Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August Hiking has drawn to a close

31 Aug: Bangor, Maine visiting MIT friend Steve P tonight.  Our Texas family sends reports of their volunteer efforts; our 3 year old granddaughter Fyn is excited the water is going down.

30 Aug: Tilton, NH to Bangor, Maine (Route: NH 106 to 16 N to Maine 2E to I-95 N -- not speeding;  hint: read yesterday's OOOPS!)  We stopped at Drew's for a quick good-bye, but no one was home.  Northern New Hampshire brings the Adirondacks to mind with its many lakes and forests.  The white birch trees stand resplendent against the tree covered White Mountains.  Near Mt. Washington we saw a couple of B&B's next to the Appalachian Trail we might visit.  Jonathan's Seafood in North Conway served a tasty haddock lunch with boiled potatoes and salad.   Google maps suggested the ride would be four hours;  the scenic roads less traveled took a mere seven hours.  Tired and hungry we arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn ready for dinner.

29 Aug: The NH MIT friends gathering  last night at the Pasta Loft was a marvelous success.  Now we are packing for the one hour ride to Laconia, NH to spend the day with Drew and BD in their new home.  The temperature is 51 degrees at 9:30 AM.   Our Houston family remains dry with power. Friends have not fared so well. All the banks are closed; a few markets are open with limited hours letting in a few people at a time. 2/3 of the greater Houston area is flooded. The rescue effort is amazing byTexans who pull together to help each other.  OOPS!! We encountered a policeman going 60 in a 30 MPH zone.  He musta liked us because we got a verbal warning instead of the usual 30 days with license suspended for reckless driving. He was worthy of a heartfelt blessing from the ordained one. Drew and BD have a delightful cottage by the lake.

Lake house dock earlier
8 hours later
28 Aug:  Houston, we have a problem!  Update on Harvey's impact on Cynthia's family in Houston:  Roxanne no longer has power (fortunately it came back on at noon); she said last night was scary; her huge cypress tree fell on the lawn.  The water is up to Paul's front door; they moved what they could upstairs (fortunately it retreated from that scary position); his in-laws in Sealy are ok. Stan Forde is in College Station and Ok.  Jon Forde is ok on much higher ground.  The bold headlines in the USA Today read, "Catastrophe," and it is indeed.  It is heartbreaking to read of whole coastal communities destroyed.  Many hospitals were evacuated along with thousands of residents from rooftops.  The convention centers are housing the evacuees.  A friend sent pictures of our lake house dock (the house we sold a year ago).  Seeing the dock breaking away from the bulkhead was a personal pain for only a fraction of a second, grasping the horror Houstonians are facing. The Governor said that Port Aransas is 100% gone; don't come back and don't come to look.

27 Aug: We are yet in Nashua in a holding pattern until Tuesday with excitement building over the Monday gathering of long time friends at the Pasta Loft.  In the meantime-and in-between-time, Cynthia is glued to Texas news.  Catastrophic flooding has occurred and will worsen in the days to come.  Our family is dry with power.  Ron is doing fun genealogy!!!

26 Aug:  We are in Nashua, New Hampshire at the Hampton Inn awaiting a fun get together of many friends at the Pasta Loft in Milford.  We left the Chesterfield Inn at 11:30+ am and took Vermont 9 north and east to route 101 in Keane then east to Nashua, NH.  The temperature at first was 52 degrees, signaling a need for warmer outer gear en route.  Then the sun came out so that we were too warm by the time we stood in stop lights in Nashua.  We checked in to the Hampton Inn and found a Ruby Tuesday's to pig out at the Garden Bar.  Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas SW of Houston with 130 mph sustained winds and 40 inches of rain predicted for some areas.  Our Houston, Texas area family reports the rain has begun; they prepared for four days of heavy rain and flooding by stockpiling a lot of food and bringing home standby generators.

25 Aug:  West Chesterfield, New Hampshire - The Chesterfield Inn is a Select Registry B&B; with 12 stays we earn points for  $100.00 off a 13th stay; it is a pricey way to earn a hundred bucks.   We enjoy the New England ambiance with wild flowers, red barns and a walking trail. The nicest part of this inn is a fine dining restaurant in-house.  They prepare breakfast to order.  (Some B&B's are rigid about their breakfast menu and unwilling to prepare anything but en masse.)  We spent a lovely, leisurely day on Beanie and Eddie's patio overlooking their extensive gardens.  Eddie made a delicious chopped salad with grilled chicken and fresh peaches.  Another great dinner at the inn was enjoyed by the four of us.  We like to eat.

