Sunday, July 5, 2015

Mount Tripyramid, NH

Going up to New Hampshire on Wednesday and coming home Friday only gives me one full day
One of the Waterfalls on Cascade Path
there. Thursday is the day I have time for a big climb without the worry of a three hour drive. I made the most of it hiking over five summits on two different hikes. I did 17.5 mile

The first hike was over Mt. Tripyramid. Tripyramid is one of the mountains that surrounds Waterville Valley. It is a 4000 footer. Actually two peaks meet the criteria to be official four thousand footers (North Peak and Middle Peak). There is a loop trail that goes over all three peaks. The trail goes up a slide on the North Peak and down a slide on the South Peak. By far the best views are from the slides. The actual summits are wooded without much of a view. 

The trail starts on Livermore Road in Waterville. I, however, started on the Cascade Path. There was rain the night before and the rivers were swollen. I figured that by adding an extra mile to my hike, I could see five waterfalls. So I made an already long day a little longer, but it was worth it. After I got past the falls, I cut over to the Livermore trail to make my assault on the mountain. 

Because of all the rain the day before, I could not do the normal loop. The North slide is extremely
steep with rock slabs. It is basically like climbing a cliff face. Descent is discouraged, and climbing it in wet weather is considered very dangerous. So I did an alternate plan. I climbed the South slide and came down a different trail called the Scaur Trail. This too, made my hike longer, but it also made it possible and much safer.

Going up the South Slide was fun. The view faces south and I could see Lake Winnipesaukee. The closest mountain is Sandwich Dome, which is on the top of my list of mountains to climb. When I reached the summit, it was almost disappointing, after such a cool climb, there was no view at all. 

From the top of South, I went down a col then up another rise to Middle Tripyramid, Again not much to see. From there I went to North. Even though I wasn't going to hike down the North Slide, I did plan on hiking down to the top of the slide to eat my lunch. It is a couple hundred feet down from the top to the slide. I got to the top of it and was awed by its steepness. The view was a full 180 degrees. I could see a huge portion of the White Mountains. From the south was Tecumseh (the ski mountain in Waterville) all the way to the Presidentials. I counted at least 20 mountains over four thousand feet. I stayed at the slide for an hour. The sky was a little hazy (as you can see by the pictures) but clear enough to enjoy the view. 
This is the top of the North Slide
Notice how it just drops off. It drops 1000 feet
blow this image
When I woke up, the sky was still cloudy. I did not have cell service so I could not check the weather forecast. I hoped the sky would clear. I climbed  the mountain hoping my view wasn't of fog. So a hazy day with great views was more than I could have hoped for.

After my lunch, it was about a mile to my next trail. From there, it was about five miles to the car. I was tired and my feet hurt but was pleased with the hike. 

Mount Carrigan

I found a picnic table on Route 49 and made some supper. After supper I had three hours left of daylight, so I went for another hike.I did the Welch-Dickey loop. I'll write about that one later.

My view from one of the peaks. You can see the
Waterville ski area in the background
(Mt. Tecumseh)

Welch-Dickey from South Tripyramid

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Birthday present of wild brook trout

Beautiful fish
Beautiful setting
I was up in New Hampshire from Wednesday afternoon until Friday afternoon. I had to be home about 4 pm on Friday. so I had to leave NH by 1 pm. On Thursday I hiked 17.5 miles and scaled five different peaks ( more on the hikes in upcoming posts).

 I was surprised to wake up stiff but not sore. I knew I wanted to get in another hike in the morning. My goal was to hike a little summit on Sandwich Mountain named Jennings Peak. I got to the trailhead at 7:30 and knew I had plenty of time to do the 5.4 mile round trip. I put on my backpack and headed out. Not a hundred yards from the car the trail crosses a river. Unfortunately, the river was cray from all the rain on Wednesday. I looked both up and down river but I could not cross it. I could have bushwacked up the river from a road crossing, but that would have chewed up a half hour and truthfully, I didn't have the energy to play games.

