Wolfeboro Road and Tunis Schoolhouse

The Hanover Conservancy, the Hanover Town Library (aka, the Etna Library), and the Hanover Historical Society co-sponsored two outdoor programs about the historic Wolfeboro Road.  This road was first laid out in 1772 for the convenience of Governor John Wentworth so he could travel across the Province of New Hampshire from his summer home in Wolfeboro to Hanover for a Dartmouth commencement. The second of these programs was held last Sunday.

We met on the Hanover Center Parade Ground where historian Ed Chamberlain recounted part of the fascinating story of Stephen Burroughs, an infamous counterfeiter and con man. He was also a schoolteacher, library founder, horse thief, and author. Robert Frost wrote a preface to the 1924 edition of his memoirs. Stephen Burroughs grew up on a farm in Hanover Center where Ed has lived for almost 50 years. In Hanover, Burroughs was know as “the worst boy in town”.  Ed is at the far right in the photo below.

After Ed finished his entertaining talk, we set out to hike the sometimes-muddy Wolfeboro Road over Moose Mountain. We visited Ed’s beautiful yard and headed uphill past his Upper Valley Land Trust Conserved Alswell Farm land.

We had lunch at the col where the Appalachian Trail crosses just below North Peak. Our leader, Adair Mulligan, Executive Director of the Hanover Conservancy, asked if I would take a photo of the group. The light was terrible — very sunny all day and very contrasty in the woods. Nonetheless, I set up my camera on my backpack and, in jest, told the group they would have to stay in place until a cloud covered the sun. About 15 seconds later … a cloud covered the sun! Sometimes one just gets lucky.  Here are the dozen of us that crossed the mountain.

We headed down a steep, very wet, and muddy road with deep ruts and boulders everywhere. Then we heard the sound of a jeep coming uphill toward us. We couldn’t believe it and certainly could not believe it could travel up to the spot where we stopped to watch it struggle up hill. But it did make it past us. And then came another, and another.  I believe there were 8 in all. Here is a brief slide show of the craziness. They do it because they can, but maybe they should not be able to do this here.

 

We detoured off the road a bit and found some cellar holes from long-ago inhabitants. At the spot of the second photo below, two of us got hit by a bee, or similar. I got the photo quickly before warning others away. My leg was swollen for days. 

Reaching the part of Wolfeboro Road that can be readily navigated by normal vehicles, we visited a farmhouse owned and beautifully restored by Barbara Fildes and Keith Quinton. They also own and have restored the historic Tunic District Schoolhouse that we would visit next. Our shoes were way too muddy to go inside but I got a photo of the farmhouse room from the doorway.

Barbara showed us a few things she recovered from this room before the restoration.  One was an old penmanship course, something that is not taught anymore. 

We walked down past the old cemetery to the schoolhouse. 

Tables, chairs, lemon water, and delicious cookies awaited us out back.

Here are more photos of the restored Tunic District Schoolhouse. You can click on any image to stop it and then step through them at your own pace.

 

And here are a few of the cemetery.

 

 

 

 

 

Loon Chick on Lake Mascoma

Mothers (or fathers) and babies can be adorable. Loons certainly fall into this category. There seems to be something about this ancient species that is very attractive to many of us. The photos in this blog were taken on Lake Mascoma July 3 and 4, 2017.

Jann and I took an early morning hike near Lake Mascoma July 3rd. Near the end of our walk we heard a loon call. Peering through the shrubs between us and the lake we spotted a loon carrying a chick.

We hustled home and by 7:30 AM I had launched my kayak. I was carrying a camera with a long lens. Normally I prefer to stop photographing loons by this time in the morning as loon photos are best when the sun is very low. But I came to take photos, so that is what I did for the next 30 minutes. Here are a few from the first morning with the chick.

 

On July 4th, I launched my kayak in the early mist just after 5:30 AM.  

The light was low so I paddled up and down both shores for 20 minutes before photographing my first loon. The warm light of dawn and the mist on the lake gave the first photos I took a soft quality. 

The second parent arrived, and I was able to capture a feeding sequence. Whatever the chick got was quite small.

