by John J. Metzler Weirs Times Contributing Writer
UNITED NATIONS – One of the silent tragedies among the conflicts raging in the Middle East, concerns the fate of the ancient and now persecuted Christian communities. Concerns for the forgotten and once vibrant Christian minorities especially in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are often politely air brushed out of political discussions.
Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has taken special care to underline the plight of persecuted minorities in the Middle East who are facing attacks by Islamic terrorist groups.
In an exclusive interview with this writer, Minister Szijjarto conceded, “Unfortunately the West-ern World suffers hypocrisy and political correctness. It is strange but many of us are not brave enough to speak about the necessity of protecting Christians.”
Indeed political gatherings “usually speak about ‘religious groups’ which I don’t like the term for example. I like to be straightforward and honest. And if I mean we have to protect the Christians, I will say we have to protect the Christians.”
He added enthusiastically, “Whenever I speak about the necessity to protect Christians in the foreign affairs councils of the European Union, I’m warned, ‘Peter be more balanced and say protection of religious groups’ which I totally deny because if we Christians don’t speak about the necessity to protect Christians, Who will speak about this? No one!”
Although Christian believers form the largest religious community worldwide, “that should not keep us from speaking about brothers and sisters living in those areas where they are not the ma-jority.”
Significantly, the Budapest government has established a State Secretariat which only deals with the cases of the persecuted Christian communities around the world. Continue reading → Post ID 3013
by Robert Hanaford Smith, Sr. Weirs Times Contributing Writer
I have read several versions of the story about the so-called witch of New Hampton, New Hampshire and have written about her, but my curiosity concerning this reportedly reclusive and mysterious woman who lived in the 1700’s and early 1800’s led me to a search for more information about her. So I use the word “brew” here in the sense of what she brought about. She was commonly called Granny Hicks, though that was reportedly not her real name.
She lived in a house near the Pemigewasset River in a cottage which some authors claimed she built herself. Supposedly nothing was known about her family or where she came from before living in New Hampton. Her appearance, habits, and anti-social behavior , along with unusual events that took place in town led some to label this lonely woman as a witch. When the wife in a neighboring home who was asked for some yarn by Granny Hicks so she could finish darning her sock refused to comply, she thought she detected a look of revenge in Granny’s eyes. The next morning a woodchuck appeared on the neighbor’s doorstep or in the hallway of the home, depending on which version of the story you read. Anyway, there was speculation that Granny Hicks had turned herself into a woodchuck by the means of witchcraft..
Using public polling as a political weapon is nothing new. A recent bought-and-paid-for-by-the-AFT poll simply lowers the bar.
The leaders of the American Federation of Teachers, a public-sector union representing employees of an education system where nearly two-thirds of its graduates lack proficiency in reading, want you to know that “Parents Prefer Good Neighborhood Schools Over More Choice.” Surprising result? Of course not. They got what they paid for.
The survey by Hart Research Associates is available online, so you can see for yourself how to craft questions to elicit a client’s desired responses. The claims that “five central themes emerge clearly and consistently” and that “choice” isn’t among parental priorities sound impressive – until one wades into the devilish details armed with an inquisitive mind.
The five themes are nicely constructed, at least as seen from a distance. But like that North Korean “Peace Village” in the DMZ, when examined more closely, the nice-looking buildings are revealed to be nothing more than empty shells.
Based on loaded questions, the poll purportedly shows: Parents believe public schools are helping their children achieve their full potential; they want access to a good neighborhood public school much more than increased choice of schools; their top priorities include ensuring a safe and secure environment and equal opportunity for all; they believe public schools are inadequately funded and oppose shifting resources from regular schools to charters and vouchers; they disapprove of Betsy DeVos’ performance as Secretary of Education; and they want more investment in traditional public schools, with particular emphasis on supporting art and music curriculums and providing health and nutrition services. Continue reading → Post ID 3013
The Last Two Peaks: Kinsman Mountain South & North
by Amy Patenaude Outdoor/Ski Writer
Seven years ago I can easily recall how this all started. My golfing gal friends, Sharon and Sarah thought it would be fun to hike with me. We did a hike together in the Belknap Mountains over Piper, Whiteface and Swett. They seemed to like climbing up and over rocks and they kept on hiking with me.
We dropped Sharon’s car off at the Mount Kinsman Trailhead in Easton and then we drove a few minutes further south on Route 116 before taking a left up the Reel Brook Road to reach the Trailhead.
This wasn’t the easiest way to hike South and North Kinsman but I assured them it was the most beautiful route and the extra miles of hiking would be well worth it.
We shouldered our packs and headed up the trail. The trail follows old logging roads through the forest as it gradually climbs up to the Kinsman Ridge Trail. The trail adopter has taken good care of this trail and I felt badly that a big tree had fallen on the trail just above the powerline swath. The Reel Brook crossings were easily rock hop-able since the water was low. Even the usually wet flat section near the top of the trail was dry. We made good time.
The Kinsman Ridge Trail is the Appalachian Trail and we followed the white blazed trail north. When we crossed the open powerline swath the morning fog and low clouds had not dried up. We could just barely see down to Bog Pond and no further.
We descended to Eliza Brook and took the path to the campsite. The shelter is relatively new, built in 2010 to replace an old one. If we had come this way the first year they started hiking in the Whites we may have seen them piecing it together. We sat on the big log on the edge of the front of the open shelter and enjoyed a rest and a snack.
The Nobos (north bound) AT hikers have already passed by this way and in fact if they hope to make it to Katahdin this season they better be well into Maine. We took the path back to the trail and sitting at the intersection was a round man with a large backpack. We chatted a few minutes and we learned he was headed south on a flip-flop AT hike. He started in Georgia and hiked to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia and then traveled to Kathadin, Maine and is now hiking back to Harper’s Ferry.
I looked it up: Eliza Brook Shelter to Katahdin is 382 miles and Eliza Brook to the Harpers Ferry is about 780 miles.