So I came up with a plan B. There is a small mountain pond in Waterville Valley I hiked twice before. I hadn't been there in over a decade. I thought it would be nice to visit it again. The hike in is about a mile and a half with 700 feet of vertical. It's short but uphill the while way. A hiker would consider it moderate, while a non hiker would consider it hard.

 The pond used to get stocked aerially by helicopter with fingerling trout. Apparently the fingerlings did not do so well so the pond was cut from the program. It wasn't been stocked in ten years. I brought my fly rod,,,just in case.

Once I got to the pond, I ate a quick snack of two granola bars and a banana. While I was eating I saw fish rising. I was pretty happy I brought my rod. I started fishing. Within minutes I caught my first brookie. In the next hour and a half I landed eight more along with just as many hits. They were all on a hares ear size 14. The fish were not big, the largest two were about 8 inches. Unless the state restarted aerially stocking fish and did not put it on their website, these fish are wild. I absolutely love catching wild trout. Size does not matter with these little treasures.

After ninety minutes it was time to leave. Catching those fish was a nice exclamation point on a great

This little guy is important for a successful fishery in the future

trip to the Granite state. And its my birthday!

p.s. You may have noticed I did not name the mountain pond. If you find it on your own by the hints I gave, great. Please do not keep any wild trout. If you want to eat some trout, catch them from stocked ponds where it doesn't hurt the population. Wild trout are hard to come by these days. Also if you do hike up, please clean up after yourself. I can say that almost 100% of hikers pack out what the pack in. Sadly, we all know just by looking at shorelines, not all fishermen do.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Am I just getting old?

Thursday night I went to the Kid Rock concert at the Xfinity center in Mansfield. I have seen Kid three times before. I am a huge fan of his. I think he is ridiculously talented. He writes his own music. He plays multiple instruments, and he certainly crosses musical genres. Is he crude? Yes, but beneath some of his raunchy stuff is one of the few artists out there with all around talent.

Twice I saw Kid with Lynard Skynard. As you can imagine, yup,I'm a huge fan of Skynard. I absolutely loved the show. This year, Foreigner opened up for Kid Rock. They were awesome. The lead singer sounds exactly like he did years ago. My favorite songs by them are "Hot Blooded" and "Jukebox Hero"

After Foreigner's set, Kid played for about 90 minutes. He is a showman. He played multiple instruments and talked about some of his struggles in his life. He was a ton of energy and still rocks at 44 years old.

All that said, I felt very awkward at the show. First off it was not my crowd. Almost everyone had multiple tattoos and wore black or leather and seemed to be in a motorcycle gang. I'm more of a shorts and t-shirt kind of guy. More importantly, Since pot is no longer criminal in Massachusetts EVERYONE was lighting up. As I've said before, I have never smoked weed, but I am not against it. In the old days when it was illegal, you still smelled it concerts, but a few people were doing it. They would try to hide themselves so as to not get caught. At this concert, there was no hiding from it. So for three hours I was surrounded by the smell of herb.

About two thirds through the concert to my right I notice a girl about twenty three  completely bent over, hands on the ground, rubbing her backside against her boyfriends front side. It couldn't have been much more graphic if they were naked. I was in disbelief that this girl could be so dirty. Even drunk, most people have more class than that. And I asked myself, would I have found this so gross ten years ago?

I've been to Kid Rock concerts before, yet this is the first time the crowd made me uncomfortable. Were most of the fans at previous concerts Hell's Angel wannabes before? I assume they were. When I was a kid and saw a hot girl acting like a whore, I assume like any red blooded young man, I thought it was cool.
I don't know.

