Sabbaday Falls

sabbadayfallssabbadayfalls2I first stumbled upon Sabbaday Falls while hiking the TriPyramid Mountains, but as the end stretch of a twelve mile hike that included two mountain summits over 4000 feet, I didn’t really have the energy left to fully appreciate the beauty of this site the way it deserved. I knew I’d be back.

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Located in the White Mountain National Forest off the Kancamagus Highway in Albany, NH, it’s easy to see why Sabbaday Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in New Hampshire.

sabbadayfalls6Rushing water cuts a deep gorge through the mountain rock, falling, at its peak, for 45 feet. Lower down it gathers in shallow pools, cascades down the rock face and flows in a steady, winding stream, making this one of the most enjoyable walks around. It’s also quick, an easy grade, and wheelchair accessible, so sabbadayfalls4
there’s no excuses not to stop the car and explore this natural wonder!

 

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult ~ Fiction Book Review

book19Another good book by dependable author Jodi Picoult. Not amazing, but a good story with solid characters and a well thought plot that makes the reader both think and feel. As usual, Picoult picks a controversial subject, in this instance a wrongful birth lawsuit for a child born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease), and argues the case from every possible angle by everyone involved.

It’s basically the same formula she used in My Sister’s Keeper, although I seem to have developed more of a connection with those characters. Still, this was a good book, and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a book that makes you think twice about your own gut reaction to a moral dilemma – it might be more complicated than you think.

Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote ~ Fiction Book Review

book23This books, written in 1948 by famed author Truman Capote, has long passages of beautifully descriptive prose. It also has long passages where I have no idea what the author is trying to say, and I’m not quite sure he knew, either. I believe that the author purposely skewed the intended meaning as a form of art, a way in which to create atmosphere and a better sense of the world in which the character lives.

What it lacks in realism and clarity, it almost makes up for in the poetry and symbolism. The story is a combination of coming of age and longing for a sense of belonging. It explores complex themes which today still balance on the borderline of taboo. Not my favorite book, but being so short, it’s worth picking up to form your own opinion. Four stars.

Exploring Redstone Quarry

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redstone7redstone2The old Redstone Quarry is part of the Green Hills Preserve land in Conway, NH. Miles of trails lead you through a maze of old equipment and abandoned structures in this area that is rich in history. Granite from this quarry was used in the construction of Grant’s Tomb in New York and the National Archives building in Washington, among many other notable landmarks.

redstone5redstone4The quarry closed in 1950; now it’s a recreational area frequented by hikers, bikers, runners and snowmobilers. You can spend hours wandering the woods and still not see everything that’s been left behind. If you’re up for a little incline, you can hike up Rattlesnake Mountain and see the chunks missing from the side of the mountain where the granite was mined and taken away. This is a great place to experience history while getting some fresh air and exercise. I’m looking forward to going back with snowshoes this winter.

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Mount Garfield ~ Winter Wonderland at 4500 feet

garfieldI could see snow in the distance on Mount Washington, but it had yet to stick in the valley, so I really didn’t expect to encounter much of the white stuff on our hike up Mount Garfield. Shortly into the hike, however, I realized that I was in for a surprise. Our boots crunched over a light dusting of snow. Then they sank into an inch of slush. Soon, we found ourselves marching through a winter wonderland, surrounded by ice frosted trees and snow banked trails.

garfield2At 4500 feet, Mount Garfield is the 17th highest of the New Hampshire 4000 footers in the White Mountains. The trail starts easy enough – for the first two of three miles, it’s like walking up a wheelchair ramp – a constant but not too steep incline. There are several river crossings which were quite easy to traverse, although I imagine that in late spring/early summer garfield6when the water level has risen from the thaw that they may prove more difficult.

Once you stop hiking straight up and start winding your way around the switchbacks, the trail takes on that endless feeling where you expect to see the top come into garfield3view around every corner, but it just doesn’t. The hike is in and out, five miles each way. Maybe it was the snow, but this was a VERY long five miles in. I’ve gotten pretty good at estimating how much ground we’ve crossed, but I was off by a good mile on this one. Just as I had garfield5convinced myself that we’d missed a turn and were hiking on to the next mountain, we finally reached a sign marking a split. Going straight would take us to the summit in .02 miles. Turning left would take us to a hut in .02 miles. Energy renewed, we hiked on to our destination.

garfield4At the very end, as usual, it gets a bit steeper and requires climbing some rocks, but for the most part, this was an easy, if long hike, with no slides, scrambles, large expanses of bald rock to cling to or any other more challenging features to garfield7conquer.The view was amazing, made all the more bewitching by the snow and ice. The summit was incredibly cold and windy, the kind of weather that claws at you, where your skin is whipped raw and you quickly lose feeling in your fingers and toes, so we snapped a few pictures and garfield8began our retreat.