For most of the next mile the trail follows along the bank of Eliza Brook. The sound and sight of its cascading water is a delight to experience and helps make the rugged trail feel less rough. Here we ran into a speedy young man with a much smaller pack than the fellow we had just met. He was headed south from Kathadin too and he didn’t have spare time to talk.
We crossed the brook and climbed. Soon we were near Harrington Pond, the trail was muddy and the bog bridges are either missing or underwater. I used my hiking pole to poke around to find them in a few places. The area of the pond was already in full fall scenery—the trees were colorful and the grasses had turned gold.
The AMC White Mountain Guide (the new 30th edition is now available) notes that the section of trail between Harrington Pond and South Kinsman may require extra time. Yes it does! Here the trail is steep and ledgy and requires tricky scrambling. Sharon and Sarah discussed what trails had climbs as difficult as this one. As we were nearing the top two young gals flew by us and we exchanged cheery hellos as they left us behind.
Once over the steep pitch the trail gradually climbed through scrubby trees to the open south knob of the South Peak. Here there is a big rock cairn. The map has a spot elevation on the north end of the summit but the cairn is on the south end. I guess it doesn’t really matter since we’d be going over to the north end on our way to the North Peak.
The sun was hotter and the skies were mostly clear except the Franconia Range Mountains were hidden by white clouds.
The mile between the two peaks went by quickly. Several times the phrase I can’t believe this is our last mountain on the list was spoken by Sarah and Sharon. I agreed with them. The scrambles up to the North Peak were much easier and shorter. We dropped our packs at the intersection of the path to the outlook and walked another minute up the trail where I showed them the actual North Kinsman highpoint—it’s the top of a pointy boulder on the east side of the trail. They reached up and touched it and whacked it with their hiking poles.
Triumphantly we went back and down to the outlook. They stayed on the upper ledge while I climbed down to the lower ledge to get the view down to Kinsman Pond.
We stayed here a good long time wishing the clouds would free up the vista of the nearby Franconia Ridge. Thankfully the view to Cannon Mountain was clear.
To get back it was 4 miles of downhill and of course more scrambling over big rocks and ledges. But now we were on our way home and we would celebrate when we were really done back at the car. In less than a half of a mile we turned left off the Kinsman Ridge and onto the Mt Kinsman Trail.
I don’t think we stopped once on the way down. We were slow and steady higher up and our pace quickened as the trail became more gradual down low. Below the Kendall Brook crossing there are new water bars and stone steps. We appreciate the hard work performed by the volunteer trail adopters.
Hooray! We had hiked 11.5 miles through lovely forests, along cascading brooks and over open ledges and mountaintops and now they’ve stood on top of all 48 peaks on the NH 4,000 footer list.
Sharon and Sarah posed beside the Mt Kinsman Trail sign holding a sign I had made for them and I snapped their photo. I am no artist but I did my best with colored pencils to draw an AMC 4000 footer patch for them.
I asked them why they did it.
“Because it was FUN.”
Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are 48 peaks on the New Hampshire 4,000 Footer list and the most remote are the Bonds. The three Bond peaks are far in the federally designated Pemigewasset Wilderness and a long hike is required to reach them.
The traverse from Lincoln Woods on the Kancamagus Highway to the end of Zealand Road (near the backside of the Bretton Woods Ski Resort) is just shy of 20 miles and up 4,600 vertical feet.
There are a few ways to hike the Bonds and Zealand Mountains and none of them are easy. Many people will do the trip over two or three days by camping along the way. My friends Sarah and Sharon, the golfing gals, had no interest in camping and they nervously opted to do it in a single day.
I knew they could do it but it would be a long day. This summer they’ve hiked Owls Head, the Twins and a good number of rounds of golf on hilly courses. I estimated they would do it in 12 or 13 hours if all went well and we’d do it on a day with a good weather forecast.
I’ve led other family and friends on this route and this past winter I did it—I knew these mountains stunning vistas would keep them energized for their longest hike ever.
I also invited another hiking friend to join us. This would be Bria’s first visit to these peaks too.
At 6:30 am, we posed for a photo on the suspension bridge and we quick-stepped up the Lincoln Woods Trail that follows upstream the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River. For 4. 7 miles we hiked on the old logging railroad bed before I walked us off the trail and right up to someone’s tent. We had not quite reached the turn for the Bondcliff Trail and I had mistaken a camping herd path for the trail. Thankfully it was an easy backtrack to find the trail; I must have been sleep walking.
Then the Bondcliff Trail follows old logging roads and crosses Black Brook four times. The lower water crossings were easily rock hop-able and the upper two were dry. The rock staircase was in good condition and it is nice that erosion is being kept under control here. But it is sad that the trail just below is muddy and getting washed out.
Up the trail the four of us went and as we were scrambling up a short but steep ledge a backpacker caught up to us. We offered to let him go by but he declined. He respectfully held back and didn’t push us; he passed us later on the summit.
After hauling ourselves up the ledge we were close to the summit and we were standing above the scrubby trees and looking out at the big view. I pointed to the clouds and noted that they were covering the Franconia Range but everything else was in the clear.
In a couple minutes we were above tree-line and the trail parallels the steep edge of Bondcliff’s cliff! Sarah is no fan of heights and bravely and calmly kept her eyes to the east far from the edge. Bria and I were excited to run ahead and out onto the piece of Bondcliff that abruptly sticks out and appears to be hanging off the side. Sarah and Sharon watched us and told us we were crazy as they snapped our photo.
As we hiked off of Bondcliff and towards Mt Bond the clouds started to lift from south to north on the Franconia Ridge and the sun got brighter in the sky. We enjoyed the rugged mile of open trail before we headed back into scrubby trees. We climbed up and over big rocks and an extra slippery ledge before popping out on Bond’s bare summit.
We had hiked 10.3 miles and reached the summit of the highest peak of our traverse by noon. We sat on Mt Bond and enjoyed a good long lunch along with the mountain panorama. We could see where we had been and we could see where we were headed. Mountains and forest filled our eyes. From Bondcliff, Mt Bond blocked our view but on Mt Bond we had a clear view north and Mt Washington and the Presidentials were visible and everything in between.
