• Not Giving Up on Snow!

    The last day of Mt. Eustis’ season was a sunny warm clear day. The volunteer-run ski area is on the west side of I-93 above the town of Littleton. A rope tow carries skiers and snowboarders to the top of the slopes that were first opened in 1939. Two years ago the family friendly ski hill was revived by the Littleton community and its dedicated volunteers.

     

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    The chairlift bullwheels at some of the ski areas have stopped spinning for the season. The smallest ski hills that rely on natural snow shut down a couple weeks ago. A few more ski areas stayed open until the first of April. But don’t fret there are still resorts open and it remains to be seen just how long this snowsport season is going to last.
    I went skiing yesterday. I went skiing today and I plan on going tomorrow. As long as I can find snow I am going to keep having fun!
    Pats Peak’s last day was the first of April and this isn’t the first time the ski area closed for the season while still having one hundred percent of their trails open. The school programs and race leagues finished up weeks ago and now they will start their busy wedding season.
    The skiing and snowboarding is still very good but the crowds have dwindled. I guess the kids big and small are riding bicycles and playing ball now. Only the die-hard snowsports fans continue to hit the slopes come April. And that is too bad because hitting the slopes with suntan lotion on your nose is more fun than having frost bite your nose! If you want to learn to ski it is a fine time to take a lesson.

    Charlie is having goofy fun skinning up Pats Peak because the lifts are closed. We use skins on the bottom of our skis so they won’t slide back down as we climb up the trail. At the top we rip the skins off and ski back down.

    Ragged Mountain and Crotched Mountain finished up their season on Easter too. Mount Sunapee is looking to finish up on April 8th. SkiNH.com, click on conditions to see an up-to-date rundown of who and what is open.
    Nordic trails in the woods are holding up and cross-country ski areas are working to stretch their season.
    Charlie and I have been putting Pats Peak’s snow to good use after work. We have plenty of time before it gets dark to skin up the mountain and ski back down. We have enjoyed some nice sunsets from the slopes of Twister.
    The previous week I visited for my first time Mt. Eustis in Littleton. The community ski hill has a rope tow and a small warming hut with a nice deck. All run by volunteers. The sun was bright and the snow was soft and bare spots were just beginning to show through.

    Big morning at Loon Mountain–from Picked Rock to Walking Boss the trails were covered edge to edge with super snow. Don’t give up on snow yet!

     

    Yours truly, Charlie and Becca extended our adventure by skinning up through the woods to visit Henniker’s Craney Hill fire tower

    Everyone there knew this was the last day of the season and a lot of people had come out. The price of a lift ticket was a donation.
    There is a grand view that will fill your eyes from their slopes of the Presidential Mountains all surrounded by the many peaks of the White Mountains. After every rope tow ride I stood at the top soaking in the view while I rested my arms. Hanging on to a rope tow as it pulls you up is a workout. My arms tired out long before my legs.
    A return visit to Mt. Eustis next season for night skiing is definitely on my list of fun things to do.
    We had a super morning at Loon. A friend and I both skipped out of work for the morning. We were in line at the gondola before 9 am when the lifts opened. We were treated to an early opening which afforded us to be able to get in an extra run.
    We skied like mad men for three hours straight, skiing all over the mountain. At first the snow was firm like winter conditions due to the previous nice cold night. Then the temperature rose and the snow softened up and we were able to make big hero turns in the groomed snow. On a few trails they let the bumps form on one side of the trail and they became soft and fun to ski.
    At noon we dashed back to our cars and headed to work. A half a day of work is better than none—I mean a half a day of skiing is better than none. Well, even hiking for one run is fun.
    Think Snow!

    Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.


  • Yup, It’s Spring

    Black Mountain’s pond is filled with ice cold water and rubber duckies! Black Mountain will hold their annual spring Pond Skim this Saturday, March 24th. Check out the calendar of events at SkiNH.com for a complete listing of fun Spring events. (photo courtesy black mountain)

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Yippee the silly season is here!
    Time to put away the heavy winter jacket and dig out your Hawaiian shirt!

    I know it spring when Patrick of Intervale Farm Pancake House taps our Maple trees that line the road. The warm days and cold nights make the sap run and the snow good for skiing and snowboarding.

    Spring officially sprung on Tuesday March 20th at 12:15pm. The days continue to grow longer and we survived setting the clock an hour ahead. There is plenty of daylight to play outside after school/work and there is snow! We had cool Nor’easters that blanketed the ski slopes with snow and everywhere else too.
    My road is muddy and the sap buckets are hanging on the big maple trees. The sap flows best when it is warm and sunny during the day and when the temperature dips below freezing during the night. This is good for skiers and snowboarders too. This weather will make sure the snow stays around well into April and we wear sunglasses and slap on the sunscreen while soaking up the sun on the slopes.
    A favorite spring-time event held at many New Hampshire ski areas have skiers and snowboarders attempting to surf across a man-made-ice-cold pond! No matter what you call it—Pond Skim, Slush Cup or Spring Splash the end result is that a lot of somebodies are going to take a dive and get wet.
    I have made it across the water and I have made a big splash while pond skimming. If you haven’t done it at least once you should give it a try just so you can say you did it and it is fun. Be sure to wax your skis and go as fast as you can because speed will keep you on top of the water. Warning: If you must enter the pond straight. If you try to turn your skis will be ripped off your feet or the water will grab your snowboard and you’re going swimming fast. Have a towel and dry clothes nearby. Good luck.
    Pats Peak held their annual pond skim on Saint Patrick’s Day and they required all participants to wear costumes.

    They’re ready to get more than their feet wet attempting the pond skim at Black Mountain.
    King Pine skiers and snowboarders brave the cold water as they attempt to make it across the pond! Hit the slopes! If you don’t want to get wet it is just as much fun cheering for the brave souls making a big splash.
    Pats Peak held its annual Pond Skim on Saint Patrick’s Day–all participants were required to wear costumes.
    Carrying ET across the Pond at Pat’s Peak.

    Here are a few dates and places of the upcoming fun Spring Events:

    Saturday March 24th: Black Mountain’s All Day Pond Skim. Sunday March 31st: King Pine’s Cardboard Box Derby. Bodefest at Cannon Mountain.

    Saturday March 31st: Cranmore’s Spring Splash, Ragged Mountain’s Pond Skim, Mount Sunapee’s 20th Annual Slush Cup, 80’s Day at Cannon Mountain, Bretton Woods’ Beach Party.

    Sunday April 1st: Gunstock’s BYODC Pond Skim (Bring your own dry clothes), King Pine Pond Skimming.

    The date for Loon Mountain’s Slushpool Party and Cannon’s Blizzard Splash Pond is Saturday April 14th.

    When the snow settles and the avalanche dangers decrease the hordes of Tuckerman Ravine back country enthusiasts will cover the walls of the bowl like ants on sugar. The annual Tuckerman Ravine Inferno Pentathlon, a fundraising event by the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, will be held on April 14th. The non-profit, Friends of Tuckerman’s mission is to preserve and protect Tuckerman Ravine and to sustain the traditional recreational uses of the area.

    Lastly, the best deals for next year’s season passes are being offered right now so it is time to start thinking about next year.

    Please keep your bicycles in the garage and the golf clubs in the attic until next month.
    Have fun.


  • The Man Who Thought He Was A Tree

    NotSoLongAgo_Blog

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

    T.E.M. White was a well-known photographer in Northern New Hampshire in the 1800s to early 1900s. He also thought he was a tree.

