Hiking Mt. Moosilauke in Summer

Click to view photo gallery of this hike to Mt. Moosilauke!
This past weekend my wife and Ihiked to Mt. Moosilauke in the Western region of the White Mountains, New Hampshire. Trailheads start at the Dartmouth Outing Club's Ravine Lodge, on Rt 118 about 25 minutes from Lincoln, NH.

The Dartmouth College Ravine Lodge is an ideal starting point for a variety of hikes leading to Mt. Moosilauke. In summer, parking is freely available near the lodge. In winter, parking is available a mile away back at the Rt 118 entrance, and costs a few dollars.

Starting at the Ridge Trail trailhead, we completed a nine and a half mile loop that included the summit of Mt. Moosilauke. Ridge Trailto Beaver Brook Trail provides a less travelled and very scenic six mile route to the summit. The return trip can be made down Gorge BrookTrail or the Snapper Trail, each about three and a half miles. We completed the firstsix miles infive hours due to the ascent.Returning from the summitback down Carriage Trail and Snapper, the return to Ravine Lodge took just two hours.

Enjoy the photos!

See also:

Epson Perfection 1670 Photo, Negative, and Slide Scanner

I'd like to recommend the Epson Perfection 1670 Scanner for the purpose of scanning photographic slides. I recently purchased one at Best Buy for just $89 which is very reasonable compared to its big brother the Epson 3170 for $189. I read the CNET reviews and a couple of them seemed negative, but I figured I could always return it if the quality really was sub par, and that was why I bought it directly from a local store rather than by discount mail order.
Thumbnail View of Resulting Image from Scanning Two Slides at 800 pixels/inch  (image height reduced from 3000 to 300)

Setup was easy, although the many layers of wrapping and stickers was a pain. It includes a black frame to hold either a strip of negatives or two slides. This frame lays on top of the glass pane, and after removing the white reflector on the under side of the lid, a top light is exposed. In slide mode, the scanner shines this light through the slide or negative and onto the electronic receiver under the glass.

After some testing, I settled on a scan resolution of 800 pixels/inch. The scanner generates an image of the black frame and the two slides (a smaller version of the scan result is shown to the left here), and then the user must later perform image editing to isolate each slide into its own image file. Because the slides were scanned into this combined image, the resolution needs to be larger because you end up trimming it down to separate the two slide images. Depending on image detail, this combined slide image was typically 2 - 4 MB, and then each image isolated from it ranged about 800 kb - 1 MB. I tried to up the resolution to 1200, but the scan time was unreasonably long at 3-5 minutes. At 800 dpi, the total time to put two slides on the bed, scan them, & remove them was about a minute and a half.

I recently scanned my Yellowstone and Alaska slide collections, each one culled down about 125 slides per set. To scan a set of 125 images, crop the individual slides from the dual scan, and then edit the images in Adobe Photoshop to remove the specs of dust and improve the brightness required about 6 hours each. At 6 hours per set, that pretty much ate up my weekend, but to have high quality digital images made from my withering slides provided a great relief. I think the Epson slide scanner was a very good purchase and well worth the cost. In 1997 I had some of those slides scanned at a little shop on Kneeland street in Boston, at a cost of $1.25 per slide. I recently checked prices and found that $1 per slide was about the norm, which would have cost perhaps $250 in total.

Previously, I purchased the Nikon Slide Copying Adapter ES-E28 for my Nikon Coolpix 995. This requires an external light source and I found it very difficult to get sufficient light, and even pointing it at the Sun on a very bright day wasn't good enough. The problem was that the center of the image would be at a higher brightness than the edges, making it look like the slide was taken in a tunnel. I was very unhappy with the slide scanning feature of that adapter. To the contrary though, I scanned some negatives with ES-E28 and I found it worked very well.