The trip off of Bond to the intersection of the spur trail to the West Bond spur went quickly. We dropped our packs at the intersection and walked the half mile to West Bond’s summit. Walking without the weight of our packs on our backs felt like we were floating. On the summit the fellow that passed us on Bondcliff was enjoying a leisurely moment. He was in no hurry because he was spending the night at nearby Guyot Shelter. We took a short rest and soaked in the view and especially of where we just hiked.
Again we shouldered our packs and it was a short distance to reach the Bond-Guyot col and the path to the shelter. Bria wanted to hike the path and go down to see the shelter and I went with her. Sharon and Sarah decided to continue and would meet us on bare summit of Guyot.
Bria and I dropped our packs and hustled. The path is almost a quarter of mile and drops a couple hundred feet to the campsite. We did enjoy the fresh spring water at the shelter.
We caught up with our friends and together we hiked over Guyot’s higher north peak before going down and then back up to Zealand Mt.
On Zealand we followed the 1/10th of a mile path to the viewless heavily wooded summit. The summit sign was what we came to see.
With 14 miles behind us we still had work to do to get down to the Zealand Falls Hut. We all made it down the steep section with the widely spaced rung ladder “built for a giant.” I promised that view from Zeacliff would be super and a good place to take a break before our tough descent.
On the way Bria and I took a short detour down to visit the little Zeacliff Pond and looked back up at the steep mountain.
The view from the top of the Zeacliff’s ledges was worth the effort to keep moving and we enjoyed our last big vista—yah another view with all the big mountains! The pointy peaks of Anderson and Lowell along side of Mount Carrigain’s bumps is my favorite. My friends appreciated seeing Mts Willey, Field and Tom and memories of our wintery traverse came flooding back to us.
The next mile down to the hut was the longest mile—steep, slippery, rocky and wet. That mile took us almost an hour.
We were very happy to cross the White Wall Brook because we knew we’d be at the hut soon. We took a short stop and checked out the hut, chatted with some hut guests and looked at the falls and back on the trail we went together.
Just like in the morning we quick-stepped down the trail. The Zealand Trail’s extensive board walks and the tree’s leaves rapidly turning colors around the ponds made the trail lovely and interesting. These last miles felt like the shortest miles of our adventure. All the tough terrain and climbs were far behind us.
At 6:30 pm we tossed our packs into the back of my car that my husband Charlie had helped me drop off the previous evening. Now all that was left to do was to drive back to Lincoln to retrieve the cars and to plan our next outing during a celebration supper at Gordi’s.
Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: email@example.com.
It seems like everybody is angry about something nowadays.
Either a few people are on television yelling back and forth about something or other or there are crowds of folks marching down avenues and boulevards holding signs protesting this or that.
Even on the Internet, on so-called “social” media sites like Facebook and Twitter, no one is being very social. Some people are risking carpal tunnel syndrome just to belabor a point of view about something they aren’t pleased about to a bunch of other potential carpal tunnel victims who will never agree with them no matter how clever they think they are.
Many of us have been there, myself included.
People arguing with each other about something or other or this and that has been going on since the beginning of time. It’s just that nowadays, I feel, we quickly jump into the argument because it is so much easier.
I’m sure the cavemen thought carefully about their response to a disagreement. After all, sketching your reply on cave walls with dull instruments took time. A response was a thoughtful process.
Back in the days before the telegraph, it took days and weeks for responses to an argument to travel back and forth between two parties. You wanted to deeply reflect on your reply before you put pen to paper.
Today, no one thinks for more than a few seconds before responding to someone with a point of view different than theirs. You can get into dozens of arguments before breakfast.
All of this has forced, in my opinion, a lot of knee jerk reactions to things that quickly escalate as tens of thousands of people can join in the argument in a matter of minutes. Many of these arguments are not long-lived as today’s short attention spans have people forgetting what they were mad about in the morning since it has already been replaced by a new outrage by lunchtime.
Yes, some outrages last a little longer, depending on how much news coverage they generate. The more coverage, the more people who become outraged.
There is never a lack of things to protest. If you wait long enough, one will appeal to you.
It seems that more people are spending their time and energy following the crowd in the latest protests than following their own passion; the thing they were born to do. Individualism seems to be fading and that’s sad.
The latest trend in outrage has to do with holidays. The “cause of the moment” has some wanting to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People Day.
It has already happened in some places.
It seems some folks don’t like some things that Columbus did. He has become offensive to the protestors who have themselves lived perfect, unsullied lives.
It’s not the first, nor will it be the last, hypocritical stone that will be cast in this mad, mad world of political correctness.
As one thing must lead to another, soon people will be taking to the streets in order to protest to eliminate other holidays or to add new ones.
Maybe the next stop will be banning Thanksgiving. After all, the pilgrims must have done some things that weren’t so nice. It’s time to shut that one down as well. Labor Day? Isn’t that offensive to some who might be out of work at the moment? We must end it.
I am only one man (sometimes two after a couple of beers, but that’s another story) and I can only do so much. I can’t stop all the protests. Still, I would like to offer this compromise to at least try to put the brakes on what this holiday nonsense might soon turn out to become.
I propose a holiday that isn’t designated for anything in particular so people can choose to celebrate an occasion or honor a person of their choosing.
We should make it fall on a Wednesday so people can’t use it simply as an excuse for a long weekend.
You can celebrate whatever you want: a famous person, fresh fruit, Star Wars, bologna and peppermint sandwiches, toenail fungus – it’s wide open and totally up to you and no one can stop you from your particular celebration.
The only restriction is that you have to do it on your own property. You can’t take it to the streets and you can’t complain about what someone else might use the day to designate.
So, you might ask, what would I use this day to celebrate? I haven’t figured it out yet, but I know one thing for sure. No one will be invited.
People have a tendency to ruin everything.
We met at the New Hampton Park and Ride lot at 6:30 am and in one car we continued north on I-93. The sky was grey but the clouds were high above the mountains. As we drove through Franconia Notch, I pointed out that Mount Liberty looked like George Washington lying in state, the summit of Liberty is certainly a good likeness of our first President’s nose.