24 Aug:  Hello World!!  The Smooches are packed and departing for Keane, NH to visit the Scrabble Champs!  (Old U.S. route 4 east to Vermont 100 south to Vermont 30 east to NH 9 north & east to the Chesterfield Inn.)  VT 100 is a Vermont scenic highway with marvelous scenery and lousy, bumpy pavement.  After a very chilly start, the ride turned pleasant and relaxed.  Half an hour down mountain from Killington we warmed up.  We stopped in Townshend, VT for a walk and a restroom, but nothing was found.  We parked  in the dead center of town; not a restaurant nor open city building was in sight.  The school secretary and the pharmacist suggested the doctors office.  The number of cars parked outside made us choose the nice woods in back of the parking lot.  Ron reflected that asking any New England business to use a restroom reveals that true New England hospitality is exactly similar to male sympathy.  Their scenic roads also display New England frugality: if the road surface degrades seriously, just lower the speed limit; problem solved, and this is a permanent solution.  The good side of this solution is that there are not many cops handing out speeding tickets; apparently they know better than to drive their police cars that fast on those roads.  Eddie and Beanie joined us for a lovely dinner on the patio at the Chesterfield Inn.   Our family in Texas is preparing for Harvey.

23 Aug: We are nearly completed with the huge task of packing for Thurs. departure to see friends in New Hampshire.  But, we had time for a hike and trail maintainance.  3 hours.

six duckies all in a row, sitting on the log;
  I thought they liked to swim

22 Aug:  Here we are running out of August already. It's not my fault.  I did my best!  Ron hiked up hill to put out oranges for hikers and quickly discovered yesterday's 8 mile hike was overkill.  Today's hike was a flat 2.5 mile walk in the woods.  Cynthia's new bunion bootie might prove valuable.  Ron performed magic by cutting his hair, taking a shower and napping for a couple of hours. Cynthia is amazed that Ron and Bro Dean cut their own hair.  7 Duckies lined up in a row. 3 hours.

21 Aug: Rested and Refreshed, Ron plans to hike to the top of Killington.  Cynthia is icing her feet with plans to do Ron's laundry despite howls the clothes were just washed last year.  The eclipse was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.  Ron started hiking at noon thirty and returned at dark-thirty- 8:15 PM. Lots of water bars to clean out; CHARLIE was also on the trail.    8.4 miles RT  8 hours

20 Aug:   The Candyland Puzzle might be  our family Christmas photo.  We have thoroughly discussed our fatigue to the point we might need  a nap; we will increase our protein to get the cardiologist RX 80 grams a day, severely limiting fat.  Cynthia has a blister under a toenail on her right foot. She suffers osteoarthritis on the lefty related to a bunion that needs to be removed. Nothing to do about it but keep icing, eating food that reduces inflammation and keep moving.  Off we go for a hike up the Sherburne Pass Trail and roll back down. 3 hours

Puzzle with box.  It was a dilly.
19 Aug, Killington, VT:  Whew, the 1,000-piece candy cane jigsaw puzzle is finally finished.  It was probably the second hardest jigsaw in Ron's long career of time wasters.  Strange, isn't it, that an otherwise intelligent individual can become totally absorbed and waste time so cheerfully on such a meaningless project.  Wouldn't it be nice if all the hostile and destructive people would channel their limitless energies into something equally meaningless?  Since the day dawned dry and the forecast is pleasant, we are going for a hike (imagine that !!). It was fun to see CHARLIE doing trail maintain even today!

18 Aug: The Smooch Family is INDOORS at the Inn at Long Trail because of rain, drizzle, rain....  Ron has completed 3/4 of the Candyland Jigsaw Puzzle.  Cynthia is doing DNA stuff and genealogy.  In one hour and twenty minutes we have a break from our hard work; it will be time to eat dinner ... but just thirty minutes before dinner Ron awoke from puzzling to realize that the rain had stopped and that he really wanted to inspect his stream bed maintenance ASAP, so dinner was delayed another hour.  (The trail looks great - no slop, and water-bars diverted water off the trail satisfactorily.)  After dinner, more puzzling, and, as has happened too often in the recent past, when we should have been heading to bed, Ron launched into genealogy for an hour or more.