    His name is T.E.M. White and I call him a person of interest, not because law enforcement authorities had any special interest in him, but because reading about his life reveals him to have been an interesting person. Probably few people who read this even know about him because he died in 1909, but for thirty years this photographer attracted attention in North Conway, New Hampshire.
    Thomas Edward Mullikin was born in 1834 in the town of Newburyport, Massachusetts, but at the age of eight he became a resident of New Bedford, Mass. when he was adopted by his mother’s brother and was given the added name of White, thus the T.E.M. White label with a nickname of Ned. Professionally White received accolades for his photography of the scenery of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, particularly in regards to his glass transparencies; however, his popularity as a person involved a lot more than his skills with a camera. He was born into a family with musical talents, so probably none of his acquaintances were surprised to find that he, too, possessed special skills in the area of music. To say that he was proficient in the art of whistling would be an understatement because he was known for whistling the tunes of entire operas, doing this as he went about his daily work activities. White was also a singer who was a member of the New Bedford Choral Society, and whose rendition in song of “ Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”, was said by a friend, Ellen McRoberts Mason, in a Granite Monthly magazine article to be “something to remember”. He also played the violin.
    Ned, to use the name his friends used, was a mechanically minded young man who was a cabinet maker and showed signs of becoming an inventor before choosing the photography career. Described by his friend as being “of delicate constitution all through his childhood ” White suffered from an ailment that resulted in the amputation of one of his legs when he was about twenty-one years of age, so he responded by putting his inventive and mechanical skills to work by making himself an artificial leg.
    In 1876 Mr. White married a landscape artist, Gabriella F. Eddy, and it was two years later that they moved to North Conway where they built a house at a place called Tanglewild , though they continued to spend some winters in Massachusetts.
    That Mr. White thought that he was a tree is not a joke, though it doesn’t mean that he thought he was a tree at the same time that he was a man. He was unconventional in his religious beliefs and behavior and the trees were said to have been to him as “human friends”. He believed in reincarnation and, with his admiration for and delight in trees, would say, according to his friend, Ellen Mason, “I am sure that I was a tree once!.”

    [Family on front porch, New Bedford, Mass.]; T.E. M. White (American, 1834 – 1909); about 1880; Albumen silver print; 84.XC.729.186
    He was labeled as a “nature worshipper” but was a member of the First Congregational Church of New Bedford, which was Unitarian in its beliefs even though the original “Congregationalists” in America were the Puritans, followed by other groups ,emphasizing the local control of individual churches, but doctrinally believing in salvation by grace through faith in Christ. Congregational churches that adopted Unitarian beliefs, while also emphasizing local governing, differed in doctrine and were described by one person as believing in salvation by character. Mason, in an attempt to clarify White’s beliefs, wrote “he gathered spiritual strength and refreshment from Nature’s beauties, and in enjoyment of them his heart was uplifted in worship of their Creator.”
    Though apparently frail as a child, Ned White’s physical appearance as a man, despite the artificial leg was of a tall, slender, and muscular man with long, reddish-golden, curly hair (which turned white), with blue eyes. This photographer was active in his physical pursuits, engaging in mountain climbing and being known especially for his swimming and skating skills. In his childhood during the summer he would meet with his friends every day at a certain, private pool in the Saco River to swim, and, in his adult years, would be seen swimming in the Saco River with his long white hair floating on the water.
    The little that I have learned about this outdoor loving man who died in 1909 makes me inclined to believe that the popularity he enjoyed was as much a result of his kind and generous personality as his excellent skills as a photographer. Mason wrote “In the summer time the White’s house was filled with their friends, charming, cultured persons who formed a delightful company.” His interest in country living and appreciation of those who grow the things we eat, the farmers, led Ned to the Patrons of Husbandry, also known as the Grange, and he became a member of the local Pequawket Grange. He was chosen to be the chaplain of the group and the walls of the Grange Hall were adorned with his landscape pictures.
    Ellen McRoberts Mason’s tribute to the man who thought he must sometime have been a tree characterized Thomas Edward Mullikin White as a “ beautiful character” who lived on a higher plane than most people ”, and whose “presence radiated good cheer and often jollity.”
    Ned and Gabriella White were known for their generosity, following the principle “What you give away must be of your best. The quality of what you sell matters less.”
    T.E.M. White died on December 16, 1909. These many years later I wonder if any of you who read this have a photograph produced by Mr. White, or a landscape painting by Gabriella White.


  • Thinking It Over

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

    I’ve had to think long and hard about my plans for 2018.
    My recent surgery and recovery has given me a lot of time to consider what is really important in my life.
    It’s a bit of a quandary though. After all, not only did I survive the operation, but I also had survived a challenge last fall for my bid to once again represent the Flatlander Party as their candidate for governor of New Hampshire in this year’s election after my challenger dropped out of the race after a fuzzy convenience store surveillance video showed someone who looked a lot like him pocketing a pack of Tic-Tacs without paying.
    I had gratefully accepted the honor once again and in front of twenty to thirty Flatlander party members I gave a rousing speech about how I was ready to hit the ground running and to give it my best effort and to fight for change and blah, blah, blah.
    But today I’m not so sure.
    When you are in your sixties, lying in a hospital bed for five days after being given a brand new lease on life – as well as a new pair of hospital socks – many thoughts run through your head: Have I done what I really want in life? Have I used my talents to the best of my ability? What kind of vegetable are they going to serve with dinner? I hope not green beans again, I’m getting really tired of those.
    While I was at home recuperating, I did get many calls from Flatlander Party members wishing me the best and then hinting at what is going to happen going forward. Some very sincere in their concern and others just wanting to know what the next move, if any, for the party would be if I didn’t run.
    I pretty much assured them that I would be back on my feet in no time and ready to hit the campaign trail with more energy and a renewed vigor. It was the easy answer, so I could get off the phone and get back to sleep.
    Now that I am getting stronger, I am having second thoughts. Is this what I really want to do, spend months on the campaign trail, giving the same speech over and over, demonizing my opponents, making promises that I could never keep at bean-hole bean suppers (not my favorite food).
    On the other hand, I made a commitment to the party and I couldn’t just walk away from that. Would they be able to find a new candidate who would be ready to sacrifice the time and energy to a vigorous campaign, to be ready to take and give the name-calling and nastiness that voters expect and deserve and, most importantly, be able to handle bean-hole beans.
    I was also reminded by our party chairperson that we had already spent most of our budget on lawn signs and bumper stickers with my name on it and if I dropped out they would have no choice then to recruit one of the other three people named Smith in the Flatlander Party to run. (None of who would make great candidates for reasons I won’t go into here just in case they do decide to run. No reason to give their possible opponents any fodder.)
    As far as what I really want in life and how I’d like to use my talents, I guess I could put those on hold for a few months for the good of the party. Chances are good that I wouldn’t win anyway and it would all be over by November.
    Of course, if I did win, that would mean at least a two-year commitment and any of my other hopes and dreams would have to be put on hold. (Of course, I would get to collect that nifty $100,000 a year salary which, in all honesty, might be a little more than some of my hopes and dreams are paying at the moment.)
    So, as you can see, I have a lot to consider.
    I suppose I will have to make up my mind soon in fairness to all involved (especially those other three Flatlander Party members named Smith).
    Will it be a matter of doing what is right for me and pursuing those hopes and dreams or sacrificing myself for the good of the people and run again for governor?
    I’ll keep you posted.