The weather forecast called for cool weather with the clouds clearing by mid-day. We all wanted a clear day on top of the Twin Mountains. The peaks are in the middle of the White Mountains and high above the designated Pemigewasset Wilderness.
The North Twin Trailhead is west of the Village of Twin Mountain and from Route 3 turn south on Haystack Road and drive straight to its dead-end. There are about a dozen campsites on Haystack Road and they all appeared to be occupied. No surprise since these Federal camping sites are free for public use.
Sharon, Sarah and I headed up the trail. I reminded them we had hiked the first mile of this trail a few years ago to reach Mount Hale’s abandoned Fire Warden’s Trail.
The North Twin Trail starts out nicely on an old logging railroad grade and the official trail crosses the Little River three times before heading steeply up the mountain. The river is a pretty sight and its water is loud as it cascades over its rocky bed.
A hike to the first river crossing, 8/10ths of a mile, would make a nice short walk for nature lovers visiting the area.
The new 30th edition of the AMC’s White Mountain Guide explains that the first two water crossings can be avoided by staying on the east bank, bearing left at the first crossing and following a well-beaten path along the river. And that is just what we did!
All the “well-beaten path” needs is a trail sign. It is easy to follow and even when the Little River is little it is not easy to cross without getting wet feet (during times of high water all the crossings can be impassable). The third crossing cannot be avoided and it is the narrowest and least difficult. We were able to rock hop across successfully but one step was tricky.
The trail led away from the river and we headed up the mountain. We easily hopped across a low flowing brook and as we hiked we walked over a few dry stream beds. The trail got steeper and steeper and the footing of the trail got worse with lots of loose rock. We had a view through the trees of Mount Washington and we could see the black puffs of smoke from the old coal Cog Railway train that they run first in the morning.
We met a group of about a dozen Dartmouth students out for their freshmen camping trip. They were loaded down with heavy backpacks and they zipped by us.
The last half mile got steeper but when the trail leveled out we were rewarded with an open ledge with wide views ranging from Mount Washington and the Presidentials to Mount Carrigain and every peak in between and more farther away. This east view ledge is a nice place to hang out and we ate half a sandwich and enjoyed a good rest. The clouds were higher and the sun was fighting to come out and was winning.
We continued on and reached the short side path that travels over the wooded actual highpoint and pops out at North Twin’s fine west facing outlook. We decided we’d linger here on our way back and we headed to South Twin.
The distance between North and South Twin is just 1.3 miles but it sure looks a lot further. As we hiked, I joked just wait until we get to South Twin, it looks even further away from North Twin. It really does, maybe because South Twin is higher?
The hike between the peaks went pleasantly quick. We made it to South Twin before noon and so did a couple dozen other hikers via the Twinway, aka The Appalachian Trail.
South Twin’s summit is above tree line and the mountain filled panorama is among the grandest. The close by Franconia Ridge was dazzling.
The Thru-Hikers were chatting and asking about the weather. The words “snow” kept coming up, would it or wouldn’t it in the next few days?
A gal from Vermont told us she had gotten up at 4 am and only planned to hike Galehead but since the sun came out she decided to peak-bag South Twin too. She was trying to decide if she should visit North Twin but it looked so far away. Sharon and Sarah did their best to talk her into doing it.
Sharon and Sarah recalled adding Mt. Jackson at the end of their Southern Presi Traverse and because a hiker on the Mt Pierce had told them you don’t want to hike all the way back up here just to get Jackson! We enjoyed the light moment and the mountain vista before heading back to North Twin. The Vermont gal didn’t join us. We really liked her dog and hoped she’d join us.
The trip back to North Twin felt even quicker and we went back to settle in for more time on the east outlook. The sun was warm and we sat on the rocks. We pointed out the Galehead AMC hut down below and at all the peaks we had hiked together. We once again had North Twin all to ourselves.
But not for long. Maggie, the Vermont gal’s dog appeared and then she did too. “I am so glad you talked me into this!” She now was more than half done completing the 4,000 footer list.
We ambled down the mountain and the Little River water crossing seemed easier because the tricky rock step was down not up this time. We covered the 11.2 round trip in less than 8 hours and we felt great.
I’ve been hiking with Sharon and Sarah for seven years helping them collect the mountains on the 4,000 footer list. They can check off two more peaks and now they have summited 42 of the 48 peaks on the list.
We’re headed out for big hike soon.
When we look up into the clear night sky, we could ponder many things. How many stars? How many galaxies? Is there life on other planets? What is floating around up there? Well to the last question, we know that there is a lot of debris, large and small, floating through the abyss. Some would also call this space dust, some of which is visible from a comet’s tail. But we can examine another kind of space dust right here on earth in the form of an IPA from Elysian.
Elysian Brewing from Seattle, Washington, owns and operates 4 different restaurants and a brewery. Opening in 1996 (that magical time when craft brewing initiated huge industrial growth), Elysian looked to leverage food paired with great beer in an area of the country known for its flavorful hop varieties. Northern west coast hops had come into their own celebrity status in the late 1990’s and was the time period in which everyone wanted to try them in their beers. Out of that time, west coast IPA styles became a norm.
Elysian’s brewery encompasses twenty 240-barrel fermenters and is a 60-barrel brewhouse. To date, they have designed and brewed over 350 different recipes during their brewing career. Their motivation and momentum seems unstoppable. Garnering a three-time award for Large Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado, Elysian’s growth is astronomical.
Pouring into a pint glass, Space Dust is a bright yellowy-gold hue with the slightest haze and bright white head which slowly fades. Aromas of floral and citrus were expected but I also realized a bit of sweet caramel. Taste followed the nose. Added to the list of hints were orange and a little grapefruit or pineapple which is also to be expected in a west coast IPA. Malt character is precisely balanced with neither malt or hop yelling above each other. The malt bill on this beers is simple and to the point; no special this-or-that grains. This also helped to keep the mouthfeel light. At 73 IBUs (International Bittering Units), and 8.2% ABV, Space Dust is deceivingly deceptive. It drinks like a 40 IBU and 5% which may get some of you in trouble…
BeerAdvocate.com has categorized this as an American Double IPA. BA has officially rated Space Dust IPA as ‘Outstanding’ and awards it a 90 out of 100. Other followers are rating it as high as 4.88 out of 5.0.
