Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Its the most Wonderful Time of the Year

   With all due respect to the Holiday Season we are upon my favorite time of the year. In my opinion and in the opinion of others in our area of southern New England the time period from April 15- the end of May produces the best fishing.

   Backtrack to the last couple of weeks. I’ve been fishing most every day with almost nothing to show for it. For a week straight I went carp fishing almost every day after work. Although I have friends that were doing okay, I was striking out. I also went trout fishing once, I got a couple, but nothing to brag about.
Fast forward to this week; we finally got some weather consistently in the sixties and a couple warm nights. That has really gotten the fish going. This Saturday was opening day for trout fishing in Rhode Island. The few days before the opening, guys scouting the ponds reported watching so many fish feeding at the surface it looked like rain.

  Opening day did not disappoint. Although I did not deal with the zoo in the morning, fish were willing. I know of one guy that caught 16 trout in 90 minutes. I went later in the afternoon dragging my friend Laurie along. I caught two quick trout in a few minutes. Sunday afternoon after work, I went for longer catching six trout in an hour of fly fishing.

   Tonight I went carp fishing again. After last week’s disappointment I was not expecting any action. I brought two books with me to keep me occupied. I went to the Blackstone River and set up on the riverbank. I actually caught three carp up to 12 pounds and had another runner. The fish were aggressive and fought hard. After many fruitless outings it was nice to have so much action.

   All of this good fishing can easily be attributed to spring finally getting to the area. The great thing is the fishing will get better and better. Not only will fishing for carp and trout get better, but as the water warms a few more degrees there will be more options.

   Largemouth bass and pickerel are also hitting well right now. Largemouth bass are going to be spawning a couple weeks. Besides the water temperature getting near perfect the bass also want to put on some weight before they spawn. They will hit just about anything this time of year.
Any day now a tidal wave of schoolies stripers will be hitting the West Wall and Narragansett Bay. With warm winters the last couple years, schoolies have shown up in early April. This year the stripers will reach us at a more normal date. That date is any day now
   
   In early May for saltwater bait dunkers, fluke and blackfish will be on the feed. By the end of the month bluefish and scup will be everywhere (assuming bluefish numbers have recovered).

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

My first spring day

My first open water fish of the year
For the first time this year I fished as though it was actually spring. Although ice had been off most of the ponds for a few days I could not bring myself to go fishing. We have had some cold days and to be honest I just didn’t want to put up with that shit any more.

   As I have said before I consider the first day of spring to be when trout are stocked. Some years this can be the first week of March. More likely trucks start rolling out to lakes and ponds the second week of the month. Since winter is just now loosening its noose on southern New England the trucks finally got out this week on Cape Cod ponds.

   I learned of the news Thursday night but was not sure which lakes had been stocked. I went to the Mass Wildlife website at 8:30 this morning. Most of the ponds in Plymouth got their initial stocking this week. When I saw this I was invigorated. Within 20 minutes I packed my waders, rods, and gear. I made a couple sandwiches and packed a lunch. I got gas and took the eastward journey down I-495.

   I did not have a lot of time because my afternoon had been planned for two months. I was going to the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association show (RISAA) with a kid whose mother I work with. So I only had time to fish Fearings Pond. I love Fearings; it may be my favorite trout water in the state. I knew that fishing would be slow because of the frigid water temperatures, but that did not temper my enthusiasm. Sure enough, some of the shaded vernal pools were still locked in with ice. There was also snow on the ground thanks to a Wednesday storm that pummeled the outer Cape.

   There were two groups fishing when I arrived. They were spaced a few hundred yards apart. I set up shop in the middle. I tried the usual assortment of trout lures. I knew the chances of cold sulking trout chasing a lure were slim, but casting and reeling kept me busy. I worked the whole shoreline between the two groups, careful to keep a respectable distance. I had one bump. One group caught absolutely nothing. The other group (two older guys) kept getting bangs on Powerbait. I know when the weather is this cold Powerbait can not be beat, but I HATE using it. These guys ended up catching three trout each.
After a couple unfruitful hours I set one rod up with Powerbait. I still didn’t get anything. Finally the older guys left. I set up one rod with Powerbait and the other I kept casting lures where they were. I hooked one rainbow on Powerbait about 12 inches long. I got a quick picture and released it.