Hiking in Alaska's Denali National Park

Hiking in Denali National Park, A Photo Gallery

This photo gallery of Alaska is a collection of images from my trips to Alaska in August 1992, December 1992, and August 1994. The destinations along the way include:

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Vashon Island, Washington
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Denali National Park
  • Talkeetna, Alaska
You can also read about an interesting night on the Thorofare River here.


Hiking in Yellowstone National Park

Hiking in Yellowstone National Park, A Photo Gallery

In 1993 I hitched, walked, climbed, and hiked from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Yellowstone National Park. Along the way I covered around 10 minor peaks and logged about 150 miles by foot. For most of my trip, I visited with my friend Karen Heidemann of Bremen, Germany. Karen volunteered in Yellowstone on a botany science project for the whole summer, and she is now a professor of botany at the University of Trier. This was one of the best trips in my life, and I'm happy to have discovered Yellowstone in a much more thorough way.

Let me tell you about the time I woke up under a buffalo...

Photos include the following:

  • Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Sepulcher Mountain
  • Mount Everts
  • Electric Peak
  • Skyline Trail in the Gallatins
  • Bighorn Peak
  • Bunsen Peak
  • Gardiner River (Boiling River)
  • Osprey Falls
  • Norris Geyser Basin
  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Buffalo
  • Elk
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Wildflowers

Luray Caverns, Virginia and Shenandoah

Click for Photo Gallery of Luray Caverns and Shenandoah During the previously reported busy, holiday weekend, Mercedes and I had the opportunity to visit the Luray Caverns, in Luray, Virginia. We also spent a few days cruising Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, hiking White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run.(more on this later, RE: bears!).

IMO, Luray itself has very little going for it, and I suspect that if it were not for the tourism generated by the caverns the whole town would just fall into an even greater state of disrepair and collapse. While the caverns themselves are indeed remarkably beautiful and ethereal to most, and intellectually captivating to the armchair geologists out there, they have clearly fallen victim to commercialism and exploitation by the local population.

There was one gem of a shop in Luray, however. A Moment To Remember was definitley an oasis in a Pizza Hut kind of town. The cafe showed great care in the smallest of details and knick knacks, and it easily falls right on par with the most comfortable of coffee shops in Cambridge and Davis Square. Highly recommended both for the homemade pies as well as the sawdust, bar room atmosphere.

For now, though, here are some photos of the cavern and a few of the waterfalls in White Oak Canyon in the National Park. Remember, stalactites hang tight to the ceiling and stalacmites might... oh, whatever...

UPDATE 7/30: Recently added some small video clips from our tour of Luray Caverns. Each is about 15 seconds to a minute.

Brandeis Mountain Club Ice Climbing on Arethusa Falls in Crawford Notch

Ice Climbing PhotosThe February 6th ice climbing trip was a great success! Sarah, Alex, Rebecca, Kas, Adina, and Steve spent the night in North Conway, New Hampshire to get an early start the next day to meet our guides at Ragged Mountain Outfitters.

We had the great technical expertise of Ian Turnbull and Kurt Winkler, guides from the Mountain Guides Alliance. From the beginning they provided very careful instruction about the proper fitting and use of various items such as climbing boots, crampons, harnesses, and helmets. Both guides were really great and explained everything with patience and good humour.

View the photo gallery from this trip.


An Account of a Winter Hike in The White Mountains

Backpacking in the White Mountains, New Hampshire with the Brandeis Mountain Club, November 1998.

We started on saturday in the White Mountains, not far from Mt. Washington. It was snowing already, and on our ascent we found heavy ice and a thin layer of snow which made for delicate walking. Soon the snow became deeper, 4-6 inches, and that made traction easier and walking less treacherous. The pace was comfortable, but still we were carrying full backpacks and making a steep climb over difficult terrain. The surrounding pine trees were bowed over with the weight of the heavy snow on their branches, but still their evergreen color showed through.

