Words…

I am a big fan of words… Language is, in my opinion, a beautiful thing! No matter what language(s) you speak, words are magic – they can heal, they can hurt, they can inspire, make you cry, make you laugh… they can tell a story, take you to imaginary places, to places near or far, they can express feelings, opinions… Well, you get my point! That’s why I cringe when I see words being butchered, tortured, murdered right in front of my eyes and ears… and that is why I hate when people use “words” that don’t exist… make up words, short versions of perfectly fine words… now people are always in such a hurry that even words have to be shortened!

“This food is delish” – arrghhh

“This show is my fave” – ahhhhh

“I totes agree with you” – WHAT?

(I won’t even get into text abbreviations… it’s like trying to decipher code)

Anyway… this is just one of the things that really annoys me… Maybe I’ll start writing a weekly post on things that irritate me… What about you? What things do you find annoying?

A.

 

Southern Presidential Range (as promised)

In September 2013 we took a few days and decided to hike the Southern Presidential Range starting at the Dry River Trail (9.6 miles from Crawford Notch to the Lakes of the Clouds). Knowingly a fairly isolated, not super popular trail, so we were expecting it to be nice and quiet…and just weren’t expecting it to be closed!

100_2656

If you encounter a closed trail sign, turn around…. Don’t do what we did…. The trail was heavily affected by tropical storm Irene in 2011 the layout of the trail in some places, as well as junctions, gone…

The beginning of the trail up to the shelter was fine (we spent the night close by at a tent site), the problems started the next day after a mile or two… the trail was completely gone… Thankfully with Wade’s great orientation skills, a map and compass we were able make it through the rough and scary nonexistent trail…. Some parts of the trail were completely covered with fallen trees and debris so we were climbing over and crawling under… I confess, i was pretty scared but then the adrenaline and will to get out of there kicks in and the bruises, the cuts, the scrapes, the holes in clothing and bags don’t matter…

100_2658100_2659

When we finally got out of that mess and were able to look around, see the beauty that was all around us, it made me feel pretty damn good! (Even more so when I was able to see the White Mountains National Forest sign… then I was able to feel relieved because we were finally “out of the woods” and on the right track 🙂 )100_2663100_2665

100_2666

You can see the towers at the top of Mount Washington.

 

 

 

100_2669

The view of the Lakes of the Clouds is just breathtaking! (by the time we got to the hut we were exhausted… inquired about staying but the prices were crazy!!! The girl at the hut was really nice, looked at us and said that we’d be able to get to the Naumann Tentsite near the Mizpah Hut. So we refilled our bottles, and kept going. And yes, we made it before night time!

The next day we tackled Mount Monroe, Mount Eisenhower, Mount Jackson and Webster.

100_2692100_2704100_2707100_2710100_2712

The Dry River Trail has since opened (in 2014 if I’m not mistaken) but it is still, from what I read, a pretty challenging trail, and a work in progress…

If you are prepared and up for it, it is worth it, it is as challenging as it is beautiful! (We would love to go back in the fall when the foliage is at its peak)

Occasional-Navigational-Challenges-Understatement-of-the-Day

As always, have fun, be careful and…

happy trails!

A.

The worst hike (so far…anyway)

So, I really enjoy hiking and even though a few of the hikes we’ve done were tough, there’s always something very rewarding and a sense of accomplishment at the end of the end. Well, not with every hike though… In July of 2012 we tackled Mt. Tripyramid loop in the Sandwich Range Wilderness in NH and that was, by far, the worst hike I’ve ever done.  In this 11 mile hike you will come across North Peak (4,180 feet), Middle Peak (4,140 feet) and South Peak (4,100 feet) (hence Tripyramid).

100_2359

If, by whatever reason, you decide to hike this  mountain, I would recommend going up the North side and down the South… if you have hiked this, you know what I’m talking about 🙂  Be ready to get your mountain goat mode on and don’t look down! And be EXTREMELY careful!!!!  A really big chunk of the “trail” is made up of steep rock slabs… terrain that you probably should climb with rope and all happy stuff… It was scary, it was tough, it was nerve wrecking but we did it – and no, I do not have any desire to do it again…. After all the hard work you are rewarded with wooded summits which makes for a pretty disappointing climb, in my humble opinion… (I like to be rewarded with breathtaking views after putting my life at risk 😉 )

I did sit down every once in a while on the way to snap some pictures…

This was so far the worst, scariest hike we’ve done… although the Southern Presidential Range had a pretty hairy section, but that’s a topic for another post… Stay tuned 🙂

Happy trails,

A.

Easter weekend

I grew up in a Catholic family, attended a catholic school during the 4 years of elementary school, went to church, confession, the whole 9 yards, until I was old enough to ask questions and find no answers that satisfied me… So I stopped going to church, I stopped “confessing my sins” to a 3rd party (whatever those were at 10 years old), but that doesn’t mean that I stopped believing. I still have my faith, my believes, they just don’t materialize in the figure of a man who died for us and came back…Anyway, this is not a religious post by any means… Point is, Easter for me was and is just an excuse to get together with family 🙂 (I do miss the fact that in Portugal I had a long weekend, Good Friday is a holiday there).

Did you all enjoy your weekend? Ours was nice and quiet with  gorgeous weather (today was in the 80’s!!! Too bad that in a couple of days it will go back to 40s and 50s… but, that’s Maine for you!) and an attempt to making rag dolls…. This about sums up the weekend 🙂

Happy Easter,

A.