   To be honest even though fishing wasn’t very good I could have stayed all day. I forced myself to leave for the RISAA show. I still left an hour later than I planned and ended up missing the seminar I most wanted to see.

   I picked up my friend’s son (Ronnie) at 4 pm, thanks to the delightful Providence traffic. He only lives five minutes from the Rhode Island Convention Center. If you are into saltwater fishing this is by far the best show of the year. Ninety percent of the booths are actually fishing related. There isn’t all that other crap (doors, kitchen appliances) that you find at some of the other shows. Also there are so many experts at this show. If you know anything about saltwater fishing, this place is a who’s who of terrific fishermen. On Friday I had a long conversation with Toby Lapinski who is the editor of The Fisherman Magazine. I bought a book from Dennis Zambrotta, who probably knows more about Block Island stripers than any other human being alive today.

   There are terrific seminars. We sat in on one; it was about fishing around Newport. I learned a lot about spots and how to fish them. I could have kicked myself for not bringing a piece of notebook paper and a pen. Everywhere I looked there was another expert. Steve McKenna was at the Quaker Lane booth. DJ Mueller was doing his usually excellent seminars. Seriously, this show is a great place to go to quickly shorten the learning curve.

   Of course the bulk of the show is taken up by vendors. There are many people selling tackle, rods, and reels. The only thing I bought was Dennis Zambrotta’s book. Ronnie spent six dollars on some soft plastics. About 8 pm called it a day and I brought Ronnie home.


   So all in all I had a great day. I caught my first open water fish of the year. I had some terrific conversations at the show. I learned a lot at the seminar. The forecast is looking more spring like the next ten days. There are more days with a predicted high in the fifties than there are in the forties. Spring although not super warm is finally here!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Baseball Hall of Fame

Early this winter DJ and I planned on doing a daytrip or overnight during his spring break. For the last couple of weeks our plan was to go skiing. Although DJ is at least an intermediate skier, I have never gone. The last few days have been fairly warm so the conditions at Wachusett were slushy. So we decided to go with our original plan we came up with in December, The Baseball Hall of Fame.

   We left around 6 am. From Boston, the Hall is about a 4-4:15 hour drive. We got there about 10:30. Before we went in we ate a couple sandwiches so hunger wouldn’t chase us out before we were ready.  After paying the admission, all signs point to start on the second floor (there are 3 floors). The second floor starts with the history of baseball. There are artifacts of the first gloves and helmets along with pictures of old fields. Also on the second floor are exhibits about players from Latin America, Negro Leagues and lockers from all Major League teams. There is one room dedicated to Babe Ruth.
   
   The top floor has artifacts from baseball records. There is a room full of photographs. There is a room like the Babe Ruth room dedicated to Hank Aaron.  There is so much to see on these two floors. We took our time trying to see as much as we could without going into information overload.
The first floor is where the plaques hang of the players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The gallery room is well lit with arching ceilings. Part of it opens up into an atrium with a glass ceiling. I didn’t get a picture of every plaque, but I did of all of the players/ coaches and owners I knew or of heard of. 
After we ate our sandwiches, we went in about 11 am. We stayed until 4:30. We didn’t get bored. We are big baseball fans. It was definitely worth the drive there. After we left we went out to eat at a BBQ place. Our original plan was to stay at the Best Western, but I wasn’t tired at all so we drove home. We arrived home at 10:30 pm. It was a long but memorable fun day.

    On a side note on our way out of Cooperstown we saw deer everywhere. Without exaggeration from downtown to the highway we saw over one hundred deer. We saw one herd that DJ counted at least 24. Most herds were between 3-8 individuals. In some areas we’d see three or four different herds in a one mile stretch of road. We did not stop to get any pictures because we only brought the small camera with a 4X  zoom.

If you go:






The Hall of Fame is about 4- 4 ½ hours from the Boston area. The ride is three hours highway and one full hour off the interstate. Once you are off the highway plan on driving forty to fifty miles through farm country and small towns before reaching Cooperstown. We left at 6 am and did not run into traffic anywhere including Albany. Directions from all points on the compass are on the website.
 