For the most part, I always feel like I'm young for my age. I like crude humor, and political incorrectness is funny to me. I goof around a lot. At work I get along very well with high school and college kids and have great debates about current events. Health wise, I feel exactly like I did at twenty years old. Someone said to me last week "you really don't have any grown up goals" to which I replied "basically I want to catch 30 pound stripers and see exactly how much asparagus it takes to make my pee smell." So I ponder whether or not, five or ten years ago, I would have been grossed out by a tramp grinding her boyfriend, or uncomfortable in a crowd full of pot smoking, tattooed, leather jackets. Or am I just getting old?

p.s. I'm justifying writing this piece in an outdoor blog by considering it a concert review. (at least the top half is)

Old Sturbridge Village

For the first time in ten years I went to Old Sturbridge Village (OSV). If you are not familiar with OSV, it is a living history museum. In the style of Colonial Williamsburg (on a much smaller scale) it is a recreation of a town from the 1830s. There are forty preserved buildings on the 200 hundred acre grounds. The buildings were brought there from other parts of New England, but they are 200 years old and not replicas. There are also many other antiques such as old firearms and farm equipment.
OSV is set up like an actual town. There is a common. There are two churches, a saw mill, grist mill and other businesses such as a bank.

We arrived about 10;30 and stayed until 4:30. There are costumed guides in many of the shops. For instance in the blacksmith shop a blacksmith was making a hot plate of iron. The potter was making small pitchers out of clay. They explain there craft and answer any questions. It is very educational. For a fee of three dollars a person, one can take a short ride on the stage coach or a twenty minute ride on the boat, We took a boat ride. It was nothing special, but it did get us off our feet for a few minutes.

People are allowed to leave the grounds and re-enter with their ticket. We went to the parking lot at

noon and ate our chicken salad sandwiches that we brought. However OSV does have a couple "taverns" and "general stores" that sold food. Before we left  I bought a pint of milk and a cookie. I do believe patrons are allowed to bring food into the village and eat inside.

Here is an amazing thing that shocked me , there was almost no one there today. I'd say there less than 100 paying customers. I couldn't believe how desolate it was. OSV is two hundred acres and we were there six hours. So folks were few and far between. This is a major attraction so I was pleasantly dumbfounded at how few people were there. The only thing I can come up with is that it was sprinkling this morning. Maybe people that planned on going changed their minds because of the rain. However, the forecast was for cloudy to clear skies, so I don't know. I was just happy there wasn't any crowds to deal with.

Anything you would need to know about OSV is on their website, which is easily found with a google search. Admission for an adult was $24.

Riverboat tour

Grist Mill Grinding Stones

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Prudence Island!

After whining about my boredom the last week, I will understand if you never read my blog again. If
your still here, thanks. Well, I had Friday off so I "went big" again. I went to Prudence Island.

Prudence is a large island in Narragansett Bay. It can be reached by the Prudence Island Ferry in Bristol, a mile or so south of Colt State Park on Thames Street.There are no attractions on the island. It is a quiet place to relax. A lot of people rent out houses for the weekend. You can do all the low key outdoor things on the island. Being surrounded by water you can obviously fish, swim, sun bathe, and play on the beaches. There are hiking trails in the center of the island.

I took the 9:45 ferry to the island on Friday. To my surprise the ferry ride cost me only  $8.10 for me and my bike. People do bring cars on the ferry, but I have no idea how much it costs. I would get a reservation if you bring a vehicle. Also note that the ferry has different times of departure during
Ferry Terminal on Prudence
different times of the year ( more round trips during warmer weather), and also during the week. There are more trips during Friday and Saturday than the rest of  the week.

Anyway, I got off the ferry at 10:15. My basic  plan for the day was to circle the island. The ferry terminal is on the east side of the island my plan was to work clockwise. My first stop was at T-wharf. I had planned on fishing there. High tide was at 11 am. However in my rush to get to the ferry, I left my pole in the car. I brought my gear, but left the pole. Not only could I not fish, but was also carrying around wasted useless weight on my back. I still went to the wharf. I hoped others would be fishing and I could at least watch. There was one guy. He was fluke fishing. I sat at a picnic table eating a banana and cookie and staying hydrated.

T-Wharf is exactly what it sounds like. Its a a dock a couple hundred feet long, at the end it makes a T. This one fisherman was casting in the same spot over and over. I could not figure out why he did not work his way up and down the dock and try to find fish. Then I realized, he remembered his fishing pole, so I shouldn't be judging anyone. I actually laughed out loud when I realized, I was the dumbass
Lighthouse on the southeast side

After I left T-Wharf I went northwest. I stopped at a fishy looking rock pier. I took a picture and looked into the clear water.

