Canadian in Candia

October 13, 2009

Fictional Locations?

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 11:55 am

I’m listening to an audiobook called Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. It’s about girls with severe eating disorders. But that’s not why I’m writing a quick post today. I’m writing because the book is supposed to be set in New Hampshire. And if the author did not fictionalise the location the young protagonist lives in my neck of the woods. Why? On her drive in Chapter 5 (where the young girl gets stuck in a traffic jam) she says the following.

Somewhere between Martins Corner and Route 28, I begin to cry.

This is an actual stretch of road. A stretch of road I drive any time I head towards Manchester. A stretch of road that connects Manchester, SNHU, a part of Hooksett and leads to Western Candia as part of early route 27. It is not a stretch of road that is generally known for traffic jams.

View Larger Map

Does the author know this? Is our protagonist a resident of Hooksett or Candia heading towards the larger city? Is she a student at SNHU or Derryfield. Perhaps the author does know of this location, or is she attempting to create a fictional location unaware of it’s actual existence. Because the location that actually exists is not known for the described traffic pattern.  Would it be strange to e-mail the author someday and ask her?

And despite the fact that I am not writing a review of the book, I strongly recommend the author’s other works. I’ve read several.  They are generally on the serious side of young adult topics, but they are beautifully written.

Edit: There is also a mention of “Amoskeag High”. My rowing club in Hooksett is Amoskeag Rowing club. The Merrimack River through our area is known as the Amoskeag on occasion. I think the fictional town is called Centerville, but I’m pretty sure the area is my part of New Hampshire.


October 4, 2009

Whitehorse Ledges – Begineers Route

Filed under: Climbing — Tags: , — Miriam @ 8:50 pm

A few weekends ago my hubby took me rock climbing on this cliff. It’s a relatively big cliff called Whitehorse Ledge.  It’s one of two prominent rocks near Echo Lake State Park (where these pictures were taken). The other being called Cathedral Ledge.

He took me up a route called Beginner’s route in the Slabs. It’s a 5.5 slab route. The slab means there isn’t a lot of directly vertical sections and and most of the route relies on the friction between your shoes and the rock. This requires trusting the rubber of your soles. Also, the 5.5 rating means that it’s pretty easy.

In the thousand or so feet of climbing, that we completed in 8-10 pitches (distances between when the person leading builds an anchor and brings up the person on the other end of the rope), there were only a few sections that I felt were any difficult. And those sections were only frightening mentally.

I didn’t take any pictures while we were on the rock despite a great desire from my photographer’s eye to take several.
This is a poorly done panorama of the slabs section of Whitehorse ledge. We started on the right most side of the cliff.

Totally worth the effort too. I really love long easy routes.

Also, I was up North this weekend. It is amazing how much the foliage has bloomed in just a few weeks.

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 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).

August 8, 2009

Strange Coincidence

Filed under: Life — Tags: — Miriam @ 10:32 pm

I had an amazing day today. I got to go to the Farmers Market, wandered around Concord, took Cooper to the Farmer’s Market, visited with a friend, worked on my first quilt, made an amazing lunch, visited a lighthouse, visited Tall Ships, walked around Portsmouth, took pictures of flowers and had an awesome smootie.

I had an interesting encounter in those adventures. An encounter that truly demonstrates what a small world we have in New Hampshire.

This morning Cooper and I went to the Concord Farmer’s market. The Concord Farmer’s market is one of my Favorites because dogs are allowed and we always meet a lot of dogs. Actually today we saw several Goldendoodles and a Labradoodle.
Concord Farmer's Market

Then this afternoon I went to the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse to see the sights. This is a significant drive away from Concord.
Portsmouth Harbour Lighthouse

As I was leaving the lighthouse I suddenly saw a Samoyed. I had seen a Samoyed that morning in Concord. Samoyeds are not a common breed in these parts. Also, the owner looked familiar. We briefly spoke and realized that we had seen each other that morning at the Farmer’s Market in Concord.
Sergei the Samoyed

And to think, I never would have realized we had seen each other earlier in the day if she had not brought her dog. I have a much better memory for dogs than people faces.

Note: For those who read this blog, not familiar with New Hampshire Concord and Newcastle are over an hour apart on the shortest route possible.

August 6, 2009

Top 15 For Outdoor Kids

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , , — Miriam @ 6:00 pm

Manchester Skyline

New Hampshire has once again topped the list of Best place to raise kids in the United States. It’s the fifth year in a row that we have earned that honour. The article cites the relative wealth and education of residents of New Hampshire as a factor.

In addition Manchester, New Hampshire, the closest city to my home has made a list that I would consider to be prestigious. Backpacker Magazine put out a list of the Best Cities to Raise Outdoor Kids. Manchester is #14 on a list that includes big name outdoor places (in brackets the first thing that comes to my mind) such as Boulder, CO (climbing), Jackson, WY (skiing), Flagstaff, AZ (canyoneering), Juneau, AK (just about anything Winter) and Seattle, WA (mountaineering).

Manchester is also the largest city in New England to make the list. Burlington, Vermont (#8), Portland, Maine (#12), and Lebanon, New Hampshire (#10), also get nods higher on the list. Conway, New Hampshire gets a special nod for Best Place to Raise an Ice Climber, and Rutland, Vermont get the award for Best Place to Raise a Thru Hiker.

I completely agree with Manchester (and bedroom communities like Candia) as an excellent area to raise outdoor kids. The White Mountains are within two hours of the city for relatively major hiking, skiing, and ice climbing. Major climbing areas like Rumney and Whitehorse/Cathedral are relatively close and compliment the many smaller closer crags including the known for Bouldering Pawtuckaway state park.

A relatively wet state New Hampshire has many small rivers and lakes perfect for Kayaking (both flat water and whitewater), Canoeing, Swimming and Fishing. Our small ocean shore, only an hour from Manchester also allows for some Ocean kayaking.

The winters in New Hampshire also allow for a great deal of snow adventures. Raising kids to snowshoe, alpine ski, snowboard, cross-country ski, mountaineer or ice climb assures that they look forward to the snow instead of entering the World of dread. All these activities are available in New Hampshire. And to those who don’t believe that Mountaineering is actually available in our short mountain state, spend some time on the presidential range in the White Mountains.

Cyclists even seem to enjoy the region around Manchester, I regularly see road bikes on my road. And I get out of the way of Mountain Bikes in Bear Brook and Massebesic Lake Conservation area. I’m sure there is even downhill biking in the Northern Parts of the state.

Of course you cannot raise an outdoor kid without getting outdoors yourself. But even residents who partake in nature walks in the many conservation areas and state parks in the area on a regular basis are bound to get at least a little bit of enthusiasm from the youngsters.

That being said, residents of Northern New England. Get those kids outside. The resources in our area are amazing and endless!

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