    Brendan is the author of “The Flatlander Chronicles” and “The Best of A F.O.O.L. In New Hampshire” which are available at his website www.BrendanTSmith.com

     


  • Luponic Distortion IPA Revolution #009 by Firestone-Walker

    Heading_WickedBrew

    When we look forward to an annual release of some product or series we enjoy, we can become fixated on this release date; so much so that we get excited. Well, for a number of years now, Firestone Walker Brewing Company has created a series of very interesting combinations of rare or exotic hops placed within the exact same base malt beer so that folks looking forward to the new release can compare notes of previous versions and chat about the new hops and their part in making this release new and unusual. So the release of Luponic Distortion Revolution 009 is now upon us.
    Adam Firestone and David Walker are brother-in-laws who aren’t your everyday beer geeks. They look at the ability to brew something so different from what everyone else is doing as if it were an artful war. And they take that very seriously. With more than a dozen year-round offerings, the 20+ year old Firestone Walker Brewing Company of Venice, California, has carved a deep niche into the west coast beer scene. With other seasonals, specialty releases and their newest series, Leo v Ursus, FW is not to be ignored. You can find out more about their beers, their history and their fun attitude of seriousness at www.firestonebeer.com


    Luponic Distortion isn’t as odd a name for a beer as you would first think. Humulus lupulus, an essential oil found in hop flowers or cones, is that interesting and valuable ingredient that gives the hoppy aromas craft beer drinkers look for. Luponic Distortion is FW’s way of describing their combinations of hop flavors per version. Each release features a different combination of hops and is produced every 90 days according to their website. #009 is a showcase of “public domain” hops which tend to be the ‘unsung heroes’ in brewing. Many of us have heard of Cascade, Citra, Summit and Mt Hood west coast hops but public domain hop varieties are the Jones and Smith of hop plants. Therefore, combining these lesser-known varieties certainly gives the opportunity for new flavor. If you couple this concept with the ability to bitter (early additions in the process) or late and dry-hop additions, the flavor possibilities are endless.
    Delicately golden in hue, slightly off-white in a frothy head, Luponic is perfectly beautiful on its own. Tropical fruit, coconut, pine and citrus lead the nose and tastebuds as you make your first encounters. Since this isn’t a double or triple IPA, hop aromas stay in check and are not overtaken by malt character… just delicious flavor.
    BeerAdvocate.com has officially rated this 5.9% ABV beer as ‘Very Good’ by awarding it a 3.92 out of 5. This beer is available at Case-n-Keg at 5 Mill Street in Meredith. Grab yours soon in 16 oz four packs.

    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

     


  • Context and Confidence

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    Three years ago this week I penned “School-to-Prison Pipeline?,” for the March 5th, 2015 edition of the Weirs Times. It could have been written yesterday.
    I wrote that “Our education system should be refocused on meeting the educational needs of those children capable of functioning in a classroom. For many reasons, some children simply aren’t capable, and some make up what we call the criminal element.” I then asked if you’d want your child seated next to such a child.
    When those words were printed, the future Parkland, FL, high school mass-murderer had already been placed at Cross Creek, a special school for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. A few months later, a school report would say that this young man was “distracted by inappropriate conversations by classmates” about “guns, people being killed, or the armed forces.” Less than a year later, he was reintegrated into regular classes at Stoneman Douglas High.
    For that 2015 essay, I pulled this quote from neaToday, the mouthpiece for the nation’s largest teachers’ union:
    ”Fueled by zero tolerance policies and the presence of police officers in schools, and made worse by school funding cuts that overburden counselors and high-stakes tests that stress teachers, these excessive [discipline] practices have resulted in the suspensions, expulsions, and arrests of tens of millions of public school students, especially students of color and those with disabilities or who identify as LGBT.”
    Talk about a swing and a miss. At the time, I described the article as “displaying the childlike quality of being simultaneously simplistic, self-aggrandizing, and just plain wrong.” Add to that list: Deadly.
    The NEA complained that “…a quarter-million [students] were ‘referred’ to police officers for misdemeanor tickets, very often for offenses that once would have elicited a stern talking-to.”
    We now know that officials at Stoneman Douglas shielded students’ criminal behaviors – including drug use and assaults – from the justice system, part of a federally-funded policy to bribe schools across the country into ignoring real criminality and focusing only on reportable crime metrics. The idea of reducing crime by not reporting it is insane.
    The reality is that the prison pipeline predominately starts with bad families and dangerous communities. Does it surprise anyone that of the young men who turned into mass murderers since 2005, only one was raised by his biological father? (And that one – the Virginia Tech killer – was known to have been mentally unstable since childhood.)
    Those who have long fought to end or substantially restrict of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms – the right that “shall not be infringed” – ignore that reality. They use every mass shooting to advance their cause, focusing on the gun rather than the person wielding it.
    On the other side, the NRA may come across as dogmatic. But it stands fast against “common sense gun reforms,” because it knows full well that the American Left uses “common sense” only euphemistically; the phrase is simply a means to hide its true goal. NRA members like me know that the common denominator of violent crimes is not a particular weapon; it’s a person with criminal intent.
    Nothing substantive will come from this most recent horrible experience. Nothing will come from the next. Solutions are beyond our grasp because one side simply can’t trust the other. I revere the wisdom of the Bill of Rights. I believe our Constitution is a living document only in the sense that there’s a well-defined process to amend it when necessary. I will never trust those who seek to circumvent that process and undermine those rights, especially when using dead or traumatized teenagers to advance a political agenda.
    Trust requires context and confidence. As a sociopolitical movement, the American Left is undeserving of trust because, when viewed in context, its actions align not to the rule of law under our Constitution, but to a global political movement seeking to consolidate power within large bureaucracies. How can one confidently negotiate with such people when their North Star lies outside the Constitutional firmament?
    These are the same people, after all, who also lead, encourage, and defend campus protests against the First Amendment’s free speech protections, using “hate speech” as their hook. When pressed, “hate speech” quickly devolves into “anything we don’t like or makes us feel bad.” That such a belief has become normalized at institutions dedicated to knowledge and inquiry is irony defined.
    We will not solve cultural problems like mass shootings so long as the Right must work valiantly to shore up the Constitutional protections the Left is working feverishly to erode.


  • High Above the Notch Eagle Cliff & Cannon Mountain

    The view from the top of Eagle Cliff is an eyeful of Cannon Mountain! The 3,420 foot peak is high above the floor of Franconia Notch and the trail-less peak can only be reached via a rugged bushwhack.

     

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    We met in the Cannon Mountain Tramway parking lot after Becca spent the morning snowboarding on Cannon’s slopes. I didn’t get my act together to go skiing along with her but I was game to meet her for a mid-day strong snowshoe. She said the snowboarding was good and did her best to make me jealous that I certainly should have met her when the lifts opened.
    Becca put on her hiking boots and sometime around 11 am we were walking down the snowmobile trail (snow covered bicycle path) towards The Old Man Viewing. The snow was packed hard and we carried our snowshoes. We followed the trail under the Parkway to the pull-off on the northbound side of the Parkway. There used to be a good view of the Old Man from this small parking area. One of the reasons we didn’t drive and park here was because parking is limited to one hour.

    Becca near the high point of Eagle Cliff.

     

    On the shelf above Eagle Pass where there are good views of the slides across the Pass.

    We put on our snowshoes and went straight up through the woods for a just couple minutes before we hit the Greenleaf Trail. We could see tracks in the snow that a couple of people had walked up the trail without snowshoes. When we saw their deep postholes we were extra glad we were wearing our snowshoes.
    The snow conditions were perfect for snowshoes. Our snowshoes settled a few inches into the snow but underneath it was firm so that the crampons bit and gripped well. We flicked up our snowshoe’s televators when the trail got steep. Televators are a piece of metal that snaps up from the snowshoe to elevate the heel to make it easier to climb steeps.
    We caught up to a couple bare booting their way up the trail. Funny thing was they had snowshoes tied onto their backpacks. They weren’t using them? We exchanged greetings and we continued on our way.
    Traversing Eagle Pass was tricky. There was much more ice than snow between the bare ledges. Once through the pass we left the trail and headed north into the woods.
    Becca has been up here a couple more times than me and she had summited it once in deep spring snow. This was our first time in winter.
    I led the way weaving through open woods and sometimes pushing through a couple of tight spruce. I like bushwhacking in the winter on good firm snow because it is much easier than tripping over all the stuff that is lying underneath the snow. Plus our snowshoes were solid! I didn’t use my compass really because from here it was just up, any way we could get up.
    We popped out on the shelf, an open area above Eagle Pass. We enjoyed looking at the slides across the way and the view south down the Notch.
    From here we scrambled up several short but near vertical short sections before the final steep push through some tight trees to reach the ridge.

