• Flounder From A Kayak

    A Gudes Life

    Winnipesaukee White Perch

    by Tim Moore
    Contributing Writer

    From what I have been told, a flounder was the first fish I ever caught. They were plentiful and easy to catch. As a young adult though, the flounder had become overfished, and catching one each day was a rarity. However, flounder populations along the New Hampshire coast have rebounded over the last decade thanks to better management. I was elated to once again find them in catchable numbers and when I began kayak fishing, targeting them from my kayak seemed only natural.
    In the spring, flounder can be found in very shallow water. I’ve watched from the seat of my kayak as flounder have eaten my rig in water as shallow as four feet. I prefer to drift for them rather than anchor and chum. I find that kayaks are much better suited to drifting in the close quarters of the harbors that often contain mooring fields much easier and more effective. Any kayak will do, but a sit-on-top fishing kayak, like the Old Town Predator, is going to be much more comfortable and easier to fish from.


    Flounder fishing from a kayak is a pretty simple process. A heavy trout-type or light saltwater spinning setup is all you need. Two-hook flounder rigs can be purchased at most tackle shops and can be tipped with sea worms or clam strips, but earth worms will work in a pinch. Use as little weight as you can while still being able to keep your bait on the bottom. A net helps keep the second of the two hooks out of your hand or clothing and I prefer to use a catch bag rather than a stringer to keep my fish fresh. Today’s Tackle makes a great floating kayak live well that makes a great catch bag. Just don’t do what I did last year and try to lean out over the side of your kayak while trying to lift a full bag of flounder, or you’ll end up in the drink. Continue reading  Post ID 2828


  • The Celtics And Walter Brown

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    The Celtics And Walter Brown
    While watching the Celtics’ wonderful 115-105 Game #7 victory over the Washington Wizards last week at the “new” Boston TD Garden, I was struck, as always, by the occasional camera shots of all the championship banners and retired numbers hanging from the Garden rafters.
    As I pondered the incredible long-term success enjoyed by the NBA’s most storied franchise, I focused on one of the retired numbers in particular—Number 1.
    Many fans are oblivious as to whom that number represents, but Walter Brown is someone that all Celtics fans should revere—for many reasons.
    A Massachusetts native who attended Philips Exeter Academy, Brown succeeded his father George as manager of the old Boston Garden, which was then a hockey mecca. First and foremost a hockey guy, Walter actually coached the USA hockey team to its first Gold Medal in the 1933 Ice Hockey World Championships .
    An ongoing challenge for the Garden back then was what to do with the building when the Bruins weren’t playing. After World War II, entrepreneurs planned for a new professional basketball league—one that would eventually become the NBA. Brown wanted in. So he took out a mortgage on his house to come up with the money to reserve rights to the franchise that became the Celtics, who played their first game in Boston in 1946.
    The team struggled early on, but Brown stayed with it. Attendance improved with the acquisitions of former Holy Cross star Bob Cousy and Coach Red Auerbach in 1950. The Celtics became a playoff team which generated crucial extra revenue. Still, Brown couldn’t always make the payroll. One year he was months late in paying the Celtics their playoff bonuses. The players knew they had money coming their way, but patiently cut the owner some slack because they trusted Brown and knew he had the team’s best interests at heart. Continue reading  Post ID 2828


  • Mole Framinghammer by Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers

    Heading_WickedBrew

    Just two hours south from the Lakes Region, you will find yourself driving through an area known to outsiders as ‘Woostah’ (apparently the pronunciation given by locals) and nearby towns of the Rt 9 corridor. One of these towns is Framingham and within its city limits resides a quietly remarkable brewery called Jack’s Abby. In the brief time they have been brewing, Jack’s has caught the attention of a wide range of imbibers and an appreciation has been established with their loyal fans.
    The Hendler brothers opened Jack’s Abby in 2011 with the express passion of making only lager beer which is a finely tuned craft demanding supreme accuracy. While ales ferment in temps between 63-78°F, lagers use ranges between 45-58°F and take longer to complete. This came from an Austrian brewing practice of using cold caves to store their beer while fermenting. Because they understand the process so intimately, Jack’s Abby lagers have taken tons of medals for their brew efforts in their short career. They have been very successful in their work and now share their offerings within NH. Look at their website, www.jacksabby.com for their complete story and beer listings.


