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West side hike story

The weekend before last, I went on a hike through the Mt. Tom state reservation with a friend I hadn’t seen in several years. The path of this hike is also known as Section 6 of the M-M Trail, and passes over 3 or 4 mountains (depending on how you count).

This is the first hike that I’ve done on the West side of the river (which is the side I’ve been living on for nearly a year). I think it’s one of the most traveled sections, and the summit of Mt. Tom itself was voted as having the Best Views in this year’s reader poll in the Valley Advocate. Which makes it even stranger that the trail blazes seem to be farther apart in this section than others, and that the trail is confusing to follow at times.

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Posted by seaking on 07-30-2007 at 10:07 pm
Posted in Hiking with 1 Comment

Where are we going?!

Well, I went to Section 10 of the M-M Trail a couple of weeks ago, and it is a very pretty hike. Unlike other hikes I’ve done in the area, it does not have great views (there’s only one place where you can sort of see a view through the trees), but the first bit of this section is a rocky forested area with a stream flowing and falling among the rocks.

I took a few pictures, but they didn’t turn out great. Part of the problem was patches of sun coming through the tree cover, which created a very high-contrast environment. That’s the kind of thing that film is much better than CCD image sensors at capturing.

Here is a picture of the stream soon after I entered the trail section:glen1.jpg

After I went further into the woods, I came upon a waterfall:

glen2.jpg

From this point the path goes upstream right next to the water for a while. Eventually, you have to cross the stream, and when I did, I saw something fall from the bank that I thought was a leaf. However, it then leaped a few times in the water to get out of my way. It turned out to be a little brown frog:

brownfrog.jpg

You can’t tell the size from the photo, but it was less than 2 inches long.

I didn’t take any more pictures after that, though there were a few more interesting things I passed, including an old stone wall in the woods which the path follows near and crosses a few times.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to complete the section that day, as I got to a point where my trail guide book said to cross a street into the woods, but there was a newly constructed house across that street. There were trail marks on a couple of telephone poles along the side of the street, but then they seemed to disappear, so I had no idea where the trail went. So I headed back at that point (fortunately I had already planned to return to my starting point, so that’s where the car was parked). Later, upon checking the online guide, I saw a note from last year that the trail was moved because of the house being built (the print guide was published in 2005).
Ah, well. At least I got to do 3/4 of that section.

BTW, for those confused about the title of this post, the question is from a movie, and the answer, in this case at least, would be “Section 10!”

Posted by seaking on 07-29-2007 at 08:07 pm
Posted in Hiking with 6 Comments

Cartoonist to watch out for

Last month I drove up to Vermont for the first time since we moved to Massachusetts.  I had only been in Vermont once before, on a camping trip with my father and brother about 17 years or so ago.

This trip was to Brattleboro, which is not far away – only 45 minutes from Noho.  I hadn’t made it up there during the previous 2 years simply because I didn’t have a reason to go.  This time I had a pretty good reason – Alison Bechdel was giving a reading and signing as part of the tour for the paperback edition of her graphic novel Fun Home.

She did a tour last year when the book first came out in hardcover, and she actually appeared in Northampton that time.  Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know she was appearing there until the day after it happened.  So this year I was determined to get to see her.

She was appearing at a dinky little theater right on the Connecticut River.  You can see across to the large hills on the New Hampshire side:brattle1.jpg

brattle2.jpg

And just outside the entrance to the place is this interesting railing:

railing.jpg

The presentation was in a few sections.  She read a section of the book while showing slides of some of the panels.  Then she showed a slideshow that documented her creative process, including reference photos she took.  She apparently took lots and lots and lots of reference photos for the book, including several of herself dressed as her father, for drawing him in the story.

After that slideshow, she did another reading section with projected panels, and then took questions.  After that, it was time for the signing.  I got Fun Home and the most recent DtWoF book signed, and then took a few pictures of her as souvenirs.  I probably shouldn’t have gone without a flash, though, as my pix turned out blurry.  Here is the best one (i.e. the only one where her head isn’t blurry):

alisonbechdel.jpg

It was a very fun evening, and I highly recommend Fun Home to everyone (though most who read this blog have probably already read it, or at least know about Alison).
I’ve been reading her stuff for well over a decade (maybe 15 years at this point), and think she’s just awesome.  It was a little hard not to be starstruck when I talked to her.

Yeah, so go read some Bechdel if you never have.   🙂

Posted by seaking on 07-28-2007 at 08:07 pm
Posted in Comics with 2 Comments

Not in my throat

On a recent bike ride along the Norwattuck Rail Trail, I rode all the way to the swampy portion in the East part of Amherst. And what did I see there?

Frogs!

frog1.jpg

frog2.jpg

frog3.jpg

Further on, toward the eastern end of the rail, I stopped at a bird blind. I didn’t really see any birds near it, but I did spot a dragonfly on a rock, and got at least one good picture:

dragonfly.jpg

And then on the way back, I saw this family in the marsh:

duckfamily.jpg

Coming soon: hiking pictures, with hawks!

Posted by seaking on 07-28-2007 at 08:07 pm
Posted in Biking with 0 Comments