 

It was too cold to stop and there was nowhere dry to sit, so lunch consisted of stuffing our pockets with food to eat while walking. With the short fall days, we were also pressed for time if we wanted to get off the mountain before nightfall. We did the ten mile hike in just under six hours.

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This seemingly endless hike was definitely worth the views, and even though I succumbed to the sniffles over the next couple of days, it was one of my favorite hikes of the year. I highly recommend this mountain.

 

Peaked Mountain

peaked9A chilly but sunny Saturday afternoon found us back at the Pudding Pond trailhead in North Conway, NH, only this time, instead of hiking around the pond, we were headed up to Peaked Mountain, one of the three summit trails that can be found in this section of the Green Hills Preserve.

peaked2At 1739 feet, Peaked Mountain isn’t the most challenging hike, but it is a rewarding one, with breathtaking views that can be reached in less than an hour, making this a great stop for a quick hike when you don’t have an entire day at your disposal. If you have a bit more time, you can add a trip over to Middle Mountain (which I haven’t hiked yet) to your itinerary.

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The trail is lined by a series of small falls and is well sheltered from the sun. This was a great little hike that allowed for some fresh air and exercise while still allowing plenty of time for weekend errands.

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst ~ Fiction Book Review

book18From the first page I really liked this book. It was different. The approach was fresh, the style good, and the subject matter grabbed my attention. I usually don’t reveal what happens in a book, but when it happens on the first page I consider it fair game.

The main character’s wife climbs up an apple tree, falls, and dies. The only witness was their dog. Being a professor of linguistics, the bereaved husband decides to take a leave of absence from his teaching position in order to teach the dog to talk, so that he can find out what really happened the day his wife died.

It seems outlandish because it is. At the same time, the characters are so well developed and the writing so clean that you don’t feel like you’re reading something crazy. About two thirds through the book, the plot takes a twist that I didn’t enjoy. It was a necessary turn; it moves the book along and brings the story full circle. However, if the author had found another way of doing this, The Dogs of Babel may have made it  to my top ten favorite novels of all time. I would recommend this book, five stars.

Pudding Pond

pudding2With winter quickly approaching, we’ve been scouting out places to go snowshoeing in the area. When we moved here in March, there was still four feet of snow as far as the eye could see, the result of sno-mageddon 2015. Unfortunately, with all the extra tasks that come with buying a house, we didn’t get much exploring done then. So we’re making up for lost time now. pudding6

For some strange reason, a place by the name of Pudding Pond caught my attention. I can’t imagine why 😉

pudding1This is the trailhead for several nearby mountain paths, as well as a 1.7 mile loop around a huge pond with sparkling waters, a beaver dam, and gorgeous scenery. 1.7 miles might not seem like very long, but it’s the perfect length for that first hike out while you’re getting your snowshoe legs, and with all the offshoot trails, we can easily extend the length of our hike. With such a beautiful place to get outside, I (almost) can’t wait for winter!

 

 

Lake Chocorua

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lakec5If you’ve spent a lot of time looking at pictures of beautiful lakes with mountains in the background, chances are you’ve seen a picture of Lake Chocorua. The bald rock summit of Mount Chocorua can be seen in the distance from the shores of the lake. In the summer, it’s a popular spot to launch lakec2a kayak or canoe. In the fall, it’s a serene spot to take a walk, surrounded by fall leaves shaking in the brisk air. It’s the perfect place to take pictures any time of year, with many award wining shots taken at sunrise and sunset. I couldn’t resist taking a few photos of my own on my cell phone. Located in Tamworth, NH, right off 16, it’s a stop you can’t miss if you’re in the area.

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Relic II: Resurrection by Jonathan Brookes ~ Fiction Review

book17I’ve said it before and  I’ll say it again – I’m a HUGE fan of books that mix fiction with plausible science. And as an Anthropologist (Go Gators!) who spent more than her fair share of time in the paleo trenches, I’m also a sucker for books about Neanderthals. With the continuing influx of new discoveries about this breed, who can resists such a hot topic? I can’t 🙂

Relic II: Resurrection is the second novella in the Relic series by author Jonathan Brooks. While the first installment centers around the attempt to clone the extinct hominid species for military purposes, this book follows the project to fruition – a Neanderthal baby is born – and relays the race to claim rights to the child. It’s a great combination of action and science guaranteed to keep you turning the pages!

Click here to buy your copy today!