You can buy 12 oz six packs of Elysian Space Dust at Case-n-Keg in Meredith as well as other fine beer providers. Hope you agree with me and find Space Dust IPA out of this world!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Another football season beckons and excitement abounds as professional, college, high school and junior level football players take to the playing fields, dreaming of gridiron glory.
The 2017 season will end on a down note for most as only one team can win a championship in any league or conference. But some players’ seasons will end extra early due to the inevitable injuries associated with this violent game.
Which brings us to the perennial question about whether football should just go away, given that so many players get hurt and maimed. Concussions and brain injuries are of particular concern lately, given the many anecdotal examples of former gridsters suffering dementia.
A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association focused attention on research conducted by Boston University’s School of Medicine where researchers studied 111 brains donated by former NFL players—110 of which showed damage characteristic of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Yet despite a growing movement to ban football, more New Hampshire high schools than ever are offering the sport. Locally, Laconia, Kingswood, Plymouth and Franklin High Schools have long-established gridiron traditions. But now Gilford/Belmont fields a joint football team. Winnisquam and Newfound High Schools now have football.
In fact, smaller high schools through New Hampshire have jumped on the gridiron bandwagon, probably to the chagrin of local soccer coaches—schools like Epping/Newmarket, Farmington/Nute, Raymond, Mascoma, Merrimack Valley and Bow.
So how does one reconcile the growing movement to ban football with the growing number of schools that offer it? Will the public support both football and increasing player safety requirements?
Time will tell.
ROCKING BASKETBALL IN CONCORD
It was cool to see Concord’s Main Street in front of the State House turned into basketball courts on August 11-12 as part of the Rock-On Basketball and Music Fest. Concord’s Bonner basketball family members (Matt, Luke, and Becky) are prime movers behind this unique annual event that combines entertainment with sports while bringing people together.
Hopefully this event will continue to grow. I’d suggest adding a dunk contest. And a three-point contest. Maybe a “Legends” component so Dave Bonner could return to the court.
Rock on, baby!
What year did the New York Yankees finish tenth—and last—in the American League? (Answer follows)
Born Today …
That is to say, sports standouts born on August 24 include former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan (1952) and MLB Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. (1960).
“I have two weapons; my arms, my legs and my brain.” – NFL quarterback Michael Vick
The Yankees finished tenth and last in the American League in 1966, ½ game behind the Boston Red Sox. The Baltimore Orioles finished first and then swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
State Representative Michael Moffett was a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord and currently teaches on-line for New England College. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
by Robert Hanaford Smith, Sr. Weirs Times Contributing Writer
An immense bonfire on Shingle Camp Hill in the town of New Hampton lit up the sky on a Saturday night in the summer of or near 1910 as it announced the beginning of the Old Home Week celebration.
A local newspaper reported that “This welcoming beacon could be seen for miles around and was only one of several which could be seen in adjoining towns.”
The citizens of the central New Hampshire town were said to be among the foremost to enthusiastically invite former and present residents to gather together to enjoy the fellowship of each other and to renew old acquaintances. All day services on Sunday at the Dana Meeting House were said to be “…perhaps the most impressive observances of old home week in the State.”
The church building is now nearing twice the age it was when the following was written about it, but the observation about that Sunday of old was “Around this historic building cluster a multitude of fond reminiscences for the older generations. It was built in the year 1800 on the range of hills between New Hampton and New Holderness – now Ashland – and its interior, with the high pulpit and square pews, has been kept unchanged.” The morning service on that Sunday was mainly for the children and was conducted by the Rev. Mrs. Tracy.
After the morning service Sunday School classes were held with people gathering in large groups where they “discussed the lesson in the grand old democratic way.” An hour of social time followed Sunday School with lunch baskets being opened to provide physical refreshment at mid-day. Dr. O.H. Tracey was the speaker for the afternoon service when he preached to a large audience about “…the old New England home and what it stood for.” When he finished his sermon he invited the deacons, who were seated in the deacons pew which was (and still is) located in front of the high pulpit facing the congregation, to follow “ an old fashioned custom” of making a few remarks. Deacons Kendrick Smith, Joseph P. Sanborn, William R. Dearborn and D.W. Waite responded. Deacon Smith noted that he had taken part in services in the church more than 70 years previous and that Elder Perkins, whose picture was on the wall, use to end his sermons by saying “Brothers and sisters, there is liberty.” Not to be done with old customs, the service didn’t conclude until many of those present “…gave testimony to their religious homes , and the good this particular church had done.”
The Old Home Week continued on Wednesday at the Old Institution section of town with a large crowd gathering for a day of “sociability and entertainment.” Continuing their old-fashioned ways the report was that “An old-fashioned dinner with its first and chief course of baked beans was served on the long tables in the grove and among the family gatherings near by. After dinner the people assembled on the highest part of the ground to listen to stories of former and present residents, before the President of the affair, Fred W. Sanborn, introduced the speakers, Deacon Kendrick Smith, Hon. Joseph Walker, (Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives) , Richard Pattee, Rev. C.C. Horst, and Rev. O.H. Tracy. The Bristol Cornet Band entertained the crowd with music throughout the day which concluded with a musical event at Chapel Hall featuring violin and piano soloists and singing of several sprano solos by Miss Elsye M. Wallace of Rochester and Boston.
Let us now revisit the event in 1908.
“New Hampton, Aug. 22- One more red letter day for New Hampton and Old Home day, 1908, has passed into history.”
That was the opening sentence of a newspaper article in the year stated, which continued to tell the readers that, though the weather that August morning “…did not look propitious” people left their homes and headed for the Old Institution location in the town to enjoy that year’s Old Home Day. As it turned out there were only a few sprinkles of rain on that day and those who attended apparently did enjoy the two main activities, eating and listening to speeches by well-known dignitaries.
