Across Three States to Portland, Maine

Sunday, January 22: After a delicious breakfast of sourdough waffles (Brother-in-law makes sourdough pancakes or waffles nearly every Sunday) I left Jericho, on the western side of Vermont, and headed over to Portland, on the eastern coast of Maine.

The roads were clear (glad I didn’t wait for today, and the dump of snow that has even the Maine State offices closed!), but the overcast skies did not make for great photo opportunities. Across Vermont the secondary highways often parallel streams and small rivers; the icy waters dodged around river rocks with mounds of snow on them, both there and in New Hampshire. With poor conditions for photography, and no easy place to pull off, I didn’t take photos. On into New Hampshire, much of the middle of which is

The White Mountains are living up to their name – there were a few snow showers, and the wind had blown a lot of the previous snow out of the trees, but there was plenty of white around! I drove past Loon Mountain Ski Area at about noon; day passes were sold out, and the parking lots were full – at least they had a sign out by the road, so you didn’t drive in and be disappointed! The road crews in the national forest have done a wonderful job clearing not only roads, but also many parking lots and viewpoints. And they were well used! There were many hikers and people snowshoeing, and lots of people like me, just stopping for photos of the views. Not that one could see the higher peaks – the low clouds meant that places like Mount Washington and the rest of the Presidentials were hidden.

Hancock overlook, looking toward Mt. Osceola behind those clouds

View looking north from Sugar Hill Scenic Vista

And on a car window in one parking lot:

What I Did in 2022

I traveled, although not as much as previous years – no trip to Florida, New Mexico, Texas, Canada – but much through New England (the above photo Portland, Maine), and down the eastern seaboard to Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina. I usually travel with at least one kayak; I paddled in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont (of course; I live here!), Connecticut, New York State, Maryland, and South Carolina, usually twice a week or so through the season. The most open water was on a bay on the coast of Maine; most of the rest was rivers and lakes and ponds, and the northern reaches of the Chesapeake Bay. There were a few outings to pull invasive water chestnut in New Hampshire and Connecticut, and I helped out with the Great Northern Canoe Trail Peddle/Paddle event on the Missisquoi River.

And of course, there is knitting, always – scarf and shawl:

Sweaters for cousins, and one dog:

Fingerless mitts and mittens:

Hats – one for me, the rest gifts or donations; three adult, two for children:

A couple of pairs of socks, these for me:

Two sets of Christmas stockings:

And a couple of toys:

I have requests to start off my knitting for this new year – there are a couple of outstanding Christmas gifts to granddaughters (a pair of socks, and a large bee to go with the little one), another monster for an infant to be born in March (and baby booties and socks, but they are so small they hardly count!), another cousin sweater – and then maybe I’ll get to one of the three sweaters for me for which I have yarn set aside. 

It’s less than an hour until the new year turns over here. Wishing you all safe, healthy, rewarding and productive lives in 2023!

No Evil

November 22: On my way to family Thanksgiving in northern Vermont, I stopped at the Powerhouse Mall in West Lebanon, New Hampshire. These three monkeys were in one of the hallways, and made me smile.

Giving THANKS that so many of my cousins and siblings, and a few representatives of the next generation are able to gather this weekend, from both coasts, north and south.

Garden Raid

I was invited – encouraged! – to get zucchini from the garden belonging to friends. It is the best zucchini I’ve met – even the largest have soft edible seeds, and the flavor is great, especially when slightly browned. The flowers are large, at least a spread hand’s breadth; the larger one is 15 – 16 inches long. Yum!

Raccoons (or something) got the corn; I figure this cat is a response. Maybe it will scare the critters away. Maybe not…

Zinnia and Gazania

I spent a fair amount of time at a friends’ house, keeping the cat company, raiding the garden – and admiring their flowers, while they were away. I didn’t compose the photo of Zinnias above as well as I’d like – but the Gazanias below came out well – and if they were perennials I’d covet them. And then not have enough sun for them!

Sunflowers

People have grown sunflowers in New England for a long time; this year, with the invasion of Ukraine, there are many more – along with Ukrainian flags, paintings of sunflowers on walls, flags with the country’s name and sunflowers. A trip to Connecticut meant that I’ve been in four states in four days; there were sunflowers, and more sunflowers – in cutting gardens, for sale by the side of the road, in yards, along the roadside. These are only the ones that were easy and safe to stop and get photos.

Cleanup on the Connecticut River

Saturday, August 20: It was a perfect day to be on the water – and to be pulling trash from the Connecticut River. We had three pairs of people in canoes,

plus me in my kayak as an overflow trash container. We went from the Cornish launch just across the Connecticut River from Windsor down to North Star Canoe a few miles south; they are a retired canoe livery company that volunteers their boats every year for our clean up efforts. We filled the bed of a pickup truck with trash – lots of tires and metal, and bags of smaller stuff. Along the way we admired the flora

and fauna:

In addition to the cormorants and mergansers, we saw a couple of different kinds of herons and lots of kingfishers.

With a couple of boats on each side of the river, we continued on; at one point we offloaded some from the most overloaded canoe into my kayak so that there was room again for the second person in the boat!

And then we were back at North Star, unloading and washing out boats, and heading for home – except for the truck, which detoured by the transfer station to unload all the trash!

Kayaking with ORFS on Lake Todd

Tuesday, August 16: Outdoor Recreation for Seniors was at it again, this time on a smallish lake in central New Hampshire. I got a late start; never having been there before, and with confusing directions, I drove on to what turned out to be a beach, and got stuck. With help from a couple of ORFS pushing, and with floor mats under the drive wheels, we did get it out, parked elsewhere, and me out on the water. Sigh.

There were loons, although not close enough to photograph. The weather was great. This lake has several small islands, and is divided by the bridge for the state highway and a separate snow mobile trail.

This southern part of the lake ends at the dam, and what was probably a mill.

At the northern end of the lake, this farm overlooks us:

I don’t believe these signs – New Hampshire doesn’t have sharks in its lakes, or alligators, and the snakes are shy! And of course, if you are going to be able to read these signs, you are already on or in the water.

ORFS Kayaking Goose Pond

Tuesday, July 19: On a beautiful sunny day, Outdoor Recreation for Seniors headed out, most of us first going north to the stream that feeds the three mile long lake. Then out into the main body of the lake, and around an island, through a rock garden, and back to launch. I didn’t do that; I have figured out that it is easier to not have to hassle with parking at the house where we lunch, and I go directly to their small beach. This time I swam and cooled off before heading up the hill to the house with my lunch. One of the highlights of the ORFS calendar for me is that our hosts feed us home made ice cream – half a dozen kinds! I had modest scoops of three of the offerings: Chocolate Butter Crunch (maybe? I don’t remember what candy bar it was based on, but it was really good!), Mint Chocolate Chip (my favorite in general), and Kitchen Sink (vanilla ice cream base packed with lots of yummy chocolate and nut additions). Three modest scoops adds up to a rather immodest serving, and helped provide ballast for the boat on what turned out to be an extremely windy slog back to the launch! Some photos of the day:

A small electric motor on this classic boat

There are as many ways through the rocks as there are paddlers, I think – no one took exactly my route, and nearly all of us kissed a rock or two.

There was at least one loon, which I was never close enough to photograph – except for this one up at the house!

I’m glad I didn’t know that there were snapping turtles this large in the lake, when I was swimming –

And lastly, I might consider this an art shot – had I known I was taking it! I have no idea what it is; I had nothing in the kayak with fibers like that. But it does make a nice mountain!