   The price of admission is $19.50 for an adult. You can save two dollars if you are a AAA member. Seniors are $12 and kids are $7. Hours are from 9-5 but they are extended until 9 pm during summer hours. There was almost no one there when we went. I’d be willing to bet they didn’t sell forty tickets for the day. That said I bet the Hall is an absolute zoo during baseball season. There is a baseball field in downtown two blocks from the building. Little League baseball tournaments go on all summer. I can imagine how crowded it is having a couple thousand little leaguers in town every day.

    This leads to parking. We parked at the field (Doubleday Field) for free. Most of the parking in town is two hour parking and they make it clear it is enforced. The field parking lot is free this time of year but there is a fee the other seasons. I would not count on parking there during warm weather. There are lots on the outskirts of town and a trolley will bring you in for a $2.00 fee.

   The Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce lists the accommodations. As mentioned we had planned on staying. The Best Western was going to be $70 a night. They have an inground pool. There are many other places that are more “charming”. I also saw signs for at least two campgrounds in the area.
As for food, there seemed to be an adequate amount of places downtown. The BBQ place we went to was about three miles from town. The wings were delicious but the prices were outrageous. It was a good idea to fill up before we went in the HOF since they do not sell food. There is a bubbler at the bathrooms on all three floors.

   I can understand the quiet country charm surrounding Cooperstown. The downtown area has an old timey feel to it. For any kid, getting to play on that field only a two minute walk from the HOF would be a dream come true. There are many memorabilia shops that sell everything from baseball cards to jackets. If you have the time a full two days in Cooperstown would be really fun.


The website is bassballhall.org 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My Favorite Outdoor Books

One of the things I enjoy doing is reading. Most of the time I read non-fiction. When I do read fiction books they are usually classics or literature. The thought of reading Tom Clancy or Mary Higgins Clark does nothing for me. I have read some Hemmingway, Moby Dick and other classics and enjoyed most of them.
However I strongly lean towards the non-fiction. The books that interest me the most are about traveling, exploring America or generally the great outdoors. Two years ago I mentioned in a post that I would put together a list of some of my favorite outdoor books. I finally got around to doing it. There is quite a range in topics from dogs to hitch hiking. They are in no particular order. If you read all these books, I’m sure your top ten would look different than mine so there is no need to rank them.

   Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey- Edward Abby was a park ranger at Arches N.P. before it became touristy. The roads were bad and the campground was primitive. He is very opinionated and gives his point of view on a range of topics along with stories of his time at Arches.

   Travels with Charley In Search of America, John Steinbeck- Steinbeck goes on a road trip with his dog Charley a giant poodle. They want to see the sites but it is more important for him to meet people in his travels. He traveled during the time the sixties when the country was being desegregated. Since I went to many of the same places as him out west, it is interesting how he interpreted these places compared to me.

   Everett Ruess A Vagabond for Beauty, John Nichols- Ruess was a kid that explored alone the Colorado Plateau. He went missing in 1934 and his body was never found. He loved the beauty of the west he could not live a conventional life. He needed to be outdoors soaking it all in.
   
    Walking with Spring, Earl V. Shaffer- There are many books about hiking the Appalachian Trail.   They are all equally interesting reads since everyone has different experiences. Earl happened to be the first person to thru hike the trail.

   One Life at a Time Please, Edward Abbey- This book is a series of essays. Topics range from immigration to Big Bend National Park. Abbey was not shy about his opinions. Agree or disagree with him, the topics make you think.
   
   Worthwhile Places Correspondence of John D. Rockerfeller Jr. Horace Albright
This book consists of the letters between Rockerfeller Jr. and Albright. Rockerfeller probably did more for the National Park system than any other private citizen. He donated much money, time, and land to it. He donated 55,000 acres that he purchased with his own money to add to Grand Teton. Albright was Head of the Park Service for many years. It is an extremely interesting read. Basically it is two first person accounts with thoughts and opinions from two people that cared deeply for protecting nature. If you watched National Parks America’s Best Idea by Ken Burns you will love reading this afterward.