    Poured into a tulip glass, Mole (pronounced MO-lay) is black as midnight with an attractive mocha creamy head. The aromas appreciated in a tulip glass far outweigh a pint glass as the smells of this brew are accentuated in the upper portions of the rim. Chocolate, spice, bourbon and some peppers come through the nose as you approach. The taste follows the nose as you gather up vanilla, cinnamon, bourbon, oak, and the warmth of hot peppers ever so slightly. With a rich Continue reading  Post ID 2828


  • Global Growth Improving, But Still Woes

    John Metzler

    by John J. Metzler
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    UNITED NATIONS -The world economy is slowly improving with a forecast for 2.7 percent global growth, but there’s still a way to go to reach pre-recession levels. That’s part of the prognosis of the UN’s World Economic Situation midterm report for 2017 which cites stronger economic recovery in many developed economies such as the U.S., Japan and the European Union, but warns of a deterioration in many developing countries especially in Africa.
    The American economy is performing better than the UN’s start of the year estimates with growth for 2017 expected to reach 2.1 percent. According to the Report, economic activity in the United States accelerated; investment in mining industries rebounded. This of course reflects the Trump Administration’s commitment to revive the coal mining and steel industries. Equally, high post-election consumer confidence has led to a generally more favorable economic perception throughout the USA and has supported wider job creation.
    The Report adds, “Significant tax cuts and an infrastructure investment program are under discussion in the United States.” Should such overdue measures pass Congress, the U.S. economy will see further expansion.
    Yet the Report warns, “The policy environment in the United States remains turbulent, as proposals by the Administration confront Congressional and judicial hurdles.” This becomes abundantly clear when viewing Administration policy inside the maelstrom of partisan political infighting. Moreover, question marks concerning established trade policy have shadowed the commercial environment with key partners such as Canada and Mexico.
    Slow but certain growth is predicted in Japan with a rise of 1.1 percent and in the European Union where growth still remains steady at 1.7 percent. Continue reading  Post ID 2828


  • Sudden Summer Syndrome

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

    As Memorial Day and the official kick-off to the summer season are upon us here in Central New Hampshire, I am confronted with phone calls from former members of F.A.T.S.O. to help them to deal with the upcoming stresses of the season.
    As you probably know if you read the papers – well, this one anyway – F.A.T.S.O. is a support group I started with my friend Vinnie years ago to help new transplants deal with the stresses of adjusting to their first winters here. It stands for Flatlanders Adjusting to Solitary Oblivion.
    There have been dozens of graduates of the group who have successfully adjusted and now find winter no more than a few months (and in some cases, like this past winter half a year) of a mild inconvenience.
    Still, winter is only one of four seasons here. The other three being Autumn, Motorcycle Week and Summer. (There is a bill in Concord right now to designate Road Work as an additional season. We’ll see how that plays out.)
    Some former F.A.T.S.O. members who have only been a year or two separated for the groups’ umbilical cord, are finding that they are now nicely adjusted to winter, but at the same time are having trouble doing the same with the summer months. Continue reading  Post ID 2828


  • It Happened In The Month Of May

    NotSoLongAgo_Blog

    by Robert Hanaford Smith, Sr._DSC2528
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    As you know, the month of May can bring to the New Hampshire landscape a variety of weather from cold and snow to the sweltering-like heat of a summer’s day along with the expected springing to life of leaves and grass and the fulfillment of its promise to provide us with flowers, bees and black flies. The month of May has also provided us with persons and events that have made it an exciting time to think history.
    It was on May 8, 1945 that the Germans officially surrendered and the fighting of World War II ended in Europe. Many celebrated that day as VE Day or as Victory in Europe Day. New Hampshire places of business helped to celebrate the occasion with special messages in advertisements placed in newspapers.