The eating came first as the patriotism of the group was marked by the presence of three American flags. One flew over the grove, which was “ looking at its best”, another was across the main entrance, and the third was owned by David Taylor, but draped over the Pike family table around which were seated thirty-six family members and friends. Presiding members of the Pike family were Mrs. Myra (Pike) Taylor, Mrs. Martha (Pike) Sanborn, and Mrs. Eunice (Pike) Howard. Attendance was obviously great for that 1908 event as tables were set up for 300 people and were “ …filled and reset several times.”
Dr. Austin S. Bronson, president of the society introduced the speakers: Kendrick W. Smith, Prof. Fred W. Wallace, Rev. Dr. Arthur Gordon, Richard Pattee, Rev. Mr. Patten, E.W. Gilbert of California, E.J. Cheever, Moses F. Merrow, Prof. H.W. Brown, Prof. Moulton, and Mr. Dixon. The newspaper write-up of the event says of the speakers, “They all had some good thing to say about New Hampton” , and adds that resident Milton Whitcher gave a reading “…which was appreciated by all.” I wonder about that last statement after all those speakers.
By the way, those speakers, back in 1908, were said to be of the opinion that a town history ought to be written, and the reporter observed that “It is very evident that Old Home Day has come to stay at New Hampton” , as indeed it has, and I must add that my neighbor, Edwin Huckins , has been in attendance at each Old Home Day held in New Hampton during his 96 years of living here, including the most recent one in this year of 2017.
When I wrote my last essay I was preparing for a week-long camping trip with a Boy Scout troop. That trip has joined a long list of camping adventures I’ve enjoyed with this group of Scouts and adult leaders. Each event has been unique despite the similarities: Tenting, building camp fires, hiking and other outdoor activities, learning and developing leadership skills, and, of course, enjoying the camaraderie.
At the end of each trip we gather around for “roses and thorns,” a time when each person presents his high and low point of the event. No names, just experiences. Usual “roses” are the big events, which in this case included an overnight Mt. Washington hike and playing in the natural water slide off the Kancamagus Highway. Usual “thorns” are what you’d expect: meal clean up, lack of sleep, and rain.
I always focus more on the thorns, which provide greater insight into how these kids think. A recurring thorn from last week was rooted in the kids’ sense of “fairness.” Some complained that they had been asked to do more chores than other Scouts. I’m sure it’s a common refrain heard by parents and teachers, but we usually avoid it at camp, where the fun-to-drudgery ratio is high and the older Scouts nip it in the bud.
This time we had a younger group, and it seemed as if some them had spent the week thinking like accountants and referees. One Scout railed at the perceived injustice of being tasked to do more than others. At his age, justice and fairness are inextricably intertwined, and he couldn’t see how debilitating that mindset can be. Somewhere further along the path to adulthood he’ll learn that fairness ranks low on the justice continuum.
How do you explain to 12- or 14-year-olds that one of the secrets of life is “Life ain’t fair” – and that that’s not a bad thing? How do you help them see that life, in all its wondrous complexity, is too big to be constrained by such a small-minded, petty concept as “fairness”? Maybe there’s a celestial balance sheet or scoreboard maintained by beings more capable than us, but with our limited view, we can’t possible see and keep track of all the things done for us by others. By making good deeds transactional, you’re missing the point. Doing the right thing has a value all its own. That was my thorn for the week, but I’m not sure I got my point across.
I told the Scouts that I sometimes feel embarrassed thinking about all the things people have done for me – people I’ve known, others I’ve not known, doing things I’ve recognized (and, I hope, acknowledged), but also doing things on my behalf that I didn’t even know were done. I told them that I can only pray that in the end I’ve managed to do for others as they’ve done for me, but that there’s no way of keeping track. Treating life like a balance sheet means missing out on the joys and serendipity of life.
Nietzsche was wrong. Perhaps his Übermensch is strengthened by surviving near-fatal adversity, but for most of us humans, that which does not kill us usually just makes us surly and resentful. What makes us stronger and brings true happiness is making personal connections through the deeds we do, and weaving them tightly into the tapestry of our lives. A focus on fairness interferes with making those connections. Who wants to be in a relationship with someone who keeps score?
Moral character is developed by making a habit of doing the right thing, without regard to the immediate benefits it might bring or what others have done for us. Fairness has no place in that calculation. Setting the example lifts spirits and makes all but the most defiant better and happier. It’s not a contradiction to believe that by giving more than we get, we will get more than we give. That’s a lot for a young teen to learn. It’s part of Scouting’s mission to help them figure it out.
Part of our challenge was generational. It’s easy for kids to think that we old guys just don’t understand, especially when we clearly didn’t recognize the signs of withdrawal for kids losing access to their smart phones. Luckily, we had two Eagle Scouts with us, former Troop members and now college students, who were well-positioned to bridge the generational divide. Their counsel and example helped these young Scouts understand that keeping score is for sports. In life, it deadens the spirit and distracts from the mission. It’s also impossible.
I am looking forward to the next campaign season despite it all.
It used to be, in years past, I was the only one running for governor from the Flatlander Party. It wasn’t a difficult choice, being there were only a handful of us back in those early days. (Actually, it came down to a coin toss and I lost.)
As the years went by, it was just assumed that I would be the perennial candidate since I already had some experience in campaigning. I was becoming quick on my feet answering questions by giving answers that meant nothing at all, an important part in being a politician.
Ironically, my campaigns for governor only helped to increase the membership in the Party as more and more Flatlanders, once afraid to declare themselves as such, became emboldened and jumped on the wagon.
Lets’ face it, when I moved to New Hampshire from New York in 1985, relations between Flatlanders and natives were pretty bad.
Who doesn’t remember the famous “Dump Day Massacre” of 1972 when a group of natives attacked some well-intentioned Flatlanders who were trying to throw stuff away at the dump instead of bringing junk home. Traffic was backed up for miles and the police were called in when the Flatlanders were chased into the road by the natives who had picked up any rusty old piece of metal they could find, of which there were many.