   Riding with Strangers, Elijah Wald- This is a book about hitch hiking across the country. This guy was done it many times. He tells about the people he meets and the places he has slept. For anyone that thinks hitch hiking would be fun but will never do it because of the risks, it’s interesting to see the world through Eljah’s eyes.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place- Aron Ralston- This is the book 127 Hours is based on. This kid gets stuck in a slot canyon with a boulder crushing his hand. He has to choose between death and cutting his own hand off. Aron talks about other crazy things he has done during his life outdoors. A modern day classic that every young hiker has read.

   Into the Wild- Jon Krakauer- Another modern classic. Every true hiker knows the name Alexander Supertramp. It is about a kid that after graduating college leaves. He drifts around the west for a couple years leaving his mark on people he meets. He makes it to Alaska where he goes into the wild alone. True story well done.

   Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopald- Leopald was a true conservationist. He was one of the first to see the value in predators and fought to protect them. He was also one of the first to fight for wilderness protection. In the years since he wrote this book views have changed, science has improved but amazingly some of his theories and opinions were spot on.

   A Pirate Looks at 50, Jimmy Buffett- Jimmy goes on a three week trip across the Caribbean. Unlike some of the people on the above list, Jimmy has the money to do exactly what he wants. The book contains stories of his life. Talks of songs he has written and of course the trip itself. Buffett is one of the most interesting people alive to me because of the life he has lead and the fact that he appreciates every single memory he makes.

My very messy bookshelves
   Call of the Wild/ White Fang, Jack London- As fiction books go these are two of my favorites. Being a Jack London fan when you are outdoorsmen is a bit cliché’ but there is good reason. These two dog books are phenomenal. White Fang is about a wolf dog that starts off wild and his relationship with people grows stronger. Call of the Wild is about a giant dog named Buck that gets kidnapped from his home in California and becomes the ultimate sled dog. His heart is drawn to the freedom of being a wild dog.  Both are great books, I give White Fang the edge but Call of the Wild is the more popular of the two 

   Old Man and the Sea, Earnest Hemmingway- My favorite fiction book. I almost never read any book more than once. I’ve read this three times. In case you have lived under a rock, it’s about an old man that catches a huge fish miles from his port in Cuba. He is alone with his thoughts except for some man eating sharks that circle his small rowboat.

   My First Summer in the Sierra, John Muir- Muir took a job as a sheep herder, that is when he fell in love with the Sierra Nevada’s. First off it’s awesome to read a first persona account by such a great man. It is fun to read of him chasing bears away from the sheep herd. Muir was so far ahead of his time with his beliefs about conservation it’s not even funny.

So there you have it. This list ended up having fourteen books on it. I didn’t count them until I was done. I love all of these books.






When old is better than new

   In my hobbies, the newest, latest gear is usually much better than stuff even a few years old. Gear made for backpacking for example is lighter and smaller each successive year. Two man tents are consistently less than four pounds. My stove weighs about three ounces.

   New fishing reels hit the market every year. Manufacturers discontinue favorite reels only to bring them back with more ball bearings, a different shape, and usually a higher price tag. The advertising for the new improved model makes a customer feel like their old reel is a piece of crap even if it’s only two years old. New lures come out every year. Some make it in the world of retail and some only last a year or two.

   With all the new technologies, there is no doubt that some things really are new, improved and just better. Companies like EMS, Marmot and Columbia Sportswear are always researching lighter breathable materials. When backpacking the difference of carrying a couple pounds less for ten miles can change an unbearable hike to an enjoyable one. Some of the new fishing lures are extremely lifelike. There is a reason the Sebile Swimmer costs $25, it works. Everyone at the Cape Cod Canal herring run has one tied on or in their bag.

   But what about older gear? Should we feel like we are carrying crap just because it’s older or a little beat up? Of course not! Old used gear has been tested by time. It has been tested by weather, it has been tested by rough teenagers and it has been tested by (let’s face it) abuse.

   My bike is about 12 years old. I love my bike. It is a 21 speed mountain bike. This year I put some money into it. I got the chain greased, bought a new cushioned seat, and bought a handle bar extension so I could ride more upright.  Despite all of this, it looks beat up. She has survived taking corners too fast where she was scraped up as bad as me, but I healed within a week. The bike has been on many journeys in the rain and has some rust spots to prove it. The first week I bought it, I went to Gilbert Hills State Forest. I slid down a hill and scratched it. Literally on its first ride it no longer looked new. I wasn’t upset at all. Who wants a shiny bike that looks like it’s never been ridden. The answer…not me. For crying out loud, it’s a mountain bike not a piece of fine China, it should look a little roughed up.