    Willey’s Express announced that “Victorious Allied Troops marched toward the capital of Germany today. The Nazi regime has been crushed. With occupation of the country rapidly approaching completion, the allied war councils moved immediately to mop-up Japan.” Alcide Paquette sporting goods store on Canal Street placed an ad depicting a family listening to the radio and hearing the news that “Germany Surrenders!” The ad asserted that “ Again man will live away from dictatorial domination of those who sought to enslave all of mankind. For all this, we give thanks to our fighting American boys, who again have proved to the world that democracy and the love of liberty conquers all obstacles.” General Mills, with an office in Laconia, NH proclaimed “Honor and Glory to our Fighting Heroes. You are the men to whom we owe our lives and our happiness.” Levasseur’s Men’s Shop on Main Street in Laconia pictured the Statue of Liberty and stated that the victory in Europe increased the beauty and stature of “The Fairest Lady in the Land.” Continue reading  Post ID 2828


  • Beers Of The Week: Switchback Ale and Porter

    Heading_WickedBrew

    The great state of Vermont is mainly known by most people for its cheddar cheese and other dairy products, its maple syrup, the Green Mountains, Cabot Creamery or Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. But if you are a connoisseur of great beer, this may be one of your focus states for their awesome breweries. At last count, there were more than 30 breweries, brew-on-premises restaurants or brew pubs serving their thirsty fans pints, growlers, or flights (small tastings of different brews) and generating a lot of interest and profit. One such brewer is Switchback Brewing Company in Burlington.


    Switchback was started back in 2002 by owner Bill Cherry with the idea of making an easy drinking pale ale for his friends around the Burlington area. Little did he know that his pale ale would be one of the most asked for beers in taverns and eateries around New England. 2008-2010 brought a major expansion to the facility with greater capacity to keep up with their demand, going to 24 hour operation. 2014 marked yet another growth period with an expanded bottling line and redesign of their taproom. Finally this year, Bill wanted to make sure Switchback was never bought out by macro brewers and large financial buying institutions, so he made his employees business partners and made Switchback the first 100% employee-owned brewery in Vermont. You can find out much more about them at www.switchbackvt.com
    Looking at two of their most popular beers at the same time makes sense because they share a lot of commonalities but could not taste more different. They are both unfiltered when bottled so the labels suggest that the buyer slowly invert the beer a few times before opening to mix any settled contents.
    Switchback Ale is actually specified as an American Amber style on BeerAdvocate.com but looking at this glistening beauty, with its white head, you would have to agree it is a golden ale. At 5% ABV, this easy drinking, well balanced but complex flavored beer is so refreshing, you can see why it is popular. With five malts and four different hop varieties and a secret yeast combination, this inviting beverage will certainly be among your favorites to keep within reach.
    The story behind Dooley’s Belated Porter is that it was a recipe created by their head brewer years ago and promised to be put into colder month production year after year, but that never happened. Finally, Mr. Cherry decided he had waited long enough and produced it for the first time in 2009. It was a huge hit and has been available ever since. With a bold and full flavored porter such as this, Switchback builds upon their ale success and adds complexity to their tastes. A mocha head, roasted and caramel malts along with flaked barley and balanced Simcoe hop profile help to round out this lovely 5.7% ABV liquid, making it satisfying and delicious.
    BeerAdvocate.com marks both of these brews in the ‘Good’ category giving the ale an 81 and the porter an 84 out of 100. Both of these Switchback beers are available in 12 oz six packs and 22 oz bottles at Case-n-Keg in Meredith so check them out today!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com


  • World All-Star Baseball

    Will Washington National Ryan Zimmerman be an All-Star again in 2017 and 2018?”

