Sapling growing in roadcut, Highway 16, Pinkham Notch, NH


Tree and frozen brook, Gorham, NH.

I’m posting this photo from today at 4 a.m. because I can’t sleep. The wind is shaking the house. The temperature outside is now -18° F, one degree colder than the South Pole. I have to be up in two and a half hours, at which the temperature will be -24° F.


Full moon over frozen yard, Gorham, NH; Jupiter visible through branches, far left; Sirius at upper right.

We own a double lot, and the one on the right is mostly empty. After an unusually warm Christmas vacation (temperatures ranging from the upper 40s down to the 20s or so), winter has slithered in, cold and nasty.

We’ve had snow, then rain, then freezing rain. It may get down to -21°F Thursday night; whatever the windchill will be, I want to miss it, inside, asleep. Last night, I noticed that the light from the houses and the full moon was glimmering beautifully off the ice in the side yard.

I possess zero common sense, so I decided to leave my perfectly cozy, weatherproofed house and take a bunch of digital photographs, most or all of which I’d probably end up deleting. I knew I didn’t want my footsteps to foul the scene. I walked around out of frame, punching through the ice and sinking down into the snow as I lugged my camera and my tripod. My feet quickly went numb, then my hands, gloves be damned.

As I hunted for a decent spot to frame a photo, I had my fur-lined parka up, feeling like Kurt Russell in The Thing. Air temperature: 5°F. The wind was howling and pushing me around like I was a kite. I had to stand over my camera’s tripod to keep it from getting knocked over. The 20 second exposures felt like they took 20 years, the camera’s little progress light blinking and reflecting off the ice at my feet.

Meanwhile, the wind screamed through that bare tree in the distance and sent little shards from my footsteps skittering away from me across the ice. I love this place, but at times like that, I don’t know if humans are supposed to live here.


Falls at The Basin, Franconia Notch, NH.
Falls at The Basin, Franconia Notch, NH.

We visited Franconia Notch today on our way south to Plymouth to run an errand. We stopped in at The Basin, where the Pemigewasset River has carved a bunch of little waterfalls into the granite. The snow started falling again, and it got cold, so we didn’t make it all the way to The Basin itself (which, according to Google Images, is pretty rad). I also didn’t have my tripod with me. That made shooting any long exposure waterfall pictures a little difficult. For this one, I set the camera up on a railing, with the end of the lens held up by a tiny pile of snow. I couldn’t frame the image that well without worrying that my camera would slide and drop six feet into the river.

For the next image below this one, there was nowhere to set up at all. I had to exhale, hold my arms close to my body, and hope for the best. If you think you can hold still for several seconds, try doing it for even a quarter-second while you try to get a reasonably sharp photo. If you move or sway even a little, your photo will be a fuzzy mess. I learned today that for purposes of photography, at least, it’s impossible to be still even for a moment.

Anyway, this is my public declaration that these photos suck. I’ll be better prepared next time I’m in the neighborhood.


IMG_1846All I’ve been hearing about since we arrived are the legendary North Country winters. Meanwhile, the temperature for the past two days has been around 60°F.

Back in Portland, they’re expecting half a foot of snow and zero-degree wind chill tomorrow.

I really shouldn’t gloat, or even talk too much about this. Those clouds on the mountains in the background are getting ready to slide onto us like an avalanche. They’re saying our first real snow comes Monday.

Mud Season

Hogan Road, Gorham, NH.
Hogan Road, Gorham, NH.

Twice a year, some of the restaurants shut down for a few weeks. Late October is too late for leaves (they’re all gone) and too early for November snow; that snow is gone by April, which is too early for the summer tourist stuff.

This week, dead leaves are everywhere. New Hampshire needs a rake the size of the Nile Delta.

Of Glory

Maple tree, Evan's Cemetery, Gorham, NH.
Maple tree, Evan’s Cemetery, Gorham, NH.

It was unusually warm today: a breezy 77 degrees, according to the dashboard on my Jeep. All day I tried to hold onto what 77 feels like, knowing we won’t see that again for another seven months at least.