Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sandy Session

Sandy Neck- Sandy feet, sandy hair, sandy brain. I love it. This is how I relax.

Kitesurfed, Sandy Neck, Barnstable, ENE, E, 12-18, 17M Fat Lady/ Mako 150.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Egg on my Kite

I've been using my teency tiny inflatable boat to kite off the grid a little. I'm drawn to the wild, secluded spots like South Monomoy. I can't kite there, (legally), so I'm doing some exploring and poking around for new venues.

Egg Island, near Kalmus Beach. I launch from the sand bar at low tide and kite in the kiddie pool.

This bar is exposed for only about 2 or 3 hours before and after low tide. The main beach in the background would be an easier launch but it's off limits. It has massive signs saying so and a guard actually patrols the beach.

I can't say I didn't see the signs. You can read them from 10 miles away.

Is this spot worth all the effort of boating out here? No, not really. I just like the challenge of finding a way to kite an otherwise inaccessible spot.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chatham Light

Oh yeah, I love this spot in SE! Especially on the outgoing tide. The waves, sand bars, slicks all line up beautifully in this wind.

Sand Bar at the Mouth of Chatham Harbor

My favorite spot is on a sand bar off South Beach near the mouth of Chatham Harbor. This may be one of the very few remaining spots in the world without a kite ban. How lucky is that?! We had better enjoy it while we can.

Chatham Lighthouse, Kitesurfed, ESE, SE, 15-25, With Jean, Jamie, Rich.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ban Kite Bans.

Assachusettes is becoming the world capitol of kite bans. I think the authorities won't stop until kiters have been officially declared an endangered species. That's probably the only way we'll get any rights. Then they'll have to put up signs, ropes and barriers to keep birds from interfering with us.

Taking a break on Great Island

All the kite bans make me nostalgic for windsurfing. I go to Kalmus for a good ol' windsurfing session. I get some good ol' forearm cramping and muscle failure.

Windsurfing is hard work! It can age you quickly. I was a young man when I started windsurfing this morning, a tired, frail, old man by the afternoon.

Kalmus, Windsurfed, 15-30, SW, WSW, 4.2/Surf 85, 5.2/Acid 94, with Martin, Jay, lotsa others.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Plover Sandwich

High tide, solid north wind, and the parking lot in Sandwich is still open to outta towners. Life is good! After my session I walk out to the point so my skin can absorb a little more of the rejuvenating sun and salt.

Injured Plover? Nope, she's just faking it. This plover built her nest way out on the point where everyone walks. Every time someone walks near the nest the mommie fakes an injury and limps away from the nest to lead the mean humans away from her eggs. This is what soccer players call flopping and plovers are great at it.

The sad thing is that the nest is way below the astronomical high tide mark. It doesn't bode well for the survival of this particular plovers gene pool. Maybe that's as it should be.

Town Neck Beach, Sandwich, Kitesurfed, N, 14-22, 12M Rally/ Mako150, Solo.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Windsurfing Wimp

I got back on a windsurfer today. I know! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.

I thought it would make me feel young. Like bringing back old times. Or not.

Windy Hardings
Overpowered on my smallest sail and board, 3.5 meters/85 liters. Didn't I used to use this rig up to 50 MPH? I was young then, I think. I hit a few jumps, a few jibes but I'm nearly shaking with exertion after just 4 or 5 runs. I rest, do a few more runs, then I smarten up, pump my 6 meter kite.

A windsurfer and a kitesurfer stop to have a leisurely chat
Being overpowered on a windsurfer, exhausting. Being overpowered on a kite, not so exhausting, dangerous.

Luckily I'm not overpowered on my 6m kite today. I still kite cautiously with all that air and water moving around me so quickly. Hey, at least I got to rig a sail and a kite in the same day.

Windsurfed, Kitesurfed, WNW 25-40 MPH, with Windsurfer Jay, others, Kiters Chuck, Liam, others.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Franconia Ridge: A Werewolf's Tale

Midnight hike by the light of the silvery moon. Hike 5:30 PM to 1:30 AM, very icy. 

Everybody had practiced their wolf howls for this 2 mile long ridge hike. We make it to the beginning of the ridge, 4800 feet up, but the 40 to 50 MPH winds are howling louder than we are. We abort.

Our werewolf spirit is undiminished. We howl our way down the mountain. I howl myself right to my truck and into my sleeping bag. I sleep the sleep of a tired wolf.


Hiking by Headlamp

Night Hike, Little Haystack. Trip Leaders- Karen Hoagland, Jonathan Niehof, Fred Smith, Ellen Tsai, Keith Watling.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Three in One

I kite. I hike. I kite. Mayflower Beach, East Sandwich Game Farm, Horseneck Beach. Not an extremely restful Sunday. At least I'm not spreading myself too thick.

