Thursday, March 30, 2017

Happy Birthday Sage!

Sage turned 12 years old on Friday, March 24th!  Her birthday was a fun celebration with presents and sweets.  We are all so proud of her and the great person she is.  Every day she gets taller and taller; she is even taller than me now!  Mom made chocolate chip pumpkin pancakes for breakfast to start the lovely day.  Happy birthday Sage!  I hope you had a wonderful time.

Due to bad weather and a final I had to take, we could not get a hike in this week.  We will be hiking next week, though, and I will be posting a trip report on Wednesday as usual.

Don't forget to donate to Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to support science, fight against climate change, and help the improvement of our future on this planet.  As you may already know, Trump's administration has been trying to convince people that climate change is not a real problem. Just remember: Trump's administration is twisting things and trying to make it look like climate change deniers are the majority, when really 97% of scientists around the globe agree that climate change is real, that human behavior contributes to it, and that we need to work to lessen the effects of climate change.

Read more about these climate change denier statistics on the blog of UCS.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Scientific Integrity, UCS

Happy spring!  Unfortunately, we were not able to hike this week due to a ton of schoolwork and a couple of tests (chemistry and geometry).  However, there will be a trip report coming next week on Wednesday, since we plan on hiking again Monday.

For now, here is some more information about Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).  UCS is standing up for science; their organization is amazing.  Here is a list of running attacks on science by the Trump administration which UCS provides on their blog so people understand what is going on and can share these stories.  Also, Trump wants to erase decades of work done by scientists - this would be devastating for scientific research and the progress we have made.  Please read Preserving Scientific Integrity by UCS to learn about scientific integrity and what different presidents have done for (or against) science, and what Trump should do for the betterment of scientific research.  Please make time to donate to UCS to support science and all the wonderful things this organization does for our future.  Thank you so much, and I will see you next week!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Waumbek on a Cold Day, 3/13/2017

Before proceeding to my blog post of Mt. Waumbek, I would like to mention that UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists) has a great rebuttal to Scott Pruitt's claim that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a primary contributor to global warming (and some other false claims he makes as well).  Scientists all over the world know carbon dioxide is a leading gas that contributes to climate change; this fact has been known for years and is absolutely not new.  Please donate to UCS!  Click here to donate if you support science and want climate change effects to be lessened.  Thank you!

**ALSO -- We are happy to be featured in a podcast of the Journey Seeker by Christopher Haseltine.  We did the interview in early fall of last year, and the podcast  was just released.  We enjoyed talking about our adventures; thank you for the wonderful experience, Mr. Haseltine!***

Mt. Waumbek
Starr King Trail
 7.2 miles round-trip
2,650 feet of elevation gain

There was a strange snow barrier in the front of the parking lot.  Thankfully, we were able to drive to the side of it, and we were hoping that nobody would fill in that side before we got down from the mountain.  If they did, then we would have to dig ourselves out with our little sleds.  This would have been doable, but it would have taken some time.  The little wall could have been made by some kids from a nearby house, because it was not neat or even, and the sides were left clear for cars to pass through.

The day was very cold and dim when we started out; it was early in the morning, and the temperatures were frigid.  Sage and I had our fleece and jacket on as well as hat and gloves.

Mom hurt her shoulder a couple weeks ago, and she went to the hospital recently.  She was prescribed a certain type of steroid to take for a few days.  We were hiking fairly fast partly because all of us were freezing, but also because Mom happened to be in front and was taking the prescribed steroid which was making her muscles feel less tired than normal. 

The reason we hiked something short today was so that Mom could give her shoulder a bit of a break.

The trail was open and the light was rising through the trees.

Mom fell at one point and was fine, but later we noticed some branches had cut her face a little...she started bleeding.  She said she didn't feel anything, though.  As we like to say, it is not a real hike without mud or blood; so now it's a real hike!

There is one part on Mt. Waumbek where cold air collects.  Before we headed into this cold spot, we prepared ourselves by putting on our gloves and getting ready to hike quicker.

