October 5, 2015 – Final Day NY->VT->NH

It’s not hard to travel through a number of states in the NE.

On the ferry across Lake Champlain, as is the case most of the time, a Subaru is ahead of us.

Near Plymouth, NH is Squam Lake.

Looks a lot like Northern Minnesota, in fact, it is the same rock formation as the North Shore of MN.

The view from our cabin window the morning before heading back to Boston to catch a flight back home.

October 4, 2015 – Whiteface Mountain/Lake Placid

Can you say windy? It felt almost dangerously windy on top of Whiteface Mountain.

We cheated and took the leisurely drive up Whiteface Mountain instead of hiking 10 miles, but still had to climb up the last 300 feet.

Not that the last 300 feet was a superhighway, but there were rails.

It was a different season on top of the mountain than in the valley.

Fall becomes winter.

The view looking southeast.

Obligatory selfie on summit.

With Lake Placid behind her, Linda is stunned to find out Team USA defeats the Soviet Union 4-3!

Back down, the light from the heavens shines down on Linda.

Taking her pose in a BWCA-like campsite along a lake. Scroll down to see what Linda’s looking at.

Another lake, about a 480 rod portage from the nearest road.

October 3, 2015 – Adirondacks Day 2

Another day devoted to hiking in the morning and driving in the afternoon.

Yet another “pond” along a trail.

Another view of the pond.

Another pond on a different trail.

A mountain stream showing its fall colors.

Some planty stuff for the flora lovers.

Forr Emma – a gazebo roof gone wild with lichens and moss.

Finally at our resting place for the night, an old fashioned 1 bedroom Adirondack cabin.

October 2, 2015 – Adirondacks Day 1

After a couple of days in Boston and fortunately missing the hurricane that was a possibility for the coast, it was off to greater New England. First day was in the SE Adirondacks in a cabin on Brant Lake near Lake George.

Linda dutifully signing in the trail log book in case we don’t come out, they know the names of the bodies.

Someone ahead of us had a sense of humor – you’ll see a presidential candidate with the final destination cut off the picture – the White House.

The forest here is spacious and open for the most part.

This was the steepest hike of the trip – about 1400 feet elevation gain – pretty much always up without any switchbacks.

A wonderful mushroom that looked edible, but since we did not have a mycologist aboard, let it be.

October 1, 2015 – Baahston

Finally the day has arrived for Linda to make the pilgrimage to Boston appear before the Ministerial Fellowshipping Committee to get the green, yellow, or red light to apply for positions as a minister.

We hoped entering on the Red Line was not an ominous sign, nor the downpour which closed down the red line shortly after we exited.

Later, we met up with another of Linda’s fellow seminarians. In the background is a spot on the Freedom Trail – King’s Chapel – the oldest Unitarian Church in the U.S. Another night we did attend services there as well.

Evidently the forbearers of the American democracy did not feel compelled to use particularly religious symbols on their tombstones as this motif was the most common in the graveyards that included the Revere’s and John Hancock among others.

Linda as she happily exits the MFC interview with a green light to move ahead!

August 15, 2015 – Gus Sent Me

Had a chance to see the bro’s band this weekend.

They played at the “Pallet Party” in North Oslo MN.

The paryt has evolved over the years – from a bunch of marines getting together once a year, to a two day blowout with live music, lots of food, beverages, fires, and more.

The band with namesake Gus – a black bulldog.

Gus enjoying the limelight. The band was named following a wedding reception where the bride and groom could only afford a short list of open bar patrons, so the close friends and family who went to the bar and said “Gus sent me” got free drinks.

Brother Kraig on lead vocals.

Sister Julie checking out the dairy bulk cooler with assorted beverage.  Was good to see the siblings and get an earful of Gus Sent Me!

August 8, 2015 – Canoe Beauty!

A few years ago I “accidentally” found a wood strip canoe for sale on Craigslist. I was actually trying to sell a canoe, not buy one.

But I found homemade this strip canoe that had been sitting in a shed for over 20 years, protected from weather and UV light. It was love at first sight.

After a bit of rigamarole to get it licensed (many thanks to the mother of the owner for handling all the paperwork), we finally got it out on the water.

It is a work of art – here is some of the detail inside the canoe. I think it would look great on a lake near a cabin someday!

August 1, 2015 – Goldfinch “Feeder”

A sunflower popped up inches from the kitchen window.

Mr. Goldfinch pulls seeds out of the sunflower and places them on the “table.”

And then proceeds to get the meat out of the nuts. A great addition to doing the dishes!

July 21, 2015 – Prairie Strips

Last year, we replaced a few tired rows of raspberries with strips of native prairie.

The general rule of thumb is that the new prairie plantings look pretty weedy and not very good looking the first few years.

purple coneflower

But true to form, there are signs of prairie plants peeking through the weeds – like this purple coneflower.


And these coreopsis.


and some silky prairie clover.


and a bit of mountain mint. Later in the season, it will be interesting to see how the late-season grasses appear.

July 19, 2015 – Hey, Hay

Very few things beat the scent of a freshly-cut hayfield.

The neighbor took a cutting off the back pasture as we don’t have enough animals to keep it mowed down this summer. It is rather novel to be able to walk anywhere in the pasture again.

July 15, 2015 – Squirrel Mischief

We’ve had a mysterious clothesline change of location. After returning home from vacation, a line that goes from the tree to the clothesline pole was snapped, and the end of the line was about 15 feet up on the opposite side of the tree. Couldn’t quite figure out how it got there – if it snapped, it couldn’t weave its way through the branches up the opposite side of the tree. I tied it back and a few days later saw a squirrel chewing on the rope.

Again, it happened – the line usually goes between the pole and tree.

The line up in the tree, presumably dragged up by the squirrel – for fun or nesting material?

July 10, 2015 – BWCA Excursion – On the Trail and in the Woods

There’s a lot of interesting flora in the wilderness.

lady slipper

Here’s a showy lady slipper, the Minnesota state flower (within a few paces of Emma’s tent to boot).

pin cushion moss

This soft little orb is known as pincushion moss.


One of the most spectacular plants we encountered was this colony of Sundew growing on a log in Cherokee Creek.


This is a carnivorous plant. The end of the red hairs on this plant look like little drops of inviting dew. Surprise, if you are an insect looking for a dew drop or bit of nectar. It is sticky and “eats” the insects in the highly acidic, nutrient-deficient bog.

pitcher plant

Another carnivorous plant of the floating bog – the pitcher plant. Named for the inviting entrance that attracts insects and small children (OK, maybe not small children).

The insects slide down, the hairs inside the pitcher facing down, where a reservoir of liquid drowns them since they cannot crawl back out.

woman portaging canoe

Once more sporting the Meadville-Lombard swag, Linda portages the canoe between two lakes.

boy portaging canoe

Martin get in on the action as well. The biggest portaging day was 4 portages totaling about 432 rods, or about 1.25 miles. Yes, that means carrying the canoes, all the food, tents, and equipment for over a mile – over rocks, through mud, up and down hill.

Here we are hiding out in a grove of cedar trees on Sawbill Lake while we waited an hour or so for the lightning to stop. We had originally planned on staying the last night on Sawbill, but the rain, and unsettled weather led us to get out at about 4:00 in the afternoon and power-driving home to avoid the big storms.

We raced the storms out of the BWCA, then also raced the storms in the car from Duluth to Minneapolis.

Finally, the aftermath – getting everything unpacked and dried out before putting it away.