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    World All-Star Baseball
    Sports Illustrated’s ace baseball writer, Tom Verducci, recently proposed replacing the current Major League Baseball All-Star Game format with a five-day mid-season World Baseball Classic tournament. The WBC presently goes in March where it has to compete with March Madness, Spring Training, etc. An eight-team, five day, international tournament in July that yields a world champion is a great idea.
    A 24-man All-Star roster should be sufficient. Presently SIXTY-SIX All-Stars show up for the Mid-Summer Classic—33 from each league = too many.
    Hold the event in Chicago or New York or someplace with two big baseball parks. The quarterfinal/first-day round requires four games—i.e two doubleheaders. Then come two semifinal games and a championship game. So we actually get SEVEN All-Star games instead of just one. And with MLB on hiatus, and no other major league sports happening, the WBC gets maximum media attention—both domestically and internationally.
    A home run derby and similar All-Star traditions could be worked into the schedule—as in how the NBA turned its All-Star game into a multi-day, multi-event festival.
    Hopefully those with the power and influence can overcome inertia and make this happen. The 2018 MLB All-Star Game has already been awarded to Washington D.C. Can this commitment be re-worked? Verducci’s inspired idea deserves consideration. Maybe just use Nationals Park and RFK Stadium and implement the WBC tournament in D.C.
    If we can put a man on the moon then we can certainly figure out how to do an international baseball tournament!

    NHL ALL-STAR HOCKEY
    The NHL is not going to support the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, as they have other Olympic Games. Remember the Sochi Games in 2014? The NHL created a two-week schedule break, and in lieu of an All-Star Game the NHL players played for their national teams in the Olympics. Not just for the USA and Canada, but also for teams from the Czech Continue reading  Post ID 2828


  • Venezuela’s Slide Into Chaos

    John Metzler

    by John J. Metzler
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    UNITED NATIONS -Storm clouds are buffeting the coast of Venezuela, the once rich South American state which is sliding into economic chaos and combustable political confrontation.
    Mass demonstrations have rocked the capital Caracas. As democratic opposition protesters con-front the riot police and paramilitary forces of the entrenched socialist dictatorship, the country of 31 million slips deeper into turmoil.
    It did not have to be this way.
    Once a fairly prosperous and middle class country, Venezuela challenged the paradigm of much of Latin America in the post-war period having a working democracy which was not jolted by periodic military coups d’etat. Nor was this the stereotypical “banana republic.” Anything but.
    Yet the rise of the petroleum fueled and politically high octane presidency of Colonel Hugo Chavez starting in 1999 changed the political equation. A dozen years of left wing politics, nationalizations and increasing authoritarianism of the Bolivarian Revolution put Chavez’s Venezuela near the pinnacle of progressive Latin American regimes. President Chavez presented him-self as a buffoonish populist and regular critic of the USA. Having witnessed his antics during his UN visits, one could be assured of colorful rhetoric and a peculiar charm fitting of a Latin despot.
    In a sense Venezuela’s oil boom was both a blessing and a curse. In the beginning petrodollars fueled the state and lavish social welfare programs for his United Socialist Party. Later petrodol-lars provided a massive political slush fund to support political solidarity with Castro’s Cuba, and a host of other Marxist states looking for the flow of Peso diplomacy. But the drop in global oil prices and the cost of socialist mismanagement by Hugo Chavez turned a once prosperous state into an economic basket case. Continue reading  Post ID 2828


