Archive for February, 2014

Feb 23 2014

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Deep Woods Talk

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Trail into WCLW copyOn Saturday, March 8th, I’ll be talking about the Northville/Placid Trail to my fellow Green Mountain Club members. I’m excited by the prospect. This will be my first time presenting to the GMC, and my first time using visuals.  Judy has helped me put together a slide show. If you live anywhere near the GMC Visitor Center in Waterbury Center, VT then come on down. $5 fee for members. $8 for non-members. The event starts at 7 pm.

If you miss that show, I’ll be at Stowe Library at 7 pm on Thursday, March 27th, doing something similar, reading from my NPT hiking narrative, The Allure of Deep Woods, and talking about the importance of wildness. As many of you know all too well, talking comes naturally to me.

While I’d rather be on the trail winding through the Adirondacks, talking about it with like-minded others is the next best thing. Like many Vermonters, I sometimes forego the lush, green mountains close to home for the sprawling forests on the other side of Lake Champlain. It’s a good thing to share.

When it comes to Adirondack wildness, the Northville/Placid Trail is the way to go. There are lots of people in the High Peaks region, especially during the summer. But it isn’t difficult to experience wilderness solitude on the NPT. That’s why I don’t mind talking about it. The NPT is the less-traveled path.


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Feb 16 2014

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Dreaming of Spring

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spring wildflowers in the woodsPity the poor coworker who had to put up with my surly mood yesterday. Because of a head cold, I haven’t been able to go snowshoeing this past week. And the foot of snow that fell a couple days ago created ideal conditions. Life isn’t fair. But my home still has power running to it, my cupboards are full, and I haven’t been in a car accident or stuck out on the highway like some people, so how dare I complain?

Truth is, I am now dreaming of spring. I resisted it as long as I could, but reverie overtook reality this week. Now I’m in the thick of it, pining for the green season and a forest floor covered in wildflowers. It’s worse than being sick.

I am luckier than most. I don’t mope through late March and the better part of April, longing for balmy temps. The first tramp across cold mud is enough for me to call it spring.  And every bug I encounter, every hint of new vegetation emerging from the bleached forest duff, will be cause for celebration. So the beginning of my spring season is only five or six weeks away. All the same, I’m lost in daydreams right now.

Writing about my outdoor excursions only scratches the itch. For a couple hours each morning, I am in a different time and place. But when I finish, the cold reality of the here/now bears down upon me. It’s a strange way to live, to say the least.

When a cardinal’s song penetrates the frosty window of my workspace, I know I’m not alone. Others are dreaming of spring as well – longing for the bounty of it, anyhow. But winter still has teeth. So I’ll stop brooding long enough to shovel away the snow from my door and go fill the bird feeders. There’s no sense letting daydreams get in the way of living.


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Feb 04 2014

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Winter Walking

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Rail Trail, FebA couple months ago, I started a new job about a mile away from home. I’ve been walking to work since then. It’s a welcome change from commuting. All the same, I get the urge every once in a while to walk in more natural surroundings. That’s when I usher my dog Matika into the car and drive to a trailhead.

The Rail Trail is close to home. Even if I drive to my favorite section of it, I can be there in ten minutes. So that’s where I went yesterday, after a round of writing and running a few errands.

I didn’t need snowshoes. Thanks to manic temperatures, most of the snow that has fallen so far this winter has melted away. But walking through a couple inches of the white stuff is much like walking in sand. No matter. I took my time and the walk was pleasant enough.

Regardless what time of year it is, the fresh air and silence work on me like a tonic. Being among trees helps, too, even if they are naked. As anyone who does it regularly will tell you, walking is good for the soul.

I do my best thinking when I’m walking. My indoor thoughts tend to be stinky, downbeat, myopic. But outdoors, on my feet and moving, my thoughts are fresher, more upbeat, expansive. All that circulating blood helps, I’m sure.

I prefer walking in the warmer seasons, but a winter walk is still better than sitting inside all day. Come spring I’ll head for the hills and really stretch my legs. In the meantime, this will do.


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