Mayflower, Kitesurfed, NW, 10-22, 12M Rally/Mako, With Brad, Jean, Frank, Bryan, Others.
E Sandwich Game Farm, Hiked, 3 miles.
Horseneck, Kitesurfed, SW, 18-25, 10M Rally/Mako.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Windy Sunday

The White Mountain Higher Summits forecast is calling for a mix of sun, clouds, snow,  high temps around zero F, winds 80 to 100 MPH gusting to 125. Nice Spring hiking weather.

Unfortunately,  the hike I'm doing is completely in the trees, and mostly on the lee side of a ridge in NW winds. I'm missing out on all the excitement of hiking in those hurricane force winds. The good news is that I get to stay alive.

The View from Hancock

 Hiked, Mt Hancock, South Hancock, 10 miles, 6.5 hours. Solo.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Gone Sightseeing

Good sightseeing session! Mayflower to Sandy Neck, to Barnstable Harbor, to Chapin, to Mayflower. By the time I get back everyone has packed up and left. I don't take it personally. I switch to my surfboard and keep going until the wind disappears. It's good to be kiting again!

Sandy Neck Solitude

Kitesurfed, Chapin, 15-22, NNE, NE, 12M Rally/Mako 150, Surfboard, with Brad, Kitermike, Dave, Pam, Frank, Sandy, George.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

What I Learned This Winter

Mt Madison- I celebrate the last day of Winter with one more glorious, frosty hike!  Temp 10 to 15 F, wind 40 to 50 MPH on top of the rock pile. Yeah, old man winter is blowing us a goodbye kiss.

Ellen bracing against wind near the summit
For My Future Reference

New Sleeping Bag, What I learned This Weekend-
REI Expedition -20F Bag. I sleep in my truck at the trailhead to test this baby. Temp gets down to about 10F. The bag is super cozy! But I still need 1 layer long understuff on me and 1 layer underneath me. If I use this bag at -10 I think I'll need an insulated bag liner or I could wear my long underwear, puffy pants, puffy jacket, balaclava, or all of the above.

Layering for Hiking, What I learned this Winter-
If Under 30F:
Bottom- Very thin long underbottoms with Gramicci thin stretch nylon pants. Rain paints above treeline or if below zero F.
Top- Patagonia waffle base layer. REI waffle zip mid layer if under 20F or above trees. Rain jacket if below zero or above trees. light puffy jacket for additional mid layer if extreme cold.

If Above 30F:
Bottom- Skip the underbottms. Use nylon pants only. Rain pants above trees.
Top- Patagonia waffle base layer only. Don't even pack the REI mid layer. Bring thin puffy jacket for mid layer above treeline, with rain jacket for wind.

Extra Layers- Heavy puffy jacket and pants for emergencies or long rest stops in all temps.

Note- Contact Lens were a huge help for strong winds and temps under 30F on Mt Washington, Mt Jackson, Mt Madison!

Boots- My Keene's, (Summit County 3), rated for -40, are super warm, and relatively light. My feet stayed warm today with 2 wool socks even though they were damp with sweat. For extreme cold or multi day hikes I should try vapor barrier bags to keep my feet completely dry, or rent Scarpa Inverno double plastic mountaineering boots from MIT Outing Club to try them out.

Mt Madison, Hike Leaders- Joe Comuzzi, Ellen Tsai.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Back and Blue

I'm back! Back in the harness again.

It's great to be kiting again, even if I do get a little banged up from an over abundance of enthusiasm and under abundance of caution and restraint. I can say my first session in 2 months started with a bang. No trouble jumping over the sand bars. It's the landings I don't like. Bad crash.

I don't let a tiny little thing like a dislocated rib stop my fun though. I switch to a strapless surfboard and go back out to The Cut. My under abundance of caution carries the day.

Brad Riding the South Beach Cut

Kitesurfed, Hardings, SW 15-25, 12M Rally/Mako, Surfboard, with Brad, Jay, Joe, Eli.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

It's All About the First 10 Minutes

It's nice to start off a hike on a beautiful Winter morning feeling strong, confident in my gear, youthful. Well, the strong youthful feelings only lasts until I hit the first incline but it feels great for those first 10 seconds.

Temp mostly in the 20's F, high temp close to 30. No wind. Perfect Winter hiking conditions. This hike has 2 1/2 miles above timberline along the Franconia Notch ridge between Lafayette and Lincoln. One of the nicest hikes I've done, in some of the best weather for doing it.

Alright, I'm ready for some beach weather and kiting next weekend!