  • Laconia Gets Schooled

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    “But I’d only need one hundred of you.”
    That line silenced the crowd of teachers listening to a high-tech titan talk about the future of public education. I wish I could find the article, but I remember reading a few years ago about an education conference where somebody – perhaps Bill Gates or some Silicon Valley sultan – elicited cheers from a group of teachers by telling them how important education was to the future of America, how valuable good teachers were to education, how teachers should be paid six-figures…Then he hit them right between the eyes with the reality of technology: “But I’d only need one hundred of you.”
    I thought of that line when reading about the shameful tactic employed by the Laconia school board and teachers’ union to push through a budget-busting labor contract. The board negotiated the contract knowing it would require breaking the faith voters had placed in the fiscally-responsible tax cap a decade ago. School Board member Mike Persson threatened city councilors with election opposition if they failed to pay the ransom required to ensure a “fairly smooth election cycle.”
    The monetary demands were couched in terms of “investing in the future” of Laconia, but as with all such taxpayer “investment” promises, no one was willing to make definitive guarantees for returns on that investment. Persson asserted to the Daily Sun that “The main driver behind middle class families locating to a city is the perception of the public schools’ quality and the availability of strong co-curricular programming.” A bold statement. Has anyone been so rude as to ask him for his data, his proof? What about other possible drivers of community appeal: crime rates; housing availability and affordability; job availability within a reasonable commute; cost of living; tax rates?

    Instead, citizens were promised the magic beans of making the city more attractive to middle-class families by dumping more tax money into their schools. They were told that increased taxes (not particularly attractive to taxpaying families) would right past wrongs by giving teachers competitive pay, sure to attract and retain the best of them. Except, of course, no one would promise that outcome, either. That contract is simply part of the bid-up cycle used by all districts to justify pay, benefit, and retirement packages that are outstripping the ability of many communities to afford.
    Has anybody in authority in the Laconia school district explored options beyond “more money”? Sure, board member Persson employed the usual emotive tactic of threatening to close an elementary school and losing programs, but isn’t there somebody on that board with vision and fiscal sense? Breaking the tax cap is like opening a vein to a vampire. The sucking won’t stop.
    There are alternatives. I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating: Twenty-three states educate their students for less than $10,000 per pupil per year. In NH, the average is more than $14,000. Somebody on the Laconia school board with the least bit of intellectual curiosity should ask how Florida, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado can achieve better education results than we can at less than three-quarters our cost. Each of those states ranks higher than NH in the 2017 US News & World Report Best High School Rankings, so their lower costs are not coming at the expense of a good education.
    What about technology? We’ve been told for years that technology in the classroom would work wonders. It hasn’t. That’s because, unlike in the private sector, public schools have added tech without fundamentally changing how they do business.
    Which brings us back to that education conference. The speaker explained to the quieted teachers that technology could now do for teaching what it has done for almost every other profession: Improve productivity and product or service quality while reducing personnel requirements. The Internet can give every student access to a world-class, tailored education at a price even struggling cities like Laconia could afford…if we are willing to change how we do business.
    The best teachers and award-winning curricula, tailored to each student, could be brought to every classroom in the state via the Internet. Instead of a hundred school districts competing to attract middle-of-the-road graduates from teacher colleges or to retain tenured teachers whose salaries are based not on evaluated quality but degrees attained and time served, each district could select from world-class instructional materials taught by the technologist’s “one hundred of you.”
    Certainly by 5th grade, most students are comfortable using the technologies necessary to bring about this change in classroom instruction. The stumbling block isn’t the kids, it’s the adults. It’s the entrenched interests and the small-thinkers. The time for tolerating this status quo has passed. Laconia taxpayers would do well to hold tight to their tax cap and tell school board members to put on their thinking caps.