   I have an old (at least ten years maybe longer) battery operated Coleman lantern. It takes four AA batteries.  When I am on vacation I use the batteries at night in the lantern then I charge them in the car when I get up. I’ll use them in my camera during the day then start the process over again in the evening. The lantern looks old. It has been dropped a few times. It sits in my camping gear box usually with other gear piled on top of it. Sometimes it doesn’t want to come on right away when I put the batteries in. Eventually within a minute of adjusting, it always works. This lantern has been to Yellowstone and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. When I go to New Hampshire for weekend getaways I read Jack London with it by my side. If I ever win Powerball I will buy a bass boat, an ocean boat and a 4 wheel drive truck to pull them. However, that fifteen dollar lantern stays as long as it continues to light up my tent.

   My ice fishing tilts were given to me when I was 12 years old by my dad’s 70 year old friend Jimmy Doyle. They are made of wood and the flag is a red square of cloth. They are at a minimum fifty years old. I did not touch them for twenty five years until I fell in love with ice fishing last year. He gave me about a dozen. I use the four that were in the best condition and easiest to clean up. Even after cleaning they still look old and ratty. The other day I was in Dick’s, ice fishing gear was 25% off so I decided to buy a new tilt. You know what? Ice fishing technology wasn’t changed in fifty years. The flag is held down and pops up the same with my old tilts as the new. Why would I go out and buy all new tilts even at $6 a piece if they do the exact thing.

   Also I feel by using these old tilts I honor the men before me that used them. I will never know the stories of what was caught on them. I won’t know how many fish were caught on their trips near Nash Stream Forest in New Hampshire. But the memories that were made with these tilts even though I will never know them are priceless.

    There is no doubt I buy and own a lot of gear. I have twenty fishing combos. I have lures that will still be in boxes when I die. I have all the essentials for car camping and backpacking.  I didn’t buy this stuff all at once of course but like a handyman with power tools it was picked up a little at a time.  I have a bad habit of over buying fishing gear when it is on sale. Last year Rebel and Bomber saltwater lures went on sale at Walmart for $2.50. I bought bags of them. It was a good price and I figured I’d never have to buy them again. I do the same thing with soft plastics, jig heads and carp hooks.
One thing I do not do is throw something away because it is old. If something like my bike or lantern is in fine working order I would never upgrade. To the contrary those scratches give those items character. They remind me of memories I made with them. If anything I appreciate my old gear that stood the test of time more than my new gear.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Kepping busy during times of Cabin Fever


Admittedly, a post about keeping busy over the winter should probably be written in early winter. However Jack Frost has no plans to leave anytime soon. There’s 10 inches of ice where I live. I’m sure western MA and the northern New England states have well over a foot. It’s not going to melt anytime soon folks. So even though this post is a little late for the season, it could also be considered a getting ready for the coming season post for those that haven’t gotten ready yet.

Of course ice fishing is an option for many people. I absolutely love ice fishing. I haven’t been able to go the last two weeks because my auger blades dulled to the point of not working at all. To make matters worse, I could not replace or sharpen the blades because they were sold out. I sucked it up and spent a hundred dollars on a Strike Master Lazer auger that should come in today’s mail. I am extremely excited to be able to ice fish again. Words can’t describe my excitement.  I understand that not everyone shares my passion for ice fishing. Some just can’t handle the cold weather and develop a severe case of cabin fever. So what to do?

Go to an outdoors show

 Most of the shows are over for the year. However the RISAA Saltwater Show is at the end of March. If you are a saltwater fisherman, this is the best show of the year. There are excellent seminars done by true experts. There are lure makers and rod manufacturers. There are many sellers of all sorts of gear. It really is a great show.

