabinet door (#95 on our list).  Unfortunately, the girls and I experienced creative differences on exactly how to go about accomplishing this task.  First, we wove together a series of mini-tapestries; we were going to fasten the ends to each of the drawer's sides and thus create a unique and pretty face.  One of us decided she didn't like the result, however, so we were forced to abandon this idea.  Next, we took a thick roll of strong cloth and cut the fabric to fit the cabinet's opening.  We were going to draw or paint a design on the surface, but one of us decided she didn't like this solution either.  We're now contemplating going the traditional route.  We have the wood, we've sanded its surfaces, and we're ready to nail it into place.  Unfortunately, I'm not convinced someone's not going to change her mind about this as well...we'll hopefully have this all figured out by next week.

Saw another movie on the "Best" list.  Disney's Fantasia, ranked at #18, is an enjoyable film even by today's standards.  One piece of advice, though -- watch it in sections.  If we had tried to watch the whole movie at once, I don't think the girls would have appreciated each individual piece.

Come back tomorrow for the Friday Wrap.  I might announce the premiere of the trailer...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday Shout-Out: Verena Mei

How many female race car drivers do you know?  Not many, eh?  I'm proud to say that I now know one -- Verena Mei is a woman in my karate class, and she recently told me she races cars for a living.  How cool is that?!

Photo take from Wei's Facebook Page.  Link below.

Check out Wei's Facebook Page.  Awesome stuff!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Trip Report: Adams and Madison (winter 4Ks #40 and #41). Feb. 16, 2012

Valley Way, Gulfside, Airline, Osgood Trails.
About 10.5 miles total.

We lucked out and had a perfect weather day for these two extremely exposed northern Presidential peaks.  I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.  Congratulations to Tim C. on finishing his 2011-2012 NH48 winter single-season!

Alex on the summit of Adams, with Mt. Washington in the background.

Alex on the summit of Adams, with Mt. Jefferson in the background.

Me and Alex.

Alex and our friend, Tim C.

Heading down Adams, toward Mt. Madison.

Zoom-in shot of the Madison moose.  She's on the left flank of Madison (above), in a patch of trees near the (closed) hut.

Hiking up Madison.  Mt. Adams is on the right, Mt. Washington's in the center.

Adams (right) and Washington (left) from near the summit of Madison.

Alex and Tim C. on the summit of Madison.

Alex and me...

Alex took the following pictures.  I love her close-up shots -- especially the ones of the summit buildings on Mt. Washington and the ski area of Wildcat D.

Alex and Tim eating Whoopie Pies (I have the camera again).

Three hikers on a mountain.

On the way down Madison.

At the end of the hike.

What an incredible day!

Four hikes, seven mountains to go before March 20.