Canadian in Candia

August 21, 2009

The Eaglet

Filed under: New Hampshire, Photography — Tags: , — Miriam @ 8:00 pm

The Eaglet is a prominent free standing spire in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. It is regularly climbed and is one of the features pointed out on the trailside signs.
The Eaglet

Being the photography nut that I am I decided to play with depth of field a little bit. I put the flowers out of focus in front of the Eaglet.
The Eaglet

And with the flowers in focus with the Eaglet blurred.
The Eaglet

I wish I had taken this picture with larger more prominent flowers. I think I’ll head back up there next June to see if I can get the same picture with Lupine in the way.


Franconia Notch Recreational Trail

Filed under: New Hampshire — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 7:00 am

The Franconia Notch Recreational Trail is not called a Bike Path. It is essentially the bike path for the notch because the only other road through it is federal interstate I-93, but it is not a regulation bike path. Cyclists must ride on relatively fast grades, sharing the path with pedestrians, dogs and other cyclists.   This website talks extensively about the “Franconia Notch Fiasco” if you want to read more about another person’s views of the negative aspects of the path.

Either way these are things I heard about the path before heading to the White Mountains to ride it on Saturday.
Franconia Notch

We parked at the Cannon Tram parking area. That was probably the wrong way to go, the path travels slightly uphill most of the way to Cannon and the way towards the Flume was easy coasting, but the way back up was more work.

Franconia NotchI’m not an incredibly experienced cyclist. I’ve raced triathlons and I’ve riden my bike all over Boston and St. Catharines, but by no means do I feel comfortable with turns at high speeds. I enjoyed the views and the exercise, but I felt very uncomfortable with parts of the trail. The trail is windy and you can gather a great deal of speed on the downhills. I would absolutely recommend a helmet (which you should be wearing anyways) and I wouldn’t recommend the trail for bike groups with young children.

Franconia Notch

The trail is quite popular and hits most of the major carside attractions in Franconia Notch State Park (the one thing I noticed missing was the Bose Rock/Cannon Cliff Viewing area). From South to North, the Flume Visitor Center parking area is a good departure point and the start of the official recreational path. There’s bike racks outside the visitors center if you want to pay to do the Flume nature walk (which I have never done).
Franconia Notch

The first major area of interest is the Basin. The Basin is essentially a large pothole waterfall. With several other cascade falls. It’s a popular area. But worth the stop. The bike path has occasional benches and picnic benches on the side for those who want to take breaks.
Franconia Notch
Franconia Notch
Franconia Notch

The next major area North is Lafayette Place. There’s great views of Mount Lafayette (I posted a picture of the view here too) and Lincoln. We stopped at the camp store for a popcicle.

Franconia Notch

The trail passes the side trail to the ex-“Old Man of the Mountain” site. I’m sure it used to be a huge tourist attraction. This is also one of the areas in which you are supposed to walk your bike.

Franconia Notch

Continuing on our path North is the base of Cannon Mountain Ski Area and the parking lot for the Cannon Tram. There’s bike racks here too if you want to do a trip up the mountain.

Franconia Notch

The next stretch of path goes along Echo Lake. There are great views of Echo and Profile Crag, popular climbing areas (I’ve climbed at Echo). We actually saw people climbing as we passed through. Echo lake also has a very popular beach and views of a third climbing area called Artist Bluff.
Franconia Notch

The website mentioned earlier warns about the next section, it consists of a steep downgrade with a sharp turn. I didn’t like this part.  I may have freaked myself out a little bit though.

Past the steep section is a beautiful wide bridge that looks like it was once part of a road. This section is the safest part of the bike path in my opinion. It’s wide, relatively flat and the trees are cut back from the edges.

Franconia Notch
The trail ends at the Skoocumchuck Trailhead. One of the trails to the top of Lafayette. We actually passed some guys walking on the path that were most likely using the recreational trail to make a loop out of Lafayette.
Franconia Notch

The bike path is 9 miles end to end. I found the 18 mile round trip to be a great way to spend a lovely afternoon. But like I said, young kids would have to be extensively supervised.

Franconia Notch

On an aside, please if you are walking on what is essentially a bike path with young children. Please don’t give the evil eye to cyclists who warn you they are approaching, great you with a smile and slow down to a crawl. There are plenty of walking paths in Franconia Notch, and only one path for bicycles. We just want everyone to be happy and safe.

August 20, 2009

Cannon Cliff

Filed under: Climbing, New Hampshire — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 12:03 am

Cannon CliffI’ve been driving to Canada a lot this summer. I used to do a lot of hiking in the White Mountains. When I see Cannon Mountain I know I’m well on my way to my destination. It’s always beautiful scenery. But when my husband sees Cannon all he sees is the cliff.

Cannon CliffFull size here.