Make your own gear

This month The Fisherman Magazine has an article about building your own plug bag for surf fishing. These bags will last forever. It is an awesome feeling to carry around a bag you built yourself. It takes a couple hours to build one. It is definitely a project. Making a bag, although time consuming, is fairly easy. I have made three of them. I have a big heavy surf bag. A smaller bag for the bay with primarily smaller baits that is much lighter than my surf bag. I also made one for walking around ponds freshwater fishing. I only have two compartments in this bag. One for a box of hardbaits. The other compartment is for terminal tackle. Most of the extra space is for bags of soft plastics like grubs, lizards and plastic worms. You can customize it to fit your needs

Another worthy project is to build your own plugs. I do not have the power tools to shape wood so I have to buy preshaped lure bodies. However I have to put the wire through and attach split rings and hooks to them. I paint them myself. There is a lot of satisfaction in catching a fish on something you have made yourself.

Along the same lines I make my own bucktail jigs and deceivers. I use the deceivers primarily as a teaser in front of a heavier lure. My son uses them on his fly rod. Another worthy winter hobby is to tie flies. Although the only flies I tie are deceivers many trout guys tie their own flies, it is a fun hobby that any serious trout fisherman should consider.

Bucktails are easier to make than they are to find at the store for a reasonable price. Hood sizes to use depending on current and depth are from 3/8 up to an once and a half. All is needed are jigheads, red thread and a bucktail.

I also make my own baiting needles for putting corn on a hair rig. Baiting needles are pretty cheap to buy, but if you don’t need to buy anything else from an online carp store the shipping will kill you. I make a bunch at a time and pass them out when I meet new carp fishermen.

Carp fishermen usually use painted sinkers because the sinker is so close to the hook. It is much cheaper to paint unpainted sinkers yourself than to buy them prepainted. You have to heat up the sinker and put into powder paint. This takes a couple tries but is a lot easier than I thought it would be before I started painting them.

Lastly when it comes to making my own gear, I spend a lot of time making my own leaders. I make leaders for carp fishing (a hair rig with a knotless knot). I make fluorocarbon leaders for trout fishing. I make a six foot leader for using a casting bubble and a fly. I make another about two feet long for using Powerbait.

I also make leaders for stripers. I do not use fluorocarbon, but rather 30 or forty pound mono. I make some leaders for eel fishing. I make some up with a teaser and a snap for a lure. I also make some up with a albie deceiver at the end in case albies come to town.

I buy wooden eggs at craft stores and put long screw eyes in them to use as a very good casting float in shallow surf and rocky conditions. Attached to the back end is a 3 foot piece of mono and a snap so I can change lures quickly.

Since I fish for so many species of fish, I make lures/ leaders of many different sizes. It keeps my busy doing this stuff. I will try to make ten bucktails in a sitting. Usually I’ll do this while watching sports on television. I’d be lying if I said I make leaders all winter. Usually I get so into it, I’m done making them before December 1.

ORGANIZE!

I know I’m obsessed with fishing so I over organize my gear many times throughout the winter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve checked my surf bag just to see if there are pliers and Cocahoes in it. For normal people, this is the time of year to organize your boxes. Take an inventory and decide what gear you need to buy. Each type of fishing I do has specialized equipment. As I’ve said before, you wouldn’t try to catch stripers with a trout rod. So I go through everything and make sure I have clean organized equipment for the upcoming year. I make a list of what I need to buy. I do this not only for fishing gear but also camping supplies.

Change your line

Pretty simple, it is very important to change all your old mono at the beginning of the year. I do not enjoy this chore. I do all my reels in one sitting just to get it over with. I never want to miss a fish because it broke off from weak line.

Although the ice will be around for a while, it can’t last forever (I hope). This is the time of year when cabin fever reaches its peak. Making and organize gear is a great way to kill time when you can’t be outside. Even if you don’t enjoy doing these things, the time and attention to detail will help you catch fish or spend less time packing during the warmer weather. If you get a chance, go to the RISAA show!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

White Mountain Superlatives

I have not seen everything there is to see in the mountains so this list certainly will change someday.  These are my favorite things to this point. I have hiked 30 of the forty eight 4000 footers. The two I am most looking forward to that I have not done are Carrigan and Adams. When I am with DJ we usually hike mountains. When I’m with Laurie we hike to a lot of waterfalls. When I am alone I hike to mountain lakes. Feel free to leave comments on your favorite things in New Hampshire

Favorite Campground- Russell Pond It has been quiet when I’ve been there. Showers, trout lake, paved road, boat ramp and beach.