When we arrived at Starr King, I realized how lovely (but cold) the day was.  The sky was a deep blue with its usual gradient of light blue to dark, and we could see faraway mountains in the distance.

We could also see a lovely view of the Presidentials:

One part of my hair was completely white from being coated with a very thin layer of snow and frost.  The hair strands next to the white ones were just a little lighter than usual.

Sage on the chimney! 

Starr King's summit was warmer than a lot of other places on Starr King Trail.  It felt relaxing to be able to sit down for a moment and get a drink before moving on without getting too cold.

Beautiful sky...

After hiking down and then up again, we arrived at the summit of Mt. Waumbek.  It was colder here than over on Starr King, but we could still rest for a few minutes.  There was a lovely view from the lookout point, which was kind of odd; we usually save Waumbek for bad weather days since it is in the trees, so we almost never see a beautiful view from the lookout point.

Gorgeous view!

While going down, I started to think about a math test I was going to take when we got back home.  

That was a fun hike!  It was refreshing to have pretty views as an added bonus.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Hale via the Firewarden's Trail with Green Icy Water, 3/6/2017

On the website for Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), they give a lot of great information about two essential marches that will be happening: the Climate March and March for Science.  Please take some time out of your day to read about these marches and consider making plans to participate.  Also, please donate to UCS to help them be able to continue essential science research for a better future.  The Climate March (April 29th) is for people who are concerned about the environment and climate change, and the March for Science (April 22nd) is a celebration of science and its importance in our lives.  These marches are vital to show the world that we value nature and our environment, and that we will do our best to counteract the effects of climate change.  Thank you for your time.  Start marching! 

Mt. Hale
Firewarden's Trail
about 9 miles round-trip
about 2,400 feet of elevation gain

I came down with a bad cold a couple days before our hike, so by the time Monday the 6th rolled around, I was still recovering.  We were going to do the 23-mile Bonds Traverse, but instead we ended up doing 9-mile Mt. Hale so I would not get too worn out; doing the Bonds while having a cold would worsen my health.  Sage could have finished her Winter 48 this year, and I offered to stay home while she and Mom did the Bonds, but Sage was very generous and said she didn't mind waiting.

It was pretty cold today, and at first my face felt crisp.  I didn't put on a balaclava though, because I knew I would warm up after hiking for fifteen minutes or so.

We hiked on the herd path to the trail head.  The sun was rising through the trees...

The river was gorgeous and had intricate ice patterns.

Crossing the snow-covered bridge...

After brisk walking through the cold, we arrived at the trailhead for the Twins.  We continued up this trail for about a mile and then looked for the cut-off for the Firewarden's trail, an unofficial path that hikers often use to conveniently get to Mt. Hale.

The last time I saw ice formations like these, they looked more blue.  These were clearer.

There is the gorgeous river again...

After coming to a thin tree with a notch on it (marking the start of Firewarden's Trail), we veered to the left and hiked up this steeper path.

The trail was beautiful!

We were surrounded by birch trees that stood tall above the snow.

The trees touched the sky with their branches...

The path was well packed out. 

The sun burst through the branches and made a strong contrast between light and darkness on the snowy ground.

Mt. Washington looked at us through the trees.

Right at the top, the trees were close together.  I felt as if we were squeezed out onto the summit after being thoroughly brushed with tree limbs.

We were finally out in the open, and we could see the cairn below many zigzagging clouds in the sky.  The clouds had sunlight reflecting off their edges.

Sage walked to the summit with her hair catching the winter breeze.

Untouched snow without dents or obscurities:

That changed once my boots plunged into it.

The cairn...

Us three on Hale!

After hiking down, I noticed a sign someone had made marking the Firewarden's Trail entrance.

The following pictures show the wonderful verdant complexion of the icy water.

The herd path shortcut back to the car...

Here you can see even more spectacular views of the river...

The river reminded me of a frozen mint milkshake starting to thaw.

Back at the car!

I was still sniffing and sometimes my throat hurt, but I think this hike improved my health.