17 Aug:  We are at The Inn at Long Trail in Vermont - but "they" moved the trail, so the inn is no longer right on the trail, a monumental disservice to hikers.  After breakfast we set out for an early hike, but it was a very short hike of only 2000 steps, just long enough for Cynthia's feet to complain; we are back to the jigsaw puzzle and genealogy.

Thundering Falls sure looks good in this photo
16 Aug:  Today we enjoyed 68 glorious degrees with a nice breeze, and we were pumped for a long hike.  Cynthia switched to her old Salomon hiking shoes for greater foot stability and comfort.  Before hiking, we set oranges in a basket beside the trail for hikers and walked across the boardwalk to Thundering Falls, rejoicing in creation's abundance, marveling at the blooms bursting forth in gratitude for last night's rain.  We again enjoyed the camaraderie of a couple of AT hikers.  As we rode on Vermont highway 4 toward Gifford Woods State Park, we slowed to allow a momma bear and her two cubs to walk across the road just 100 yards in front of us !!  Oh joy !!  (Sorry, the cell phone camera was tucked into an inaccessible part of Cynthia's purse.)  Cynthia was chock full of inner energy from the multitude of flowers, so we hiked straight away from Gifford Woods to Thundering Falls and return.  The inner energy deserted us when we started the long uphill from Thundering Falls, and we trudged up hill wondering why our bodies weren't more energetic after all this hiking.  The twos of us thought simultaneously, "Will you carry me?"  Ron, the trail maintenance man, moved rocks and clipped brush.  Back at the Inn he clipped his hair before resuming work on the jigsaw.  The puzzle is now half done.   5.5 hours

15 Aug:  Another terrific day, but our bodies weren't bursting with energy as we hiked up to the ski run.  WooHoo for us; we tackled 4.5 miles in 4 hours.  On a flat road we could have traveled 8 miles in that time.  Of course, the hiker with the hoe stops for trail maintenance.  Ron went to the market in Rutland for supplies.  (Unfortunately, he forgot the most important hiking fuel - jelly beans.)  Aaauuuggghhh!  Cynthia had painful feet keeping her from sleep until the wee hours. The Altra hiking shoes have a terrific fit but they really lack shock absorption.  4 hours

14 Aug:  70 degrees; a gorgeous, sunny day.  We spent 3.4 of the day Determined.  Ron is determined to beat the puzzle to a paper pulp.  Cynthia is working on Ancestry trees. Over 50% of the trees on Ancestry are WRONG!!!  Never trust Ancestry trees.  The Ancestry DNA circles match the erroneous trees.  Aaauuuggghh.  Only FTDNA and 23 and Me DNA testing can be trusted.  Genealogy!  After lunch we worked on Bankston genealogy.  We did have a good 2.5 mile hike.  2.5 hours.

13 Aug, Sunday: Today was a quiet Sunday with a hike to the sinkholes and back to the puzzle board.

12 Aug: Ron pulled the jigsaw puzzle out from its weekend hiding place for an hour or two; the Inn's top gun, Patty, sat down to help him figure it out.  This one is a bugger.  We were up for a really short hike today; instead, Ron made the hike to Coopers Lodge with the promise to return by six PM for tonight's hot date.  Ron returned an hour late having forgotten the new AT trail takes much longer. Cynthia is working on DNA projects.  (no trail maintenance)

11 Aug:  Today's "short hike" was 4.5 miles to the ski run, uphill both ways.  How nice Rosemary's Restaurant served salmon tonight!  Ron met the executive director of leadership communications from MIT while puzzling away.  We invited him to dinner, but he and his friend had already eaten.  His friend was a graduate of CU Boulder where Cynthia's grandson Brett is enrolled for a second degree this fall.  4 hours.

10 Aug: Killington, VT.  Cynthia's hurted IT band was iced, and she was ready to roll; we hiked the flat trail from Gifford Woods State Park along Kent Pond while Ron trimming overhanging branches along the way.   We enjoyed masses of flowers in bloom along the board walk kissing the sun, thanks to a lovely rainfall.  A family of Hasidic Jews parked next to the motorcycle; Cynthia commented to the Rabbi ... "The Lord has blessed you with a quiver full."  He smiled back, knowingly.  The four little boys were very excited to have their their photo taken on the motorcycle.   Back at the lodge, Ron is patiently making progress on the jigsaw puzzle.  We might stay for another year?  2 hours.