    Ken can be reached at kengorrell@gmail.com


  • New Scratch

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

    It’s usually around this time of year that I volunteer my time to help educate the youth of our great state.
    Of course, I don’t have a teaching degree so there is nothing I can do in the classroom on a regular basis, but I can help to fund education by coming up with some new ideas for lottery tickets.
    You have most likely heard that the money from the sale of lottery tickets goes towards education. This is a good thing.
    An unintended benefit of lottery tickets is that it also helps keep the convenience store industry afloat as well as keeping the coin department of the U.S. mint in operation. There has been talk of eliminating coins altogether to save money, but when an uproar over what will people use to scratch off their lottery tickets reached Congress, funding for coin production was actualy increased. (Little known fact I got from a guy named Zach on the Internet.)
    Still, there has been controversy over the years.
    For instance, we all know someone who chose not to play responsibly as required by state law and they ended up with either hours of community service or jail time.
    Of course, there have been the protests by environmental groups concerned about the toxic effects of the silver dust scratched off lottery tickets. They claim that science is settled. I’m not convinced though. (I’m sure I’ll get some hate mail about that.)
    Probably the biggest public relations nightmare for the lottery commission was the great scratch ticket riot of 2014.
    It was a summer Saturday afternoon at a popular supermarket near the shores of a famous New Hampshire lake. There were many tourists as well as locals who were stocking up on supplies for the weekend. As is the case on these hectic weekends, many tried to gather 14 items or less to be able to get through the express line faster. Of course, there were a few with well more than 14 items and their part in this is under reported. Continue reading  Post ID 2828


  • ‘Doc’ Smith – State Veterinarian

    NotSoLongAgo_Blog

    by Robert Hanaford Smith, Sr._DSC2528
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    After reading about the life of Robinson W. Smith, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, I am struck with wonderment as to how the busy and accomplished animal doctor could add so many other activities to his life. Dr. Smith was born in Meredith, New Hampshire on May 18, 1891. He was the son of Joseph F. Smith, a successful farmer in Meredith and a travelling salesman for the American Woolen Company, and Isabelle Robinson Smith. His schooling included attending the local elementary schools , the New Hampton Literary Institute, and the Chicago Veterinary College in Chicago Illinois, graduating with the class of 1915.
    After receiving his degree Dr. Smith came back to New Hampshire and began his veterinary practice in Laconia which proved to be the start of a long and impressive profession. His accomplishments included serving as Belknap County Agricultural Agent from 1917 to1920, followed by becoming an employee of the State Department of Agriculture in Concord in September of 1920 where he was made Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture and Agent in Marketing, and the appointment on July 1, 1921 to be State Veterinarian by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Andrew L. Felker. That appointment was approved by Governor Alfred O. Brown and the Governor’s Council.

    The horse, with Dr. Smith as the driver, was named Elmer Gentry who placed in the money in 54 0f 57 starts. Doc Smith was the driver in 52 of them.

     

    Dr. Robinson W. Smith

    Dr. Smith was not able to serve in World War I because of medical reasons , a situation which led to his involvement with the state extension service. He was married to Ruth Hull , daughter of Charles and Florence Hull of Meredith, on June 25, 1918. During his prep school days at New Hampton Robinson W. Smith was the quarterback of the football team during the years of 1907, 1908, and 1909, and continued playing football during his college years as a half-back.
    As the first State Veterinarian in New Hampshire, in a position he held for over 40 years, Smith established a reputation throughout the United States as a knowledgeable and skilled doctor. He was recognized as an authority on the control and eradication of contagious and infectious diseases of domestic animals. His involvement in professional organizations included being a member of the United States Livestock Sanitary Association as part of its Executive Committee, a member and director of the National Brucellosis Committee, and a director and member of the Executive Committee of Livestock Conservation, Inc. with its offices in Chicago. Under his leadership New Hampshire received national recognition in June of 1960 as a brucellosis free state. The Doctor was one of the organizers and a past president of the New England Veterinary Medical Association as well as a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. He also served as the State Chairman for Veterinarians Procurement and Assignment Service during World War II, and was on the National Advisory Committee to the Selective Service.
    In his younger years as the county agricultural agent, Dr. Smith travelled extensively around the countryside, driving his Model T Ford in summer and relying on his horse and sleigh in the winter. He is reported to have routinely travelled through the snow with his horse and sleigh to meet with groups of farmers on winter evenings, instructing the attentive audience on how to keep up with the times with improved agricultural methods.
    Participating in an activity which he described as “a sideline and a hobby” Doc Smith was well-known for his involvement in harness horse racing, both as an owner of trotters and pacers and an official of the sport. Licenses issued by the United States Trotting Association gave him the authority to serve as an official starter and presiding judge anywhere in the United States. Often, though, he would drive his own horses at tracks in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. He served as the Executive Secretary and Treasurer of the New Hampshire Fairs Association of which he was instrumental in organizing in the year 1928, and was a Director of the Plymouth Fair.
    And, as if all that wasn’t enough for the ambitious veterinarian, Dr. Smith was involved politically in the city of Laconia. He described himself as a “staunch Republican”, following the example of his Father, and served as a City Councilman for three years and Mayor of the city for a record of eight years. For at least twenty years he was a member of the Parks and Recreation Committee.
    So, not so long ago, Dr. Robinson W. Smith made significant contributions to the well-being of not only the Lakes Region, but to all of New Hampshire and the other states of the country, having visited most of them in his campaign to eliminate brucellosis in cattle. His brothers also left their mark on the history of our state, but their stories will have to wait for other articles.