From there I rode my bike another mile or so and found a trailhead for a hike in the woods. Ten years ago, Prudence was over run with deer. A trip to the island guaranteed seeing at least twenty deer. My high number was 45. Not so anymore. Because of fear of lyme disease, a hunting season was instituted. Sadly, I did not see any deer in my hour in the woods hiking. I certainly understand the reason for wanting to cut down the size of the deer herd, but I do miss those days of seeing and photographing  all those deer.

After I got out of the woods I rode another mile north, I stopped at Pulpit Rock. On this rock Roger Williams preached to the Indians on Prudence. Kind of a cool thought that I stood where someone so famous stood almost 400 years ago.

Low tide was at 4 pm. I planned my favorite part of the day for then. I found a quiet cove on the northwest side of  the island facing Patience Island and went snorkeling. I played in the water for three hours or so. I got into a fight with a frisky crab that would rather fight than swim away. I saw some cool birds and found some quahogs.
A fishy looking spot that I fished. Oh wait, no I didn't because
I left my fishing pole in the car!

I had to catch the 6:30 ferry back to Bristol so I got out of the water and dried off about 5 pm. Back at
the ferry terminal is a convenience store ( the only store on the island that I know of). I bought some cold Gatorade and treated myself to a sweet. I spent six dollars on food and with my eight dollar ferry ticket, I couldn't believe I had that much all day fun for the price of a movie ticket and a soda.

Prudence probably has ten to fifteen miles of roads. I rode on at least 80%. I was passed by a total of one car all day. I was passed by one golf cart, and I rode by three rabbits. It was a very quiet relaxing day.

If you go:

The ferry leaves out of Bristol. Parking is tough. Street parking is not allowed and the ferry lot holds about 40 cars and costs ten dollars. I parked about two miles away and rode my bike to the lot.

The only store is at the ferry terminal. It is expensive, but the drinks are cold.

You can get all ferry info from their website which was very easy to find with a Google search.
Hiking paths are wide and mowed to cut down on chances of lyme disease

Stay hydrated. The air was very humid, the sea does not have much of a cooling effect unless its in your face.

Bring a fishing pole if you plan to fish.

There are ticks on the island! Take all the precautions. Residents have a very high percentage of Lyme Disease (hence the killing of deer). Ten minutes before writing this post, I pulled a Lone Star tick out of my leg.

One of many tree stands I found in the woods

Roger Williams was here

Wow, what are the odds I'd have Tabasco in my backpack?

The ferry coming to pick me up
Mt Hope Bridge in the background

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Go Big or Stay Home?

Lately I have been in kind of a funk. I have had to force myself to go outside on weeknights. Normally, I spend most of my work day planning my evening. This is especially true in the spring when there are so many options. However, for the last couple of weeks, unless it is my day off and I have a big plan, I haven't really wanted to do much. 

For the last few weeks I have been working six days, having Fridays off. For the last two Fridays, I have gone on my friend Eric's boat. Fishing was incredible and it was easy for me to get up at ungodly hours to go fishing. This Friday, I think I'm going out on Prudence Island for a day on the water. I can fish, walk in the woods and look for deer, and snorkel. There is a cove that I snorkel in that is loaded with tasty quahogs. Prudence is small enough that I can easily cover the island on my bike. 

The problem I am having is the motivation to do stuff the other six days during a week. I think there are many reasons that accumulate to the point of my laziness.Warning- whining ahead; First off I gained some of the fifty pounds I lost so lately I have been exercising most every night. It gets dark so late, who wants to run at 10 pm after fishing? Two, Tuesday nights I have to go into work for an hour to prep my croissants. Three, I go into work at 5:30 am on Wednesdays and work about 10 hours, so I'm tired. Four, I am on call six days a week right now for work, it is a little hairy knowing I could be an hour from home and a night girl could be throwing up and I have to go in and relieve her.