For the love of cats

I am an animal lover! Grew up as a “dog person”, but in my adult life discovered the awesomeness of cats and now I am a proud cat owner.

We currently have 3 cats (Duncan is 5 and has been with us since we adopted him for our local animal shelter when he was a kitten, Arli is 1, also adopted from the animal shelter as a kitten and Momma Cat is 17 and she was my mother-in-law’s) – they are all very different, all have very distinct personalities but they all have a very important characteristic in common “claws”, those sharp little buggers that dig right in your skin….

As much as of a pain in the ass claws can be, they are part of cats. They are much of what makes a cat, a cat… So please, for the love of cats, stop declawing!!! Educate yourself, read, research and see what you are doing to your cat when you decide to amputate him/her – yes, I said it, amputate. This is what happens when you declaw your cat:

what-a-declaw-is

More than removing the claw, you are removing a whole phalanx… If you “declawed” a human, this is what it would look like:

590_2D00_text_2D00_declawing_2D00_1_2D00_knuckles_2D00_cut

When you declaw your cat your are taking away his/hers first line of defense, and actually potentially making the cat more aggressive… Without claws, biting will be the next defense of choice! Also, you may be facing a litter box use (or lack of) problem. Litter will hurt on the paws and of course your cat will see the litter box as a painful, unconfortable place, to be avoided… You will also be putting your cat through a lot of pain and at risk of infection.

Declawing is illegal in several countries, but unfortunately there are still too many vets performing this inhumane procedure, so it is very important that people stop seeking it.

Trim your cat’s claws regularly; make scratching areas available – buy some sturdy posts, preferably tall enough for your cat to stretch while scratching, or make your own! If your cat is scratching your furniture, take the time to teach him/her not to do so. It may take a little time, but it is the right thing to do – sprinkle some catnip on the posts once a week, use a loud, firm voice whenever he or she starts to scratch the furniture – cats don’t like loud noises!

To learn more about declawing check out the Paw Project.

Remember, a pet is not a toy! When you bring a pet into your home you are responsible for its well being – take the time to bond, to play, to teach, to love!

Adopt, don’t shop!

A.

Today marks a year since my mother-in-law was suddenly taken from us. It was unexpected, shocking and it still feels like a surreal dream… Lynn Arli Morin was a feisty woman, single mother of 3 boys for most of her life, nature and all creatures lover, fan of sun, shorts and bare feet… We will forever miss her laugh, her words of wisdom, and peculiar and awesome Christmas presents, her 6am calls to sign Happy Birthday…

My 1st encounter with death in a significant way was when I was 10 years old. On September 3, 1990 breast cancer won the battle against my mother and took her away. She had been sick for a while and although a lot of what happened during and after that period is pretty blurry in my mind there are certain moments that are pretty vivid in my head…

It is hard to describe what I felt then… it was a mix of “I don’t understand” with “when am I waking up from this nightmare?”… It was sad, and it hurt but it was actually worse years later when I felt her loss even more. It’s been 27 years and it still hurts, in a different way but it hurts all the same and not a day goes by that I don’t talk to my mom or think of her… I went through a few different phases from denial to anger, from sadness to self-pity, from anger again to acceptance (there was really nothing I could do about it). Today I look back and think of it as an inevitable part of life (but one that I had to experience too early), today I’m not mad at god anymore, I still don’t understand it, but I know I wouldn’t be the person that I am if I didn’t go through it…

My mother was a beautiful, calm, reserved human being that loved to sing, that used to sit on the left side of the couch and crochet… My brother has a lot of her traits (singing abilities included), me not so much… I have, from what people tell me, her looks… I can’t really see it, but I like to think that they are right.

47822_1575514916155_660164_n

(This is my mother… sometime in the late 60’s, early 70’s)

No matter how old you are, if you are lucky to still have your parents around…cherish them! Call them more, visit them more, tell them you love them more!

Boston

Last month we had to go to Boston, so we decided to stay for the weekend, why not? Boston is one of my favorite cities, 1h30m by train from here (yes, we are big fans of traveling by train if you haven’t noticed it yet 🙂 ) and full of stuff to do and see. A big city that, to me, has the charm of a smaller city, a mix of old and new that I love.

Cabaret was touring so it was a great opportunity to see another musical and, boy, was it worth every penny!! (Again, good seats are the way to go!) The cast was amazing and even though the stage/props and costumes weren’t as glamorous and intricate as Phantom of the Opera, this was another amazing show and the Boston Opera House is a beautiful venue! Worth going if you have a chance! Saturday night we went to see Lewis Black and that was hilarious! I will not get political here, but let’s just say that Mr. Black is not a fan of Trump and that the people next to me didn’t think that his material was as funny as I did…

We stayed at the Boston Park Plaza. A nice hotel with an awesome location where we had stayed before, but this time the experience was not so great… Unfortunately, there was a high school thing going on so the noise, slamming doors and kids running around and screaming ’til the wee hours was ridiculous and the way the hotel handled it (or didn’t handle it) makes me have mixed feelings about going back/recommending the place…

Contrary to any trip, I didn’t take pictures 😦 The weather was really crappy and between the rain and the bitter cold, having to take off my gloves was not an option 😉 We need to go back in the Spring to finally walk the Freedom Trail, so when that happens I promise there will be pictures galore!

Happy trails,

A.