    Yours truly, Becca and Cannon Cliff from the top of Eagle Cliff.

    The ridge was open and it was icy between the bare ledges. High above the Notch we could look down on the cars driving up the parkway. We could see mountains far to the south. Cannon Cliff and the ski slopes on big Cannon Mountain were right in straight in front of us. We ventured out closer to the face of the cliff to get a peek north up the Notch too.
    Certainly if there were a trail to the top of this cliff it would be a popular destination but it is a rugged bushwhack. The highpoint of the mountain is a short distance north on the ridge.
    We followed our tracks back down the best we could sometimes losing them under the thick spruce branches. Getting down the short steep sections wasn’t easy. We both did some sliding and grabbing onto trees to keep from descending too quickly with gravity’s help.
    I’m always happy when I find my way back to the trail. We had a good bushwhack, neither one of us got too scratched up. Back on the Greenleaf Trail we saw another set of snowshoe tracks had come up the trail and there were no bare-boot tracks. The people we had met earlier on the trail had put their snowshoes on their feet shortly after we passed by them.
    We again did the short bushwhacked down to the snowmobile trail, a couple of snowmobilers drove by us slowly and waved at us. We waved back.
    At our cars we dumped our packs and changed into some dryer clothes. Did we have time? It would be close and since we had season passes we hustled up to the Tramway and caught a ride. On the ride up in the Tram we had a good view of Franconia Notch and of where we just were on top of Eagle Cliff.
    We entered the warm summit building and headed right to the bar. We ordered our beers and then the bar tender yelled, “Last Call”. It was 3 o’clock.

    Yours truly and Becca having fun in the Tramway summit building, “Welcome to the Highest Taps In New Hampshire!” If you don’t have a pass to ski or snowboard, anyone can buy a round trip ticket for $18. The views from the Tramway and Cannon’s summit are well worth the adventure.

    We sat on bar stools right next to the window and looked out at the mountains and above the bar there is a sign that reads “Welcome to the Highest Taps in NH”! This was a fun way to end our adventure. We noticed that the skiers and snowboarders had all left by around 3:30 and the building was now nearly empty.
    The last Tram descends at 3:45 and we made sure we were on it.
    —Have Fun.


  • Coffee Stout by Concord Craft Brewing

    Heading_WickedBrew

     

    Continuing along with our month-long journey of Stout beers month, we look at another awesome beer that provides so much flavor and enjoyment from our local providers within the state that is is not to be overlooked. The providers of this beer are making major headways into being among the best brewers in the state. So without further delay, we look again at Concord Craft.
    Concord Craft Brewing renovated and beautifully restored an old brick building located at 117 Storrs Street, Concord. Owners Dennis Molnar and wife Beth Mayland had a vision to offer great tasting craft brewed beer in the Capital city. Along with their head brewer, Doug Bogle and others, this tribe of brewers and business people help to bring a dream to life. With at least 8 beers on tap at any one time, CCB gathers thirsty followers from near and far. Only open a little over a year, their fame is growing. Canning in 16 oz cans to preserve freshness and negate UV infiltration into the beer, Concord Craft is blazing an important trail of tasty brews for all of NH to enjoy.
    Concord Craft Coffee Stout is a can full of enjoyment and memorable flavor. Rich cold brewed coffee from Wayfarers Coffee Roasters of Laconia, who provide the beans that make this Coffee Stout so delicious, are what helps to make this beer so pleasurable. Concord Craft adds nitrogen to their packaging to make this brew smooth and delectable. At 9.3% ABV, it is a beverage that adds excitement to the sharing of great and locally produced beer. Roasted chocolate and barely malts add to the flavor as hops are blended. It is best to understand the flavor profile they provoke. With a mocha head and extra dark mystique, this beer pours into a tulip glass rich and dark. Notes of coffee and chocolate great you as you approach the glass. The first taste is not nearly overstated as it could be given the flavor target. As a result, this stout is mellow, underestimated and deceivingly hospitable to those who partake. In other words, a 16 oz can four pack will set you back a few strides so beware. Very smooth and absolutely kind, this stout should be shared with friends and relatives.
    Recently released, there is just an official rating by BeerAdvocate.com giving it 4.14 out of 5 which is rated as ‘Exceptional’. Others on UnTapped.com and RateBeer.com all agree that this is a solid winner.zYou should make it a point to visit Concord Craft Brewing when you are going through the Concord area. This friendly group of people are creating a path of satisfaction with their creations. You can find Capitol Craft Coffee Stout at Case-n-Keg, Meredith as well as many other solid providers. Seek them out and enjoy their offerings.

     

    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


  • The Seed of Evil

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    Destroy the seed of evil, or it will grow up to your ruin.  ― Aesop

    Evil has been with mankind since the beginning. Yet we still seem surprised when it moves out of the shadows and makes its presence known, as it did in Parkland, Florida, last week.
    Before the shock wore off – or even fully set in – of seventeen dead at a school, the usual lines were drawn and invectives hurled. In the social media and “regular” media firestorm, many observers applied the label “evil” to their political opponents and to an inanimate object rather than the perpetrator. So Parkland joins Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and Columbine on the list of atrocities from which we will learn nothing.
    The sixth century BC call-to-action credited to Aesop is helpful only for those who can recognize the “seed of evil” when they see it. Many twenty-first century Americans seem incapable of accepting evil as a concept, much less recognizing it for what it is, even when it stares at them in digital brilliance just hours after committing a horrible act. Too many of us can look into evil’s eyes and see only the tool used, not the broken man who used it.
    Except, of course, when the tool is fertilizer, or an airliner, or a rented truck. Then, the tool is less important than the motivation. Except when the motivation is jihad, in which case the search for “evil” turns perversely to the perceived wrongdoing of the victims’ culture or society. Solzhenitsyn recognized that “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” Evil is a human trait only; no mere object is inherently evil.
    T.S. Eliot wrote, “Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.” I’m not sure that was true even when he wrote it. Given what has transpired or been fully revealed since his death in 1965 – the full scope of Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean communist atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, African genocides – one wonders if even he would stand by his words today. Much mischief has been done by people with good intentions, but evil is an altogether different quality; it is done by people with evil intent.
    The concepts of evil and good are religious at heart. The more we’ve marginalized religion in modern society, the less able we are to deal with evil. Mass killings, especially at schools, grab headlines and our attention, and deservedly so. The death of young innocents wounds us all, which is why I can’t imagine a more emotionally-draining job than pediatric oncologist. But the oncologist fights a mindless disease; when we fight against evil, we fight against the actions of a heart and mind. Divorcing that fight from religion and morality disarms us.
    Other than the shock of mass death, we seem immune to the murder and mayhem that have become principal features of American society. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that while guns have been part of America since the Founding – and for a time even fully-automatic weapons were largely unregulated – it is our society that has changed. We have come to accept a level of evil that cannot long be maintained if we want to pass on a civic order to today’s children.
    In 2016, according to FBI statistics, 47 Americans died violently every day, on average. That’s 17,250 dead divided by 366 days in that leap year. Many of those people were young, and most had families and friends, hopes and dreams, and started out their day assuming they’d go to sleep that night. Except for local coverage, few of those deaths made headlines, though as a group they represent more than two-and-a-half Parkland massacres – every day of the year.
    As long as we debate tools and laws – as if just one more law on the books restricting the freedoms of law-abiding citizens will alter the calculus of evil people – we will have to endure more Parklands, more Columbines. Eventually they will merge with the background noise along with those 47 daily murder victims. Politicians do not have the answers. Foreign cultures do not provide meaningful guidance, because the cultural, demographic, and geographic variables are too significant.
    The answer to the question, “How do we reduce gun violence?” is as simple to state as it is hard to implement: We must raise moral citizens and enforce moral laws. That this answer is considered bizarre or unacceptable to about half our population and most of our media elites shows us just how far we’ve slipped, and how far we have to go.