 

A few minutes later when the sun broke through, the character of the light changed dramatically.

One parent departed. I think they did a switch but I couldn’t be sure. I drifted with the parent and chick for 20 minutes taking a number of photos.

 

When the second parent returned it swam right by my drifting kayak. I got two photos of it 3 seconds apart with very different light and reflections.

 

But it would be another 25 minutes before the chick was fed again. Meanwhile the chick waited patiently on its parent’s back.

 

Finally a parent arrived with a fish. Unfortunately, the parent circled the chick and fed it out of sight. Oh, well…

 

It was a great two mornings — quite unexpected.

 

 

Moving Water in Vermont

On Thursday, Jann and I took a drive to Rutland. I wanted to stop at Thundering Brook in Killington, but other than that we had no real plans for the day.     

We got to Thundering Brook a bit before 7 AM.  We were too late, or too early, for good light. The sun was shining brightly on most of the cascades, and that is certainly not the best light for photographing moving water. But I took a few photos anyway, focusing mostly on smaller scenes rather than the large lower and upper falls.

 

We headed through Rutland to the West Rutland Marsh. Jann had never seen it, so I wanted to give her a look at this amazing area for birds. We stopped at two places, Jann watched a muskrat swim around, we did the boardwalk, and we heard and saw marsh wrens. We were there barely a half hour, but I got a few photos. What is that blue flower? And what is that bird that looks like a big sparrow?

 

By now the sunny day had turned overcast. By the way, the small cute bird with the long bill is a marsh wren, the other one is a female red-winged blackbird, and the flower is a roadside “weed” — chicory.

We discussed heading north or south and north won. So it was off to Middlebury, a charming town we had not visited for many years. We were just planning a short walk through some of the streets and maybe visiting a few shops, so I left my tripod in the car. Fortunately there were several places where I could brace my camera and photograph the raging water with a slow shutter speed (mostly around 1/8 sec). Otter Creek was running very full through Middlebury.

 

After Middlebury we headed back east along Route 125 across the Middlebury Gap. We had not been to Texas Falls for very many years so we decided to stop, even though the clouds of mid-morning were mostly absent. Every 10 minutes or so a thin cloud would partly dim the sunlight for a few seconds. It took me quite a while to complete this 3-shot image of a part of Texas Falls.

You can explore the image below in detail if you double click to zoom way in and use the left mouse to pan around. You can also use the + and – keys to zoom and the arrow keys to scroll. Please wait for the resolution to download.

Upon reaching Route 100 we turned south. I was hoping the clouds would return, and they sure did. In Hancock we saw some amazing patterns in the clouds.

 

We stopped briefly at Kent Pond.  I remembered a nice small waterfall in Kent Brook from a visit three years previous.  I made a few more photos of it before we moved on.

It was still overcast when we returned to Thundering Brook. As I did earlier in the day, I headed down the Appalachian Trail to the lower falls which drop 80 feet in a horsetail fashion. I took a number of photos there and then hiked the trail along the brook up to the upper falls. Here is a photo of the lower falls taken from just below a small observation platform. 

 

Please explore the panoramic image below of the lower falls of Thundering Brook taken from the observation platform.  You can double click to zoom way in and use the left mouse to pan around. You can also use the + and – keys to zoom and the arrow keys to scroll. Please wait for the resolution to download.

Here are a few more photos I took in the vicinity of the lower falls.

 

I worked my way up to the upper falls. Here are three photos of this smaller horsetail falls.

 

I found a few nice sets of rapids above the upper falls.

 

We had an excellent day visiting new spots and places we hadn’t visited in quite a while.

 

Eleven Deer Day

Yesterday, July 4, was not a day of fireworks but deer. I spotted 11 in 6 different locations within 5 miles of my home. Four of the deer were fawns. The only deer that stayed around long enough to photograph was the family of three in my yard. Here is the fawn with parent number one.

After I got this photo the parents switched places. All the rest of the photos here are with parent number 2. 

Parent number 2 seemed obsessed with licking the fawn as you can see in the photo above and some of those below.