When my husband sees Cannon Cliff he thinks of Climbing. He’s actually climbed Cannon twice this year. He did a route called Whitney-Gilman Ridge on the South side of the cliff a few weeks ago. When it was first climbed in 1929 it was considered one of the hardest climbs in the United States.

Last week he climbed Moby Grape. A route that goes over the tallest part of the cliff.

cannon routes outlinedFull size here.


Whitney-Gilman Route on CannonThis is the Whitney Gilman Ridge. It’s a ridge that sticks out a little from the cliff. Behind the ridge is a well known mixed climb (a combination of rock climbing and ice climbing) known as the Black Dike.

Moby Grape

Moby Grape StartThis is the bottom of Moby Grape. Do you notice anything in particular?

Moby Grape Start - upcloseYep, there’s a group of climbers that can barely be seen.

Here’s an upper section of the climb.

Moby Grape

These are the climbers I was able to pick out of the picture.
Moby Grape - Closeup 1
Moby Grape - upclose 2
Moby Grape - upclose 3

To give you a numeric idea of how tall this cliff is, it’s 1000 feet tall in places.

Top of Moby Grape

And these people are all climbing it in a single day.

Top of Moby Grape - upclose
Top of Moby Grape - upclose 2
Top of Moby Grape - upclose 3

This occasionally is where my husband can be found.


I get a little worried sometimes.  Especially when I look at the talus field under the cliff and when I think of how big the rocks that came down when the Old Man of the Mountain.
IMGP3108 - upcloseBut he loves to climb, and he’s good at it. So I don’t mind that he’s one of those tiny specks crawling up the giant cliff.

And if you are driving through Franconia Notch State Park on a day with nice weather, bring a pair of binoculars. You might get to see some people practicing their passion.

August 19, 2009

Here he makes Men

Filed under: history buff, New Hampshire — Tags: , — Miriam @ 8:39 am

People from New Hampshire seem to come in two types. Those who adore their state with a passion and even suggesting a move to a different state draws insults to that other state. And those who can’t stand New Hampshire and move either South or to a real city as soon as they can afford to escape.

My husband is clearly of the first type. The type that is insanely proud of the Live Free or Die motto. Well last weekend, when we were visiting the site of the late “old man of the mountain”, I found a sign that would make that type of New Hampshirite happy.

Ex-Old Man of the Mountain Site“Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades: Shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch; and a dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the mountains of New Hampshire God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there he makes men.”

Unless you consider that the Old Man is no longer there. I’m not sure what that would mean to the quote. Can you see the wires hanging in the air that used to hold up the rocks?

Ex-Old Man of the Mountain Site

Adam’s been up there, he says the cables are huge and he really can understand how much effort it was to keep the Old Man in place the last few years.

Ex-Old Man of the Mountain Site

August 18, 2009

Heavy Equipment by Portsmouth Harbor

Filed under: New Hampshire, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 10:36 am

The industrial part of the Portsmouth waterfront is a very colourful place. There are lots of colourful industrial vehicles and  giant piles of rusted metal waiting for recycling.

Portsmouth Scrap Yard
Portsmouth Scrap Yard

Some people may see the large piles of metal as trash, but I see them as potential. Recycling is beautiful. You have no idea what that pile of rust will turn into: A new car, a kid’s bicycle, the skeleton for a skyscraper. I will always take pictures of the piles of metal on the NH state pier whenever I get access to it. This time was because the Tall Ships were docked on the end of the pier.

Portsmouth Scrap Yard
Portsmouth Scrap Yard
Jes’ pictures turned out significantly less red than mine. Maybe she took pictures of a different pile of scrap metal. Daily Portsmouth has better detail pictures of the composition of the piles of rusted metal.

Remember, recycling can be beautiful 🙂

August 13, 2009

Tall Ships in Portsmouth

Filed under: New Hampshire — Miriam @ 6:00 pm

I love all things naval so I love when the Tall Ships come into Portsmouth for tours.

I feel that and (and here) did a great job covering their visits to the tall ships. So I don’t feel a need to elaborate too much about the event. I showed up a little too late to take tours so I just took a few pictures from behind the rails.

I can’t even imagine how ships used to require huge crews to man relatively small ships because of the amount of ropes and hauling. The enormous ocean carrier ships now often only have crews of a dozen people or so.

Here are some pictures from my visit. I mostly did some closeups because I felt I couldn’t properly capture the full ships without lines of people from the viewpoint I was at. That and I’m obsessed with the telephoto lens.
Portsmouth Tall Ships

Portsmouth Tall Ships
I love the contrast between the ropes and the steel bridge behind it. I need to take the time to properly edit this picture.

Portsmouth Tall Ships

Portsmouth Tall Ships

Portsmouth Tall Ships

Portsmouth Tall Ships

August 12, 2009

For the love of Bridges

Filed under: New Hampshire — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 6:45 pm

My dad is a Civil Engineer (You know he builds the structures that the Mechanicals destroy). I am grateful for this. As a kid when we went on vacation we would usually stop and visit interesting bridges, dams and lock system if there were any in the area.