Favorite Roadside Falls- Although not technically roadside Diana’s bath and Crystal Falls are both within ten minute walks from the car. Diana’s bath is very popular and is a series of pools and small falls. Crystal Cascade is in Pinkham Notch. It is on the trail many people use to hike Washington (Tuckerman Ravine).

  My favorite true roadside fall is Upper Falls of the Ammonoosuc on Base Rd. (the road to Cog Railroad)

Favorite Waterfall hikes- Waterville Cascades and Thoreau Falls- Waterville Cascades have a series of waterfalls each with a big beautiful pool at the bottom. Thoreau Falls has a beautiful view of Mt Bond. Also the hike to Thoreau Falls by the Ethan Pond trail is amazing.

Waterfalls I most want to see that I have never been to- Franconia Falls, 13 Falls, and Welton Falls

Favorite Roadside Pond- Profile Lake – Canon Cliffs looming above, a boat ramp and big trout

Runners up Upper Hall Pond, Kiah Pond and Russell Pond

Prettiest Roadside Lake- Profile Lake wins again, 2000 feet of cliffs do make a nice backdrop

Favorite back country lake- Black Mountain Pond

Runner up- Black Pond

Mountain ponds I most want to see- Flat Mountain Pond, Lonesome Lake

Easiest 4000 footer Mt Hale- we made it up and back in 2 hours 59 minutes- No view at all

Easy 4000 footers with great views- Mt Pierce, Mt Jackson, Mt Garfield (Garfield is ten miles round trip, but does not feel that long and except for the end it is relatively level for climbing a mountain

Fun hike on 4000 footer-Mt Jefferson-  Jefferson’s starts at 3200 feet so it’s the easiest Presidential by far. It’s also a cool hike. We hiked up the Caps Ridge, the caps are large rock formations that require climbing with both hands and feet. After we summited, we hiked down the Castleated Ridge, which had more rock formations. We cut back to the Caps Ridge Trail via the Link trail making for a really cool 6.2 miles. The Link was not in good condition when we hiked it.

Favorite big hike- Bonds and Twins- The Bonds and South Twin are in the heart of the Pemi Wilderness. They are by far my favorite mountains. Mt Bond and Bondcliff are eight miles into the woods. From there summits, there is no sign of civilization Bondcliff is the best place in the mountains to get your picture taken. Standing at the top of the cliff, the cliff drops straight down below. In the background is the slide scarred West Bond

Mountains most looking forward to I have never done- Carrigan and Mt Adams

Best view- Summit of Mt Twin

Hardest Mountain- Mt Washington- but in fairness, DJ was six years old so we rested a lot. It’s still over eight miles round trip and 4100 feet of elevation gain. It took us twelve hours.
From the top of South Twin



Best mountain loop hike- Franconia Ridge, The loop of the Old Bridal Path, Greenleaf trail, the Franconia Ridge and Falling Waters Trail is a classic hike with a lot of time above the trees

Favorite flat trail- Ethan Pond Trail from Zealand to junction with Thoreau Falls trail- The trail goes through a huge valley. You have to hike around giant boulders that have fallen during slides. It’s just awesome.

Least favorite hike- Frankenstein Cliff- Although not terribly long it was extremely sandy. For every three steps up you slide back two. Not to mention it getting into low boots or sneakers. It sucks.

Most over rated thing in New Hampshire- North Conway- There is always traffic. The entire Kancamangus highway will have one car on a Wednesday, but as soon as you get near Conway and North Conway, its bumpers to bumper traffic.

Second Most over rated thing- AMC Hut system (90 dollars a night to sleep in bunkrooms with smelly exhausted snoring hikers, I’ll pass

Best pizza place- GH Pizza and Greek Restaurant Lincoln, NH right on Route 112 Kancamangus Highway

Best Road to see a moose- For me the place I have seen the most moose were on Route 3 between Franconia and Twin Mountain and Route 302 in the wet areas between Twin Mountain and Bretton Woods

Other roads I have seen moose
Route 49 in Waterville Valley, Kancamangus Highway, Jefferson Notch Road, Gale River Road,
Arethusa Falls- the tallest waterfall in NH

Best time to pick blueberries- Around the third week of August

These are my favorite things in New Hampshire.