  • Concord’s Marjory Swope Park Trails

     

    Big Vista over Penacook Lake, aka Long Pond from the northern most point of the Blue Trail.

    Amy Patenaude

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    This time of year Mother Nature gives us many cold rainy days but she can deliver a nice warm sunny day to tease us while we wait for summer to arrive. Spring weather is fickle but at least the days are longer and we have time to go for a hike after work.
    Right now south of the White Mountains is a good place to hike since there is still plenty of mud and snow on higher mountaintop trails.
    The City of Concord has over 50 miles of trails (http://www.concordnh.gov/trails) and the 77 acre Marjory Park Swope Park has about two miles of trails over and around Jerry Hill with big outlooks and connections to more trails. The trailhead is easily reached from Route 202, just west of St. Paul’s School, 8/10th of a mile up Long Pond Road, parking area is on the left.
    On this splendid afternoon, Danielle and I decided to meet up after work for a quick hike. Danielle is nearing completing the New Hampshire Fire Tower List and is waiting patiently for a road up north to reopen so she can finish. Visiting Jerry Hill came to mind as something nearby and fun–it has concrete footing remains from a long gone observation tower on top. It may not be on the list but we like collecting peaks.

    Danielle inspecting Gilfillan Rock near the summit of Jerry Hill. The Marjory Swope Park’s Orange Trail passes by the Rock and leads to a fine mountain vista.
    Yours truly on top of one of the four old footings that are the remains of an observation tower on Jerry Hill. The Marjory Swope ParkTrailhead parking on Long Pond Road is less than ten minutes from downtown Concord.

    At the trailhead there is a kiosk with a trail map. There is also something else interesting here, it is home to one of Concord’s six “Little Libraries”—an Eagle Scout Project. A weatherproof box on a pole that is a small library that people can use to exchange books for free.
    From the kiosk go left to find the Blue Trail loop, we decided to go clockwise and then take the right onto the Yellow Trail to go straight up to the top of Jerry Hill.
    The trails are easy to follow and there are lots of colored painted blazes on the trees.
    The trail climbs about 300 vertical feet in just over half a mile to reach the wooded summit of Jerry Hill. We jumped on top of the concrete footings. Just like we always do when we find tower remains we wished that the tower was still standing.
    Next we backtracked a short distance to the Orange Trail that we had just passed by. The Orange Trail leads to Gilfillan Rock, an outcropping of granite where most likely St. Paul students chiseled the name in memory of a classmate. Be sure to climb up on the rock to see the other carvings in the ledge—graffiti before spray cans perhaps?

    Hiking the Blue Trail. The City of Concord has over 50 miles of trails. The 77 acres near Long Pond were donated by John Swope in memory of his wife and her conservation work.