Hiked, Mt Lafeyette, Mt Linclon, loop route. Solo. 9 Miles. 8 Hours.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Warm and Rimey

O.K. I can take Mt Washington-in-Winter off of my bucket list! All it took was 12 hours of  AMC Winter Hiking classes in the Fall, hiking every weekend this Winter to get in shape, skills training for a full day with crampons and ice ax, unseasonably warm weather, great leadership, and 1" of skin off of my right shin.

A Little bit of Craziness- So I'm on the summit, huddled behind the weather station with the group, temp low 20's F, wind is 50 to 60 MPH whipping around the building, everything is white, covered with blowing snow and rime, including us, no visibility. I have a moment of clarity. I can suddenly see how some people might think of this as a little tiny bit crazy. Yeah, I can see that. I'm glad I don't feel that way.

Our Group Sheltering on the Summit
Lots of boring details for my future reference-

Warm and Windy- We're very lucky. It's a balmy 50 F in Boston, 40 at base of Mt Washington, low 20's at summit. That's 10 degrees above average for the peak! Some hikers turn back, including 2 from our group, (accompanied by 1 leader), because they're getting knocked around too much by the wind. I think if it's any colder or any windier, we'll all have to turn back. If we had last weekends weather we wouldn't have even gotten close to the summit. Such luck!

Front Pointing- The thing that most pushes me to my limits is climbing a short icy vertical section on the Lions Head Winter route. The only way up is to use the crampons and ice ax, kicking the front points of the crampons into the thin ice and rocky wall and trusting that those tiny little points of metal will hold my entire weight, then climbing straight up. I'm sure that 1 little break out in the ice and I'll be falling through air but it holds. This section is a bottleneck that slows all groups down for at least a 1/2 hour wait. Pro guides set up ropes for their groups, (just for insurance requirements?). 

Mountaineering Boots- Little torture chambers for my feet. This is how I lose 1" of skin from my right shin. We're required to have mountaineering boots because the stiffness of the sole allows for front pointing with crampons, and they're the warmest boots made. But for 3 weekends in a row I rent them to try to get a good fit and for 3 weekends in a row I get blisters and painful hikes. At least this weekend is the least painful of the 3. Boots are Koflach, Arctis, size 11. The fit seems good but the front of the plastic boot is crimping and digging into my shin as I walk. This is the only really unhappy part of the climb. Next time I should try renting Scarpa Inverno's from MIT Outing Club.

Future Hikes with Crampons and Ice Ax- I was told that Washington, Madison, Adams, are most likely to need crampons and ice ax. They may be useful for a few other isolated spots in the Whites but probably not as necessary. That's good because the thought of wearing those rental mountaineering boots again is very scary.

Best Gas Prises Ever- Ossipee.

Hiked, Mt Washington, 8.5 miles, 9 hours, with AMC Winter Hiking Program/ Above Treeline Workshop. Leaders- Larry Takiff, Elizabeth Ryan, Joe Comuzzi, Joe Danaher. 17 total hikers.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Embrace Your Inner Warmth

Record Breaking Cold in Boston- Yeah, it's a cold morning. My windshield washer anti freeze fluid is frozen. My GPS won't turn on until I warm up the car for a while. Signs on the highway read, "Extreme cold Saturday and Sunday. Plan ahead." I'm planning.

The top of Mt Jackson is 4052 feet, temp -10 F mid day, 30 to 40 MPH gusts. I'm planning to reach the top. I'm not planning to stay there for more than 3 seconds.

Any issues in the cold?

Frozen Eyelashes- Tiny ice balls are forming on my eyelashes. It takes me awhile to figure out what I'm seeing and feeling on my face. Then I get a kick out of it!

Frozen Hands- I can only take my hands out of my mittens for about 1 minute before they get seriously cold. I'm using massive down mittens, glove liners, and hand warmers. I have 3 extra sets of hand warmers just in case. If my hands get too cold it's dangerous because it becomes harder to adjust layers, hydrate, fuel up, and do the self care that's needed to stay warm and moving.

Frozen Wind- Above treeline is intense! I can't face into the wind for more than a minute before I have to turn away. The tiniest gaps in my layers of face protection create slivers of numbness almost immediately. Below treeline the wind is mostly blocked, totally different.

Disclaimer- My above treeline hike for Sunday with the AMC was canceled in honer of the record breaking cold and strong winds. So I hiked solo but I picked a quick, easy, 5 mile hike, mostly in trees, on a very popular trail, and I didn't start until mid day to hit the warmest time. Very sane if I do say so myself.

I obeyed the highway signs. I planned ahead.

Hiked, Mt Jackson, 5 miles, 4 hours, Temp 0 to -10, strong wind, sunny, solo.