Lastly and much more importantly than all the above bitching is just that I like my spring hobbies that I can do after work much more than my summer hobbies. I live for Wachusett, trout, big mirror carp, stripers, and watching birds during their northern migration. During the summer those hobbies are replaced by bass fishing, catfishing, much slower carp fishing, and non existent stripers in Narragansett Bay during the summer.

Don't get me wrong, I love summer daytrips. Prudence, Charlestown Breachway and of course New Hampshire are some of my favorite things to do. Finding the motivation after work has been hard. However, I realize on the nights I sit at home, I'm bored and angry with myself for staying in. So even though I really don't want to, I have been going out.

Last night I went to Newport (at a spot that is good at high tide at dark) I ended up catching three stripers and had five other hits. I would however consider a trip to Newport as a big "exotic" trip even if it is only for a few hours. Tonight I forced myself to go bass fishing. There is a lake that can only be fished from shore near my house that has smallmouth. Tonight the fish were not biting, as I only caught one little one. Making it that more difficult to motivate myself to go out tomorrow night. The good news was that I saw the prettiest, longest, sunset I have ever seen.  

Please no hate comments. I completely understand that my life could be a whole lot worse when my biggest problem is that I like catching trout more than largemouth bass. This was just a short vent. I'm sure I'll figure it out. I'll find a new challenge or get into an old hobby hardcore (like I did birding this spring). But I do wonder, are the Albies here yet?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Back in Buzzards Bay

Fishing was so good last week fishing on Eric Meyer's boat in Buzzards Bay, that he decided to go again this week (weather permitting). Of course, I was invited to go again. We started a little later today than last week. We hit the water sometime around 6 am. The weather couldn't have been any better. All day long the water was glass calm. On the water the temperature was around 80 degrees (about ten degrees cooler than the high inland)

To keep this some what short we ended up finding the fish again ( it wasn't difficult). There are so many sea bass in the fishery, it would be almost impossible to not hook some. Last week it was no exaggeration that we each caught 100 fish. Today, it was more like 50-60 a piece. Trust me, it did not feel like fishing was only half as good. The bite did not seem to turn on until about 8 am. Once the fish started hitting it was non stop.

There were two glaring differences today compared to last Friday. Both days one member of our team (last week it was Zach. this week it was Eric's friend Jim Schmidt who is a great guy) was using squid for a few hours on a high/low rig.  That means he had two hook baited with squid. Last week, Zach reeled up at least 40 scup, most over a foot. Today, Jim caught about 6-8 scup. One was huge, but mostly they were of more normal proportions.

The other difference was that the sea bass today were much bigger. It seems sea bass do not school by size. You could catch a five pounder while your buddy reels one up under a foot. Obviously if each member of the boat catches between 50-100 fish,  there are going to be plenty of shorts, an average size, and hopefully a few trophies. I would say that at least 75% of our fish today were over the 14 inch minimum. Of those many were in the 15-17 inch range. We got a half dozen over eighteen inches, and Eric caught the biggest at just under 20 inches. Comparatively, last week we had three or four over seventeen inches ( however plenty in the 14-16 inch range, but percentage wise it was probably two shorts per keeper Keep in mind that means we still let go a hundred keepers last week.). I thought fishing couldn't get any better last week, but I was wrong, I loved catching the big fish today.

If you go:

It won't be hard to find sea bass, but if you can't look for the boats.

We launched out of Wareham, it was a fifteen minute ride to the fish

As I wrote above, one member of our crew was using squid. Last week Eric used a bucktail jig (about 1 1/2 ounces) tipped with squid. I used mostly a bucktail last week sometimes tipped with a curly tail grub or a piece of squid. Today, I used my 3/4 ounce homemade jig exclusively. I never tipped it with bait. Eric started with a piece of squid on his bucktail, but switched half way through. Jigging a Kastmaster XL or a Deadly Dick will get sea bass over the stern also.

The wind with the biggest waves in Buzzards Bay is a southwest. Make sure you check the nautical forecast.

Make sure you bring lures for blues and stripers because they can pop up anytime.

Good luck, and if their are any typos, I admit, I am not proofreading this right now. My baked sea bass is cooked and it looks delicious