When I announced the formation of The Flatlander Party as well as my intention to run for governor, I knew there would be backlash. Though we Flatlanders were tolerated here in the Granite State, we weren’t truly accepted. As long as we stayed in the background everything would be alright.
There were protesters at that first news conference when I made my announcement. It was a small group of natives there to loudly protest. Of course, the New Hampshire media portrayed them as speaking for every native, but I knew better.
That first election was dismal as far as votes for me, but I knew it would be tough. Still, the Flatlander Party had made its mark and was here to stay. Continue reading → Post ID 3013
The short flight from Baltimore, Maryland had arrived early and Sue was already waiting at the curb at the Manchester airport as I arrived to pick her up. She jumped into the car and we headed north for her “dream come true” hiking adventure.
Sue wanted to hike Mt Washington and as many 4k peaks as possible during her visit. Last spring I led Sue and her husband up Mt Moosilauke. Sue caught the 4k bug and “needs” to hike all 48 peaks on the 4,000 footer list.
I checked the Appalachian Mountain Club’s website, outdoors.org, every day for weeks only to find that the Lake of the Clouds Hut was booked full. But two days before she arrived, miraculously the site showed vacancy and I made a reservation. This good luck made it possible to try for a 2-day Presidential Traverse—that is hiking nearly 23 miles and climbing 9,000 vertical feet to visit the summits of 8 peaks.
Not only did we have a reservation for a hut stay but our good luck continued with a greatly improving weather forecast that ended up proving true.
Just before 7 am, we dropped a car at the top of Crawford Notch across from the Webster-Jackson Trailhead where we hoped to finish our hike the following day. We then drove to the Howker Ridge Trailhead on the Pinkham B Road in Randolph.
The Howker Ridge Trail is a lightly used rugged route to Mt Madison. The trail traverses the ridge up and over the Howks—bald bumps that have grand vistas. We didn’t meet a single soul until we reached Mt Madison. We enjoyed the nice weather and clear skies but only stayed on the summit long enough to touch the highpoint before we continued on our way. The panorama was grand and we could see all the peaks we had to cross to reach Mount Washington.
We ran into Hiker Ed (he’s hiked the Grid, every 4k peak in every month, 7 times) and he gave us some peanut M&Ms.
At Madison Hut we filled our water bottles and we didn’t linger. We had been on the trail for 4 hours and we had a long ways to go. Up Mt Adams, the 2nd highest peak and the highest without a restaurant, our route was Gulfside and then up and down Lowe’s Path—the way with best footing. We thought we were alone until we were just a few yards from the summit where we saw a dozen hikers hidden between rocks. Mount Washington still looked far away.
Back on the Gulfside Trail we began to meet Appalachian Trail thru hikers on their way to Maine. These first AT hikers were early risers and fast hikers. They had come from Lake of the Clouds, Mizpah Hut and all the way from Crawford Notch.
The sun was hot and Mt Jefferson loomed large in front of us. I had warned Sue that between Adams and Jefferson it would be tough mentally and physically. The trail over large blocky and often sharp rocks make for tough and awkward hiking. Descending into Edmands col makes the trial ahead appear to be a vertical wall and Mt Washington will seem impossibly far away. Well, I confess that is how I have felt each time I do a Presi-Traverse and weight of the trail was heavy here for her too. Sue from sea level Baltimore really bucked up, she was determined and pressed on taking one step after another.
The Caps Ridge Trail is popular since it looks so short and easy on the map since it starts at the height of the land from Jefferson Notch Road, but it is an extremely rugged trail. So it was no surprise to me that the summit of Jefferson was crowded with people sitting on the summit cone. Hikers wanting to tag the highpoint, including us, had to step around these people. Seriously you’d think they figure it out that not sitting on the highpoint might make it more enjoyable.
After Jefferson the footing greatly improves and the gentle traverse over the Monticello Lawn and down to Sphinx col put a spring back in our step. And since summiting Jefferson we could now see the mountains beyond Mt Washington and the open view to the west.
On Gulfside we skirted the summit of Mt Clay, a peak not on the List since it does not have enough prominence between it and Mt Washington. Sue’s face lit up when I told her that we were now climbing Mt Washington.
We constantly met people on the trail. By this time hikers were on their way off of Mt Washington and would descend via the Jewell Trail.
The last Cog Railway trains of the day were headed up as we neared the tracks. We decided to stay put and let one pass. What could be more stupid than getting hit by a train on Mount Washington? We found the answer after turning off the Gulfside Trail and hiking up the Trinity Heights Connector that leads to the very summit of Mt Washington. That answer would be waiting in line to take your photo by the Mt Washington summit sign.
There must have been a 20 minute wait for a turn to take your photo next to the summit sign. No hikers appeared to be waiting and we just passed by. A group of thru-hikers cut line and with safety in their numbers didn’t cause a riot when they quickly took their photo.
Sue wanted a photo with all the peaks she had climbed to be the background of her summit photo and that was easy to do.
Inside the Sherman Adams Summit Building we filled our water bottles and drank greedily. As we sat near the entrance a person asked Sue if she hiked all the way up the mountain. When Sue answered yes the person just gushed with admiration and near disbelief at her efforts for completing such a feat.
We spent some time on the summit enjoying the view and the happy circus atmosphere. The nice weather had attracted visitors from far and wide. Most people wore sneakers or dress shoes and smelled like flowers. The few hikers stood out with worn boots or trail runners and smelled not like flowers—but not as strong as some of the thru-hikers ha ha. We peeked in the stone Tip-Top House before heading down the Crawford Path.
We could see the Lake of the Clouds Hut below us and in about an hour we’d be sitting at the table about to be served supper. From now on the trails would be much smoother and the mountains smaller.
Everyone was just starting to sit down for supper when we checked-in. By the time we shouldered our packs at the trailhead to the time we threw our packs onto our bunk 11 hours had ticked by. A satisfying supper was followed by a heart-filling colorful sunset.
Sleep is not easy since 90+ people filled the hut to capacity; it was a noisy night. Breakfast was yummy and would be the best part of staying at the hut but walking out the door and being right below Mount Monroe beats it.
