Monday, November 14, 2016

On Moosilauke, Thinking of the Future--11/13/2016

Even though this is a hiking site, this post is going to take a different tone today because it is necessary to focus on what is important: equality for all.  Sage and I are Sisters Hiking for Equality for a reason; we believe in the equality and unity of people from all backgrounds.  People from all ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations should be treated the same and should be judged only by their personalities.  This election has been hard on all of us, and it still is considering who won the presidency.  We need to come together and stand up for what is right.  Everyone has to be a shining bulb of justice in the midst of the cruelty and discrimination which has skyrocketed ever since Donald won the electoral vote.  Just remember that Hillary won the popular vote, and she will remain in our hearts and our spirits as we fight the force of hate.

I want to thank all of the people who donated to Global Fund for Women (GFW).  It is a fantastic organization and it promotes equality for women around the world.  That being said, we feel we have to take care of our own country now, because progress has been pushed backward.  Our future and the future of our country is at stake, and therefore we will be focusing our contributions on American organizations that support equal rights for everyone.  We will have more detailed information about our plans next month.

In the meantime, here is a video we put together to express our thoughts and ideas for moving forward.   

Friday, November 11, 2016

Hancocks. November 6, 2016. Also, Announcement Coming Soon

This is Trish, Alex's mom.  Sorry for intruding on her account like this (I have her permission to do so), but I am going to post a link to my recent trip report of the Hancocks instead of having Alex post her own version.  She and her sister are still processing the results of Election Day and are coming up with a plan to do what they can to help protect the important organizations a Trump regime will undoubtedly try to destroy.  Alex will be back to posting next week.

The girls and I are, obviously, supporters of human rights for women.  We are also supporters of the LGBT community, and we want equal opportunity for people of color.  We are also not Christians, and we do not want what amounts to Christian Sharia taking over the land of the supposedly free.  It should therefore be obvious that all three of us are disgusted with many of our fellow citizens for failing to prevent what amounts to an international disaster, and we grieve for the future of our country and, indeed, the world (our inactions regarding climate change will doom everyone on the planet).

What can two girls do about this?  Whatever they can.  What can any of YOU do about this?  Whatever you can.  Start with donating to your local Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and your local LGBT support group.  Also, get used to the idea of standing in front of bulldozers.

Alex will be back on Monday with an announcement that will include her sister Sage.  In the meantime, chin up, good people.  Chin up, strong girls of our nation.  This is a temporary setback.  We The People chose Hillary Clinton over Trump, and We The People will not allow racism, sexism, and hate to take over our land.

Here's my trip report.   Come back on Monday.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Jackson with Gray Jays--11/1/2016

Jackson Branch of the Webster-Jackson Trail
5.2 miles round-trip
2,150 feet of elevation gain

It was a fairly chilly day when we started hiking up Mt. Jackson.  I started in my fleece with my raincoat wrapped around my waist.

There was some snow lightly covering some of the trees and the leaves on the ground.  Winter feels closer than I expected!


We went around and stepped over the branches.

More snow and frost were appearing around the trail.

Still mostly rock, though!

The rocks became slippery and some of them, icy.  There was black ice we had to be careful of; it was disguised as water.

We carried traction with us but never put it on; the ice was never thick or constant enough to use microspikes.  We could have tried to use them, but the ice was so thin that we might have smashed our 'spikes on rock for most of our hike.  It's the in-between season here in the Whites. 

We arrived at the intersection about half way up to the summit.

It became a little bit steeper after that.

We could see Jackson's summit!

Once I got above tree line, there were gorgeous, snowy views all around us.  The faraway forest had received a nice dusting.

Up, up, up the ice!

It felt warmer up here than in the trees because of the immense and direct sunlight.

It was like two worlds...on the left there were snow-covered trees, and on the right (in the below image) there was a lot of green.

This was what it looked like to the left.

Rime ice!

The first gray jay (scavenger birds that hang around the summits of certain peaks) was spotted.

There are two (as usual)!

They flew above us and followed us to the actual summit.

There's one on the intersection sign!

So cute!

This one let me get pretty close for some lovely shots.

Even closer!!!!

Its feathers are gorgeous!

99% of White Mountain hikers feed gray jays, and we are no exception.  Please note this is the ONLY wildlife we feed.  Never feed a bear, moose, or any other wild animal...except perhaps a gray jay if you find yourself on a White Mountain summit.  The reason we make an exception for gray jays is this -- they are scavenger birds and will regularly raid campgrounds for food...but unlike squirrels, raccoons, bears, etc. who do the same thing, gray jays don't really become a nuisance or a problem for humans if fed.  Alan Belford of NY's Saranac Lake puts it like this, and my family agrees with him --

"’s a stretch to call a 70g bird a threat and the worst they might do is become a nuisance in a campground where they can steal food. It is true that in some locations out west there are concerns about feeding jays (mostly Stellar’s Jays) potentially increasing their populations - the rising numbers of which may increase their predation pressure on the young of regionally uncommon bird species. But I have not heard of such concerns with Gray Jays in our region.

And so when I first went out to visit the Gray Jays myself when I moved here I didn’t feed them – wanting to be sure it wasn’t going to lead to an unforeseen problem for the jays or any other species. But I was soon converted to the activity – so many folks were already feeding the birds anyway that my abstinence accomplished nothing except to deprive myself the fun of doing so."

They are so graceful, agile, and adorable.  One was kind of a bully and shoved the other one off our hands a couple of times!


There's Sage!



Mt. Washington bird!  I love how these photos came out.


The gray jay's feathers fluttered about in the calm air as it flew down toward Mom's hand.

There it goes...


My summit snack from Halloween...

Mt. Washington with snow on top is beautiful.  Especially with a gray jay and a rime ice-covered cairn.

Flying, flying...

On the way down we saw some mouse (we think) tracks.  So tiny, so priceless.

Sorry about the countless gray jay pictures--I couldn't help myself!  That was a nice hike, and a good preparation and reminder for all the snow that will soon fall.  I hope everybody had a great Halloween!