We reached the ski run when Cynthia's cell phone delivered
an urgent warning of an impending thunderstorm.
We hastened down, but the rain she came.
Click here for full size photo.
9 Aug: Oh, wow!  We slept 10 hours awakening at 9:10 AM.  I love our lazy mornings; but the inn stops serving breakfast at 9:30.  A Word from Ron: Be thankful; be thankful for what you have (in response to Cynthia's complaint she should be skinny with all this hiking).  Cynthia is pondering Ron's answer as fodder for a sermon amidst the cries of gender confusion:  Be thankful for who you are.  On another note or two: Ron is finding success with the candy cane puzzle; he has discovered a pattern in the cut of the puzzle and can predict the shape of every piece.  Cynthia's nephew Alexander reports Wharton is top on his college preference list; another nephew is experiencing an answer to prayer; daughters Roxanne and Julie returned from a happy trip to Mexico.   Our hike was fun, although Ron worked cleaning ONE water bar forever.  The trip down mountain was wet. 5 hours!

8 Aug:  Rested, feeling good, a great way to start a new day. A hike is planned for this afternoon once the housekeepers have worked their way around our clutter.  The forecast high today is 71 degrees with a light shower mid-afternoon.  Apparently, vertigo is related to allergies, Joni S. tells us; cousin Newell offered movement exercises that really did work.  WoooHooo! We hiked nearly five mountain miles from Gifford Woods State Park to Thundering Falls and back in 3 hours.
Kent Pond

7 Aug:  We woke up!  That is really exciting news because it means we went back to sleep after being awakened by the girlie thrashing around in pain.  For some puzzling reason Cynthia's back issues returned despite rest in bed with vertigo for three days.  Maybe inactivity caused the inflammation to kick in again?  We hiked to the sinkholes round trip.  3 hours. Ron pulled the jigsaw puzzle out of its weekend hiding place and managed to put in a few more pieces.  The puzzle over the missing Coriell ancestor in Ohio has not been solved.  We hope to sleep?  Good Night!!

6 Aug, Sunday: Friends from the Inn at Long Trail lunched with us.  Pat's design business is keeping her incredibly busy.  We had fun telling them about our travels.  After being foodified, we hiked to the sink holes while Ron did trail maintenance.  3 hours.  A trail angel, "Miss Janet," from Tennessee was at the pub when we returned.  We visited for awhile but pubs are too noisy for us. We worked on DNA and SCS records.  Sistah Carol has discovered that the Beatty/ Overturff ancestor Sarah Alice Correll was actually a Coriell, thanks to DNA.

5 Aug:  With rain in the forecast we boogied up the Sherburne Pass Trail late morning but didn't reach the sinkholes before the first drops of rain came. The thunderstorm with heavy wnds didn't appear.  2.5 hours

4 Aug:  Cynthia slept 9 hours; the vertigo continued to lessen throughout the day.  It is apparent only upon standing.  Ron, Eddie and Beverly fascinated us with stories of how Eddie became a master Scrabble player - ranking # 1 at times in Vermont.  They are a delightful couple; Eddie is the essence of supportive spouse taking care of Beverly while she had a kidney transplant plus being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease afterwards..   They are heroes of the first class.  After breakfast Ron and the duo went to Thundering Falls to see the view before heading back to NH.  Ron hiked back from the falls. 4 hours (no trail maintenance).

3 Aug:  Happy Birthday Jon!  Cynthia has vertigo.  She slept most of the day.  Eddie and Beanie arrived for a visit; she slept arising to have dinner at six PM.  We were all tired and went to sleep early.

2 Aug:  Our minds are refreshed.  We managed hiking to Ormond's Overlook with  Ron doing trail maintenance. 2 hours

1Aug: Cynthia was exhausted after getting to bed too much too late; she stayed home to rest while the hiker man pushed the boundaries being without adult supervision.  Despite fatigue he hiked 8 miles and injured his knee. 7 hours.   Promising to go to bed early, that did not happen.

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