  • Snow’s Great & How Are You?

    With the recent warm weather, Outdoor/Ski Columnist Amy Patenaude isn’t ready for spring just yet and fills us in on some great skiing that is still to be had in the Granite State. Picture here, Pats Peak’s mascot Snowball welcomes Amy’s college friend Sue back to Pats Peak. As Amy says: “There is lots of winter fun to find this winter!”

     

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Have you noticed how long the days are getting now? With the passing of Valentine’s Day I get into a bit of a panic that the end of winter is drawing near. I don’t want winter fun to stop! Winter officially ends Tuesday, March 20th at 12:16 pm. Eeek that’s less than a month away!
    The snow is great on the slopes and in the woods and I have been doing my best to enjoy it. From the last two weeks here are a few highlights of the winter fun I have found!

    Summited Mount Dartmouth
    Charlie dropped me off at the intersection of Base Road and Jefferson Notch Road and he went off to Bretton Woods to go cross country skate skiing on their groomed trail system. My husband isn’t a bushwhacking fan.
    I shouldered my backpack and clicked into my back country skis and kicked and glided up the snowmobiled snow packed Jefferson Notch Road. Surprisingly only a handful of courteous snowmobilers zoomed by me as I skied up the 3 mile long uphill to the height of the land. I entered the woods to the west, just opposite the parking lot for the Caps Ridge Trail.
    In the woods there were a few inches of fresh snow on top of a thin ice crust covering more than a foot of cold dry snow. Punching through the ice layer would not be good skiing so I dumped my skis. I took the snowshoes off my pack and put them on my feet and continued on my way.

    Beneath the snow covered trees my snowshoe tracks cross moose tracks and moose tracks cross my snowshoe tracks.

    My snowshoes stayed above the ice crust most of the time and it was nice snowshoeing. The temperature stayed cold and the snow on the trees didn’t fall or drip on me. I had a pleasant trip up the mountain. I saw lots of moose tracks and signs but no live moose this trip.
    I had visited Dartmouth’s wooded summit before but this was my first time in winter. On top I changed into a dry shirt before heading back down. I didn’t realize it until I got home that my compass must have flung off my neck and into the snow when I took off my shirt. Yes, I do carry a spare compass since that time Bryan’s needle just fell off and broke. But I didn’t need a compass on the way back because I followed my snowshoe track.
    On my return the clouds had begun to lift and I enjoyed blue sky and slightly obstructed views of the Presidential Mountains. In no time I was back to where I had left my skis against a tree and I was excited to ski down what I had climbed up.
    I turned my phone on and texted Charlie that I’d be back at Base Road soon.

    Having too much fun on Cannon’s slopes we forgot it was cold outside.

    Skiing Cannon
    Yah the weather was windy and wild but the five-finger trails off the Zoomer chairlift were more sheltered from the elements. Our niece’s husband and their three young daughters were excited to ski and, all bundled up, they didn’t care it was cold. We skied all morning and got in as many runs before they had to head back home. Cannon has made a lot of snow this winter and Mother Nature has been pretty generous too. Cannon will be hosting Bodefest on March 24, 2018 and registration opens on February 21st on-line at CannonMt.com, click events.

    Sue hasn’t skied in many years but she took right to the slopes at Pats Peak. There is a lot of snow on the ski slopes; it is a good time to go skiing or snowboarding!

    Skiing Pats Peak And A Hockey Game
    I can be found every Monday night racing in the adult league at Pats Peak, but this ski outing was going to be special. My college pals, Sue, Gail and I were going skiing together!
    When we were engineering classmates at New England College, Sue, Gail and I did a lot of skiing at Pats Peak. Skiing at Pats Peak is one of the perks of attending NEC. The three of us have not skied all together since college. Gail has come to ski recently but Sue had not been back to Pats Peak since graduation.

    Snowmobilers like to take their photo in front of this sign so I did too. Winter travel on the Jefferson Notch Road is most often made by snowmobilers but I cross-country skied up the road.

    Gail and her husband were going to join us on their way back from a few days of skiing at Sugarloaf but Gail broke her leg there, darn it, and they had to go straight home.
    Sue had flown up from Maryland to watch her son’s hockey game at Proctor Academy. Yes, Sue, the same pal that hiked the Presidential Range with me this past summer. We were sad that Gail couldn’t join us but the show must go on.
    Sue was excited. We skied on wonderful soft snow. It was nice out but the temperature was below freezing. Sue told me her hands were freezing and her gloves were worn out and no good. She laughed as she recalled she had purchased these mittens at Pats Peak decades ago. After the run we went right in the lodge and into the ski shop. Sue bought a new pair of warm mittens. She left her ancient mittens behind in the shop with the clerk.
    Cascade Basin lift and trails were all brand new to Sue. Cascade Basin’s novice and intermediate trails were the perfect warm-up for her. She remembered the names of her favorite trails, Duster and Tornado! We rode the new summit triple chair and enjoyed the loading carpet. I also like the new lift’s cushioned seats.
    We left the slopes just before 4pm, after skiing every trail, so we could make her son’s hockey game. I haven’t attended a hockey game for decades and it was fun to watch her son score a goal. But that loud music that blares for a few seconds between things getting done on the ice seems crazy to me.
    The next day we repeated our fun at Pats Peak. But before heading to the second hockey game we went cross-country skiing on Proctor’s cross-country ski trails. We had a fun time and next year Gail will join us.

    The Bretton Woods Nordic Center hosted the Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon and the 45th annual Mount Washington Cup last weekend. The races started behind the Mount Washington Hotel.

    Cross-Country Ski Racing at Bretton Woods
    Bretton Woods Nordic Center hosted a weekend of racing. Saturday, the Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon to benefit the New England Ski Museum was held and on Sunday skiers raced 10k in the 45th Annual Mount Washington Cup. Both events are part of the New England Nordic Ski Associations ZAK Cup Series.

    Happy cross-country skiers at the Eastman Cross Country Center in Grantham, NH. Elementary school children take weekly lessons at Eastman and enjoy skiing their 36 kilometer trail system.

    A handful of my friends did both events. First the marathon—42 kilometers of classic technique and then next day they raced another 10 kilometers using the skate technique. Charlie and I had a commitment that prevented us from doing the marathon but we drove up from Henniker to toe the line for the start of the Mount Washington Cup.
    The races start right behind the Mount Washington Hotel on snow blanketed the golf course and then skiers enter the trail system that winds through the forest and over the foothills of the Presidential Mountains. The trails were groomed smooth.
    Charlie waxed my skis fast and I soon wished I had lined up closer to the start line since I kept skiing up on the guy in front of me. Shortly all the skiers were spread out and we able to move where we wanted to go. Thankfully I didn’t see any broken ski poles. I lost sight of Charlie, he is fast.
    Everyone finished the race before the rain shower arrived. Inside the Nordic Center we enjoyed apres race snacks of cheese and crackers and cookies while we awaited the results. Skiers of all ages and abilities take part in this event and medals in five year age groups were awarded.
    There are so many more places I want to ski and mountaintops I want to visit before spring arrives! Get out and Have Fun!

    Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.


  • To-Do, or Not-To-Do

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    The new year brought new state laws across the land, new experiments in the “laboratories of democracy.” That phrase, coined by Progressive jurist Louis Brandeis, sounds like a strength of our federal system: Fifty states, implementing laws and regulations that fit each one’s unique circumstances, within the framework of our national Constitution.
    It would be a strength, if not for the fact that some people – like Brandeis himself – see these experiments as merely a first step. Instead of letting states innovate, their ultimate goal is to impose some experiments on the rest of us, using one state’s “success” as justification. The worst and most recent example of this was ObamaCare.
    Only one state had experimented with a program similar to the ObamaCare blueprint: Massachusetts. President Obama’s touted his now-discredited law as a national extension of Republican Governor Romney’s state health insurance experiment. When he ran against Obama’s reelection, Romney was in the awkward position of advocating the repeal of a federal law that had been based on his own signature achievement as governor.
    RomneyCare wasn’t successful, yet the president and congressional Democrats covered their ObamaCare lies in part by invoking Massachusetts as democracy’s laboratory.
    A valid experiment must be replicable under similar conditions. But our states are not similar enough to justify the federalization of one state’s attempt at policy innovation.
    Geography, demographics, and history all play parts in making our states unique. Even in small and relatively homogeneous New England, each state has distinctive characteristics. I like to think that such as Bernie Sanders could never be elected to high office in New Hampshire. We have a very different tax structure than Taxachussetts. Connecticut seems intent on following in the footsteps of near-bankrupt Illinois, rather than applying the lessons of small-government in the Granite State.
    NH ranked #1 for economic freedom in a 2017 Fraser Institute report, followed by Florida, Texas, and South Dakota. Four very different states, but on Fraser’s measures of government spending, taxes, and labor market freedom, we are similar. At the other end of the spectrum, the least-free state was New York, at the bottom with California, New Mexico, and West Virginia. Again, states that otherwise have little in common share that ignoble distinction. Continue reading  Post ID 3197


  • Success!

    Danielle and the view of North Bald Cap
    Danielle and the view of North Bald Cap with the Presidential Mountains further in the distance as seen from The Outlook. The Outlook is a fine view ledge 1.6 miles from the Success Trailhead on Success Pond Road. Mount Success is a peak crossed by the Appalachian Trail and is on the “52 with a View” list and is ranked #95 on NH’s Highest One Hundred list.

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Sometimes I don’t make the smartest decisions and still everything ends up fine.
    Danielle and I have been trying to make a winter trip up Mount Success since Christmas. Due to extreme cold temperatures and or a big snowfall we have cancelled our plans four times. But this past Wednesday we decided it was really going to be the day to do it.
    Success Pond Road from Berlin is a private road that isn’t maintained for average car travel. My hiking friend Keith, from Berlin, said that Success Pond Road was plowed but it was icy. I told him I had chains and he thought we’d probably be fine.
    I picked up Danielle in Concord and as we drove north on I-93 we watched to the west the big bright Super Moon sink out of sight. When we hit Franconia Notch is was snowing but as we neared Twin Mountain the sky was more blue than cloudy.
    We headed up Success Pond Road and the first bit was fine because this is the access for the City of Berlin’s snow dump. Ten wheelers were traveling in and out and a bulldozer was pushing the snow away.
    Here it was flat and the ground was an ice rink. I stopped the car and got out the chains. Danielle and I went to work putting them on the front of the car. But there was a problem: I had never put them on this car before and I did not know that my car’s suspension did not have clearance for the chains. Of course I had managed to jam the chain up and it took some work to dislodge the mess.
    So here we were with blue sky and an icy road. I have an older Audi Q5 all-wheel drive car with new all-season tires. I decided I would give it a go anyway and attempt to drive the 5.5 miles to the trailhead. I had a shovel and a pair of cross country skis in the back just in case I thought. I rationalized if I made it up and down the big hill at the beginning we’d be fine.
    Yes this was not my best decision, I decided, as I kept one side of the car’s wheels in the snowbank to keep the car from sliding down and turning into an uncontrolled bobsled. I drove slowly and let the car bounce in the frozen ruts. Danielle was quiet in the passenger seat.
    45 minutes later we were parked near the trailhead where luckily a wide spot was plowed at a snowmobile crossing with room for a car or two to park.
    We put on our boots and bundled up since it was only 8 degrees but there was no wind. We shuffled to the trail and discovered that a snowmobile had recently taken a ride up the trail. We tied our snowshoes to our packs and decided to bare boot it up the trail as far as the packed snow would hold our weight.

    Yours truly running away from the Mount Success’ summit to get out of the cold wind.

     

    The snow was deep on the Mahoosuc Trail/Appalachian Trail nearing the summit of Mount Success. Our heads hit the branches usually high above the trail.
    There’s a hole in the bucket! Artifacts from a long ago logging camp, old buckets and pieces of a cast iron stove, hang on a tree along the Success Trail.

    The snowmobile made it about half way to “The Outlook” and from this point the trail was still packed well by previous foot traffic. We made good time up the 1.6 miles of trail to reach this fine view ledge. The Outlook has spectacular views of the Presidentials over the nearby dramatic ledge face of North Bald Cap. The Outlook is also a fine perch to view the peaks in the North Country. Danielle and I had once bushwhacked to the summit of North Bald Cap on a cloudy rainy day and it was nice to see it.
    We put on our snowshoes since the snow was not packed above The Outlook. We broke through the thin ice crust into the softer snow beneath between 1 to 4 inches. Of course occasionally we got tripped up by a deeper punch into the snow but that is the fun of snowshoeing.
    Now the steep trail was behind us and the rest of the way to meet the Mahoosuc Trail/Appalachian Trail was pleasant. We pushed through some mean blowdown trees right before reaching the Bucket Tree. Over the years, pieces of a cast iron stove and rusty pails have been placed on this tree as a reminder that long ago this place was a logging camp.
    We turned south on the Mahoosuc Trail and we realized there was more snow here because our heads were hitting the tree branches above the trail. Route finding was challenging since the white blazes of the AT are few and far between and were difficult to see in the snowy conditions. We quickly got up and down the steep ledge near the bottom of the col between Carlo and Success because our snowshoe’s crampons stuck fast to the ice and snow.

    The 5.5 mile drive from Berlin to the Success Trailhead on Success Pond Road would have made an exciting episode of Ice Road Truckers. Thankfully I didn’t join the list of “stupid hiker drivers” stories told by the local tow truck operators.

    We put on our puffy jackets before we let Mount Success wow us with its open windswept summit. Rocks and ice covered the summit ledge. Below, the ice covered bog bridges across the frozen meadow poked through little snow. The wind was cold here. Danielle stopped to take some photos and I felt too cold to stop yet and so I hurried off past her to reach the other side of the mountain where I recalled the views were more open to the Presidentials. We enjoyed the grand vista far and wide.

