White Pond

Having lived in Concord for some 14 years you would think I would be totally familiar with my immediate neighborhood. On a 4 mile walk this afternoon I discovered this was not the case. At the end of Williams Rd. I began following a set of abandoned train tracks. These took me past an extensive marsh which I had never seen before and through a tunnel under Powder Mill Road that I have driven over hundreds of times not knowing it was there. I finally arrived at White Pond where I found some very interesting snow patterns in the ice (pictured above).

Exotic Cattle

While driving to my annual dental check up I passed a small farm with a number of exotic looking cattle. No two the same and none like the typical herds one finds in the area.  I suspect the owner raises them for show.  I stopped for a few minutes to give them an opportunity to practice.

Secure At Last

After losing 6 weeks of photographs when my computer’s hard disk failed last summer I got very serious about protecting my data.  As of today I have four copies of all my data.  It took 4 months of continuous uploading to transfer more than 100,000 images to Carbonite. The initial back up was painfully slow but incremental ones should occur with minimal delay. This is my primary offsite backup and contains all of my high resolution source files.  I have a local copy on my Time Machine server located in the basement.  I will use this archive for file restoration if needed since it is much faster than Carbonite. The problem with any local backup is that you are not protected from a fire, flood or lightning strike that impacts the entire home. For further redundancy, I use Google Photos to store medium resolution JPEGs and rely on its search function to locate photos quickly and access them from any browser in the world.  Finally, I have all my original photos stored on my desktop computer.

Volunteer Appreciation

Jeanine hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Brunch for Open Table today. She thanked the tireless contributors for their years of service and she was appreciated in kind for her efforts as Executive Director and her work towards realizing the dream of a new permanent facility. As always at such events, the food was wonderful.  I enjoyed listening to Jeanine as she spoke to the organization.  She is very inspirational and inclusive.  I think she should run for President of the USA. 

During the afternoon we relaxed with Maya enjoying the movie “Keeping up with the Joneses” before dining out with friends at a tapas bar.

First Light

We often enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets here in Concord.  This morning was particularly enchanting.  Click on the image for a more detailed view.

The Wall

When we redecorated our kitchen shortly after moving in some 14 years ago we had the foresight to paint one of the walls in our breakfast nook with a base layer of magnetic paint before covering it with wallpaper. Each year we use magnets to affix holiday cards from our friends and family where they remain for the entire year.  In the sea of cards is a 4K television which serves as a display  and picture frame for my photography.  Each slide show contains 1000 images which change every 20 seconds.

Here and There

I found myself in Auburndale late this afternoon and had to pause to photograph the Woodland Golf Club illuminated by golden light. Earlier in the day I was also motivated to stop for a shot of the Sudbury River.  Relatively warm temperatures have melted much of our recent snow and the river is rising accordingly.

CFA Level 1

Kyle received news today that he passed the CFA Level 1 exam that he took in December.  Only 43% of the people taking the exam passed.  We are very proud of and thrilled for him. There are two more levels to pass before he will obtain his CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) credential, a highly regarded certification in his field. 

The Aftermath

When I woke up this morning, I discovered that my right leg was no longer working properly.  Attempts to lift my right foot were met with non-compliance and acute pain.  It is probably safe to say that I over did things yesterday. A very hot shower and large dose of Vitamin-I (Ibuprofen) made walking marginally possible but stair climbing and getting in or out of the car remained a painful exercise. Fortunately, today’s cooking and cleaning responsibilities were largely borne by the students.  I only had to worry about packing the BMW with what remained of the food and driving back to Concord. Once there, I did little more than operate the TV remote control from the couch and post process the photos I took over the weekend (which can be found here). Fortunately, my fingers were among my few body parts that were neither sore nor damaged. Pictured above is the Ellis River which I paused to photograph as we left Jackson.

Child as Teacher

Yesterday, the priority for Jeanine and I, as chaperones for the ski weekend retreat, was to ensure that all the food needed for the next six meals was staged and ready for the athletes to prepare. Today, we had time to do a little skiing ourselves.  Jeanine has her own cross country skis and a modest amount of experience. I rented a pair for my first attempt at the sport.  Maya switched to classic style skis and coached us during the morning. Jeanine and I covered 4 miles in a little under 2 hours.  I fell 8 times but looked fairly competent by the time we finished. Jeanine fell twice, both times caused by me (as was the case during my initial attempt at alpine skiing, going was far easier than stopping). In the afternoon, Jeanine returned to the condos to get dinner started while I switched to skate style skis and logged another 3.5 miles.  I lost count of how many times I fell but not the number of bruises I sustained (approximately 2 per mile).  By the end of the afternoon I had progressed from totally spastic to moderately spastic.  I may have even accidentally strung together two to three proper strides.  At the very least, I came away with a deep appreciation for the difficulty of skate style skiing and new admiration for what Maya has accomplished over a relatively short period of time.

Jackson XC

Hard to imagine a more beautiful setting for a long weekend of Nordic skiing than Jackson, NH where 150 kilometers of trails are maintained by the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation. Considered by many to be the finest cross-country ski trails in the Eastern United States, they include covered bridges, tunnels, and the on trail Cocoa CafĂ©. Jeanine and I drove up with food supplies and rendezvoused with the CCHS Nordic Ski team which arrived by school bus for an extended training and team bonding retreat.

Following an afternoon on the trails, the team moved on to a group of 9 connected condos which will be home during our three day visit.

Retreat Food

Jeanine and I have volunteered to chaperone the CCHS Nordic Ski Team Retreat to Jackson, NH this weekend.  Gathering and transporting three days worth of food for 35 athletes is no small undertaking.  With the rear seats folded flat, the entire cargo area of the BMW from floor to ceiling is packed with food.

Panoramas

During my recent travels I took several sequential sets of photographs from which to generate wide angle panoramas.  Today I spent some time stitching them together.  If you would like to see them in all their glory you will need to click on the image once to open in a new window and then click on it again to zoom in allowing you pan around the scene.

Nordic Debut

As much as I enjoyed my recent travel to Nevada, California, Utah and Arizona, I regretted not being able to attend Maya’s first nordic ski race. Fortunately, one of the other parents did a great job documenting the competition and shared these photos taken last week. Despite being relatively new to the sport, Maya was elected a co-captain of the team.

Vegas Wildlife

When you mention Las Vegas and wildlife in the same sentence one does not generally conjure up images of the type in today’s post.  My red-eye flight to Boston did not leave until 10PM giving me the better part of the day to go on a wildlife safari.

Mojave Desert

I had planned to be playing soccer today but with yesterday’s elimination from the King’s Cup I found myself with an unexpected free day.  I decided to head over to the Mojave National Preserve, about a 90 minute drive from Vegas. At 1,600,000 acres it is the third largest unit of the National Park System in the contiguous United States. It contains the largest and densest Joshua Tree forest in the world, the Kelso Sand Dunes, and numerous volcanic formations.

Failure to path plan before arriving caused me to hike an additional 4 miles in search of the lava tube pictured below. The first image is of the entrance which is a rather tight fit and requires some scrambling to gain entry.  It eventually opens up into a main chamber which is partially illuminated by light entering through holes in the ceiling. The final image is of one of those openings viewed from the outside looking down. Stepping into one of these would not end well and hiking in this area needs to be done carefully.