Actually the staff, The Croo at the Lake of the Clouds Hut are the best! The hard work that these young people do to keep the hut organized and to prepare meals for 90+ guests is remarkable. They even perform a skit after breakfast! You’ll just have to visit a hut and experience it yourself. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but there happened to be over 500 rubber ducks at the hut.
Clouds covered Mt Washington’s summit and we were headed into the better weather. The harder hiking was well behind us. We hiked steadily and comfortably as we hiked over Mt Monroe, Mt Franklin and to Mt Eisenhower. A professional trail crew working on the Eisenhower loop and was hard at work moving rocks.
We turned onto the Mizpah Cut-off and summited Mt Pierce and continued down to the hut. Sue topped off her water and we continued to Mt Jackson.
A surge of AT hikers came by as we left the hut. A trail worker was trying to drain and improve the trail. She had a shovel and worked at the endless task.
Our last summit didn’t fail to please. Jackson’s open ledges gave a nice view back at Mizpah Hut and beyond to the peaks we had hiked. The higher northern peaks were mostly still in the clouds but it was enough to soak in how far we had come in two days.
Our second day of hiking was 7 hours and we were back at the car at Crawford Notch by mid-afternoon. We went swimming at Lower Falls on our way to picking up the other car.
Yes we slept well in my quiet house and in the morning we went wild on the water slides for at Whale’s Tale! The waterpark is thrilling and chilling! We also stopped by the Mountain Wanderer Map and Book Store in Lincoln where Sue bought some maps and a 4k tee-shirt.
I know my friend had a good time. On our way back to the airport she was already planning to come back to hike.
I had never dreamed, twelve years ago when I started it, that it would grow to be such a powerful organization.
My intention was purely based on how we could get this idea started in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, but today it has grown across the country.
I couldn’t be prouder.
Of course I am talking about TAIALBBHTWICF Fund.
For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym (I imagine there might be one or two) it stands for “The Air Is A Little Bit Better Here Than Where I Come From”. The origin of which was my goodwill intentions in helping upper-middle class and wealthy families, who were shut out in finding a luxurious lakefront home to spend a couple of weeks in the summer. Most had tried to make reservations too late and found that there was little recourse than to either spend their time here in an (ugh) condo apartment on the water or, worse, never leave home at all.
I had started it after reading the horror stories about some of those families. One story was about the degradation of having to share a beach with strangers, lacking the social skills in mingling with other families who made less than $75,000 a year. Feeling uncomfortable and never quite being able to fit in.
One story which really touched my heart was of one family in a town in Massachussetts, who stayed at home while their affluent neighbors all enjoyed August vacations in private homes either here on Lake Winnipesaukee, on the shores on Nantucket, or even tropical locales out of country. This family had tried too late to find their own place and were shut out. It was the humiliation they faced during their day to day after. Maybe it was the forced smiling faces at the Country Club from those who they thought were their friends, but were now talking about them behind their backs.
Not many of us can ever relate to the suffering that these people go through. We go about our day to day, working nine to five, barely making enough to cover the mortgage. We never even stop to think about the struggles of those whose lives have forced upon them the necessity to have to have only the best, and most private, in accommodations when they travel. They have no other choice; it is a life that so many of us can never understand.
TAIALBBHTWICF Fund has been very successful in helping these folks escape from the places they live and to spend a week or more in an exquisite mansion on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Close to my heart, as an ex-New Yorker, I love to see the small smiles when a family from the North Shore of Long Island are freed from being trapped in the summer stench of saltwater and are provided with luxurious accommodations in an exquisite lakefront mansion on Lake Winnipesaukee to finally have some fresh, lake air.
The feeling I get when I come to greet them upon their arrival when their private jet touches down at Laconia Airport, fills my heart with joy. Even though I know I need to stand back at least fifty yards as they deplane, I am pretty sure they see me wave.
TAIALBBHTWICF Fund has been so successful that its mission has spread across the country and I couldn’t be prouder.
From the shores of our magnificent lakes here in New Hampshire, the idea has spread and now the program is finding first class homes on bodies of water and along the shores of our magnificent oceans all around the country for those who simply forgot to make their reservations on time.
As TAIALBBHTWICF Fund grows, we will be looking at ways to make these families vacations even more memorable.
Making sure they have the best table at a local, upper scale restaurant without them having to go through the agony of making the reservation. We are even in discussion with the local attractions of each resort area, in providing special times for our TAIALBBHTWICF Fund recipients to use their facilities without having to deal with the overwhelming burden of waiting in line or, god forbid, mingling with others that they’d rather not.
As the program grows and we are reaching out our well manicured, helping hands across the country to help those in need, we are envisioning taking TAIALBBHTWICF Fund globally and bringing busy and forgetful people to wonderful vacation homes around the world that might have otherwise eluded them.
I couldn’t be prouder. Join me as “Real Stories North Of Concord” hosts their second StorySlam at Pitman’s Freight Room in Laconia on Thursday, August 24th. Up to twelve storytellers will be picked to tell their 6-minute story based on the theme “Brush With Fame.” The slam starts at 7:30 and admission is $20 with all net proceeds going to benefit Camp Resilience.
Hiking the Evelyn H. & Albert D. Morse, Sr. Preserve
by Amy Patenaude Outdoor/Ski Writer
Early Saturday morning, while the Mount Major parking lot was overflowing out onto Route 11, we were headed to another nearby quieter and smaller Belknap peak. Charlie and I easily pulled into the Mike Burke, Alton Town Forest parking area on Avery Hill Road in Alton. There is room for about a dozen cars here.
I had printed the Pine Mountain Trail map from the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) website, www.forestsociety.org . I had learned about Pine Mountain because its trails are included in the 60+ miles of trails that must be hiked to earn the Belknap Range Redline Patch offered by the Belknap Range Trail Tenders (BRATTS.org).
The BRATTS are a volunteer group that perform great work maintaining and improving the hiking trails in the Belknap Range. The goal of the redline challenge is for people to have fun exploring the Belknap Range and to inspire new BRATT membership to help maintain these trails. Continue reading → Post ID 3013