    On our return we walked out on the frozen ground to an area that would not be easily reached in the summer to a rocky knob with a fine view down to The Outlook.
    The trip back down the mountain went by quickly. This was Danielle’s first visit to Mount Success and we could not have asked for a more splendid winter day.
    I wasn’t looking forward to the drive back and in fact I forced myself during the hike not to think about the icy road because it wouldn’t help to worry.
    There are mile markers on the road. Mile marker five was missing but 4, 3, 2, 1 were a welcome sight. I drove slowly and often on the wrong side of the road with my wheels in the same snowbank that delivered us to the trailhead safely.
    As we neared the last big uphill and the final downhill to the snow removal dump my palms were sweating and I was nervous. I increased my speed for the steep climb and my car just barely had enough oomph to reach the crown of the hill.
    I had no time to enjoy the fact we had not slid down backwards because now I could just barely see through the sun’s glare reflected off the ice covered steep chute. I couldn’t help but notice that the road aimed directly at the bulldozer parked in the middle of the flat ice rink below. We now noticed numerous truck ruts that led into the ditch where my car would find no return.
    Again, thankfully my car did not turn into an out of control bobsled. With the wheels in the snowbank as far as I dared keep them we crept straight down that hill a bit faster than comfortable but the car didn’t slide into the ditch. We made it and we didn’t even come close to ramming the bulldozer.
    We enjoyed a good day on the mountain and there were some scary thrilling moments on the drive that I would have rather skipped. Yes, not my smartest decision I decided. And what would I have said to my husband if he had smashed up his car on this icy road? I didn’t want to think about it, it was behind me now.
    When we were back on nice black pavement something popped into my mind, “Why didn’t I put the chains on my rear tires?” Duh! Next time, right, if there is ever a next time. Have Fun.

    Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.


  • Ten Years After

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    I’d love to change the world
    But I don’t know what to do
    So I’ll leave it up to you
    “I’d Love to Change the World”
    —Ten Years After (1971)

    British blues-rock group Ten Years After is one of my favorite Woodstock-era bands. They probably didn’t sing it this way, but when I hear “I’d Love to Change the World” on classic rock stations, I picture them with wistful, ironic smiles.
    The refrain reflects the disconnect so many young people felt at the time; wanting change, but not knowing how to accomplish it.

    Tax the rich, feed the poor
    Till there are no rich no more

    Acknowledging that we’ll run out of rich people before we run out of poor, hungry folks means your solution it has a major shortcoming.
    Looking to others to solve problems while proposing flawed solutions is part of the human condition, a bit of childhood we can’t shake as adults. And nowhere is this on better display than when we talk about improving public education.
    In my last essay I reached back twenty years to a 1997 scholarly paper on disengaged students to show that problems identified two decades ago were still hounding public education today.
    This week I’m reaching back just ten years, to one of my own essays. “Math Wars” struck a chord with mathematics “traditionalists” who opposed new mathematics curricula. It was posted on a few math-related online forums. It was even quoted in a 2008 paper by Prof. George Cunningham, published by the Pope Center for Higher Education Quality.
    I share this not because I’m entirely too pleased with myself, but because it shows that one doesn’t have to be a mathematician or teacher to understand a basic truth about teaching math. Prof. Cunningham pulled this quote from my essay:
    If by “meaningful computational algorithms,” we mean simple, accurate and repeatable – things like the traditional addition algorithm, or long division, then the average student will never develop such an algorithm and should not have to try. Universal mathematical algorithms were developed ages ago by Archimedes, Euclid, Descartes and Pascal. There are not many budding Pascals in our school districts, but there are plenty of children capable of learning from the methods discovered by the great mathematicians in history.
    Math traditionalists – mainly parent groups and mathematicians – believed in teaching those traditional algorithms. Getting the right answer using clear, concrete standards based on actually solving math problems was key.
    Reformists – mainly the education establishment – eschewed the memorizing of such core knowledge, preferring student “self-discovery.” For them the journey was key.
    I’m not making this up. Their own words: “The authors of Everyday Mathematics [a now-discredited reformist curriculum] do not believe it is worth students’ time and effort to fully develop highly efficient paper-and-pencil algorithms for all whole number, fraction, and decimal division problems.”
    How did that work out? Cunningham noted that “In the past, most students learned all of the traditional algorithms in fourth and fifth grades without great difficulty, as do students in other countries.” College students “without the ability to multiply or divide multi-digit numbers without the use of a calculator will quickly find themselves enrolled in remedial math, where they will be taught what they should have learned in fourth grade.” Which is, of course, exactly where many college students find themselves today. Mastering higher mathematics requires a solid foundation. Only an “expert” could fail to understand that.
    Prof. Cunningham was exploring whether the University of North Carolina’s education schools were helping or hindering potential teachers. Answer: UNC’s education schools, “like most throughout the United States, are very much in the thrall of the progressive educational culture” and “newly trained and certified teachers are not likely to be ready to help their students make the best progress they can.
    Leaving K-12 education up to “the experts” has been a disaster, and not just for math. Millions of young minds have been damaged in what can only be described as wide-scale progressive social experiments on live and unwitting subjects using unproven methods. (Yes, Common Core, I’m talking about you.)
    Sometimes the world doesn’t need to be changed. Sometimes we just need to rely on timeless truths, like mathematical algorithms. Since our public education system seems loathe to accept that, we need to apply the only leverage we have: Choice.
    Choice brings competition. Competition will lessen the impact of the “experts” who have been designing and imposing these damaging, universal social experiments, and whose livelihoods are enhanced when pedagogy shifts like women’s fashion. Competition brings control. It’s time to take control of public education.


  • A Life Changer

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

    Reprinted from Brendan’s book “The Flatlander Chronicles.”

    When you win something like this, people suggest it is best to keep quiet about it. It’s a good idea to wait and first hire an attorney, get an unlisted phone number and all of your affairs in order before making the announcement to the world.
    I’m sure every Tom, Dick and Harriet will be oozing out of the woodwork trying to sell me on their charity or group and how badly they need my generous donation. There will also be new old friends with their hands out, as well as long-lost family members you never knew were even gone.
    Still, I don’t care. I am throwing caution to the wind and shouting it to the world: “I Won Powerball!!”
    It didn’t hit me at first as I checked my numbers against the winning numbers printed in the newspaper; I didn’t have any of them. My eyes wandered over to the right hand side of the ticket and, sure enough, my Powerball number matched the number in the newspaper exactly. To make things even better, I had played the Powerplay option and so my prize was multiplied four times.
    I took a deep breath and checked the number again, fished out my calculator and was hit with what felt like a ton of bricks when I saw that I had won TWELVE DOLLARS!! (Nine dollars and fifty-seven cents after taxes. I am, like most of you, an honest citizen that reports every single dime I make.)


    At first, all sorts of thoughts drifted through my head. Should I call my family and friends in New York to tell them the news? What would be the first thing I would buy? Should I invest it? Should I give half to a charity I believed in? Should I quit my job?
    My head began to spin as I considered all my options.
    The thing that concerned me the most was what would happen when I brought the ticket down to the convenience store to collect? Would there be news crews waiting for the winner to come and collect his prize? Had one of the reporters from the local television station been camping out all night drinking coffee and eating jelly donuts waiting for my arrival? What about the local papers? Would they splash my name all over the front page and, worse yet, would they spell it incorrectly?
    When I arrived at the convenience store it seemed like business as usual. There were no news trucks, no reporters. It was just the girl at the counter who had sold me the ticket a few days before.
    I knew she might be impressed. She was from another country and I’m sure that when she ran the ticket through and it announced “Congratulations. You’re a winner!” and then saw the amount I had won, she might look at me in a different light. My friend, Vinnie, once told me that in some countries twelve dollars could last you a lifetime.
    She took the ticket, ran it through the machine, listened to the announcement, stapled something onto the ticket and asked: “Do you want to have more tickets for this?”
    “Don’t I have to fill out a form or something?” I asked.
    “No form, just ticket. How many?”
    “You don’t need my Social Security number?”
    “Number? You need number for car wash?”
    I told her I’d just take the cash and left quietly.
    I took another look to the left and right as I exited the store; no news trucks or reporters waiting. There was probably a big fire somewhere or one of the presidential candidates must be shaking hands at a Bean Hole Bean supper somewhere.
    I took the twelve dollars home, placed it on the kitchen table and stared at it for a long time. It had been quite awhile since I’d seen so much cash in one place that actually belonged to me. It’s at this point that I decided to write this column.
    I’m still not sure what to do with the money yet. I have heard stories of people whose lives were ruined after winning Powerball. I started to understand why as I felt that sense of reckless abandon begin to swell up inside me.
    I am determined not to let that happen to me. That’s why I am announcing it now. I feel it best to get that anonymity of who the winner is out of the way so I can suffer the consequences and then get on with my life as quickly as possible.
    As far as how I will end up spending my winnings, that is still left to be seen. I’m just glad that I won the money at this stage in my life, living a comfortable existence in New Hampshire. I know my experience and maturity will come in handy.
    A six pack of an expensive microbrew seems like a good investment for the time being.