After a few hours, we climbed halfway on our trail in attempt to make the peak of Mt. Jackson. The snow grew increasingly deep, and there was a high frequency of fallen trees blocking the trail, the fallen trees came from an ice storm early last year which wreaked havoc on the northeast. The climb was really becoming an adventure now, and not just a hike in the woods. Much of the walking required that you stamp your foot into the snow with each step to get good footing, and was punctuated often by the necessity of getting on knees and elbows to skirt underneath the fallen trees.

Several members of our 7 person group began to show fatigue and a loss of morale, but we agreed to push on. Later, as we approached a to within an hours walk of the peak, the snow became 18-24 inches deep, which futher fatigued the group. Not far from the treeline, where the alpine treeless landscape begins, there were three older men returning from the peak. They warned us that above treeline was white-out conditions, deep snowdrifts, and 40 mph winds. With some trepidation, our group voted to continue carefully, and quickly we found ourselves leaving the safety of the evergreen trees, and walking in a barren snowscape with fierce winds that almost pushed us over.


A Night on the Thorofare

It was late August of 1994, and I found myself once again riding the National Park shuttle bus to to my first dropoff point int the Denali wilderness. I was issued a permit to spend a week backpacking in several of the most desired areas of the park. This was easy to do, travelling alone. Each of the park's 43 zones, tens of thousands of acres each, has a limit of only six or eight people per zone.

One night I was in front of Mount Eilson on a river bar. It had taken several hours to hike down from the park road and to scout around for a attractive site. I made my camp on a hard, little mud flat. That evening I watched a grizzly searching for berries and ground squirrels on the river bank of the Thorofare river. The river is actually fed from some of the glacial meltoff in the Alaska range. Most of these rivers are very narrow and very fast. They braid out and crisscross around, creating a wide bed, but only occuping a small portion. Crossing one of these is more dangerous than most anything else because they are decieving and can trick you to believe they are easy to cross. Many of the riverbanks themselves are usually very steep, in a way that sort of traps you if you are trying to get off the bed.


Creative Writing Project #3: Into The Yellow Wood (1992)

I remember Mama.

You see, this morning I opened up the travel section in the Sunday paper to find a flashy ad that told me I could spend four days and three nights gambling, drinking, or sunbathing on one of the gaudiest Caribbean islands for what amounted to about a week's salary for me. That's gross...
salary, I mean. But that's not for me. I could find all that right down the street if that's what I wanted. No, I've always been a 'fly by the seat of my pants' kind of traveler, never paying for much more than an airline or train ticket . I'd rather opt for a youth hostel or tent than plush hotel accommodations that insulate a traveler from being submersed knee-deep in the local culture. Out on the road, like Jack Kerouac, that's where the most fun is. That's where the people are. And that's where you'll find me. On the road, where I am most at home.

This is where Mama comes in. She was always smiling at all the passerbys, and if she ever got a hold on you, look out. CRUNCH! She'd give you a hug that'd squeeze the devil out of you It was on the Island of San Salvador where she sat everyday at the intersection of a two street town, in the cool shade of the Talking Tree, while she weaved palm leaves into broad-rimmed hats and two-handled baskets that read 'San Sal' in bright red yarn.

She was a cunning old gal. She'd wait patiently for the college students who came to study at the research station, the only source of outside visitors on the island. The deep folds in the fabric of Mama's coton white skirt seemed to run clear up to the time worn folds in her dimpled cheeks. Whenever my fellow students and I would stroll through town, Mama would flash that inviting grin of hers, wave her arms, and softly shout, 'Come to Mama, darlings,' with an irresistible charm. That was the hook


Fireweed and Ice

As we coasted along the tracks of the Alaska Railroad on a sleepy August afternoon, I stood between cars and stared down the length of the train.

Almost like an unexpected summer snowfall, there was a rush of white puffs past the portal, and extending continuously across the horizon, almost thicker than the air itself.

The sun shone warmly as it backlit each puffball to a warm glow. It was difficult to tell if we were moving against the flowery shower, or if the low, billowy clouds had been blowing a like a gusty breath across our motionless train.


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