    Just past the Rock is a fabulous open outlook to the southwest. We could clearly see Pats Peak and Crotched Mountain and just to the right of Crotched further in the distance was Mount Monadnock.
    We returned to the footings and continued to follow the Yellow Trail down where we were treated to a nice view of Mount Kearsarge before intersecting with the Blue Trail.
    We turned right on the Blue Trail and in no time we reached the big vista of Penacook Lake aka Long Pond. Here there is a nice bench to sit on while enjoying the vista to the north. Over the water there are splendid mountain views, Bean Hill aka Highlands in Northfield and further beyond the Belknaps can be seen.
    We continued down the Blue Trail and passed by a section of trail where trail work was recently done to make the path’s foot bed well graded. These are nice trails.
    Next time you’re in Concord make it a point to take a hike.
    Have fun.


  • The Battle Ahead

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

    It was certainly an uncomfortable afternoon as the existing members of the Flatlander Party got together last Saturday for our yearly Spring Fling brunch.
    Our party’s recent trouncing in the past election for governor has not sat well with many of the longtime party members and folks are antsy for a change.
    The elephant in the room, besides the photos of actual elephants brought back by on member on her recent safari to Africa, was my perennial (and some would say ad naseum) candidacy.
    The Spring Fling brunch is not designed to discuss who the next candidate might be. It is supposed to be a time of fellowship and camaraderie. There are usually a few new possible members there and as we try to grow the party so we realize that talking about our constant failure year after year after year might have the opposite effect.
    Still, there were many whispers among longtime members, gathered in their small cliques, thinking about the future and what changes would be needed to increase our influence in politics in general.
    As in any election, economics was going to play a big part. The funds of the party were small, but investment in the last election was significant and there was still quite a bit of inventory on hand to be considered.
    The party had invested a large sum on having my photograph printed on thousands of oversized cardboard mailers to send out to possible voters across the state. The only problem was that, once the oversized cardboard mailers were paid for, there was no money left in the budget for postage. With this huge inventory lying around, it is going to make it harder to pick a different candidate for the next election.
    There are also lawn signs that were picked up and cleaned off after the dust of the election settled. They are ready to be used again.
    Going into the brunch, I was well aware of what the temperature in the room would be. Add to that the heat from the many Sternos keeping the buffet food lukewarm in the Grange Hall where the event was held and it was rather sticky (as were the scalloped potatoes). Continue reading  Post ID 2828


  • Mount Washington Skiing – Huntington Ravine & Tuckerman Ravine

    Crystal Cascade, just 4/10th of a mile up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is well worth the extra effort of the short steep spur trail to the viewing point to see and hear up close the roaring water of the Cutler River. The hike to the Cascades from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center is worthy on its own! Yours truly and Becca are still smiling even though our backpacks weighed between 30 and 40 pounds (my skis were lighter than her snowboard).

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    This is harder than I thought it would be, are we more than half way yet?” asked a tuckered out man sitting on a rock on the side of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. Becca and I just looked at each other because we knew we weren’t close yet. “We get there when we get there,” we cheerfully chirped.
    Sure our packs were heavy, between 30 and 40 pounds, loaded with our ski/snowboard gear, clothing and food and beverages. The tuckered out man’s pack was much heavier because on top of his ski gear he was carrying camping supplies for spending the night at the Hermit Lake Shelters. A few moments later we passed a few of his friends. One of the men had a bloody face; he fell on it when he tripped on the trail. Yikes!
    Hiking up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail isn’t easy, but thousands of people do it every spring to reach the snow that has piled up in Mount Washington’s most famous ravine, Tuckerman Ravine. The Dartmouth Outing Club, young Brooks Dodge and the Inferno Ski Race over the Ravine’s Headwall are legendary.
    Young adventurers still come to ski in the dangerous mountains where avalanches roll alongside partying college students and older diehards that choose the less steep slopes—I don’t think things have changed much since the 1940s.
    As we hiked up the rocky Tuckerman Ravine Trail the snow started to appear and in less than a mile we were walking on hard packed snow suitable for skinning.

    The Tuckerman Ravine Trail is a busy place and we ran into friends from Franconia, Jim, Dave and Charlie were headed up to Hillman’s Highway.

    Continue reading  Post ID 2828