     

     


  • Two Wonderful Wednesdays Killington & Okemo

    Yours truly frolicking down Frolic on Snowdon Mountain Peak. Vermont’s Killington Resort’s six peaks, Killington, Skye, Ramshead, Snowdon, Bear Mountain and Sunrise, provide 150 trails and 3,050 vertical feet of skiing and riding.

    By Amy PatenaudeSki/Outdoor Writer

    Our friends on the other side of the Connecticut River have a lot of nice ski areas too. Killington Resort and Okemo Mountain Resort are worth the extra drive and especially when they treat New Hampshirites like locals.
    When one of my friends asked me if I wanted to go to Killington with him I jumped. The snow conditions were the best—packed powder everywhere and they reported 154 out of 155 trails open. The upcoming weekend forecast had that ugly “R” word and I rationalized I should go get it while the getting was good.
    Killington offers $58 dollar lift tickets to Vermont and New Hampshire residents on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but not during holiday weeks. I handed my driver’s license over the counter with my money. The sales clerk handed me a lift ticket and she reminded me that Tuesdays are New Hampshire days too and to come back again soon.
    I met Jeremy at the K-1 Lodge and booted up and we made it to the lift line at 9 am just as they started loading the gondola with eager skiers and snowboarders.
    On the ride up I knew it was going to be a great day. The sun was shining and the snow sparkled on the trees and slopes. Best of all there was little to no wind and the temperature was in the double digits and rising.
    On top of the mountain I was wowed by the view. I have skied Killington dozens of times but I realized this was the first time I had ever been here when the vista was crystal clear. All over Killington Peak I could see fabulous mountain vistas. I could see so much more than Vermont’s peaks the Adirondacks in New York and New Hampshire’s White Mountains starring Mount Washington could all be clearly seen by the naked eye.

    Checking out “The Stash” an all natural inspired terrain park on Killington’s Bear Mountain Peak.

    We skied and skied. I think we were on a mission to ski every trail on the mountain. The cold packed powder snow was dreamy. Killington Resort’s trails connect their six peaks. We skied a few top to bottom runs back to the gondola and then more runs on Bear Mountain and Skye Peak before heading over to Snowdon Mountain and Ramshead Mountain.
    People were skiing and riding and dropping into the trees off of the trails on Snowdon and Ramshead.
    This was the nicest day I have ever had at Killington. I have skied here dozens of times but mostly for early or late season when not every trail was open.
    At the Ramshead Lodge we stopped for lunch at 11:30. I had the burger special with lots of bacon and cheese and Jeremy had chicken tenders and fries and of course hot chocolate too.
    We continued our mission covering as many trails as possible. We even skied down to Route 4 and rode the Skyeship Express Gondola back up to the top of Skye Peak. That was a first for me.
    Just after 2 pm we took a short break right at the top of the mountain in the Killington Peak Lodge. We had a drink and my legs sure appreciated a little rest. Jeremy was more eager to get back out.
    Superstar never skied sweeter. The trail is covered in deep snow and it will last long into the spring and maybe into summer at the rate this winter is going.

    Au natural snow on the Killington’s South Ridge Trail The Jug, follows an abandoned lift line.

    I can recall our last run because it is the trail I have skied the most in early season, Double-dipper to Cascade down to the K-1 Lodge. The lifts closed at 4 pm and we finished at 4:05. The skiing had been so good that I didn’t want to stop but my legs were glad the lifts were closed.
    Jeremy tracked our day, we made 25 runs and skied 30,800 vertical feet. I was surprised at our total but on second thought there was a reason I was worn out.

    Yours truly, Kris and Sharon celebrate a snow day at Okemo Mountain Resort, Ludlow, Vermont.

    Okemo Mountain Resort offers a special for Vermont and New Hampshire residents, Wonderful Wednesdays, non-holiday, all day for just $45 (plus $5 if you don’t already have their RFID card).
    The three of us had planned to go skiing together over a month ago. When I woke up it was snowing. We were going to go to a resort 3 hours away but after a few messages back and forth we decided we would still go skiing but we’d stay to closer to home. Okemo Mountain had been on our short list of places we wanted to ski together this season and it was less than an hour and a half away.
    I picked up Kris and Sharon in New London and we were on our way. The snow fell lightly, the roads were okay and traffic moved along at a reasonable speed.
    Sharon is a good luck charm. Every time I ski with her it snows!
    Kris skis Okemo often and knows her way around. She suggested that we start from the Jackson Gore base area.
    Mid-week skiing is less crowded but a mid-week morning during a snowstorm makes it feel like you own the place. During a snowstorm it takes a while longer for people to show up. The only time all day we waited in a short lift line was after lunch at the Sunburst 6-pack.
    We took the lift from the base and worked our way over to the Quantum Four-bubble chair that carried us to the top of Jackson-Gore Peak. While most everyone else scurried off to Okemo Peak we skied Jack Gore’s trails and made fresh tracks for a half a dozen runs in a row.

    Kris and Sharon making fresh tracks on Quantum Leap underneath Okemo Mountain Resort’s warm and comfy Quantum Quad orange bubble chairlift.

     

    Okemo Mountain Resort boasts 121 trails and delivers 2,200 vertical feet. Nearby the Okemo Valley Nordic Center offers groomed trails for cross-country skiing and access to snowshoe trails.

    Down Limelight, White Lightning and Rolling Thunder we let our skis glide through the fresh snow. Kris thought the snow was like silk. I thought it was like butter. Our skis just glided and we floated while we made easy turns.
    We cruised over to the main mountain and the tracked out snow was still cold and fluffy. We skied World Cup and took a run through their terrain park but we stayed clear of the jumps and features.
    At the Summit Lodge we had lunch. Hot homemade chicken soup, grilled cheese sandwiches and a fresh made Rice Crispy square hit the spot. Of course we had hot chocolate too.
    The snow continued to fall and for the views we were lucky to be able to see the buildings down below at the base. When we were on Okemo Peak we could barely see the top of the fire tower.
    Okemo has made a great amount of snow and with the four or five inches of new fluff on top the only evidence we had that there was a big thaw a week ago is that the glades were not open. The snow was great and worthy of the accolades they receive for their snowmaking and grooming.
    We had a fun day making lots of runs and enjoying the chairlift rides together.
    On the way home we stopped at the famous Singleton’s General Store in Proctorsville, Vermont. It is truly one of those stores where if they don’t have it you don’t need it. Between the three of us we bought a pair of pants, a shirt, smoked sausage and we admired the pink Smith & Wesson 380 displayed behind the gun case glass.
    Have fun.

    Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.