Portsmouth, NH Bridges

While there he would talk to me about the static and dynamic forces at work in the structures of these marvels. An example, how triangles help make a bridge stronger with less material.

Portsmouth, NH Bridges

I always loved visiting bridges and locks with my dad. In 9th grade we wandered around St. Catharines exploring the abandonned locks of the older Welland Canals (the current one is number 4) for a class project. This included the discovery of a partially collapsed railroad tunnel.

Portsmouth, NH Bridges

I have always been fascinated by lift bridges. This is well known enough that my friends sometimes send me pictures of lift bridges they encounter while on vacation.

Portsmouth, NH Bridges

This is one of the reasons I love to go to Portsmouth as well. The Piscataqua river has at least three lift bridges that allow travel between New Hampshire and Maine.

Portsmouth, NH Bridges

The Memorial Bridge partially lifts every half hour between 7 am and 7pm in the summer months to allow smaller boat traffic to pass through. It obviously lifts completly on occasion for the big ocean liners to pass as well.

Portsmouth, NH Bridges

I do love lift bridges but I chose to focus my engineering career on the mechanical side because of my love for biomechanics. But I’m convinced that my early education in civil engineering is partially to blame. Developping an interest for science and math at a young age because I wanted to learn more has been incredibly valuable to me.
Portsmouth, NH Bridges
So thank you Dad!

Portsmouth, NH BridgesAnd to the rest of you, any bridges or structures that I must not miss (if I’m ever in their area)?

August 11, 2009

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

Filed under: New Hampshire — Tags: , , , — Miriam @ 1:36 pm

You have no idea how hard it is for me not to write “Habour” instead of “Harbor” in the subject line. It’s a Canadian thing. I pretty much feel like crying everytime I have to write “Color” instead of “Colour” and “Labor” instead of “Labour” in a procedure at work. And if I wrote Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse, people might get lost on the internet trying to find it. Maybe there’s a lighthouse in Portsmouth England or something.  Anyways, on to the post.

Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse
Saturday I spent the afternoon on the Seacoast mostly because the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse (or Portsmouth Harbor Light) was having an Open House. I didn’t know much about the Open house entailed, but it was a beautiful day in New Hampshire and I hoped to get some nice pictures while visiting a new place.
Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse

The Friends of the Portsmouth Habor Lighthouse put on a great show. The Volunteers gave us a little bit of information about the history of the lighthouse (First North of Boston in the American Colonies), the keepers who once manned the lights (prior to the advent of reliable electricity), the mechanics of the Fresnel lens and the other sights in view of the lighthouse.
Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse

In small groups, visitors get to climb the 44 stairs and 7 ladder rungs to the lens room on top of the lighthouse.
Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse
Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse
And get a good look at the Fourth Order Fresnel Lens
Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse

I enjoyed views of the sailing boats floating through Portsmouth Harbour. And a big ocean liner way out in the ocean. I would have loved for the big boat to come through while I was there, but it stayed at sea. I grew up near the Welland Canal in Ontario. I find big shipping boats fascinating.

Portsmouth Harbour LighthouseTwo other lighthouses can be seen from the Portsmouth Lighthouse. Whaleback Light on small offshore ledges (below). And far in the distance the White Island Light on the Isles of Shoals.
Whaleback Lighthouse

Portsmouth Harbour LighthouseThe Wood Island Life Saving Station is also very visible from the light. It is not currently in use and for sale.

Wood Island Lifesaving StationIf you want to visit the lighthouse the Friends currently put together open houses on Tuesdays once a week in June, July and August and on Saturdays twice a month from June to October. The requested donation is $2 for adults and $1 for Children. I found the donation worthwhile. The money goes towards things like maintaining this beautiful walkway to the lighthouse.
Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse Walkway

The views were wonderful. I would love to go back on a day with clouds above.
Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse

Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse

August 10, 2009

Prescott Park Flowers

Filed under: Flowers, New Hampshire — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 7:56 am

I really love Portsmouth New Hampshire. I go there from time to time to bring the pup to the Dog Park and to Pierce Island which has off-leash sections. But Saturday I didn’t bring the pup with me to Portsmouth. So I was able to do some things I wouldn’t normally have a chance to do.

Such as visiting the flower gardens of Prescott Park. Prescott Park is a pretty park between the Strawberry Banke Museum and the River. It has beautiful gardens full of name tags to identify the flowers. If you have more time than I did they also have concerts in the park during the summer.

The flowers are so perfect and so beautiful that you could just walk around taking perfect pictures of flowers and they would turn out to be frameable no matter your technique (at least if using an auto function camera).

Rather than post a hundred pictures of flowers I made a mosaic of a random selection of the flowers.
You can see the Mosaic full sized here.

Full set of Flowers from Saturday is in this Flickr set (It also includes some of the pigeons from the previous post).

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