I have been working to much. I finally took some time to head north and enjoy my little slice of heaven in the hills of New Hampshire. No bathroom, no electricity, no people… but my BlackBerry did have service.
I do not own the shelter deep in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but I wish I did. I love this place any time of year. To get to it in winter, it takes about three hours by foot, but only twenty minutes (from my real house) by snowmobile.
This is the Three Ponds Shelter and it has been here since the early 1970s (or perhaps earlier…). I can see areas where people have taken a blade and carved in their names and the date. The oldest entry I could find was June 1970. This pictures shows you the view. That pond in the distance is loaded with brook and rainbow trout. I will fish at this isolated pond this summer and cook my catch in the fire pit just next to the shelter. But today it is frozen solid…we not totally anymore. It is late in the season and as I zipped across the lake at 60 MPH, I hit some slush that slowed me down. Not a good time to stop!
If you have never tried snowmobiling, I recommend it. Today, I am alone. But riding in a pack of sleds…ripping down the trail is an adrenaline rush that cannot be put into words. The exhaust, the noise, the speed… it is a blast.
Right now it is very quiet. A fresh four inch blanket of powder sits on the branches of the fir trees and this white cotton seems to absorb all sounds. It is so peaceful here. The sound of cars is nonexistent and small animal tracks spread out in almost every direction. All I hear is the faint sound of running water in the distance and the light chirp of a songbird.
I find it amazing that even with all this cold and icy weather, spring is just around the corner. Some plants are showing buds and do not seem to be bothered by the freshly fallen snow.
This is the view from inside the shelter. Since the last storm, all traces of foot traffic and snowmobile track had been erased. All the footprints were my own and I was blazing fresh trail most of the day. The mountains that surround me are void of roads and houses. This is one of the last undeveloped and isolated valleys in New Hampshire. You can only get to this spot by foot or snowmobile.
I get out safely, check in with neighbors (to cancel the search and rescue) and get a good night sleep…
The following day, I met up with my buddy Dave to hike up Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH. Dave also lives in NH and we work together in Boston covering professional sports. Dave is a “tape replay” operator and he travels all over New England so that you at home can see the instant slow motion replay after the game winning goal.
My little Kodak point-and-shoot digital still camera (Kodak v705) is still working well. It even has a panoramic feature that allows me to take three photographs, spanning left to right, and then the camera automatically “stitches” the pictures together to form an epic wide shot. The camera also sports two separate lenses, one wide and the other a zoom. The first pano above was shot through the built-in zoom lens at full wide, and the second pano was shot through the super wide fixed lens! If you look closely at the ultra wide pano, you can see the lens barrel distortion and the area where the three pictures join together.
The weather was very nice, about 40 degrees F with a slight breeze. The sun was filtered through clouds and this bathed the entire landscape in a soft glow. The frozen body of water you can see in the distance is Squam Lake.
This is a self portrait. Note how the horizon is almost level and the focus and exposure are spot-on. Half of my success is because of luck! Now back to the daily grind that we all call work. I look forward to traffic and long hours…